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Everyone loves a win, right? It makes you feel like a grey-tracksuited Rocky Balboa, punching the air with elation after the ascent up those steps. 

The dos and don’ts of competitions in b2b marketing

Well, too often, b2b marketers can be so focused on churning out more and more ebooks and webinars that they forget that it's not the only way to win leads. In fact, there are some things we can learn from our b2c cousins: an effective and lead-luring marketing competition can emulate some semblance of that Balboa feeling. When approached strategically, competitions in b2b marketing can generate enviable hype and turn brief engagements into lasting brand relationships. 

Why are competitions in b2b marketing effective?

Often considered a b2c play, a well-thought-out approach to b2b marketing competitions can drive brand awareness, further promote your product offering or services and dramatically grow your reach.

Plus, competitions are highly engaging. And engaged customers or prospects are invaluable assets. They represent an average 23% premium in share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer. Competitions are a breath of fresh air in a digital environment that’s saturated by brands and marketers excessively promoting themselves. Competitions provide a more creative medium to deliver an interactive and appealing experience for your audience. 

Best practices for strategic competitions in b2b marketing

Align the prize with your product 

It’s important that your prize makes sense. Think about your audience and your product offering and align the prize as much as possible. Our ‘win a painter for a week’ campaign we delivered for a commercial painting company is a good example of prize and product relevance. The competition prize was a partial repaint for 5 schools across Australia. The lucky schools got free paintwork and the commercial painting company scored customers. Mission accomplished.

This works because customer relationships with businesses are considered a two-way transactional agreement. So, your competition participant would be right in expecting a reward that’s incentivising, exciting, and relevant to their buying interests

It’s even more of an incentive to have one main, big prize supplemented by multiple smaller prizes for runner-ups. This obviously increases the chance of winning something and is much more attractive to people when deciding whether or not to participate. 

Ensure appropriate distribution

You want to be extremely present across social media channels but it’s critical that you understand the different functions of each and which suit your business. Consider the channels your customers are likely to use so you can ensure that your initial, organic reach is big enough and has yielded an intentional audience.  

In a recent competition campaign, we used UpViral to grow the social media following for a client. This tool was particularly useful because participants could get extra entries if they took certain actions like following the company's LinkedIn page, sharing posts, and so forth. This organically grew their audience and exponentially increased the campaign reach - presenting the perfect opportunity to amass a good amount of high-quality, relevant leads for a relatively low cost. Cha-ching! 

Consider your time in market

The amount of time your competition is in market requires careful thought. If you run it for too long then people become disinterested and less willing to take part, and not running it for long enough means you reduce your reach and the number of eyeballs that could potentially come across your brand. While it does depend on what type of competition you’re running, we’ve found that the tried, true and tested sweet spot is 4-6 weeks. 

In that time, you should manage the delivery of your social promotions so that you find the happy medium between distributing at a frequency to optimise awareness and overcooking your promotion activities to irritate your audience.

Nurture your entrants

Once your competition entrants have come on board it's always a good idea to reward them along the way. Update them about the competition’s progress, sending them referral links for extra entries or even generating a unique offer of urgency that makes them feel like they’ll miss out if they don’t act right away. Not only does this let you maximise what you’re getting out of your existing database, but you also extend the reach of your competition. 

And when it comes to announcing the winner - make a big deal out of it! Promote it well across social platforms and your website so people see that you’re transparent and that there was a real-life winner at the end of it all. This will encourage people to reenter the next time.   

And for those that lucked out, it’s considerate to give them a consolation prize to keep them in your customer base, such as a limited-time offer.

Make terms and conditions super clear 

Competitions require specific terms and conditions and it’s important that these are clearly stipulated because they’re legally binding. Be sure to make them uncomplicated and reader-friendly because none of your participants want to trawl through a buck load of fine print. That’s a major disincentive. 

However, you have to be scrupulous with this stuff. Make sure all the dates relating to the competition are correct and triple-check that the rules for your competition are compliant with the regulations that vary across states. You’re collecting personal information, so it’s crucial that you abide by the appropriate privacy laws and have the necessary licence to conduct your competition. 

Different social networks also have their respective rules and regulations for the type of competition you’re running. For example, a chance competition where the winner is randomly picked and a skill competition where the winner has been chosen based on a judgement of their application have completely different rules. So, do your research and due diligence. 

From heightened brand awareness to increased customer engagement to greater insight into your audience, competitions in b2b marketing offer many benefits to your brand. With the right, strategic approach, not only do lucky entrants win - but you win too! To learn more about how you can be a marketing competition machine in the b2b space, get in touch with us here.    

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Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency winning your customers' hearts and minds through inbound, brand, content, lead generation and digital strategy. Our marketing specialists achieve stellar results with the latest lead generation techniques.

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