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20 Simple Contest Ideas Proven to Promote Your Business

27 Simple Contest Ideas Proven to Promote Your Business

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of RafflePress. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Are you looking for simple contest ideas to delight and excite your target audience?

Running a contest is an excellent way to boost brand awareness and generate quality leads for your business. According to studies, social media contests can increase followers by up to 34% and generate significant engagement​​. Yet, it isn’t always easy to come up with contest ideas that will engage your audience.

That’s why, in this article, we’ll share our favorite simple contest ideas so you can get started quickly.

Let’s look at how to create a simple contest before we start.

How to Create a Simple Contest

There are many ways to create a giveaway contest for your business. You can run a giveaway via social media, on a giveaway site, or from your business website.

Hosting your giveaway from your website is one of the best approaches because you can use giveaway tools to make the process easier.

RafflePress best WordPress giveaway plugin

RafflePress, for example, is the best giveaway plugin for WordPress. It lets you create any giveaway contest from your WordPress site without a complicated setup.

You can start with a giveaway template, then add your prize details and entry options, and embed your giveaway on a distraction-free landing page. Even better, the drag-and-drop giveaway builder is a breeze and offers pretty much every entry action you can imagine, including:

  • Social media sharing
  • Social media following
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Website promotion
  • And more

Follow this step-by-step guide to create an online contest with RafflePress.

Easy and Simple Contest Ideas

Now let’s look at the best simple contest ideas you can use to grow your business.

1. Surprise Random Followers

One of the easiest and simplest contest ideas is to pick one of your followers and surprise them with a free gift. It’s a totally unexpected gesture that shows your audience you value their support.

You could turn this into a regular, monthly contest where anyone who registers for your giveaway is automatically entered into your prize draw. That way, it takes minimal effort for them to take part.

Here’s an example of this type of contest in action from WPForms. Every month they post a new giveaway for their members to enter.

WPForms monthly simple contest ideas

By using RafflePress to run their monthly giveaway, they can embed the giveaway widget right inside their WordPress website. Then, it’s merely a case of sharing the giveaway page URL to encourage users to register and enter.

2. Comment to Win

Another simple contest idea is to run a comment contest and choose a winner randomly from all commenters.

Ciro UK ran this type of contest on Twitter, where users had to leave a comment using the hashtag #tomatotuesday.

Comment to win simple contest idea

While this is a great way to drive tons of Twitter engagement, they could make their Twitter contest easier to manage by hosting it on their WordPress site with RafflePress.

With RafflePress’s “Grow Your Twitter Following” template, you can create a Twitter giveaway with actions to boost your Twitter profile automatically. By default, it includes the option to follow you on Twitter and tweet a custom message.

twitter giveaway template

You can then use the “Leave a Comment” action to encourage users to comment on a specific tweet. Just paste the tweet’s URL and tell visitors to comment to enter. After, ask them to post their comment link to verify they entered.

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway

Taking this approach makes it easier to see who entered your contest correctly and choose a winner. That’s because RafflePress keeps track of giveaway entries inside the plugin.

3. Simple Photo Contest

This simple contest idea is a great way to collect user-generated content (UGC). Just ask your customers to snap a photo that highlights your product or service and get them to share it.

You can choose the best photo as the winner or pick one at random to keep things fair. This type of contest is an excellent way to engage your existing customers, and it also promotes your brand to new potential customers.

RafflePress has an easy giveaway action to make photo contests like this super-easy.

Submit an image photo contest

Just host your giveaway on your WordPress site and use the “Submit an Image” action to allow users to submit a photo.

4. Photo Voting Contest

You can make your photo contests even more enjoyable by letting your followers decide the winner for you. It works in 2 stages:

First, run a simple photo contest, as we described above, to create a winner shortlist.

Then, once everyone has shared their photos, you can create a second contest, asking people to vote for the winner.

