Starting an eCommerce business can take time.
You have to get a product idea, validate it, make a website, test the website and then you can think of launching it.
It consumes both time and money, and what’s even more terrible is when no one comes to it and you have zero revenue.
If you are on the same road or if you want to start an eCommerce website and are scared of this, don’t worry.
Today, I’ll tell you, “The Social Contest Technique”.
With this technique you can make your eCommerce store popular very quickly. And by popular I mean well over 200 people will be knowing your business and you’ll also get your first few orders.
If you already have an eCommerce website, this technique will be helpful to you in taking your business to the next level and getting more customers.
The best part about this technique is it’s fun to implement.
Case Study: How “The Printing Shop” got popular on Twitter
The Printing Shop is an Indian eCommerce business which sells personalized products. Most of their revenue comes from Google ads & Google organic search. They also get customers from Facebook but they used to get nothing from Twitter.
They wanted to get customers from Twitter; the problem was they only had 24 followers, no traffic and no sales.
Here is what they did…
They hosted a Twitter contest. Even though they had a very small following, the contest was a success.
Within 7 days they got thousands of tweets, more than 250 new followers, hundreds of visitors to their website and new customers.
They used, “The Social Contest Technique”. Now let me explain this technique so that you can get the same (or better) results for your business.
The Social Contest Technique
The Social Contest Technique is made up of 5 steps.
Step 1: Think of the contest theme & it’s prize
Step 2: Build questions and other stuff
Step 3: Build an audience for your contest
Step 4: Start the contest
Step 5: End the contest
So, let’s discuss each step in detail. Make sure to read this post till the end to get a special checklist which will help you implement this technique step by step.
Step 1 : Think of the contest & it’s prize
The very first thing you need to do is think of a contest theme and it’s prize.
The Contest Theme
In the case of The Printing Shop, the occasion was Diwali (the most popular festival in India). Because it is a popular festival, almost everyone does a lot of shopping, just as people do at Christmas in western countries.
So, they built a contest around that theme. They sell personalized products and the theme was the Diwali festival, so they named their contest hashtag #PersonalizedDiwali.
The contest hashtag is used by all the contestants and the host. This makes it easier to manage all the tweets in one place. So, make sure you choose a hashtag for your contest.
Pro Tip #1 : Choose a hashtag that is unique, or else you will also see tweets from people who are not in the contest.
Pro Tip #2 : Try to make your hashtag branded so that people remember your brand. In the case of The Printing Shop, they wanted to make people remember that they are a brand that sells personalized products & the festival was diwali. So, they mixed both things to make it #PersonalizedDiwali.
After thinking about the contest theme, you need to think about a prize you will give to your winner/winners.
In The Printing Shop example, they gave away vouchers to their winners. The goal is to make the winners your customers. You can give them something for free and when they love it, they’ll order it again (or something else form you).
Pro Tip: If you decide to select multiple winners, you can announce the total worth of vouchers you’ll be giving away. This will make your prize look worth more money. For example, if you will give a $20 voucher to each winner and you select 10 winners, you can say, “Vouchers worth $200 to be won!” and so on.
Associate your contest with a sale
Don’t just start a contest and expect big results. Make sure your contest belongs to a sale or an offer on your website.
For the The Printing Shop, the contest was called Personalized Diwali Contest and they had Personalized Diwali Sale on their website.
On the contest day, they redirected all the twitter users to their landing page which had the Personalized Diwali Sale going on.
So, if your contest is #MyCoolContest make sure you have a sale called My Cool Sale. But don’t tell people about the sale, just tell them about the contest. The sale is supposed to be told on the contest day or the day before the contest so suspense is built.
Step 2 : Build the landing page, questions, rules and mid-promo
Your contest must have very simple questions that are easy to answer for anyone in your audience. Your questions should be focused on your brand and the sale your contest is associated to. By asking questions you actually want your audience to learn about your brand and your sale.
Also, you need to always give a link with each tweet. This link will take your contestants to your landing page. So, make sure your landing page is clear and answers every question.
Your contest must not have many questions. About 5 questions is enough.
The Printing Shop had 6 questions and here are a few of them –
- What is the shipping cost at The Printing Shop?
- How fast do we dispatch most of our products?
- How are we different from other personalized gifting websites?
(Note : Read this article till the end to get a list of all the questions used by The Printing Shop, & other exclusive bonuses)
The Landing Page
The landing page should be simple, self explanatory and tell your contestants the answers to every question that you ask. You need to get all your contestants to this page to get hints to your questions.
Here is how the landing page for The Printing Shop looked;
See how simple the landing page is.
Your contest must have a few rules and terms and conditions.
The Printing Shop had 5 rules and a few Terms & Conditions. The rules were;
- Follow @printingshop_in to be eligible to win
- Use #PersonalizedDiwali in all your tweets to be eligible to win
- Retweet all the tweets of #PersonalizedDiwali to be eligible to win
- Tag your friends and invite them to play
- Check out our #PersonalizedDiwali #Sale here : [link] & spread the word
You can copy these rules for your contest if you want. Make sure your rules are simple as these are.
Mid-promos are tweets that you will do in between two questions. These tweets will be focused on promoting your brand and sale.
Here is how The Printing Shop did mid promos in between the first two questions –
I’ll share all the questions and mid-promos which were used by The Printing Shop in the bonus sections which is at the end of this post. So, make sure to read this post till the end.
Step 3 : Build an audience for your contest
You need to start building your audience a week before you start the contest. Don’t give more or less than this time because the goal is to build anticipation with your audience.
If you give too much time gap after building anticipation, your audience will lose interest and no one will join you on the day of the contest.
