11 Super-Effective Contest Promotion Ideas (Most Are Free!)
Are you looking for contest promotion ideas? If you promote your giveaway to the right audience, you’ll not only attract more entries but also build a targeted list of leads for your business.
There are lots of ways to promote your contest and we’ll share some of the best (and mostly free) contest promotion ideas with you in this article.
Let’s check out these 11 super-effective contest promotion ideas, from planning and creating the contest to getting as many entries as you can before time runs out!
Because this is a long article, we’ve created a handy table of contents so you can skip to the part that interests you:
- Require Sharing on Social Media
- Optimize Your Contest Landing Page
- Redirect Visitors to Your Contest Landing Page
- Send Emails to Your Subscribers
- Submit to Sweepstakes and Contest Directories
- Add Links to Your Social Media Bios
- Post Your Giveaway on Your Facebook Page
- Promote Your Contest on Instagram
- Share It on Other Social Media Platforms
- Share Your Contest in Online Communities
- Create and Share a Simple Video
- Try Influencer Outreach
- Use Facebook and Instagram Ads
- Invest in Google Ads
- Don’t Forget Offline Marketing
Ready? Let’s get started with the easiest contest promotion ideas to go viral…
1. Require Sharing on Social Media
When you’re building your giveaway with RafflePress, you can require people to share the contest in order to earn more entries.
For each person that enters, you can multiply your leads if they’re sharing the contest with their friends. This is the easiest way to go viral.
When you’re choosing how people can enter your contest, make sure to keep in mind your main goal. For example, if your goal is to get leads to sign up for your email address, then you should encourage them to subscribe by giving that action more value in RafflePress. You can even make it mandatory to subscribe in order to enter your contest. This way you can boost your chances to go viral, while still growing your email list.
Further Reading: How to Go Viral on Instagram: 12 Tips & Tricks
2. Optimize Your Contest Landing Page
Once you’ve designed your giveaway, you’ll need to create a contest landing page on your website.
Your landing page is the link you’ll share when promoting your contest using all the tactics below.
Creating a contest landing page is easy with RafflePress. When creating a giveaway with RafflePress, you simply choose a custom URL for your landing page (such as www.example.com/spring-giveaway), and RafflePress will generate the landing page for you.
You can customize the background color and image of the landing page if you wish.
You can create a blog post about your giveaway with all the details, or a dedicated landing page without sidebars or other distracting elements. Read more tips about creating the perfect landing page here.
Some WordPress themes come with landing page templates, but if yours doesn’t, you can easily create a landing page with a drag and drop page builder. Your landing page should include contest details and at least one attention-grabbing image of your contest prize.
Your contest landing page or blog post should include:
- a description of the contest
- how to enter the contest
- what the prize is
- when the giveaway will end
- how the winners will be selected
For all the details you need to include, see our complete guide on how to create an online contest.
Now that you’ve created your contest landing page, you’re ready to start promoting it!
3. Redirect Visitors to Your Contest Landing Page
Everyone who visits your website is a potential lead. You’ll need to let them know about your giveaway so they can enter.
You could do this by adding links to your giveaway throughout your site, but links are not very noticeable, plus you’ll have to remove all those links after the contest is over. Adding and removing all those links for the possibility of a few entries is not a good use of your time.
The easiest way to promote your contest on your website is by using OptinMonster to create popups, floating bars, and other campaigns.
This way you can easily grab the attention of all your visitors and entice them to enter your contest.
A floating bar is a great way to do this because it stays in place and doesn’t distract your visitors from reading.
But what about if a visitor is going to leave without entering your giveaway?
You can create an exit intent popup to capture their full attention right before they leave your site for good. For example, KnivesShipFree.com convinced over 8% of their visitors to enter their giveaway using a simple OptinMonster campaign:
You’ll want to use a countdown timer on your campaigns so that visitors know they should enter now, and not wait.
You can also schedule your campaigns to automatically stop showing when the giveaway ends, saving you a lot of time and effort.
4. Send Emails to Your Subscribers
Your email list is filled with your biggest fans. These loyal subscribers are the people who are most likely to sign up for your contest and share it with their friends. So, you should send an email to them to promote your sweet giveaway.
With a good email marketing service, you can easily design an eye-catching email to promote your contest, much like the example below from Anker.
We recommend sending at least 2 emails:
- Send the first email right when your contest opens
- Send another email a day before the contest closes, to give subscribers one more chance to enter.
Be sure to include a strong call to action with a link to your contest landing page.
Don’t have an email list yet? Build one and start to grow your email list today! That way, when your contest goes live you already have an engaged audience to promote it to.
Now that you’ve promoted your contest to your existing audience, it’s time to reach new people around the web.
