After a long winter’s break…I’m finally back with another podcast!
I was recently in Mesa, AZ visiting my family for Christmas and New Years. I had every intention of getting lots of work done over the holidays, but playing card games, basketball, and other activities with my family just seemed like more fun, so I did that instead.
I also got my yearly portion of chocolate, so I think I’m all set now!
Anyway, I’m excited to be back and have lots of great things planned for the new year; but I’ll save all that for another post.
Today, I would like to introduce you to Travis Ketchum of ContestDomination.com. I’ve known Travis for a couple of years now, and Perrin and I were able to sit down and record today’s podcast.
In this episode, Travis shares a bit about his own story and why he created Contest Domination (software that helps you run and manage successful contests online). In addition, Travis shares some really amazing success stories of clients that have used Contest Domination to grow their business.
One of those companies was able to generate over 190,000 email opt ins from just one contest!
If you have ever been curious how to run a contest to grow your business, this episode has exactly what you are looking for. I had several “ah ha” moments while interviewing Travis; and I really do plan on applying some of these techniques in my own business very shortly.
If you are interested in get a 7 day free trial for Contest Domination, you can get it here.
Podcast Interview Notes
Below you will find the questions and answers given during the podcast interview. Please be aware that this is an abbreviated summary and not a full transcript. For all the questions and answers please listen to the entire podcast.
Give us a summary of your entrepreneurial background?
Like many entrepreneurs, I was always hustling when I was younger. My first official business was when I was 18 years old, I started a computer company. I did a bunch of dropshipping on eBay, but the profit margins quickly eroded. This business fortunately earned enough to mostly pay for my college education through Washington State University.
After graduating and getting a good job, I learned that I didn’t like the corporate world after 9 months. So, I quit my job and started helping speakers and others do media buys and lead generation.
Finally, I decided I needed to build my own list and build a real business.
I learned that contests were one of the fastest ways to build an email lists. However, I found that most of the tools were not very useful for doing contest. So, I decided to hire a developer to build the first version of contest domination and that’s how the business started.
How long has contest domination been around and what kind of financial success are you having?
It will be 3 years in April. We have about 20,000 customers at varying price points. We’ve grossed about a million dollars in gross sales since inception.
Do you have any success stories from your users that you can share?
Sure, I have 2 examples I’d like to share.
When doing a competition, you need to make sure that what you offer in the contest is actually something related to your business (something that you do and sell). This is so critical because you want leads that are qualified for your products.
An example that worked really well was that one user gave away a ribbon printer. This is a very niche product. And by giving this away she got very qualified leads. If she would have given away an iPad, she would have got TONS of emails, but most of them would have been useless (not really interested in her business).
The first time she ran this contest, she got 310 leads; which doesn’t sound like a lot…but ALL of them were highly qualified leads. After giving away the ribbon printer, she followed up with all the “losers” and give a special offer for 72 hours for a discounted ribbon printer.
This follow up offer generated $6,000 in revenue to her business.
The other example is for a company called Snapshot. This is a photographer marketplace where brides to be can find wedding photographers.
They wanted to build up a massive base of photographers. They decided to give away a high end DSLR camera. But they were clever in the fact that they allowed the winner to choose which camera they wanted and asked entrants what camera they would like to win.
In addition, they asked some additional information about each entrant. This actually started a good buzz as photographers discussed which camera was best.
To improve the reach of the contest they worked with some sponsors which allowed them to link to any special offers that the sponsors had. In return, the sponsors were excited to email about and mention the contest.
As a result, this company was able to generate almost 190,000 emails opt ins and with over 55% of that coming from referrals.
They’ve repeated this process several times and built a list of 600,000 leads; all in 3 to 4 months.
Can you give us an idea of how that success compares to the more typical contest?
If you go back to the first example where they generated about 300 leads; that’s still a quantifiable ROI for their business. So, you don’t have to generate a huge amount of leads to still be successful…as long as they are the right leads.
Even a few hundred to a thousand leads you can still generate a good number of sales.
A home for entrepreneurs turned investors
A hodgepodge of investing, startup, and online business discussions
- high-value email newsletters
- tips on sites for sale
- a podcast
- networking opportunities
- with more planned for the future
Do most people use Facebook ads as part of their contest?
Lots of people do. But depending on your business, your ideal prospect may not be on Facebook.
Our average conversion rate across the board is that about half the people that see a contest will input their information.
If I decide to run a contest for Long Tail Pro; how would I go about actually launching the contest?
Contest domination hosts the contest; so the page with the contest details is on the hosted page. Optionally, you can install the same page in a Facebook tab.
You tell the system how many winners there should be and any sponsors; we handle all the rules. Once you have the page live that can accept entries; then a great way to kick it off is to email your own list.
Your own list is usually your best brand ambassadors anyway, so they are the most likely to spread the word about your contest.
An example of this is Mixergy, which gave away a lifetime access to Mixergy Premium. People starting coming out saying things like, I’ve been following Andrew on Mixergy for 5 years and if you don’t enter this competition you’re crazy.
If you have purchased something you really love, you will be excited to tell people about the contest.
How do people earn points in a contest typically?
The default rules if someone inputs their own name and email they get an entry. When they share on social networks, they don’t get additional entries until their friends click the link and input their name and email. That’s a core feature we built into the app.
Twitter and Facebook can have different results; and the app really focuses on the results.
So points are really focused on when other people enter the contest; rather than just socially sharing.
What’s a standard contest length?
Part of it comes down to, how long can you keep sending new leads through the contest. The response will go down over time. For most small businesses; 2 to 4 weeks is going to be the sweet spot.
Once the contest ends, when do you recommend launching the special offer?
I advise people to couple the special offer with the announcement of the winner. You can drive people to a page that announces the winner and then extend a special discount for people that entered the contest.
How do you think market affects contests?
Yes, I think it has to do with more the type of person and transaction that is required to make money. For example, a B2B marketplace can be a more difficult nut to crack. If you are looking for only chief marketing officers, that could be difficult.
A consumer facing product is going to be easier to do a contest.
Are there any additional benefits or features of Contest Domination that you would like to add?
One common question is whether contest domination interfaces with your auto-responder…yes, it does.
In addition, we have a fraud scoring system in place to make it very difficult for people to game the system.
The software is very simple to use and makes selecting a winner very easy. We are also very open to listening to our customers and adding new features as needed.
Any final words of wisdom? And where can people follow along with you?
People can sign up for a 7-day free trial of contest domination at: ContestDomination.com
In addition, people can download a free guide: 10 Steps to Success for Contest Marketing
For parting words, regardless of your strategy the most important thing is to just get started. It’s easy to get excited about projects and it’s so important to just take action.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.