Facebook contests can help you generate qualified leads, and if done right can be a source of business for your sales funnel. They’re also a great way to create a buzz about your products and services and encourage people to become more invested in your brand.
As with all marketing, relevance and emotion play crucial roles to your success. It’s all about qualified subscribers rather than empty leads: you’ll have to weed out everyone else and appeal only to your ideal prospect. To do that, you need to create a visually engaging campaign and offer a prize specifically relevant to your business and your target audience.
Here are 6 steps to running Facebook contests that generate qualified leads:
Map out a plan
Having a solid plan for your Facebook contest will help you follow through and stay on track. What’s the intended outcome for your contest? Do you only want to grow your mailing list, or is increasing your fan base also important? Who is your target audience and what types of prizes will appeal to them? What incentive will you provide to encourage participation? Having your goals in mind when you start your contest will keep you focused and give you the best results.
Pick something to give away
This is where you let fans know why they should enter the contest. You need an exciting prize to generate the feedback you want. Understanding both your business and your audience is the best way to pick an appropriate prize. Prizes should be both relevant to your business and exciting enough to generate interest from your fan base.
You can consider offering your service or product as the prize, but tread with caution here. If you’re an accountant, it may not be very enticing to offer a free consultation. You just won’t generate the interest you need, especially if you have a small fan page to begin with. A sporting store, on the other hand, would do well to offer fans free hiking gear. This type of prize is both relevant and exciting.
In the example of the accountant, it may be better to offer a day at a local golf club. This is a win-win. It offers something exciting and targets your ideal prospect. Remember to think about your audience first, and be creative.
What you don’t want to do is offer a generic price, like a new iPhone. This will generate the wrong type of interest and you’ll wind up with fake fans and empty leads. Keep the prize relevant to your business.
Create your ad
You can create your ad two ways. You can run a simple timeline contest by posting a status update in your news feed. This is ideal for business owners who don’t have time to create a page app or design graphics for a landing page. In this case the entry method for fans would simply be to join your email list.
You can also use a third-party app such as Wishpond or Shortstack. Apps allow you to create a landing page for your campaign, with graphics and a lead form to collect information. They also give you campaign analytics and tracking features.
If you choose to create a landing page for your campaign, here are some tips to make it visually engaging:
Feature your product and prize. This may seem like an obvious point, but one that’s easy to forget. Include images of your product or business, as well as images of the prize. Let fans see who you are and what they can win by entering. The more visual you can be, the better. If you’re offering a day of golf, show them relevant golf images. The images should be high quality so you can resize your campaign without them becoming blurry.
Place the form at the top of the page. Your entry form should be prominently placed so that fans can easily see it when they’re on your page. The form can include more or less information, the minimum being an email address.
Include a short poll. You want to provide value for your fans, but also consider what value the contest can provide to you. Consider including a few short questions in the contest entry that will give you insight into what your target audience likes. You can use the answers to segment your future marketing and to develop services and products that would interest them.
Add like and share buttons. Include steps encouraging fans to like, share, and tweet about your contest. This will bring more people to your page, increase contest entries, and increase the likes on your page.
Make the entry method easy
How do they enter your contest? What do your fans have to do? Make the entry method obvious and clear. Give them all of the information they need to make a decision.
Most contests require an email address to enter. You can also ask for contact names or other information. Depending on the entry rules, you may ask fans for some kind of submission in the form of a photo or video. Don’t forget a strong call to action, such as a “like this page” step, which will increase your fan base in addition to building your email list.
Promote your contest
Once you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll need to promote it. Post about it on your news feed. Change your cover image to match the contest visuals and use an arrow or graphic pointing fans to the contest tab. Remember to mention the contest in your blog and link to it from your website.
Use your existing email list as a platform to get the word out to your fan base. The more you get the word out, the more people you have sharing your contest with their friends. You may also want to run Facebook ads targeted to your audience in order to generate more feedback. You can set your budget with these ads, so they shouldn’t be too costly.
Pick a winner and follow up
How you follow up with your campaign is crucial to its success. Posting the winner’s profile on your fan page will provide social proof and show fans who didn’t participate that the contest was real. Use your fan page to announce your next contest or let fans know how frequently you run contests: once a month, quarterly, or twice a year. Whatever it is, let your fans know. The point here is to encourage them to stay engaged with your fan page.
Follow up with everyone who entered your contest. You’ve created a mailing list. Use it! Make every participant feel like a winner. Consider offering some kind of consolation prize, invite them to a webinar, or let them know about future events. Include a link to the winner profile to get them excited. This way you’ll gain early momentum for your next contest.
Building a strong email list is a valuable asset for the B2B sales funnel. For your email list to have high conversions, you need to weed out any prospects whose interests aren’t in alignment with yours. Make sure your campaign speaks directly to your target audience by offering prizes relevant to your business.
Don’t forget to invoke emotion in your campaign. Too often B2B marketers focus on logic and facts, and forget about emotion. You want to inspire and encourage fans to take the next step. Let them know the bottom line and what’s in it for them if they enter your contest.
Once you have their attention, keep the marketing ball rolling by engaging and interacting with them. Use polls to find out what products they like or want to see. Make it easy for participants to share the campaign with their friends. There’s a good chance that friends of friends will also be your ideal prospects.