Horizon Featured Article

Incentivizing Customers with Bonus Entry Contests

Northsail is Here to Help You Expand Your Marketing Strategies

There's a lot of strategizing that goes into designing the marketing campaigns that your business uses.

You have to consider dozens of factors that could have an impact on the way your target market responds to your marketing materials; everything from your Email Marketing Ideas to establishing and maintaining strong Brand Loyalty needs to be taken into account.

When you're thinking about using contests and other promotions as a central part of these campaigns, you'll have to decide on the firm rules your customers will have to follow, when they participate. Offering bonus entries into these promotions are a great way to engage, excite, and incentivize customers, which leads to the foundation of stronger customer loyalty.

Northsail believes establishing trust and loyalty with customers is absolutely pinnacle to the success of your business. It's for that reason that we're always transparent with all of our clients; even going so far as to turn down projects that we don't believe we can complete to our high standards. In turn, our customers know that they can trust us to always deliver on-time, on-spec, and on-budget.

Before we can start discussing how to leverage bonus entries to your advantage, let's talk about exactly what bonus entries are.

What Are Bonus Entry Promotions?

There are two distinct types of promotions with unique entry method designs:

Single Entry Promotions - Each person may only enter the promotion a single time. In some cases, only a single person from each household may enter.

Bonus Entry Promotions - You may enter the promotion multiple times. This could be restricted by performing additional actions (typical of social media promotions), by referral, or by time frame (1 per day/week).

Bonus entries are the additional opportunities that a customer has to improve their odds of winning, by increasing the number of times their name appears in the promotion's lottery system.

How Are Bonus Entries Useful?

For contest entry promotions, bonus entries are a highly sought-after commodity amongst customers; especially when the prize is expensive, or something lavish that the customer wouldn't normally buy for themselves.

Used effectively, not only can bonus entries help further engage your customers and help you reach marketing objectives, but there are some ways that you can leverage bonus entries to create long-lasting customer loyalty, which will extend far past the point of the promotion's end.

Used frivolously, bonus entries can actually dissuade potential customers from participating in your promotions, especially if you're planning purchase promotions. It's very important to take the time to manage this type of marketing strategy tactfully.

Bonus entries can be a great way to build excitement, you just have to be careful how you manage them. Particularly for In-Store Promotions, where physical entry slips are often collected.

When you’re holding promotions of this type, it’s a good idea to empty the ballot holding areas regularly. Seeing a massive box or crate stuffed with hundreds of other entries can make two or three bonus entries feel pointless in the eyes of your customers.

Now, let's talk about some of the pros and cons of using bonus entries.

The Benefits of Bonus Entries

The greatest immediate benefits to offering bonus entries in your promotions, is that it can be a great way to create excitement, as well as customer awareness about your promotional activities and product offerings.

A well-designed bonus entry contest will create a base level of energy among customers, but if they can earn a bonus entry form to your promotion for minimal extra work, they'll be likely to want to take part as much as possible.

This is where we see the real value of bonus entries. You can use them to improve your brand's reach; exponentially in some cases.

Here are a few methods of entry you can use accomplish this:

Customer Referral

Give customers the opportunity to earn bonus entries by referring friends and family using their email addresses. This is an extremely useful method for building positive word-of-mouth around your brand and engaging with other potential customers. Plus, you'll be able to bolster your marketing email list.

Daily/Weekly Bonus Entries

Giving customers the chance to earn bonus entries by returning to your business regularly, is a fantastic way to solidify your Brand Affinity with customers. It's also a wonderful way to encourage repeat business over a short period of time.

Bonuses When Purchasing Gift Cards

For businesses that are trying to encourage people to purchase gift cards around the holiday season (another great Seasonal Promotion idea), consider offering a bonus entry with each purchase as one of the conditions of competition.

Social Media Interactions

Encouraging customers to interact with your business on any social platform in exchange for bonus entries, helps expand the customer's perception of your brand's presence within your industry. It also gives them new routes to interact with your business in the future; particularly if they've never associated your brand with that social media platform in the past.

The Downside to Bonus Entries

One of the biggest downfalls of bonus entries is that a number of social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) have added clauses into their platform policies, which don't allow you to offer bonus entries in exchange for liking pages or sharing posts.

Even with bonus entry promotions, it's still important to limit a customer's ability to enter your promotion multiple times. Giving customers the opportunity to enter your promotion an unlimited number of times, makes it possible for users to try and skew the promotion results in their favor. Marketing history is full of examples of people finding ways to exploit promotions to their advantage, like the infamous McDonald's Monopoly scandal.

It also removes some of the motivation for customers to participate, unless they want to participate excessively. They'll know that if they have 5-10 entries by the end of the promotion, and others likely have hundreds or thousands of bonus entries, their odds of winning are actually much worse than a single entry promotion. This creates unfair competition between customers, which can discourage people from participating.

Another downside to using bonus entries is that if you make the extra steps too complicated, or not relevant enough to your brand, your customers won't want to participate.

For example, if your business exists almost exclusively on Facebook and Instagram, it makes no sense for you to ask your customers to follow your Twitter account for an additional entry. They'll be able to tell very quickly that you have virtually no presence on that platform.

Asking customers to fill out a survey about your business for bonus entries is fine, but if you're only offering a single extra entry for their completion of the form, it's best to keep it short and sweet. As soon as their perceived loss of time for completing your requests exceeds the value they could gain by increasing their chances of winning, they'll lose interest in what you're offering.

Customer Engagement is the Key to Building Loyalty

We Understand the Importance of Open, Honest Client Communication

As you can see, bonus entries can be incredibly useful, if they're managed properly. However, it's absolutely imperative that you make sure the rules and guidelines for your promotion are as crystal clear as possible. You have to do your due diligence here to avoid accidentally alienating customers through frustrating miscommunications.

Northsail is committed to always providing clear, open communication with all of our clients, so that we can build positive, long-term relationships with them that last long after the end of a project.

Part of that communication involves giving clients the opportunity to test out new features, tools, and services, before they go to market. This lets our clients give us honest feedback, so that when we do launch new services, they're always on par with our high-quality standards.

With that in mind, we'd love for you to check out our newest service, 'Horizon', completely FREE. You can use Horizon to quickly and intuitively build high-performance landing pages and microsites for your business, without the need for a developer.

You can also use it to effortlessly design and incorporate Contests, Sweepstakes, and Giveaways across all of your site's pages, as well as immediately start collecting useful customer information.

All we ask is that you take a few minutes to let us know what you think, once you've had the chance to check it out. Sounds pretty great, right? There's no obligation required to register for a free trial of Horizon, so what are you waiting for?

Sign up for early access to Horizon!

We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.

Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.

Back to top