Can you make real money from an online contest?
This article examines three real-world businesses who ran an online contest successfully, giving you a complete blueprint to find the same success.
I’ll break down their exact strategy as well as how much they spent, where that money went, and the sales they made from each campaign.
Bhu Foods Makes $4,628 with Protein Bars
Before I show you exactly how Bhu Foods built their successful online contest, I’ll show you the numbers:
|Total Spend – Facebook Advertising||$3,023|
|Number of Entrants||2,737|
|# of Entrants Who Used Coupon Code||178|
|New Social Media Fans||806|
|Total Direct Sales||$4,628|
The Online Contest Page:
They also used an exit-intent popup to drive their website traffic to the online giveaway:
My recommendation is to make sure you’re using an exit-intent popup exclusively. If you use an entry, timed or scroll popup, you have a chance of reducing the chance of someone buying from you. Showing your contest exclusively to people who are already leaving reduces the effect, but still drives your website traffic to your contest.
Bhu Foods set out to increase their online sales. Their brick-and-mortar sales were consistently strong, but they were struggling to get online sales off the ground.
Bhu foods gave away a 6-month supply of their organic whey protein bars – valued at $234, wholesale.
- United States
- Male and Female
- Aged 18 – 55
- Vegan recipes or
- Organic food or
- Crossfit or
- Gluten-free diet or
- Dieting or
- Vegan nutrition or
- Natural foods or
- Whole Foods market or
- Camping, triathlons, marathons, hiking, bodybuilding
Entrant Nurturing Strategy:
Wishpond’s account managers wrote a 3-email series focused around a discount code which was made exclusive to contest entrants.
The coolest thing about this online giveaway is that the merchant has run 5 campaigns almost exactly the same as their first one – giving away a 6-month supply of different products as they release them.
Once you find a campaign model where the ad campaign and design works, the page converts, and entrants can reliably be turned into customers, stick with it. You can run this type of campaign every few months (just be sure to exclude previous entrants from your target audience on Facebook).
HomeopathyStore Makes $14k During Flu Season
HomeopathyStore.com, an online provider of homeopathic remedies, ran a contest in late summer in anticipation of the upcoming flu season.
Again, let’s start out with the numbers:
|Total Spend – Facebook Advertising||$588.27|
|# of Entrants from Facebook||420|
|# of Total Entrants||482|
|Contest Page Conversion Rate||55.21%|
|# of Entrants Who Used Coupon Code||343|
|Total Direct Sales||$15,677.94|
Note: I’m saying “Total Direct Sales” in these breakdowns because determining the long-term value of an online contest can be impossible. Entrants may convert in a couple months because they first heard of your business through a contest, and brand awareness is difficult to quantify. So these breakdowns are focused on direct sales only.
The Contest Page
They also used a popup on their website to drive traffic.
Note the similarity in design. This makes it faster and cheaper for designers, and consistency in design increases conversion rates
Generate pre-orders for homeopathic flu season remedies.
1 of 3 Natural Flu Relief Kits
- Mothers between 18 and 65
- Natural Product
Entrant Nurturing Strategy:
Homeopathy Store sent two primary emails.
Their first was focused on education, and included a 10% discount code:
Once the contest was over, they also sent an email giving 20% off three products related to the contest prize.
Raw Apothecary Gets 4,888 Entrants With a Prize Worth $100
A Latin-American skincare business, Raw Apothecary’s contest success looks like this:
|Total Spend – FB/Insta Advertising||$124.23 USD ($1,359 MX)|
|# of Contest Visitors from FB/Insta||1,538|
|Cost per conversion (FB)||$.50 USD|
|# of Total Entrants||4,888|
|Contest Page Conversion Rate||71.45%|
|Conversion Rate of Entrant to Customer||81%|
|# of Entrants Who Used Coupon Code||42|
|Total Direct Sales||$1,762.23|
The Giveaway Page:
Raw Apothecary drove 1,538 contest visitors with Facebook and Instagram ads, and another 2,000 or so from this popup, shown on their website:
Raw Apothecary gave away an option to win one of three skin care packages, each valued at about $100 USD.
- FB Desktop & Mobile, Instagram
- Aged 20 – 45
- Burt’s Bees or
- Clinique or
- Neutrogena or
- The Body Shop or
- Vichy or
- Kiehl’s or
- Avene or
- La Roche-Posay or
- Nivea or
- Olay or
- Lancome or
- Cetaphil or
- Revlon or
The Entrant Nurturing Strategy
Raw Apothecary sent an automated three-email series, educating their contest entrants about their products, the benefits of natural skincare, and delivering a discount code.
Here’s what the email series looked like within Wishpond:
I hope these three case studies have shown you just how profitable an online contest can be.
And if you have any questions about these contests, or contests in general, reach out in the comment section!