5. Submit to Sweepstakes and Contest Directories
One of the easiest ways to promote your contest is to submit to sweepstakes and contest directories. These websites will link directly to your promotion. Plus, they already have a huge audience of their own who check out their sites daily for new freebies.
Submitting your contest to these online contest directories will give your giveaway a lot of exposure to a totally new audience.
Check out these sweepstakes and contest directories where you can promote your contest for free:
It should just take a minute or two to submit your giveaway to each one.
Once you’ve submitted it to the best contest directories, it’s time to take your contest to social media.
6. Add Links to Your Social Media Bios
Before you get started posting your giveaway on all your social media accounts, take a minute to update your bio.
This is a smart hack that most people don’t think of, but it can get great results since your bio is so prominent.
Here’s a simple example from Hudson Sutler:
If you have space, try to include some enticing information about your giveaway prizes.
7. Post Your Giveaway on Your Facebook Page
Next, a free and easy way to promote your contest is by posting it on your Facebook Business Page.
Create a post to share on your Facebook timeline that includes an eye-catching photo, a brief description of the contest and what people can win, and of course, a link to enter your contest.
Take a look at how Amir and Aleks – Real Estate Team does it with this Facebook giveaway post. They include a short description of the prize, how to enter, and a link to enter the giveaway. Plus, the use of emojis really grabs the attention of users online.
Also included is a high-quality photo of the prize (image of the restaurant) with text over top to let users know this is a giveaway post. You can create a similar photo using a free online image editing tool like Canva.
On your page, you can pin the post so that everyone who visits your page will see that you’re running a contest.
Then you can also share it on your personal timeline so your friends and family can help you spread the word.
Bonus contest promotion tip: Aside from creating a post to promote your giveaway, you can also create a custom cover photo to promote your contest as well.
To create your own, head to Canva again and choose the Facebook cover template. You can choose any of their pre-designed templates, upload an image of your prize, and customize the text to create a giveaway Facebook cover that fits your brand.
Note: Make sure to review Facebook’s giveaway policies before you get started, since they require you to include certain information in your posts.
8. Promote Your Contest on Instagram
Instagram is the perfect social media platform to promote your contest because it’s so visual.
You’ll need to create a post on Instagram that includes a beautiful image that will catch the attention of users, as well as a brief description of the contest. You can easily create a nice image like the one below using Canva.
Instagram doesn’t allow you to add a link to individual posts, but you can provide instructions on how to enter the contest, or just direct them to click the link in your bio (you did add the link in step 6, right?).
Don’t forget to add hashtags to widen your reach such as #giveaway, #contest, or #freebies. The right hashtags can make your contest go viral.
You can use up to 30 hashtags on your post, so go wild! Be sure to research each hashtag to see if you’re using it correctly, and make sure it will help you reach the right audience.
Bonus Contest Promotion Tip: Use Instagram Stories
You can also create an Instagram Story to promote your contest to your followers as well. Instagram Stories get a ton of engagement. In fact, Instagram Stories are used by 500 million users every day.
One big benefit of Instagram Stories is that they include a swipe-up link. So all a user has to do is swipe up on your Story and they’ll be taken straight to your contest landing page.
9. Share It on Other Social Media Platforms
While Facebook and Instagram are typically the most effective social media platforms to share contests on, don’t forget about the others.
You can promote your contest to a ton of people on Twitter, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn if you’re running a B2B contest.
Twitter can be a great place to promote your contest if you want to build your following on the platform. Promoting your giveaway on Twitter will work best if your target audience is younger. Nearly half of U.S. adults who use Twitter are aged between 18 and 29 years, usage among U.S. adults drops as age increases.
Send out some tweets announcing your giveaway that include a link to your contest page and a good hashtag such as #WIN or #giveaway. Unlike on Facebook, your posts on Twitter are limited to 280 characters, so keep your tweets short and sweet by only including what’s necessary.
If you want your tweet to stand out in feeds, be sure to include an image. Tweets with images receive 18% more click throughs, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets.
Remember, timing is everything when it comes to Twitter. Check out the image below to find out what time of the day your tweet will get the most engagement.
Promoting a giveaway on Pinterest is great strategy if you want to attract a female target audience. According to statistics, 79.5% of Pinterest users are female. Pinterest calls these female users “deciders” because they make 80% of the buying decisions in U.S. households. So, if you want to promote a giveaway prize and generate more sales for your business, create a pin on Pinterest.
To grab the attention of users, be sure to create an awesome Pinterest image. You can use the same image for created for your Instagram post in tip #8, but according to Pinterest, the optimal Pinterest image is vertical (taller than it is wide, about 735 X 1102 px). A vertical image is a Pinterest best practice.
