Run Contests on Shopify to Get Leads July 15, 2015 03:00

People like free things. According to a Priceonomics article, if given a choice between getting a $10 gift card for free vs buying a $20 gift card for $7 (where people gain $12 instead of the free $10), almost everyone opted to get the $10 gift card. People really like free things.

A free giveaway on your Shopify store can go a long way to entice potential customers and build better branding.

But nothing in the world is truly free. This is where sweepstakes and contests can help you get something from your customers in return for giving them a chance to get something for free.

What are contests?

Contests are promotional strategies where participants have to take an action in order to win prizes. In the real world, you can see contests where you may have to collect a number of items (bottle caps, empty packages, etc.) or show proof of a number of purchases (collecting stickers or stamps on a card for purchases) to win the prize.

In the digital world, where information is the currency, contests require visitors to give up some information – email address, social endorsement, social share, etc. – in order to win prizes.

For your Shopify store, if a product is too valuable to give away for each eligible customer who completes the contest, the prize can also be an entry for a draw to win that giveaway. In return of the prize, you can determine what information or endorsement you need from your store visitors at that time. These can feed sales, gather feedback or move the dial on key metrics you are working towards.

As examples, you can ask people to submit their email addresses to send out promotions or subscribe to a newsletter. You can also ask a question to get feedback (like, how often do customers contact the customer service team) or ask for a rating that you can use to showcase later.

Why create contests?

Free giveaways through sweepstakes and contests can help you grow your brand and sales through a number of indirect ways. Actions required in the contests can not only engage existing customers but also get new leads.

  1. Build an email list to target potential customers by notifying them of new products, sales, and more contests that you may be running. Email marketing continues to be more effective to generate sales than social media according to a McKinsey & Company report.

    You can enter contestants in exchange for an email signup.
  2. But social media is still valuable – build your social media following with a contest. A large number of followers on social media can signal a strong brand to potential customers. In addition, social media makes it easy for customers to share your store publicly and with their friends (or followers). This can be a great way to get new leads who may subscribe to your email list or purchase items on your store.

    You can enter contestants in exchange for following you on Twitter, etc.
  3. Contests can also be used to solicit feedback from customers. Asking your customers to complete a survey in exchange for entry into your contest can ensure that you’re getting enough feedback to make the conclusions you draw significant — more data points usually helps create more accurate data.

    Enter contestants for each feedback action: complete a survey, rate a customer service interaction, etc.

By giving your customers a chance to win free prizes periodically through contests on Shopify, you also increase customer loyalty as your interaction is not only limited to when they purchase something.

How to run contests on Shopify?

First, think of what you can give away in sweepstakes or contests on Shopify. These can be digital products, free services, gift cards, your products or company swag (for the uninitiated, swag means company branded goods like mugs, t-shirts, pens, notepads, etc.).

Second, think of what you want in return of the prize you will give away in the contest. These can be email addresses, subscriptions to newsletters, sharing your Shopify store link with others, tweets about the contest, likes on Facebook or answers to a specific question.

Now, Shopify has a number of apps like ViralSweep and Gleam Competitions that make it easy for you to run sweepstakes and contests without having to write any code.

ViralSweep allows you to create sweepstakes through which you can collect email addresses and grow social followers. The ViralSweep widget is mobile ready and comes in a number of configurations including a pop-up from the bottom.

Watch the ViralSweep introduction video to see how the app works:

Gleam has a number of social integrations including Pinterest, SoundCloud, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube, and has options to include newsletter subscriptions, ask questions or vote for images. You can select one or many of these for your visitors. Visitors get an additional entry for each action they perform.

Here is a screenshot of how Gleam works from their Shopify app page:

Gleam Competitions screenshot for contests on Shopify

You can select a timeline for how long the competition will run and pick winners at the end of the submission period.

Both these apps are quick to set up and help you run contests on Shopify to engage customers and get more leads through social endorsements and sharing. The backend of these provides you with analytics about which types of contests and prizes are more popular than others. Each time you run a contest, you can make it better and more targeted to the outcomes you want to get from them.

Build contests for your Shopify store

Apps make it easy for you to set up and integrate contests on Shopify. Contests engage customers and can help gain new ones by creating actions that they have to take. These actions can build your mailing list, social followers, and encourage referrals to your store. People like free giveaways. By running contests on your store, you can get something in return for the free giveaway.

You can build contests on Shopify using apps that don’t require any coding. All you have to do is think about the prizes and giveaways for your contests.

Have you run contests before? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments below.

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