Contests to Engage Your Community During Christmas

by | 7 Nov, 2023 | CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

The notion of community is essential for brands and retailers. It’s important to know, analyze, understand, and segment in order to create and evolve a long-term relationship. Without this valuable information, it will be difficult to effectively engage your community. The second point that also requires regular work is interactions. You need to entertain them, never bore them, be relevant, and above all, evoke emotions – a crucial element in a strong relationship.

Today, many strategies and multiple tools exist to achieve this. However, one tool stands out and proves to be particularly relevant at Christmas: contests. They are highly appreciated by a large number of consumers without being perceived as too intrusive and promotional like some other tools. They tap into an important code that characterizes the holiday season: gifts, and undoubtedly create excitement within the community.

Consider Your Objectives Before Launching a Contest

Contests are a great way to engage and strengthen your community, especially during the Christmas season. However, before diving into this marketing strategy, it’s essential to clarify your expected objectives. Depending on the objectives set, the communication, prizes, and even the type of contest will vary.

The primary objective that comes to mind is, of course, customer loyalty and engagement. Through various channels: websites, social media, mobile apps, brands may want to launch interactive content to encourage the community to interact with them.

On the other hand, brands may want to expand their communities and can take advantage of the holiday season to collect new contacts. Through well-crafted forms and mechanics, it can be easy to acquire the contact information of new prospects who will need to be engaged later.

Some brands may prefer to enhance their digital presence and start the next year on a new momentum. Some contests have a well-thought-out viral mechanism that effectively increases their community. On average, there are about 14,000 participants with an average interaction time of 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

To foster increasingly personalized and high-quality relationships, brands have the option to launch a contest to identify and segment their customers.

Lastly, more specific objectives can be considered, such as increasing the visibility of a specific store or a new product, collecting emails for upcoming email campaigns, and more.

Different types of marketing games based on objectives

There is a plethora of contests with significantly different mechanics. Depending on your target audience, objectives, and financial efforts, some will be favored over others. The type of game also has an impact on the message conveyed. This step is therefore crucial to the success of the operation.

For example, photo contests are excellent for gaining notoriety. The principle: the community must take a photo on a specific theme: table decoration, Christmas tree, Christmas Eve dinner, etc., and the winner(s) receive prizes. Each photo posted online as part of the game is an additional point of visibility for the brand.

To engage and retain the community throughout the holiday season, many choose to launch an advent calendar with prizes or elements to discover. This mechanic invites the brand’s customers to interact with it throughout the month of December. The brand can also opt for a simple quiz or a knowledge game to create engagement.

Drawings or instant wins are ideal for collecting new contacts. Users must fill out a form to access these contests. This allows the brand to update its database.

To promote a new range of products, a treasure hunt is particularly interesting to implement. Through a map and clues, players are led to discover product characteristics and information in an immersive and contextualized manner.

To promote a physical store, a specific system can be established. To access the online contest, users must make an in-store purchase for which they will receive an entry code.

Through all of this, it is clear that it is important to match objectives with the types of games

The prizes to win influence motivation and brand image

The chance to win prizes is the primary motivation for participating in these contests, in addition to the fun aspect. The principle is simple: the more attractive the prizes, the higher the motivation and participation rate will be. In fact, 48% of participants play solely for the prizes. Now, it’s essential to strike a balance between the available budget and the prizes to be won. You also need to think about the level of engagement required from the players. The more they have to get involved in the game, the more they will expect a substantial reward.

It’s worth noting that there are often multiple prizes to be won, but the first prize usually holds the most interest for consumers. This is the famous ‘grand prize’ that should therefore account for the majority of the gift budget to create a desire to participate.

Another factor to consider in choosing the prizes is brand image. The prizes to be won should be in line with the brand’s values and the message it wants to convey. For example, for a cosmetics brand, it’s interesting to offer products from its own ranges, or even a day dedicated to skincare, or to go a step further, a trip to a paradise destination where the winner will be pampered. The essential thing is that the consumer is not bewildered by the choice of gifts.

Finally, the target audience is the last element to consider. Depending on the target audience for the contest, the prizes can be different.

Focus on the digital gift card: the ultimate prize for contests

Among the prizes, three are particularly appreciated: high-tech products, trips, and vouchers/gift cards. For high-tech products and trips, once they are offered, it’s essentially over. But with a gift card, the brand can go further. Let me explain. The winner of a marketing game is now the holder of a gift card that can only be spent within the brand. Therefore, they will have to interact with the brand again by shopping on its website or in physical stores. From the moment the winner receives their card, the brand can continue to engage them further through specific communications and actions. Whereas with other prizes, it’s more challenging to reestablish contact afterward.

The gift card can also introduce a new mechanism for winning prizes. It’s interesting in cases where you want to increase your revenue or attract consumers to physical stores. The concept is simple. When a customer makes a purchase of a certain amount within the brand, they receive a code that allows them to play an online flash game like the wheel of fortune. The customer can then leave with a gift card of various values, ranging from 5 to over 1000€, for example.

Regarding the prizes, the brand has two choices. Either it rewards only the top winners, or it can also decide to give consolation prizes to other participants. Here, it may be relevant to offer digital gift cards instead of discount vouchers. The brand has a choice in the amount but especially in the validity date. To create short-term traffic, the brand can make its gift card valid for a shorter period. For example, if it wants to maximize traffic before the holidays, it can make the card valid only during that period.

People who come to spend the card can either buy Christmas gifts for their loved ones or treat themselves. In any case, since these will be pleasure purchases, consumers’ behavior will be different than usual. They will be more inclined to go for higher-end products and will be more likely to make impulse purchases.

Regulations and data

In recent years, regulations for contests have become more flexible. For example, it’s no longer necessary to involve a bailiff for a lottery draw, and the game rules no longer need to be deposited.

However, it’s still necessary to draft rules to have a clear understanding of all the modalities and to leave no room for doubt. The rules must be simple, clear, and easily accessible.

Contests often involve the collection of data. Since the implementation of GDPR, it’s essential to pay special attention to the data being processed, and the brand can no longer collect any desired data without a clear purpose behind it. To comply with the new regulations, it’s important to be able to easily delete data upon the request of the concerned user.

The last element to consider is the channels used. If the contest is posted on social media, for example, it’s important to inquire about the terms of use of these third-party platforms and to adhere to certain points to be in compliance.

the gift card marketing for christmas

Contests are a fantastic marketing tool to engage your community during the Christmas season. However, for it to be successful, many elements need to be considered: objectives, types of games, applicable regulations, channels used, communication, launch, and duration


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