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Contests and Giveaways?

Has anyone been successful with contests (giving away products or services to a "winner") as a means of promotion? If so, would it be better to run your own contest, or provide the prizes to a known entity (print, radio, or television - or even online) in order to maximize exposure?

I know there are laws that regulate this sort of thing, but if you're donating prizes, would those restrictions fall on the promoter or the sponsor? - by CarrieGee
I have not personally used contests as a means of promotion but I have a friend who owns a Ford dealership who does this type of thing all of the time. For him it's quite common and he's happy with the results. - by SalesGuy
It also works when you want to keep your network members to stay. A contest will be something to look forward to. When one of your members win, they will add that incentive when inviting others to join the network. In online networking, I believe this sort of promotion is also used in the form of electronic raffles. - by clarise
Thanks to you both for your replies. :)

I know that online contests provide an initial jump in website traffic, but the conversion to regular visitors is still a challenge. I'm more interested in product recognition and marketing in this case though.

SalesGuy, I'd imagine contests at a Ford dealership would be very successful! Who doesn't want to win a car?! I guess a book would be small potatoes in comparison! - by CarrieGee
I think it depends how you do it as well.
You must make sure that you reach the maximum in your market.

I know somebody who won a car by entering a competition on a slip in the supermarket.
She was the only entrant! - by Dolly
I think it depends how you do it as well.
You must make sure that you reach the maximum in your market.

I know somebody who won a car by entering a competition on a slip in the supermarket.
She was the only entrant!
One entrant? For a car? Oh my! :yi - by Jolly Roger
Yep, and she only took delivery of it a couple of weeks ago.

Very pleased she was!

I think it does show though how you have to do your marketing and be sure that your competition will be available not only to the maximum number of people, which this obviously was being in a supermarket, but that those people actually access the details. - by Dolly
Incredible! I could use a contest like that! Concerning the question, I think it could work, sure. Someone mentioned a book. If you're an author, I think that's an excellent way to have people find out about your work... have the link for entering on your website where it tells all about your books. - by destiny
I would say contests and promotions would be better aimed at keeping the customers you have rather than using as a technique for gaining new customers. I would go with free gifts or incentives instead. - by wlctrent
...would it be better to run your own contest, or provide the prizes to a known entity (print, radio, or television - or even online) in order to maximize exposure?
One of my clients is a magazine publisher. They've run extremely successful on-line contests for advertisers by having a contest for which the prize appeals to its readers' demographics. For example, if it were a magazine with content relating to music, they would run an on-line contest for an advertiser such as 7-Up soda. They would give away a guitar shaped like a 7-Up soda bottle, signed by the members of a popular band. That's just an example, not real-life because I don't want to reveal the actual names.

Anyway, you get the idea... trying to team up with a partner that has greater recognition than you already do. The key is what you have to offer the partner... some might say exposure, or more likely the contact list of entrants. - by Coda1108
Contest does really help , you get new way of introducing your product and service and find new people to meet up - by mtajim
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