Contests. Giveaways. Prize draws.
Not very B2B, are they? Well, that’s where we (and the evidence) disagree! Competitions are often misunderstood as being B2C territory, but when approached strategically, are a powerful tool to have in your B2B marketing arsenal. They create an enviable buzz, spread joy, and give analytics a boost. And when planned and executed to perfection, come with a bevvy of commercial benefits. B2B competitions can:
- Generate leads with relevant business concerns and buying intentions.
- Open up conversations that feel fresh and opportune.
- Boost positive associations and reignite brand relationships.
- Improve brand recall and recognition – we always remember that warm fuzzy feeling!
- Gain insights about your audience, especially those that do not usually engage with pure sales campaigns.
- Grow your audience through social follows and list subscriptions.
How to get commercial benefits from B2B competitions
The speed by which B2B competitions can deliver a high volume of results more than justifies the upfront investment in prizes, entry mechanisms and campaign automation (which is absolutely essential!). However, to ensure that your commercial contest yields the desired quantity of intentional, quality business leads, you need to follow these four principles.
- Have a buyer-focused prize.
Your prizes must be relevant to the product or service your business provides, while still having an irresistible pull. This is made easier by leading with a campaign platform – i.e., productivity, peace of mind or revitalisation – that resonates on commercial and personal levels. Designing an entrant journey that incorporates content assets (see point 2) helps steer toward a business conversation.
Also, make sure to balance value with volume. For example, if you have a single but high-value prize up for grabs, potential entrants may be deterred by the assumption they don’t have a chance of winning. Offering multiple chances to win incentivises entrants, but by being too generous you could devalue your proposition. The balance struck will be relative to your campaign goals.
- Map an entrant journey.
B2B competitions are a brilliant springboard for opening business conversations. However, a prize alone will rarely convert a prospect to a customer, at least not in the short term. Design an entrant journey that incorporates free, supporting thought leadership and product-relevant content assets delivered via automated email workflows to nurture those leads. You essentially want to bottle an entrant’s enthusiasm and use it to fuel momentum in your sales funnel. Strategic, timely content helps you achieve this.
Entrant journeys should also consider website optimisation. When a prospect has landed on a campaign page and entered a prize draw, what do you want them to do next? How does your website design and CRO make it appealing and easy for an entrant to, for example, check out a product page, download extra content or follow your social media?
- Implement tools that help manage your funnel.
As with any marketing campaign, you want to focus your nurturing efforts on the entrants most likely to convert to qualified sales leads. Competitions often result in a large number of leads, with wildly varied intentions. So, utilising marketing automation workflows linked to campaign interactions will help you to 1) manage a sizeable audience and 2) provide agile, tailored follow-ups based on any numbers of scenarios.
- Integrate secondary commercial CTA into your proposition.
Use a secondary call to action with a stronger commercial angle, such as a webinar or a whitepaper download. Competition entrants most interested in your product or service offering will engage with this too, allowing you to establish “tiers” of leads by warmth and conversion potential. Just make sure your secondary CTA is clear, punchy, and valuable so that it works to provide insight and not confuse prospects.
Which types of B2B competitions work best?
Here are just three of the competition mechanisms that tick all of those B2B competition commercial objectives.
The Tag and Follow mechanism.
For B2B brands whose prospects are influenced by social media content (for example, restaurant décor retailers selling to venue owners and interior designers), the classic tag and follow is a fantastic mechanism for creating conversation and reaching new audiences. We like to combine this with a winner announcement milestone (i.e., when 500 followers are reached) to encourage entrant hang-on.
The Daily Draw mechanism
An excellent option for email audiences, this mechanism works by unveiling new prizes, every day for a set period. Audiences are directed to a competition landing page where they can enter that day’s giveaway and see the previous day’s win. Upon entry, a free asset is unlocked and delivered via email. This mechanism is brilliant for leading up to a grand finale, such as an online event, because your audience becomes more engaged as time passes.
The Very Important Prospect mechanism
We love this mechanism for in-person and virtual events. Here, you’d offer a “golden ticket” inspired code which can be claimed against the cost of a product or service. To capture data, you’d direct a prospect to an online calculator where they can get a bespoke cost, enter their personal code and see their predicted investment in seconds. A great event ice breaker and something prospects will keep in their pocket.
Is your marketing calling out for a lead-generating, buzz-creating B2B competition? Get in touch with Workshop to arrange a free planning session. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 850 5555.