Using Contests To Boost Membership And Earnings

The prize (3 of 'em)After mulling it over in my head for months, we’ve finally started our first contest over at the website. We’re giving away three SanDisk 4GB flash drives as prizes and we hope to achieve (at least a little) of the following:

  • New membership
  • A lot of new (user generated) content
  • Higher premium membership retention
  • (free) Viral/Word-of-Mouth marketing

This is how the contest works:

Members create a forum post (minimum 50 words) about their favorite TV show, movie, entertainer, or band. I choose this category because we don’t get many posts in that area of the forum and we wanted to liven it up a bit. The winner(s) is the forum-post that receives the most comments. Since the person that makes the post cannot post comments themselves, they will have to rely on others to post comments for them. We’ve encouraged members to send emails to all their friends, send Myspace bulletins, and do whatever else they can to get as many people to come and comment on their post as possible.

Anyone can win the first and second place flash drives, but we also have an added “bonus” flash drive which will go only to the Premium Member with the most comments on their post (hopefully buying a little extra Premium Subscription retention).

So for an investment of about $160 we’ll hopefully get a lot of “viral” type advertising and at a minimum a few more pages of good entertainment-related content. If this first contest goes well I plan on having one or so per month – with better and better prizes each time – we’re talking iPods, Wii’s, iPhones, etc. If we do continue with monthly contests I will begin to reach out to companies (and maybe bloggers) for sponsorship, and review units, etc to give as prizes.

The contest ends January 4th, 2008. I will post an update with the results and whether it was worth it for us or if it just turned out to be a waste of time and money after we weed-out all the cheaters and figure out who the winner is.

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