A contest is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Readers love free bookish stuff (book, ebook or swag) so you are likely to draw the attention of a lot of readers. Hopefully a bunch of those readers have never read your books before and tada! you have extended your reach. You have a new follower, fan or reader. This is the premise behind a Blog Hop because they allow you to be among the many on a list that encourages readers to seek out other authors.
How do you run a contest?
Here's the basics.
- Criteria - Consider what you want participants to do to enter. Asking them to follow your blog, follow you on twitter or like your facebook page are pretty standard. Be sure you are getting the desired outcome. Do you want to increase twitter followers? Up your numbers on your facebook page? Get more blog followers? You can also add in a trivia question or ask them to leave a comment for an extra entry to promote dialogue with participants.
- Prizes - Choose a popular prize but also one that helps you promote yourself. Some ideas are a copy of your book, gift cards to Barnes&Noble or Amazon, gift card to your publisher's online bookstore, Starbucks gift card, and book swag.
- Rules - Determine when your contest will begin and end, and who is eligible. If you are giving away a paperback book, will you want to ship internationally? Or is this a continental US contest only? Be sure this information is clearly displayed.
- Management - Rafflecopter is an easy-to-use on-line tool for administering contests on your blog. I highly recommend you use it. You input your contest information and the program creates a custom html code for you to paste into your blog post. It will even randomly draw your winner (no more drawing clippings fom a hat!) and post that for you automatically. See my Contests & Winners tab to see what it looks like. And Rafflecopter is free so no worries about expense.
- Marketing - Promote your contest EVERYWHERE you do social marketing... your facebook page (Rafflecopter will actually allow you to embed the contest on your page), twitter, Linked In, Google+, Yahoo groups, facebook groups, etc. Create a contest logo. Have it prevalent on your blog for the entire contest time.
Now, here is an important point.
It's what you do once you get new readers to your site that is most pivotal. Your blog -even if you host guest posts and blog on other topics- should prominently display your writing as an author. Have you book covers easily visible, your buy links accessible and consider including an excerpt in the contest post.
* I always give away a copy of one of my books. In the contest post, I include either an excerpt or an out-take of the book I am giving away. Then I include a button for them to add the book to their goodreads TBR list. My books' TBR always shoot up after a contest. *
How does this help your business?
Contests bring new readers to your site and they also expand your reader base. They increase your reach as your exposure grows. For ultimate benefit, I always recommend using contest in conjunction with a Blog Hop. More on those in a future WoW post!