For B2B contests, LinkedIn is a great place to promote your giveaway to your business connections.
Include an image to grab the attention of your connections, a brief description of the giveaway, and a link to your giveaway. Don’t forget that you can add hashtags on LinkedIn too. Add a hashtag like #giveaway or #contest and consider adding hashtags to attract users in relevant industries.
For instance, in the example below from Lead, they added #datascience and #bigdata to attract an audience that would be interested and searching for those topics on LinkedIn.
When promoting your contest on social media, remember to check the contest guidelines for each platform.
6. Share Your Contest in Online Communities
In addition to sharing the contest on social media, share it in online communities. Online communities like Reddit have subtopics like /r/Contest where anyone can promote a contest or giveaway. Find topics that relate to your niche and your target audience, check out the rules they have for promoting contests, and promote your giveaway there.
You can also search the internet for other online communities related to your niche. Simply type in something like “knitting forums” (but replace “knitting” with your actual niche) into the Google search bar to find more online communities you can join.
Facebook also has groups dedicated to specific topics where you can find a ton of your target audience to promote your contest to.
7. Create and Share a Simple Video
Did you know that 1200% more shares are generated by social videos than text and images combined?
That’s why videos are such an effective way to promote your contest.
You might think it would be difficult to create a video to promote your contest, but it’s not. Using only your smartphone, you can easily create a quick video to share on YouTube or your social media accounts.
Your video should include:
- Prize details
- Information on how to enter
- A call-to-action (for example, tell users to click the link in the description to enter the giveaway)
Be sure that your video has good lighting whether it’s natural or artificial, is filmed in front of an attractive background (clean your messy room!), and that your appearance is camera-ready.
Bonus Contest Promotion Tip: Live Video
Live videos can get great engagement from your audience. With Instagram Live and Facebook Live, you can interact with your viewers in real-time which is a great way to connect with your audience. Plus, a live video announcement will stir up a lot of excitement around your contest.
For your live video, you can include information on how to enter the giveaway, prize details (even better, show the prize itself) and also take questions from your audience.
Now that you’ve used all your own channels to promote your giveaway, it’s time to reach out for help. Here’s how…
8. Try Influencer Outreach
When you partner up with others to promote your giveaway, it can boost your entries even more.
To get started, you’ll need to find bloggers with a big audience that would likely be interested in what you’re offering up. For instance, if your contest prize is a new camera, look for photography bloggers. Reach out to the bloggers that you find with a personalized email and explain how your contest will benefit the blogger and their readers.
To be successful, it will need to be a win-win-win partnership that benefits you, the blogger, and their audience. Think about how to present those benefits when you reach out to influencers.
Here’s an example of an influencer outreach email posted on Search Engine Journal.
Similar to blogger outreach, you can also partner with YouTubers to promote your contest to a whole new audience. Find YouTube channels related to your niche and reach out to the ones who have a decent amount of subscribers, views, and engagement.
If you know your target audience is very active on a certain social media platform like Pinterest or Instagram, you can reach out to influencers on those platforms as well. If you’re new to the world of influencers, check out this influencer marketing guide for beginners.
Alright, now that you’ve spread the word on your own platforms and also reached out to form partnerships, there’s one more contest promotion strategy to try: paid promotion.
Here’s how to get started.
9. Use Facebook and Instagram Ads
To reach an even bigger audience on social media, consider creating Facebook or Instagram ads. Facebook ads will not only allow you to promote your contest to more people online, but they also let you target the exact type of people that would be most interested in your giveaway by criteria such as gender, age, location, interests, and more.
If ads are a little too complicated for you, you can simply boost your contest Facebook post. Boosting your post shows it to more users and costs as little as $5.
10. Invest in Google Ads
Aside from ads on social media, you can also push your contest to more people online with Google Ads. With Google Ads, you can get your contest featured on the Google search results of users who are searching for the exact keywords you want to target. This will make it easier to get more entries from people who have never heard of your business before.
Last but not least, there’s a whole wide world off the internet where you can spread the word about your content! Here’s how:
11. Don’t Forget Offline Marketing
Don’t forget about promoting your contest to people in real life, too!
Consider creating flyers to hand out at local events or posters you can put up in community centers or other businesses. You can also use offline marketing to promote your contest to your existing customers by adding promotional cards to the packages you send out.
Now that you’ve got a ton of awesome contest promotion ideas, your contest is sure to make a splash online. Remember, begin promoting your giveaway before it goes live so that you’ll get a ton of entries on day 1.
After you choose the winner or people vote for their favorite entry, don’t leave your audience hanging! Be sure to announce the winner on your website and all of your social media accounts.
With these tips, your contest will be such a success that you’ll want to start brainstorming new contest ideas right away.