Get Off The Email Subscriber Plateau
Have you hit a plateau in acquiring new email subscribers? It may be time to implement a new marketing strategy: contests. Contests are a great way to get your fans sharing content, liking your Facebook page (or wait, maybe not so fast… be sure to read the footnote to this post!), tweeting at your Twitter handle and exposing your brand name to their friends. Not to mention, if you have the right ‘carrot’ to dangle, contests are an excellent way to break through the content clutter.
Dangle a Juicy Carrot
I’m not talking Bugs Bunny here. Offer an incentive, or carrot, that will actually interest your fans and incentivize them to enter your contest. Don’t let your contest flop by offering the wrong type of carrot! For instance, running a contest with the carrot of GenCon passes to your teen-focused boutique probably won’t resonate well. Your fans already like your brand, so offer something that will drive them into the store, like a gift card or free swag.
And of course, requiring contest entrants to submit their email addresses in order to win said carrot is an ideal way to breathe life into a stagnant email subscriber list. If the carrot is juicy enough, people will have no problem forking over their direct email contact information. Just be sure to keep the prize relevant to your target audience and be sure to double opt them in to your list; otherwise, they are not going to be happy campers when they begin receiving your monthly email newsletter unless you are very targeted with your offer, double check on their permission for you to contact them again, and of course, endeavor to provide them valuable and relevant email content in the future.
Research is Key
After you’ve figured out the best carrot to offer, it’s time to research software programs that gather and transfer your contest email subscribers. Jay Baer lists several of his preferred contest software programs in his blog “13 Ingredients in the Perfect Social Media Contest,” but you should select a service based on the objectives you want to accomplish for a campaign. For me, Rafflecopter was the obvious choice for three reasons: affordability, user friendliness and most importantly, emphasis on email subscribers. (Note: Rafflecopter is compatible with Constant Contact, AWeber, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Campaign Monitor, iContact, Mad Mimi, Mailjet and GetResponse.)
Get your ‘Copter Going
If you decide on using Rafflecopter, the hardest part of getting started is selecting a plan that best suits you. After getting your account started, Rafflecopter makes it easy as pie to get your campaign off the ground. After creating your new giveaway and sharing what your carrot will be, you can then select what participants will be required to do to enter. If email subscribers are indeed an objective you are after, select the option that says “Subscribing to a Mailing List.” There are numerous other options, however, including tweeting something, pinning an image and even commenting on a blog post.
Next, create a name of the specific mailing list you’ll be storing contestants under and select your preferred e-mail service. There are different steps for required for the different email services offered, but rest assured Rafflecopter will automatically sync all of the entries into your new list. Most importantly, check the box that says “This option is mandatory.” Users will not be able to proceed without providing the most important information you want from them: their e-mail addresses.
And the rest, is up to you! To finish, set any additional contests requirements, along with your start and end date, and you are ready to install on your page. Ahhh, but if you are setting up your contest after November 5, 2014, one of these optional requirements for contest entrants will no longer be available.
Facebook Soon to Ban “Like Gating” on Contests
In the graphic above showing the different contest requirements, you’ll see brands are currently allowed to require a user to Like their Facebook page in order to enter a contest. Yet, according to an August 7th post on the Facebook Developer Blog, this opportunity is about to go away. The announcement tells us that, as of November 5, 2014, what is commonly known as “Like Gating” will no longer be allowed on the social network. It’s a long post, and you have to hunt to find this particular paragraph, so allow me to direct your attention (it is listed under Changes to Platform Policy):
You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.
To be honest, this news doesn’t upset those of us at StrataBlue. Having run numerous Facebook contests for our clients over the years, we’ve learned that requiring someone to Like a Facebook page in order to enter a contest is a tactic that can often backfire. You know why? Because as soon as the contest is over, the overwhelming majority of those who Liked your page to enter either un-Like the page, or simply ignore the brand in their feed from that point forward. These fans are not engaged, and in fact, you can leave a bad taste in an otherwise potential customer’s mouth if they end up feeling duped or tricked into Liking your brand. They become turned off by what you are selling, especially if that initial carrot stood on its own.
And the good news is, as the title of this post suggests, there can be real value in bringing these prospects onto an email subscriber list… Just make sure the content you choose to share with them there is valuable and relevant, or just like the Facebook backfiring mentioned above, you can get a lot of disgruntled contest entrants unsubscribing, marking your email as Spam or simply ignoring your messages altogether. To prevent this, it’s wise to keep your initial contest carrot relevant to your target audience.
Do you have any thoughts around Facebook’s upcoming ban on Like gating for contests? Or do you have any clever contest ideas you’d like to share? Comment below or start a conversation with me on Twitter at @whatupTUT.