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How to Host a Contest for More Engagement With Social Proof

Do you want to learn how to host a contest from your online site that gets people participating?

Online contests can be a great way to get new leads, more social followers, and, of course, more sales.

But it can be hard to run a successful online contest, especially when you’re first starting out.

That’s why, in today’s post, we’re going to give you 4 actionable tips to host a contest that people are excited to join.

First, though, let’s get clear on why you should be using contests as part of your marketing strategy in the first place.

The Power of Online Giveaway Contests

When it comes to improving your brand’s online presence, there are few better strategies than running an online contest.

Social media giveaways are an excellent way of increasing your followers, building authority in your niche, and boosting your brand’s popularity with your target audience.

Put simply, online contests are a killer marketing tool.

Not convinced? Check out these stats sourced by OutGrow that show just how effective online giveaway contests can be:

  • Contests have a conversion rate of nearly 34%
  • 33% of contest participants are ok with getting information about your brand
  • 62.13% of contest participants share the promotion with a friend
  • Brands gain an average of 17500 fans through organizing online contests on their fan page

Statistics like these clearly show the power of online contests.

So what’s the downside?

Running an online giveaway can be discouraging to marketers who’ve tried in the past and had little success with engagement.

That’s because running a successful online contest isn’t as easy as you might think.

Now let’s turn our attention to 4 tips on running a successful online contest.

How to Host an Online Contest: 4 Tips for Success

Hosting a successful giveaway can take a bit of elbow grease to get the kind of results you want.

That said, these results typically pay off for your company in a big way. By using the following 4 tips for running a successful giveaway contest, you can drastically increase your chances of boosting engagement and improving brand awareness.

Let’s dive into our step-by-step guide.

1. Build Your Contest With the Right Tool

Once your marketing team hits the brilliant idea of running a contest, they usually get super excited, brainstorm tons of giveaway contest ideas, choose their prize, and start creating the rules.

Then someone inevitably realizes they’re still missing something:

Where do you even begin creating an online contest that can be shared with others?

While there’s a lot of software out there to help you out, we really recommend going with RafflePress:


RafflePress is hands down the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market. It’s designed to help your contests go viral and takes surprisingly little effort to get started. With RafflePress you can:

  • Create a custom campaign with readymade responsive templates and a drag and drop builder
  • Make all types of contests like photo contests, video contests, and more
  • Add fraud protection to reduce false signups
  • Take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing with the “refer a friend” feature that lets people tag a friend or make a referral on social media
  • Integrate with all social media platforms, Google Analytics, and email service providers
  • Track, target, and retarget your audience

And so much more!

The driving idea behind RafflePress is simple: let the plugin take care of the nuts and bolts of the contest so marketers can focus on the fun creative parts.

So you can set up contest entries, terms and conditions, contest end dates, and everything else in under 5 minutes.

Added to that, RafflePress also makes it easy for contestants to just click a button to get a chance to win something. There are tons of 1-click entry methods that include becoming email newsletter subscribers, following a Facebook page, and sharing a post.

Running any kind of contest, sweepstakes, or raffle draw is easy peasy with RafflePress.

2. Choose the Right Prize

Next, to make a contest online successful, you need to be sure you’re choosing a prize that suits your target market and business goals.

If you’re running a Facebook contest or eCommerce contest, the popular prizes are free products, discounts, and more. But if you’re running a contest for bloggers, you may want to offer a free subscription plan to blogging tools.

So many marketers make the mistake of creating a killer prize like an iPad or Macbook to get more leads. You’ve probably seen something like this before:

Choose-the-right-prize-for your online giveaway contest

And if this kind of prize always gets more leads, isn’t that a good thing? Not necessarily.

While you want to get more participants, don’t lose sight of your goal: to attract the right demographic of leads who will eventually become customers.

If you’re a fashion consultant looking to drum up business, for example, it makes no sense to give away a free MacBook Pro.

What would be smarter is giving away free clothing, a book on fashion, a free consultation session, or anything else that would appeal directly to your target audience.

When in doubt, you can always go with an Amazon gift card. This allows your participants to dream of their own prize for winning.

3. Write a Special Email Campaign

Most people think that once they’ve built their online contest, that giveaways on social networks are the only way to go.

But don’t discount the power of relying on a good email marketing strategy.

You can create a special email marketing campaign to send to your current list of email subscribers. This works particularly well if your contest’s goal is to:

While social media contest giveaways are more suited for going viral, don’t forget to include the large audience of participants you may already have!

4. Create a Landing Page

This is arguably the most important part of creating a successful online giveaway contest. When you distribute your online contest, you need to have a special landing page that gets your audience excited about the idea of winning.

Here’s a good sample giveaway landing page made with RafflePress:

Glendalough Gin Giveaway contest landing page

Landing pages are a great marketing strategy for online contests because they have a highly specific goal: to encourage users to sign up.

Plus, they allow you to provide more information to potential participants who are tempted to join but not sold.

So what makes a good landing page for your online giveaway? As RafflePress points out, a good contest landing page has:

As we’ll see, there’s one missing ingredient from that list: social proof to improve your online giveaway engagement rates.

