We all love to play games. It’s probably our mind’s way to stay connected with the inner child we keep nurturing. But we like playing, most of us love challenges and when it comes to prizes, we’re all in!
I’ve recently had my eye caught by a contest and a nice little game that I’ve become addicted to. And I am referring to the SecondBrain contest and the Stay.com trivia game. Both had an interesting idea, different approaches and cool prizes.
Two Successful Recipes
In case you don’t remember, SecondBrain decided to reward great content added by their SecondBrainiacs. They offered a MacBook Air, game consoles and loads of other prizes. Users needed to add content of great quality, use collections to better organize it and make it all sound really, really interesting.
When they officially launched the 2.0 Beta, ten great profiles were chosen and they were brought in front of the community. SecondBrain chose 10 winners, letting the public decide what each of them should win. So they have combined the search for quality with the need of popularity and of involving the entire community.
Stay.com has a different approach. They mix beautiful travel photos with a count down timer. The show you photos of a city and you have to guess it. Then, based on your score, you get a chance to win. As they are not a community builder per se, they also award points when you send out the game to your friends.
Now, the Stay.com game is fast! It’s catchy and plain addictive. And it comes with a weeklong stay at a nice little hotel somewhere in a big city. Who wouldn’t fall for that? I know I did and kept playing each day, several times a day for about a week. I’d still play, but I forbid myself.
I do hope on July 15, when the gaming contest ends, they will release the names of every city they used. I would like to know where to plan my next trips, as the photos were truly amazing.
What Have We Learned From These Recipes?
These are quite successful contests with people letting their friends know and inviting them to join the fun. But we all came across about dull contests that no one was interested in and which failed in their mission. The aim of such a game or contest is simple: get traffic, awareness and eventually sales. So what should we do so that we don’t stray from our path to success?
1. Select the Prizes According to Your Target
The prizes of both contests make me believe SecondBrain and Stay know their audiences. SecondBrain chose a cool laptop, game consoles and some gadgets. What else would someone who’s online enough to have content spread everywhere need? Stay took what’s supposed to be common knowledge for a passionate traveler and turned it into a game. Then chose to reward it with hotel stays in touristic cities around the world. What better way to capitalize on a passion for travel and promote your great services at the same time?
2. Spread the Word
You might have the greatest contest ever, if no one knows about it, there’s no real point in trying. Start by promoting it on your website, on your corporate blog, through friends and loyal customers, send out details in your newsletters and then pitch the mainstream and social media. Mainstream can definitely help and social media can make it all go viral.
3. Find a Way to Get More People Involved
There is a limited number of winners in any contest. But you still need a lot of players and cheerers to get the best out of your contest. So get more involved through awarding points for referrals or through a voting system. One caveat however: stay away from popularity only contest. Pageants are great, but the after-feeling in most is not that nice.
4. Don’t Keep Players or the Audience in the Dark
If there are more stages to your game, let those involved know. You might not cont all the media for each step of the contest, but you can let players and those close to the competition know how things are going. Again, your blog, your site, newsletters, anything you want can broadcast your message.
In the end, like everything marketing or public relations related, nothing can guaranty a victory. You also need some luck, to a good moment (which gets extremely difficult to predict if your targeted audience is from around the world, not a specific region) and some influential evangelists. That is why you should plan and perform everything on your side as good as you can, so that the factors you can’t control play a less important role in the overall result.