Small Business Ideas

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“Hot Wild Girls” got my vote!

by Emily O'Shaughnessy

I’ve heard a lot of hype about the Doritos “Crash The Super Bowl” contest again this year. In fact, although I rarely vote for anything – not even American Idol contestants – I’ve gone back daily to vote for my top pick, “Hot Wild Girls.” http://www.crashthesuperbowl.com/#/?finalist=14867

Don’t judge before you watch, the spot is fresh and clever and timely. Perhaps I’m biased because the artists went to Colorado State (my alma mater), or maybe because I recently got the iPhone4s and have already experienced a few, uh, misunderstandings with that pesky Siri as well.

Anyway the contest, launched in 2007, is a successful example of a consumer contest that works. Visiting the site daily got me thinking about contests in general, at both large and small levels. Specifically, do they work? We get that question a lot from small businesses – lately geared toward Facebook or Twitter contests – and the answer is the same boring and predictable answer as most marketing question: Sometimes.

Helpful, yes?

But like any type or promotion or campaign, there is a right way to go about it and a wrong way. If well-planned and executed correctly it can be a great marketing tool. If not it can be a colossal flop and waste of time and resources.

So where to start? It shouldn’t be a shock that the first step is to define your objectives. I’m baffled by the number of businesses that skip this step because they’re in a hurry to start giving away free iPad2’s to anyone. No doubt they heard somewhere that was the cool thing to do. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying an iPad2 isn’t a good giveaway. Actually that’s a pretty cool prize and I’d like one myself. But there are a few steps you should take first to ensure you maximize your resources.

First off, what are you trying to do with this contest anyway? Is your goal to increase your number of Facebook fans? Or increase the amount of foot traffic in your retail location? Increase visits to your website? Promote a specific new product? Is it to reward current customers for their loyalty, bring in new referrals or reach an entirely new customer base? Each of these objectives is worthy, but your campaign can’t be a one-size-fits all. Your approach to a customer appreciation contest would likely look much different than one geared toward reaching new prospects.

Once you define the objective it gets easier to define the target customer then plan and execute a contest strategy. But if you skip the first step you could find yourself wasting resources, spending time and money on a contest that doesn’t bring in the desired results.

Really it’s amazing how stopping to think can do wonders, and it’s good reminder. Although you may be using social media as a new tool to promote your business the old basics still hold true: define your goals and your target audience before starting any new campaign. It’s worth the time and effort.

By the way, it could be a coincidence but last time I was at the grocery store I threw a bag of Doritos into my cart. Guess now I’ll just sit back, eat my Doritos and watch the Super Bowl.

 

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