And that leads us to the heart of this post. Let’s turn our attention to how using some basic social proof best practices can increase the popularity of your online contest.

Boost Your Contest Engagement

How Social Proof Boosts Online Giveaway contest engagement image

When you host a contest online, most of your participants are going to do two things before signing up:

  • Check out your landing page
  • Head over to your website

Your participants are likely to do this because they want to know whether or not they can trust you. Most people are wary of promotional offers that ask for an email address because of the sheer amount of scamming sites out there.

That means it’s your job to put their minds at ease. And how can you go about doing that?

Relying on social proof to reassure your target audience that your brand is reputable. Let’s see how you can succeed at building trust for both your online giveaway contest’s landing page and your website as a whole.

1. Show Social Proof Notifications

If you want faster results as you’re increasing conversions on your site (including getting more contest participants), then you need to use social proof notifications.

And for that, there’s no better tool than TrustPulse:


TrustPulse is the world’s #1 social proof software. It allows you to quickly and easily create social proof notifications to host your online contest.

You’ve likely seen these notifications before. They look like this:

host a contest social proof with trustpulse demo

You can display these notifications on specific pages of your site to increase engagement. How do they work?

Social proof notifications leverage the power of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) to encourage users to take action. That’s because FOMO is a common aspect of consumer behavior that suggests we don’t like seeing people get benefits that we aren’t receiving, too.

So when you show loads of people are signing up for your contest, your other website traffic will be motivated to do the same.

But now for the big question: does it really work?

We’ve seen TrustPulse users get an instant improvement in conversions by up to 15%.

Want to see it in action for yourself? Sign up for your 100% risk-free TrustPulse account today.

2. Display the Number of Participants

One of the things that you can do with RafflePress is to proudly show the number of participants you already have. This is great for tapping into the marketing tactic “fear of missing out” (FOMO).

FOMO refers to a feeling of anxiety or jealousy caused by the idea that others are having more fun, living better lives, or doing something good that you’re not a part of.

And while it’s typically associated more with social media, marketers use FOMO to encourage customers to take action.

By displaying the number of participants in your contest, you’ll inspire a healthy amount of FOMO in your target audience. When they see the hundreds of people joining your online giveaway, they’ll want to join too.

Here’s a sample giveaway landing page that does this really well:


3. Write Copy to Further Leverage FOMO

Another way that you can use FOMO to your advantage is by writing good copy on your landing page.

Explain the benefits of what the prize will be and get your participants excited about winning. Look at this example of a landing page that uses their copy to effectively leverage FOMO:

mcabook-pro-rafflepress-good-copy-for a giveaway contest

In this scenario, participants aren’t comparing their lives to others. With the strong leading copy of “Your future could be now,” participants begin comparing their current lives with what it could be if they win the prize.  

4. Show off Your Social Media Presence

Not only should your contest help grow your social media followers, but you should also include your social icons on the landing page. That way, your participants can check out your online brand.

Showing that you have a strong social media presence is a good way of assuring your potential customers that your company is legitimate. This is even more important for small businesses.

But before you do that you need to make sure you actually have an online presence.

If you only have a few followers and you’re using your contest to specifically grow on social media, simply make joining your platform one of the requirements of participating!

This is a great giveaway idea for social media engagement. Here’s an awesome example from Themify who did just that:


They rewarded participants with an extra point for following their brand online. And you can do the same.

Then on your next online giveaway, you can include the social media icons totally unrelated to the promotion on your landing page.

Including these little icons can make a big impact on winning over a skeptical audience.

As a side note, are you looking for some social media giveaway ideas? Check out these articles by RafflePress for some inspiration:

5. Add a Link to Contact Your Company

This is a small but powerful tip for your landing page to include. You should provide a link to your website for participants to check out before they commit.

Just like adding social media icons, some of your users may never even click. But simply knowing those links are available makes your landing page visitors feel empowered.

So if they do end up having questions about your promotion, they know exactly where to go.

JustJack’s did this with their RafflePress online giveaway in the same way we saw Themify use social media:

JustJack's online giveaway contest visit website offer

This is a great way to drive traffic to your site, improve metrics, and something to keep in mind for your next contest.

And when your participants do eventually find their way to your homepage, you’ll want to make sure it’s loaded with signs of social proof to put their minds at ease.

Hosting an Online Contest: Final Thoughts

If you want to host an online contest, you should look into 2 tools:

  • RafflePress: This will allow you to run the most efficient contests possible and reach your marketing goals more quickly.
  • TrustPulse: This will help you add social proof notifications to your contest landing page to boost the number of participants.

With these 2 tools and by following the tips above, you’ll be able to host a successful online contest that gets you more followers, more leads, and more sales.

And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, you might want to check out the following resources:

These articles will have everything you need to make your website more credible and drive more traffic.

Then you’ll be ready to send more people to your contest’s landing page to host a successful contest online.

Author Photo
Published by Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson is a father, a writer, and a lover of travel (in that order). When he’s not wrestling with his kids, you’ll likely find Nathan giving his eyes a much-needed break from screens with a good book or planning a family trip with his awesome wife.

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