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…
FREE TRAFFIC AND VIRAL CONTESTS
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…
Sound interesting? Read on to learn how to do this….
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…
(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…
VIRAL CONTESTS PLANNING AND CREATION STEPS
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
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 decide to use, you may also be able to get more demographics such as make.female, age, regions of the world visitors are coming from, etc.
The “Smart Book” you started grows with you, and at the end, you will fond that results are improving over time…
Step #8. Apps To Find Influencers and Organize Your Mail
If you do not have a program that helps you organize your emails and social contacts on the various platforms, now is the time to get one. There are many reasons for this outside viral contests, but having such an app will help you with contests as well…
There are many out there, and below find a short description of some you may want to consider…
App # 1. FullContact – used for Gmail
This is a plugin that can be added to Google Chrome. When activated, it allows users to discover the social profiles of a contact from the Gmail Inbox.
You can browse through the contact’s images, their Facebook posts, and their Twitter feed. This is possible without ever leaving your Inbox. Very handy at times, when you are doing research on contacts…
There is also a ‘Notes’ section included where you can add additional information. You can also sync your contacts across other devices such as mobiles using Google contacts.
If an organization is contacting you, this plugin provides you information about the company and will tell you about its company size, location, and demographics.
This is a popular plugin at the Chrome Store and will help you , but note it works only on the Google Chrome browser.
No worries, there are many more alternatives…
App # 2. Sidekick by Hotspot
This app called Sidekick is one of the best Contact discovery tools available and was developed by HubSpot. Using this you quickly can learn more about the contacting person through their social profiles., in s similar manner to FullContact…
It allows you to track sent Emails and provides you with information like when the email was seen and how many times it was viewed. This is useful to see who is opening your mail and when…
One can also view Schedule of Emails using Sidekick browser extension. As with the first app, it provides you with a user’s activity in their social media profiles, and that without having to leave the Inbox.
To use this app, you will have to create an account with Sidekick, but that is done rather quickly and you can be up and running . Note it also will allow add-ons for other sites to the app that will increase the usefulness of the tool, i.e. HubSpot, Salesforce, Apple Mail, Outlook, etc.
App # 3. Discover.ly by Salesforce
This is an app by Salesforce and it includes many features you would expect in such a tool plus helps you to view a contact’s Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Discover.ly seems to work smoothly from my experience, and the app provides more information from a person’s social profiles than some of the others. It supports only Google Chrome at the time I am writing this tutorial, I am not sure if and when this will change.
App # 4. Vibe App
This neat little app provides you with the capability to quickly gather the social history of the person you are researching for. After you register with the app, you can immediately start pulling out such information about any person just by hovering over their Email address.
As you hover over the address, you can click on the ‘Vibe app’ logo to see the results it provides. You can gather all sorts of information about a person, to include their social profile links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Contacts and it will even pull information from others sites like AngelList and CrunchBase.
Another nice feature of this tool is that it works on Google Chrome, Firefox, Mac, iOS, and Android. A multi-platform tool that saves yo from having 3-4 such apps on your systems…Worth considering for sure…
App # 5. Connect 6 by Symantic
This is a very nifty and useful tool called Connect6. It allows you to discover a contact’s profiles anywhere over across the internet, even those that are outside of Gmail.
When you use it, you can find out all kinds of information about your contacts, to include any social profiles, their ranks, and you can connect with them on LinkdIn.
This tool is one of the most popular people discovery tool, and as I write this Connect6 has a database of 600+ million social profiles. That is impressive…
You will need to register, as with many such apps, but that is a short and quick process. This app supports only Google Chrome.
App # 6. Falcon.Io
Falcon.io is a rather limited app compared to some of the others mentioned here, but it will help you extract contact’s complete profile and their Google Plus links.
The tool also provides information from across 14 different social media networks, ones like Hackernews, Tweetdeck, Twitter, Quora, Behance, etc.
Using this app is easy. You hover over a person’s social media profile or their Email address and a sidebar window will automatically pop up with the information it could find.
It does provide support for social media profiles, but as of now it supports only the Google Chrome browser…BUT it will work outside the browser as well….
App # 7. AboutNumber for Gmail
This is another useful Google Chrome plugin where you can store notes at the bottom of the page. When using it, a person’s details like job, designation, company, profile picture and social profiles appear.
To activate this app, you will need to verify your mobile number and then have to log in using your Google account. Note that it only supports Google Chrome at the moment.
