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Table of Contents

This is the last tutorial in our 10 part series on free traffic sources, and one that you may not have thought much about. Viral contests are yet one more opportunity to get some free traffic, plus build your lead list, and likely make more sales.

Viral contests to can generate massive amounts of free traffic to your site, offers, or giveaways…I hope at the end of the tutorial you will be convinced that this is an approach that you need to at least explore further, going forward.

Note we will do a final wrap up article as well on the entire series, and in that post each of the strategies we have covered will be reiterated and links provided  to each as well.

Bottom line, if you act on one or more of the strategies we have covered over the ten posts, I guarantee you that your traffic numbers will go up . This tutorial on viral contests is no different.

This last method we are covering today is possibly one of the most exciting potential free traffic sources for me, and once you read about why I think this is the case, you may think the same.


Without further ado, let’s get started…

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Viral contests represent an opportunity to wring yet more juice out of the effort you made to provide convincing copy and your valuable offer that will draw in people to take you call to action seriously and act…

Viral contests involve a process to get that viewer to want to share what you are offering and it starts from the moment they come to your website and offer.

It involves a simple concept: In return for clicking on a social share button, letting others know what you are offering, they will be entered into the contest and have a chance to win the prize or giveaway you have offered.

The more they share the more chances they have to win the prize…This same chance to win holds true for those friends that take action of your buyer, and so the process begins…Again and again, this sharing for a chance to win takes place…Results are that you collect leads, your name and brand is spread virally, and you will get traffic…

For free…

Sound interesting? Read on to learn how to do this….

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There are several ways to approach this, and also programs that will help manage this process for you. The good ones are not free, so some investment will be required on your part. The results AFTER you get started ARE free, however.

Such campaigns can be run on a periodic basis, and as the word gets around that you actually deliver on the prize offered, you will find that many prospects are willing to move and share, in the hopes that they could win.

The prize you offer must have real value to the intended audience, it must be conducted in a manner that all participants will have an equal chance based on the number of shares they have made with their friends, and you must make sure that everyone knows who the winner is and how that winner was selected (should be random).

If you follow these basic rules you will be OK and likely will have a LOT of success with your campaigns. I want to talk about the steps involved with creating a viral contest, and then expand on a couple of programs that I have started using to show you what I mean…

To run a successful viral contest there are are series of steps to complete,  and in totem, you can have a viral contest together in under a day…

Getting started is easy…Determine the reason you want to use a viral contest is an obvious  starting point to plan and execute them…

Here are some reasons to use viral contests: 

(1) Increase Followers. They will help you to increase your social media followers on a number platforms,

(2) Increased Quality Leads. They will increase the total number of subscribers and your mailing lists, and they will generate quality leads. that are interested in what you are offering.

(3) Increased Targeted Leads. They can generate targeted quality leads. ones that show they are interested in what you are offering.

(4) Develop Multiple Lead Lists. You can develop multiple lead lists where each is targeted, depending on the action the lead takes, meaning that when you do send out offers, you will NOT send it to those leads that will not be interested…

(5) Build Your Name/Reputation. You can build your brand, trust, and authority as more and more people are exposed to your contests using the viral aspects. This is a hidden benefit, but over time can be monetized over and over again…

(6) Spend Less Money. You are tapping into the viral aspects of such contests to get your offer out at little to no cost to your pocketbook…The cost per acquisition for leads can be reduced and over time by a significant amount. It saves you money, to put it simply.

There are likely more reasons, but I think you get the idea…There are MANY very good reasons to use viral contests!


What I will cover here are the basic generic steps to getting a contest together. Following that I will provide further information on a few great applications that I personally use (these are paid solutions) in my own online marketing program and a few other things as per below…

I will cover…

(1) Steps to include when planning your viral contest

(2) Where to place/market your contest

(3) What you need to add into your terms & conditions

(4) Applications I use for my own viral contests

Once we get through this information you will be better able to easily plan for and create functioning and quality viral contests…

Let’s get started…
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Step #1. What are your objectives…

Do a mind mapping exercise (see my training for Mind Mapping ===>HERE<===) or something similar to figure out what it is that you want to accomplish with your contest…

An example might be is if you are already having some success using Facebook paid ads (PPC) you might want to tailor the contest for that platform… Maybe as a second thing you want to do is increase your subscriber list as you conduct the contest…

Other things that would be enhanced using a viral contest for your online marketing program could be the trust, credibility, your name and brand recognition, shoulder sales (i.e. they are attracted to your site and may buy other products or services you offer, etc.

