How To Use Contests To Drive Traffic & Make Money

Define The Goal

Holding a blog contest is a great way to drive some traffic to your blog. However, most bloggers don’t get a big a bang as they could from their contests because they don’t have a clearly defined goal on what the contest should accomplish. Before holding a blog contest, ask yourself what you want the contest to do because a contest to drive traffic won’t be the same as contest to increase links.

Tailor The Contest To The Prize

Let’s face it, if the only way to enter my PC game contest was to ask people to write about it and link to my blog using a desired anchor text, I wouldn’t get that many entries. However, change the prize to a 24″ LCD monitor and I’ll be flooded.

I’ve seen many blogs setting up a contest using the same rules I use for the monitor contest but their prize doesn’t warrant that kind of entrance requirement. If your prize is big enough, you can ask for more. However, if you’re going to give away a PC game or a book, make the entry requirements really simple. You’ll get more entries and create a bigger buzz.

The Best Prize To Give Away Cost You Nothing

Everything that I have given away in my contests have cost me zero dollars. All the prizes were given to me as gifts from sponsors. When looking for a contest prize, look at what you have laying around before spending money. If you can’t find anything, then consider offering something that has intrinsic value, but doesn’t cost you any out of pocket money. For example, if you’re a designer, have a contest to win a professional blog redesign.

Contest Should Be Part of Your Overall Marketing Strategy

A contest should not be a one shot deal. Instead, make contests a part of your overall blog marketing strategy. Doing it one time is the same as someone trying Google AdWords for a week or buying a text link for month and then stopping. Blog marketing is the same as blog posting – you have to be consistent. On again, off again blogging doesn’t work and neither does on again, off again marketing.

I run two types of contests on my blog. I have a big monthly contest where I give away something really big. This month, it’s a 24″ LG wide screen LCD monitor. I also give away smaller items though out the month in “reply to this post and you are in” contests. Each contests serves a different purpose. The first one generates a lot of buzz and links back to the blog. The second generates a lot of activities in the community (it also gets the RSS readers to visit the blog). In both cases, the contests tell people that this is a fun and happening place. However, they are also part of the blog’s overall marketing strategy.

Making Money With A Contest

So far, I haven’t done this but it is entirely possible. For the big monthly contest, the sponsor puts up the prize and pays for the shipping of the item to the winner. However, as my contests have gotten more popular, I am getting Emails from companies offering to put up a big prize and pay me to run the contest.

If you look at the results the contests have created for the sponsors, you will start to understand why companies are offering me big money to run a contest with them. Because they sponsored my monitor contest, is now ranked number one for “Hosting Canada” and “Web Hosting Canada” and number two for “Canada Web Hosting.” How much do you think that is worth in the super competitive web hosting industry? 😈