OK, we have covered some real viable options for you to quickly and easily do research on contacts you may have in your email or that you find on social sites.
You may be wondering why we may need such an ability for our contests…Well hold that question, and read on…
Step #9. Find Influencers In Your Niche
In the last step, we talked about tools and apps that help you research people on the internet quickly and easily. For the purpose of viral contests, here is why having this ability is important:
In every niche and market segment, there are those that are considered influencers…Typically they will have a big social following, their social shares will have high click through rates, and they are very active and followers pay attention to them.
These are the types that you need to start communications with, build a rapport with, and eventually get their endorsement or more for your contests. These influencers can give your contests a real boost…
Over and above the tools mentioned in the last step, there are three strategies you can use additionally to find your niche influencers…
- Use other social influence metric tools
- Explore the varied social media platforms
- Use the big search engines
Three of the most used social influence metric sites are called Klout , PeerIndex , and Kred. Let’s talk briefly about each…
Site # 1. Klout
Klout is a social media influence measurement site that has been around since 2008. It gathers measurements for over 400 metrics from a contact’s activity on ten different social media sites, to include all the main ones like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress (your blog, comments on sites, etc.), and it even looks at the Klout site.
Gathering measurements from all of these sources, it then awards a score using its algorithms to provide a score for people and businesses between 1-100 (100 is the best). This is a quick and easy way to find the influencers in your niche.
What is attractive about Klout is that it specifically includes blog influence. Although it is not a requirement for viral contests, certainly this will have application in your online marketing programs.
You will need to know who the top bloggers are in your niche so you can start to connect with them. They then can help your viral contest campaigns, along with many other uses such as JVing, development of products or services, or for affiliate marketing perhaps…
Site # 2: PeerIndex
This site is very close to Klout, and measures influence based on the biggest social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,or Google +. PeerIndex measures the person or company’s social media influence using engagement levels. It uses its own algorithms to determine who is influential in the various sectors.
This nice thing about this site os that it breaks down influence by who the influencers are influencing. This is helpful if you’re targeting a specific niche in a market. The data can help you strategically connect with those top influencers who have sway with your niche readership.
The advantage that PeerIndex has us that it shows who your Influencers are influencing…
Site # 3. Kred
The third best site you can use is called Kred. This site allows you to quickly find key influencers, and using the provided information gain actionable insights for your contest, and even use it to find out intelligence on your competitors.
It measures niche influencers on a number of social sites found on the internet and does so using their proprietary algorithms to provide an influence score.
The difference you will find with Kred is that it also measures your contact’s outreach activity. The data is easy to read and understand, and lets you know how often the Influencer being examined is retweeting, replying, sharing and mentioning other people.
Of course, the most desirable influencers are those who frequently engage with others, because these are the ones that will more likely to share your contests and other content .
There are a number of other social influence metric sites you can explore – I recommend doing a Google search and see others that may meet your requirements…
There are also many ways to use these Influencers for your contests…Establish a rapport and ask them to be on a panel of judges for your contest, or ask them to retweet or mention your contest, etc.
If you can get such an Influencer in a niche to assist you, it will add a great deal of credibility to your contests. Attaching their name to your contest or them mentioning your contest adds a lot of credibility for you.
Step #10. Viral Contest Landing Pages
It is very important to create a landing page that immediately captures and holds the attention of the visitor, and one that clearly communicates what your contest is all about, and compels them to participate and share .
Focus on one message and include only one call to action on the page. Remember this is a key element that applies throughout the contest messages and pages you develop. Your central theme. eliminates any distractions from this basic message.
You may be developing different versions of the landing pages depending on where all you will plant the contest, so with each, you will keep this same focus , even if the appearance varies somewhat.
Step #11. Review Competitor’s Contest Pages
Take the time to do research to see what the competition has done and is doing. Have a look at their pages to see how they set them up, how you can use their success to develop your own unique and special pages.
Take some screenshots and compare them side by side. Use only the most effective ones you find, a little more research will tell you which ones fall into that category. There are likely some elements that they are using that you can use for your own pages.
Step #12. Setup Your Contest Landing & Other Pages
There are a number of sites and apps available to set up your pages, so rather than go through any particular one, I will say just follow the guidelines for whatever program you are using, and add in the elements that you know work, based on other’s pages you have reviewed.
