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How to Run a Contest Through Your Website (In 5 Steps)

How to Run a Contest Through Your Website (In 5 Steps)

Whether you’re an established company or just starting out, there are some common challenges every business needs to tackle. These include increasing brand awareness and finding new leads. Anything you can do to build your reputation and engage with your audience is worth it for long-term gains.

Finding the right methods to achieve these goals can be challenging. However, hosting contests through your website is one option that can encourage people to engage with your brand.

In this article, we’ll discuss why you might want to run a contest using your WordPress site. We’ll also discuss how to set one up, and introduce the various WordPress contest plugins that are available. Let’s get started!

Why You Might Want to Run a Contest Through Your WordPress Site

There are a few reasons why running contests can be a smart decision for your business, including:

  • Rewards are effective for increasing brand awareness. People are not only attracted to cash prizes, but are also generally happy to compete for free products or services.
  • Contests can be fun for your users. This tends to make them less likely to come across as too pushy or overly-promotional when compared with other methods. 
  • You can collect data about participants. This information can be used to build your email subscriber list, or as marketing research for developing new products and services. 
  • Contests are a cost-effective marketing strategy. Often, the only investment on your part is the prize.

All in all, you have little to lose by giving contest marketing a try.

How to Run a Contest Through Your Website (In 5 Steps)

Although contests can be effective for promoting your brand, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for executing them. The following are a few steps you’ll need to consider when laying down the foundation of your contest.

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

The first thing you’ll want to do when embarking on a contest is ensure that you have a measurable goal that fits into your overall marketing strategy. This will determine the kind of contest you set up and your general approach.

For instance, your goal might be to build your email list. Other examples may include increasing traffic to your website, gaining more paying customers, and so on.

You’ll also want to decide what you can afford to give away as a prize or if you might need a sponsor. While you generally do not need to offer expensive items, skills-based contests should provide rewards that are worth the time spent on the task required for entry.

Step 2: Decide on a Contest Type

Next, you’ll need to decide what type of contest you want to run. There are two main categories:

  • Sweepstakes. Examples of this type of contest include giveaways and raffles. You can collect data through an entry form, but there’s no real effort required on the contestants’ part.
  • Skills-based contests. These require contestants to demonstrate some kind of talent to be considered for prizes. Participants can complete tasks such as taking or captioning photos, designing logos, solving math problems, and so on.

Note that if your goal is to attract an audience who is interested in your product or service, a sweepstakes might not be the best choice. Although the number of entrants for skills-based contests will likely be much lower, they’re more likely to include your target audience.

Step 3: Choose a Contest-Building Plugin

Next, it’s time to set up your contest. The easiest way to do so is with a dedicated plugin that can manage entries, opt-in participants to your email list, and even select your winners. Here several such tools to choose from:

  • Contests by Rewards Fuel. This is a free plugin that enables you to run contests and verify winners. It provides more than 30 entry methods that include following and tagging on Instagram, entry via Youtube or by answering questions, and more.
  • myCRED. myCred is a points management system that enables you to track and manage points, ranks, and badges. You can create and share coupon codes for your participants to use once they’ve reached a certain number of points.
  • Photo Contest WordPress Plugin. This is a more specific solution related to photography. You can host competitions and decide how winners are chosen, including by voting on or ‘liking’ photos.

These and other plugins and services can enable you to host and run contests easily.

Step 4: Create Clear Rules

You’ll want to keep your contest brief, and set its duration to between one week and one month so that your participants don’t lose interest. It’s also best to keep the entry process simple and fun.

Rules will need to be crystal clear so that it’s easy to understand how to win. For example, you might set restrictions limiting the number of entries per person, the resources that can be referenced while completing skills-based tasks, and so on.

Step 5: Promote Your Contest

Finally, you’ll want to promote your contest before and after its launch. For example, you can use blog posts to create anticipation among your users. You might also engage your followers pre-launch by asking what kinds of prizes they’d be interested in.

Additionally, you can do a broadcast through your email list after launch. If you have a larger budget, you might consider using social media ads for platforms such as Facebook or Twitter ads. However, these only tend to pay off if you’re offering a high-value prize.


Running contests through your website can be one of the most effective marketing strategies you employ. It can generate more interest and engagement around your brand, and enable you to build closer connections with existing customers.

To run a contest on your website, you’ll want to take these steps:

  1. Determine your goals.
  2. Decide on a contest type.
  3. Choose a contest-building plugin.
  4. Create clear rules.
  5. Promote your contest.

Do you have any questions about running a contest through your WordPress site? Share them with us in the comments section below!

The post How to Run a Contest Through Your Website (In 5 Steps) appeared first on Torque.

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