This is where RafflePress’s “Polls and Surveys” action can help.

polls and surveys action

Simply upload a photo grid of the shortlisted images and ask people which one is best. They can then submit their favorite through the giveaway widget.

The photo contest winner could receive your grand prize, whereas you could pick a random winner for a smaller prize for anyone who voted.

5. Short Video Contest

Video generates a lot more interest on social media than images, so running a short video contest can skyrocket your engagement. It’s also an excellent way to boost YouTube likes and followers. For a chance to win, you can ask people to film a quick product review, testimonial, or even a funny home video.

Then, they can upload their videos to a video hosting website like YouTube or even Facebook Live and post the link in your giveaway widget.

invent your own giveaway action

The “Invent Your Own” giveaway action in RafflePress is a great way to do this. You can edit the action title to “Post a Video” and write a description asking people to share their video link to enter.

RafflePress video contest ideas for customers

6. Check-in to Win Contests

If you have a physical location for your business, you can create an online contest asking people to check in in person on Facebook for a chance to win a prize.

This is a great way to boost your Facebook page’s visibility to new people and engage your existing fans.

check in to win: simple contest ideas

You can ask contest participants to take a screenshot of their check-in post and upload it to your website via the Submit an Image action to verify their entry.

7. Product Customization Contest

Do you have a product that’s easy to customize and make your own? If so, why not run a customization contest? Ask your fans to customize or personalize your product and upload the result via your giveaway app.

Product customization contest

You can then offer a prize to the most creative or original idea or ask your fans to vote for their favorite.

8. Simple Trivia Contest

This simple contest idea is one that any business can create.

Run a trivia contest where the correct answer wins. If more than 1 participant has the right answer, you can randomly choose a winner from valid entries with RafflePress’s random winner generator.

pick a giveaway winner

But make sure the answer isn’t too easy; otherwise, people can Google to find the answer in a pinch. You should also ensure the question is related to your business to keep people focused on your brand.

9. Guessing Game Contest

Similar to the giveaway above is a contest that requires people to guess the answer to win. This is a great way to test your fan’s analytical powers and give them something fun and exciting to do.

For instance, you could fill a large jar full of jelly beans, take some photos from different angles, and ask users to guess how many are inside.

The winner with the correct guess could win the whole jar.

guessing game simple contest idea

Try to keep the guessing game relevant to your brand. For instance, if you’re a beauty brand, you could fill a jar with individual eye shadows. Or, if you’re a sports brand, you could use golf balls.

10. Product Suggestion Contest

Want to grow your product line but don’t have any new ideas? Why not let your customers decide what you make next?

Run a giveaway asking users what products they’d like you to offer, and reward the best idea with a prize. You could even award the winner with the specific product they chose.

If you want people to use their creativity, have them design the product themselves and submit the image to enter your contest.

11. Fun Caption Contest

A simple contest idea that’s almost always guaranteed to give your followers a good laugh is a caption contest.

facebook caption contest

Caption contests work by sharing an image with your audience and asking them to write a caption. You can then reward the funniest or best caption with your grand prize.

12. Easy Fill in the Blank Contest

Here’s another simple contest idea anyone can enter for a chance to win. A fill-in-the-blank contest is a simple sentence or phrase with a word missing. Users have to guess what that word is to complete the sentence.

This type of contest is super-easy to create with RafflePress.

Fill in the blank contest idea

Just add an image of your phrase with the “blank” to your giveaway widget’s prize image section. Then use the “Answer a Question” action to ask users what their caption is.

answer a question giveaway action

13. Do it Yourself (DIY) Contest

This simple contest idea is sure to get the creativity flowing, especially if people can use your products in DIY projects. It’s also a great way to get people to demonstrate things they’ve learned from your online courses or webinar.

Just ask people to upload a photo of their completed DIY project for the chance to win a prize. The prize could be a high-value gift card for your store or materials to help with their future projects.