Make sure that you are making your pages unique and looking sharp in such a way that they will stand out from the competition…Add in the other metric measurement tools, connect to your social sites, and check everything over once they are complete to see that they are working correctly.
Also, one important area to check is the next step…
Step #19. Add-In Contest Terms And Conditions
There are standard templates that you can find easily doing a google search, but I recommend that you have someone you trust check these for adequacy prior to using them. You do not want to break any laws with your contest
OK, this covers some of the basics for setting up contests, and using the guidelines, you will be well on your way to getting started. Next, I want to cover some of the tools software tools and apps that are available to you.
VIRAL CONTEST APPS AND TOOLS
These tools all work a bit differently, but they are seeking the same thing: They are tapping into the power of viral sharing to get you leads, targeted subscribers, and buyers. There are three I will discuss today although there are many more apps you can find with little effort.
These are the ones that I personally have purchased and use…
NOTE: Rather than add too much more here from any these tools, I would like you to read the full review using the link if you are interested. You will each provides a complete picture of how they work after you can decide if something like these tools would work for your online marketing program…
This is a tool that I wrote a review on recently and it applies some of the concepts I am talking about. You can read that review here
==> BUZZINAR REVIEW <===
The next viral app is also a good one too and is called……
This is a tool that I recently bought for my own use and I have a review on that tool as well on the site. You can read through this if you go here:
Finally, we have the last example I am adding today…
TRENDING TRAFFIC TOOL
This is yet one more tool that I recently purchased to increase traffic from viral sources. Yet again I have done a review of the tool here:
===> TRENDING TRAFFIC <===
OK, that is enough, you have seen just three of many that are out there you can use for your contests. I hope that you have an idea of what to look for when you consider adding any such tool to your arsenal of online marketing tools…
CAN YOU TAP INTO VIRAL TRAFFIC WITHOUT SUCH TOOLS
Yes, of course, you can. There are a number of simpler versions that can be put together quickly and these will work to a degree. What I am talking about though and recommend is to prepare a professional contest that will stand up to review and use by your visitors.
The whole idea is to pull in new subscribers, buyers, and future sales, so to start off doing anything less than a professional level of introduction through a poorly designed or run contest will harm you more than help you.
So do it professionally, or do not do it at all is my recommendation…
Today we covered the considerations and steps involved when creating viral contests. We also provided reviews of three such apps or tools that can be used to tap into the power of viral marketing and mentioned many other resources that you can look into to help you become a more effective marketer…
This is also the last of ten such tutorials covering diffeent ways to get more free traffic to your site. This last one is an exciting one, but if you do find it a bit overwhelming, I urger you to look at some of the other options I have provided here for you…
I will be adding in one more wrap up post on this series, where we will go over each of the ten methods we have covered, and of course link back to each tutorial so that you can get more information on the free traffic source and methodology should you need this…
Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope that this series has been helpful for you and your online marketing program…
FREE TOOL FOR YOU…
And finally, the links to the other tutorials on free traffic methods that you can use in your online marketing business…
FREE TRAFFIC SERIES LINKS TO EARLIER POSTS
Here they are…
TRAFFIC SOURCES – INTRODUCTION
===> INTRODUCTION <===
TRAFFIC SOURCES PART ONE – SOCIAL MEDIA
===> SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART TWO – PODCASTING
===> PODCASTING <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART THREE – GUEST POSTING
===> GUEST POSTING <-===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART FOUR –VIRAL REPORTS
===> VIRAL REPORTS <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART FIVE –WEBINARS, STREAMING AND VIDEO CONTENT
TRAFFIC SERIES PART SIX –FORUM AUTHORITY
===> FORUM AUTHORITY <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART SEVEN – VIRAL BLOGGING
===> VIRAL BLOGGING <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART EIGHT – YOUTUBE TRAFFIC
===> YOU TUBE TRAFFIC <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART NINE -LEAD MAGNETS
===> LEAD MAGNETS <===
TRAFFIC SERIES PART TEN – VIRAL CONTESTS
(YOU ARE HERE NOW)
This is the last tutorial in my ten part series on free traffic. In these posts I have provided MANY ideas for you to select from, and all will increase the traffic you will get. Now I’d like to ask you to provide feedback, suggestion, experiences you may have had, and whatever else is on your mind regarding free traffic below. We all learn from each other, and the idea is that we can all grow together. Thanks in advance for your cooperation!