Competitions from Both Sides of the Fence
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Written by Tracey from WowThankYou
Best Cuppa In Town
Best Cuppa In Town
Can you remember where you were on Thursday 15 June 2006? I can. At approximately 12:20 I was getting ready to drive to an acupuncture appointment in mid-Wales, about a 40 minute car ride from my home on the coast in West Wales. The phone rang – I didn’t really want to take it as I didn’t want to be late – but I’m SO glad that I did. It was the Daily Express calling to inform me that I’d won a £30,000 convertible car … wow! I had entered the competition the previous weekend by text, having seen it while visiting my parents. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my first child at the time, and I had been an avid ‘comper’ for about two years. It was the pinnacle win of my hobby, and alas my commitment to it fell along the wayside when my daughter was born and I ran out of spare time!
The hobby of competitions becomes addictive. I remember entering 200 postcard competitions in a single evening (golly, think of the cost of doing that now!) – and when I posted them all, I felt a huge wave of achievement … and the excitement and anticipation kicked in that I could be sent a winning letter with some wonderful goodies. Over the two years I won more than a car – prizes ranged from a £1200 Currys voucher, 2 x coffee machines, a crate of wine, a range oven, a weekend at Gleneagles in Scotland, a toaster, kettle, Kenwood food mixer, a camera, a camcorder, lots of baby goodies, hair care items (brushes, shampoo, straighteners) … I loved awaiting the postman each day!
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, I wanted to explain what it’s like when you spot a competition on a website or in a magazine, when you are a comper … I’ve lost count of the number of competitions I’ve ripped out of magazines at the hairdressers, or items I’ve needed to buy in order to enter a prize draw – as I said, it’s an addictive pastime, and you want to enter everything you can find. My hobby introduced me to brands I’d never heard of before, took me to websites I’d never visited before, read product descriptions in order to answer a question … and I was never alone in doing this…
A typical competition on the internet gets over 6,000 entries. 6,000 people who, like me, want to win the item on offer. And if we need to find an answer before we can enter, we look for it – carefully, in order to ensure it is correct. There are thousands of people in the UK scanning websites every day looking for competitions to enter – and there are online competition portals and forums that pretty much tell you where to go. OK, people may not hang around on the site for very long post-entering, as when you’re in the ‘competition zone’ you are pretty much looking to enter as many as you can in the time available. But you do get to know these websites and you remember them and revisit them when you need to purchase something specific.
I remember being introduced to the website Firebox.com this way – I visited their site every month to enter their competitions – and that following Christmas I purchased some presents from them and have done ever since.
As I mentioned, since the birth of Millie-Mae and then Toby I’ve not been as active a comper as I’d like to be. And now the children are in school and nursery I am looking to free up a few hours here and there to get into it again … but for now I’m putting my experience to good use on the flipside of the coin…
I believe I have good knowledge of how a comper ‘works’, and I use this information on WowThankYou by regularly offering competition prizes. I also list the competitions on the competition forums I mentioned earlier – I WANT compers to flock to the page to enter because I know that this is a sure-fire way of introducing them to the WowThankYou brand, and they WILL come back and purchase from us at some point. We average between 2,000 and 2,500 entries per competition over the month that it runs. The numbers are slowly climbing, which I put down to persistence and continuity - When you place an order on the WowThankYou website during the checkout process you are asked where you heard of us and we’re starting to see ‘entering a competition’ given as their answer.
With our competitions, you need to answer a question that is hidden somewhere within the seller’s store (who has donated the prize). I make sure it isn’t too easy as I want them to really see the items they are looking at. We can attribute a huge rise in sales to some sellers who have either currently or previously offered a prize – and this prize could cost as little as £8-10. There’s not many opportunities where this amount of money will get you 2,500-3,000 visitors …
And that’s the joy of competitions – compers don’t care what the value of the prize is as they enter everything, because they know there’s a higher chance that they’ll win the ‘smaller’ items rather than the cars, campervans, exotic holidays etc. To a comper, a win is a win, it’s as simple as that.
But yes I know what you’re thinking – “why encourage these people to enter?” Simple answer – because they are also online shoppers! Trust me – as a comper online, you are pretty nifty with a computer as you spend so much time on one entering prize draws, and quite honestly you simply don’t have time to go out shopping so buy online instead. It’s a winning formula, it really is.
So if you are looking for ways to get noticed, think about offering a competition prize on your blog, FB or twitter page. Don’t just run the one – when it ends, start another … keep doing it and people will slowly start to remember you and your brand. And then when they need to buy something, they’ll return not as a comper but as a customer, which is what we all want to see!