Promote Your Contest
Start announcing the contest by simply tweeting it on your account.
For an example, let’s say that the contest you are hosting is called #MyCoolContest and you’ll be giving away total vouchers worth $200 to winners, you can tweet something like;
“#MyCoolContest is on this Sunday. Vouchers worth $200 to be won.”
But, announcing a contest to an empty Twitter profile is just like screaming in an empty room. If the room is empty, no matter how many times you tell people about your contest and no matter how appealing your offers are, no one will join you.
So, how do you approach the right people? How did The Printing Shop do it even when they had 24 Twitter followers?
The trick is to use the hashtags that all the contest addicts are using and approach all the twitter profiles that promote contests.
Here is how The Printing Shop did it;
They used the popular hashtags that are used by contest addicts. You can use these contests too.
Hashtags Used: #Contest #ContestAlert
The tweet reached all the people who were on the hashtag page at that time and they got 6 retweets and 4 likes within a few minutes of posting the tweet.
That is not it, they also approached many accounts which promote Twitter Contests;
I’ll share a list of 20+ Twitter profiles that promote contests in the bonus section which is at the end of this post.
Do a mini giveaway
Another good strategy to attract more people is to do a giveaway, “right here, right now”.
Keep in mind that the giveaway should be short, instant and should not claim a huge prize because it is just to attract people to the main contest. It should be an entry level giveaway.
Here is how The Printing Shop did its mini giveaway;
I would recommend doing the same giveaway to you as well.
Because this kind of giveaway is something that anyone can participate in (they just need to RT) and this will help you build an audience really fast.
You can extend your giveaway if you do not reach the target. Here is how The Printing Shop did it;
If you still don’t reach your goal, you need to stop the giveaway because extending it again and again will be kind of bad and reduce your brand’s value.
Here is how to stop the giveaway if you do not reach your target;
The tweet tells people that the giveaway is expired and gives them a call to action, and asks them to join you on Sunday to win a bigger prize.
Here is what you can do if you reach your target;
“We are so happy that we have reached 150 followers today!
The winner for the giveaway is – @winner
Send us a DM to claim your prize. ”
“If you didn’t win the giveaway. Don’t worry
#MyCoolContest is on Sunday. Vouchers worth $200 to be won.
Remember the main idea of this giveaway was to attract more people and tell them about your contest.
Even after the giveaway you need to keep promoting your main contest. Keep tweeting about your contest with hashtags and keep approaching twitter accounts which promote contests.
You need to do it for whole week.
Day before the contest
On the day before the contest, you need to announce your sale. But don’t make your sale the #1 thing for your audience. Just do a 1-2 tweets about the sale.
Here is how The Printing Shop announced its sale;
They just did a light promotion by combining the sale with the contest.
Step 4 : Start the contest
Finally, it’s time for the contest which is much awaited by your audience.
Before starting the contest
The first thing you need to do on the contest day is announce the exact timing of the contest and make sure to announce it more than once, so that it reaches all your audience and they are there on time.
Make sure you wake up early that day to make the announcement. Announce the timing 3-4 times before starting the contest.
Pro Tip: You can approach the twitter accounts that promote contests and request them to give you another shout out. This time tell them the exact timing you are going to start the contest.
Make them unlock the contest
Don’t just start throwing questions and rules at your audience randomly. Tell them to unlock everything. This will do two things;
- Get you a lot more exposure
- Make your audience ready and will let them know that the contest is starting
Make a buzz throughout the contest
You have done a lot of work to build your audience. You spent an entire week doing so. Now, you don’t want to make it just a half an hour occasion. Make sure your contest is going on for 3-5 hours. This will help your audience remember your brand and will build stronger connections.
Have a good long gap between two tweets after your contest is started. Here is how much gap The Printing Shop had between two tweets;
Time gap between two tweets with rules: 5-7 minutes
Time gap between two tweets with questions: 45 – 60 minutes
Mid promotions go between two questions. So, they need to be posted 20-30 minutes after posting a question. The purpose of the mid promotion is to promote your brand and get your audience involved.
Also, avoid interacting with your audience a lot. You don’t want your twitter profile to be full of useless @mention messages when you have hundreds of eyeballs on it. If you just post stuff that is relevant to everyone else many people might lose interest and leave.
What to expect on contest day
On the contest day you’ll be seeing a lot of your traffic coming in from twitter. You can expect uses anywhere from 20-100+ at a given time.
Also, you’ll be having hundreds of notifications on your twitter profile and thousands of tweets on your hashtag.
So yeah, the contest day will be a fun day.
Step 5 : End the contest
Don’t end the contest as soon as you have your last question. Let the contest be up until the midnight of that day.
A few hours before closing the contest remind people to invite their friends.
After the day your contest ends, announce the winners in a day or two. Don’t delay too much as this might frustrate people.
Also, let everyone know before you announce the winners.
At the time of announcing winners, ask people to unlock the winners.
And finally announce the winners. Send them their prizes.
A few extra resources to help you along the way;
“The Social Contest Technique” is definitely something you should try. This will help you increase your audience for both your social profile and website. Also, you can enjoy more customers and revenue.
To help you along the way, I have prepared some bonus resources. Here is what you’ll get;
- All the questions, rules & mid-promos used by The Printing Shop (you can copy these)
- 20+ Twitter profiles that promote contests on Twitter (use these to promote your contest)
- A step-by-step checklist which will help you implement this technique
And it’s all free!
To get all the bonuses, click here.
About The Author : Chatty Sharma is an eCommerce Conversion Optimization Consultant. He has helped businesses grow their customers and revenue. If you want to work with him, click here.