DIY design contest idea

You can even turn this type of contest into something requiring more effort by asking users to film their DIY as a tutorial. Then, you can highlight the winning entry on your website and promote it on social media.

14. Refer a Friend Contest

Refer-a-friend contests are a fantastic way to encourage word-of-mouth marketing for your business. They work by requiring people to share your giveaway with friends for a chance to win your grand prize.

rafflepress refer a friend entry action

The more people that enter your giveaway, the more that people will see it and also enter. This can significantly improve your contest’s reach and introduce more people to your business from a simple social media post.

Check out this article to learn how to run a referral contest.

15. Multi-platform Social Media Contest

Next is a social media contest idea to get your giveaway in front of your target audience. Host it on your website and promote it on multiple social media platforms.

With social media contests like this, participants can then perform actions such as:

  • Visiting your Facebook page
  • Following you on Twitter
  • Watching a YouTube video
  • Following you on TikTok
  • Posting a message on LinkedIn
  • Following you on Pinterest
  • And more.
social media contest actions

As a result, you can grow your social media followers on more than 1 social network while driving traffic to your business website. It’s also a creative way to connect with influencers.

16. Logo Redesign Contest

Want to give your brand’s logo a refresh? Here’s a fun way to do it while increasing customer engagement.

Get your fans involved with your brand and ask them to design a new logo for the chance to win a prize.

logo design contest idea

Entrants can upload their designs via your contest widget, making it easier for you to draw a winner. To secure more giveaway entries and increase incentives, you can ask them to share the contest on social media.

If you like, the grand prize could be seeing the winning logo in use on your website and online real estate.

17. Seasonal Holiday Contest

Many brands use seasonal sweepstakes and contests to generate excitement for holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Black Friday. At these times, people are usually looking for great deals, so a giveaway is a fantastic way to scratch that itch.

Christmas giveaway contest idea

The nature of your contest depends on the season. Here a just a few holiday-themed contests you can run for your brand:

You can use RafflePress for all of these simple contest ideas. Just ask people to upload their photos via your giveaway widget to enter. Yet, make sure the giveaway prize you offer is worth the effort.

Here are some more summer contest ideas you might like.

18. Selfie Contest

A selfie contest is one of the best ways to promote your brand on Instagram and other photo-based social networks. They require asking participants to snap a photo or selfie and share it for the chance to win a prize.

selfie contest

Typically, people would share the selfie in their Instagram stories or other posts on social media. But this is often messy and confusing.

Instead, host your selfie contest on your WordPress website and get people to upload the photo directly to your website. That way, you can see all the photo submissions in 1 place instead of hunting for them on social media.

rafflepress image entries

You can still promote your contest easily on social media. Just publish your contest on a giveaway landing page and share the link with your audience.

19. Blog Post Writing Contest

If you want more people to talk about your brand online, why not host a blog post writing contest? Participants have to write a blog post about your chosen topic and publish it on their websites to enter.

This is an excellent solution for brands looking to promote their affiliate program, and it’s easy to implement with RafflePress.

Simply use the “Write a Blog Post” action and tell users what you’d like them to write. You can then ask them to post a link to their published blog post to qualify.

Write a blog post to enter the giveaway

You can learn how to run a blog giveaway here.

20. Sports Event Contest

Is there a big sporting event coming up, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics? If there is, you can use the opportunity to create a marketing strategy with a sports-related giveaway contest.

sports event contest idea

You can ask people to:

  • Predict the winner for the event
  • Guess which team will score first
  • Predict who will get the most gold medals
  • And much more

After the event, you can randomly choose a winner from all the correct predictions and show the winners right inside your giveaway widget. Dont forget to offer a great prize, like a new product, Amazon gift card, and more.

21. Recipe Contest

Engage foodies by asking them to create a recipe using your product. This not only promotes your product but also encourages creativity and interaction among culinary enthusiasts.

recipe contest

Participants can submit their recipes, and you can choose a winner based on creativity, presentation, or taste. This type of contest can help build relationships with potential shoppers by providing them with unique and creative ways to use your goods.