Once you have your main goal and secondary/ancillary goals you can start getting creative to develop a concept on how to proceed  so you know that everything you develop for the contest will be oriented to address these goals…



Step #2 . Develop Your Message

It will be important to have a very clear idea of the message that you will send and will be consistently found throughout the contest contents…This includes even the prize – you want to make sure that it all flows seamlessly and is congruent to your concept.

Keep that central message short…One sentence maximum. Once you have that, you can then build out your headlines, pages, tweets, posts, ads, meta data for pages, and all the other page copies needed for the contest.



Step #3. Determine The Platform

Once you’ve determined the main objective for your viral contest it’s time to think about what the best platform and way to achieve your goals might be…

There are several platforms you can use. The elephant in the room is Facebook, but others such as Instagram, Twitter, etc. could also be options for you. You may want to use one or more to get the maximum kick from the contest.

Third party apps will help you have a solid backbone/infrastructure  for your contests, and I mention a few options below. There are more, of course, I recommend doing some research on the options and selecting the ones that you feel comfortable with. like

In addition to the ones I expand on below, there is also Wildfire, Strutta, or Binkd. There are other tools available to help integrate your contest into your site – ones such as ContestDomination, ViralSweep, orRafflecopter..

If you would rather use your own resources, you can develop your own landing pages, thank you pages, and etc. This will save you money, but not necessarily time…

More than likely, as you develop your contest you will find that you want to use a combination of the tools and apps that are available to create your own unique look and feel contest that will have the kick to help it go viral.



Step #4. The Prize – What Is Your Value/Cost Ratio

This is important, Whatever you decide to give away as a prize, it has to have value to the potential participant. Something that they would be willing to pay for out of their own pocket is an ideal prize.

If you are doing a giveaway, and it represents a cost to your business, it is important that the cost of your giveaway is of a lesser cost than the value provided by the success of the contest.

Another point to planning your giveaway item is that the prize should fall within your budget…

If you provide something that is going to be a huge out of pocket expense, and you do not yet know what your payback is going to be, you are at risk for failure, as you will spend too much for the leads you receive from the contest.

Try to make your giveaway a lesser cost than the value you expect to achieve with a successful contest. I highly recommend this , especially when you are starting out…

As you do more contests, you will see what works and doesn’t work, and you can refine your efforts and scale up the giveaway and the reach/success of the contests…

There is not a single answer for this , but especially when starting out it is always best to use reasonably priced giveaway products, services, or better yet, try to get some sponsored giveaways.



Step #5. What Kind Of Contest To Develop/Use

There are limitless options for the kind of contest  you put together, but all should have the following considerations addressed:

  • Any contest must be relevant to your target market and the specific audience you are targeting in that market.
  • Keep it simple…Remember we mentioned a single sentence message that will permeate throughout your contest from start to finish.
  • You have to capture, engage, and make it simple to participate, and simple to share with others. Think funny, informative, exciting, trivia, etc.
  • Keep the total steps down, no more than 5, less is better…
  • Make sure the audience can easily understand WHAT the contest involves, WHY they may want to enter, and clearly HOW they can participate/increase their chances at winning…
  • Establish a deadline and clearly state how the prize will be awarded and where participants can go to see who won after the deadline is reached for ending the contest.



Step #6. Develop A “Plant” List

Look at the options for where to market your contest, and then you can develop the pages, bullets, graphics, videos, and layouts for the contest. This is key because it will save you time later making editing changes…

Once you have this list, annotate the requirements that you will have to comply with to have the contest posted and run smoothly on the list of platforms. Examples might be Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

It is likely that you will need multiple variations of the contest build out depending on your platform or your partnerships or if you may be targeting different visitors from different sites or platforms.



Step #7. Secondary “Plant ” Lists

You have already determined on the platforms you will use, but their are other locations you can also include for getting the word about your contest out to the target market and audience.   Seeding your contest depends greatly on your target market, and the destinations they hang out on the web.

Where do they hang out, what kind of communities are they found in, and how can you get your contest added/shared on these sites?

If you can get others to share information on your contest your reach can be a lot further than you going it alone. Community sites can provide the opportunity to have your contest introduced to many other formal and informal networks you otherwise would not have access to.

For both of these planting lists I recommend developing a spreadsheet so you can add all the details from each source, and any special requirements they may have .

This way you have all the important and main info at your fingertips as you build out the contest. You can also add in tracking information, success rates, test results, etc.  It can be your smart book…You will see at a glance what each planting source or site is doing for you…

This smart book can help you also adjust the follow-on contest campaigns you may develop in the future. Depending on the capabilities of the app and platforms you deci