22. Pet Costume Contest

Especially around holidays like Halloween, running a best pet costume contest can attract a lot of attention. Pet owners love to share photos of their pets, making this a highly engaging contest.

Pet costume contest simple contest idea

Participants can submit photos of their pets in costumes, and the cutest or most creative costume wins. This type of contest is great for driving social media engagement and can create a fun, festive atmosphere around your brand.

23. Digital Scavenger Hunt

Create a series of challenges that users complete online. Participants can submit photo or video proof of each completed challenge.

Digital scavenger hunt example

This type of contest is exciting and encourages continuous engagement. You can tie the challenges to your brand or products, making it a fun way for participants to interact with your business.

The winner can be the first to complete all challenges or the one who submits the most creative entries.

24. Branded Lens/AR Contests

Platforms like Snapchat now offer branded lenses and AR filters that users can play around with. For example, Oreo used these features to create “Oreoji” themed lenses, filters, and stickers.

Oreo Squish Lens


Users could use these features in their daily snaps or unlock a mountain zorbing game in which they dodge obstacles while flying down a slippery slope. As prizes, players won free packs of cookies.

This type of contest is great for connecting with a younger audience and getting their attention with something new and exciting.

25. Co-Promotion Contests

Having a co-promotion contest is an excellent way to collaborate with other businesses and reach new customers. All you need to do is team up with another brand that caters to a similar group of customers as yours does.

co promotion contest

Then, decide on the type of contest, get creative with the prize package they’ll appreciate, and promote it on all your social channels. Boldly collaborating in this way can significantly expand your reach and introduce your brand to new, engaged audiences.

26. Cause-Driven Contests

People are motivated by purpose, which is why we see so many personal accounts on social media choosing a charity for birthday donations.

Charity contest

Generate goodwill from your followers by giving away supplies or funds to a charity that your audience supports. This not only helps a good cause but also enhances your brand’s image and attracts participants who value social responsibility.

27. Milestone and Event-Based Contests

Contests that focus on major life milestones and events can resonate deeply with your audience. For instance, running a graduation-themed contest where participants share their favorite graduation memories or a wedding-themed contest where couples share their engagement stories can be highly engaging.

Graduation milestone contest

Similarly, back-to-school contests where families showcase their school setups or outfits can draw significant participation. These contests celebrate important events in your audience’s lives, fostering a stronger connection with your brand.

How to Execute and Promote Your Contests

If you need more ideas to help make your contest a success, check out these helpful tips:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your contest. This clarity will help you evaluate the success of your contest. Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) like the number of participants, likes, shares, and website click-throughs​​.
  2. Choose a prize that your target audience will want. This is probably the most important factor, as it will determine whether or not people are interested in participating in your contest. If you’re not sure what to choose, consider doing some research to find out what your audience is interested in. You can also use a survey tool to get feedback from your audience directly.
  3. Choose the Right Platform: Depending on the contest type, select the most suitable social media platforms. For instance, image-heavy contests may perform better on Instagram. Running your contest on multiple channels can increase exposure but also adds tracking complexities​​.
  4. Make it easy to enter. The easier it is to enter your contest, the more people will do it. So avoid asking for too much information or requiring people to complete a lot of steps.
  5. Promote your contest. Once you’ve created your contest, you need to let people know about it. Promote your contest on your website, social media channels, and email list. You can also reach out to other bloggers and websites in your industry to see if they would be interested in promoting your campaign.
  6. Choose a winner fairly and announce the winner promptly. Once your contest has ended, you need to choose a winner fairly and announce the winner promptly. This will help to build trust with your audience and encourage them to participate in future contests.

There you have it!

We hope this article helped you find some simple contest ideas to inspire your next giveaway and promote your business.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for more great tips and tutorials.

author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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