Taking part in media competitions and giveaways can help you raise the profile of your pet business.
It can make thousands and potentially millions of people who didn’t know your brand aware of what it is you do.
Competitions regularly appear in newspapers, magazines, online publications, blogs, podcasts, on the radio and TV and whether your brand is big or small you can take part.
Here I’m sharing everything you need to know about taking part in a competition on how to maximize the opportunity when it comes to promoting your pet business.
You can either listen to the podcast episode on the player link below, or read it as a blog post.
How do you get involved in a competition?
First, do your research and think about the kind of media outlets your clients or ideal clients read, watch, listen to or follow.
You’ll want to use the competition to reach more people like them.
Try to think outside the box, so, for example, if a lot of caravaners use your product, like my client Julie Maxted, creator of Dog-G8, consider niche caravan titles.
What you need to take part in the competition
First, have a read of the publication and try to find out what the retail value is of the prize you need to give away.
Many of the national titles are around the £250 mark. This could be too much if you were starting out, so you might want to think of targeting a local title.
Julie recently took part in a giveaway in the Sun on Sunday newspaper and gave away five gates to the value of £250.
This reaches over a million people each weekend, and she says she definitely saw a spike in website visits and more sales.
You need to decide on the value of the prize, and have a short description ready, along with your website link, and a hi resolution photo of the product.
If it’s a service, you may want to use a logo or a photo of you providing the service. Or for an experience, photos of animals enjoying it.
Finding a publication and pitching to them
Often you might see journalists posting about competition prizes on social media.
Or you might have a copy of the publication. Go to the competition page and find the best person to contact, or to ‘Who’s who’ section at the front of the magazine.
Send off a pitch and don’t be disheartened if you get a no, just move on to your next title.
What to do before the competition
One your pitch has been accepted and you know the date it’s due to run, create a bit of a buzz on social media.
Tell your follower they will be in with a chance to win one of your products or try your service or experience.
Create intrigue so they can get excited about it and when you announce it, it’s likely they will take part, engage and share with other pet parents.
Have a look on MoneySavingExpert competitions pages and forums and you will learn so much about compers.
It is a huge community and understanding how they work will help you make your promotion reach more people.
One lady I wrote about, Becky Hay from Lupo’s Nest, had her competition shared in a forum on there and had over 2,000 entries.
What to do on the day of the competition
When the competition appears, go on social media and share details of where the competition is and how people can get involved.
Post sharing a link to the competition and tag in the journalist and the publication. Simply say, ‘We have a competition running in XXX and if you want to get involved, here’s how.’
Send out a message to your email list to explain that you’re in a competition so if they’d like to take part, they have the link to enter.
Share the competition to any Facebook groups you might be part of, and to competition groups.
After the competition
You might notice that being in the competition helps you grow your social media followers.
So what you could do is create something to welcome the people who have discovered you and keep people talking about the competition.
Invite them to sign up to your newsletter to be kept up to date with any offers and promotions.
Continue to share the details of how to enter online, so think about using the hashtags that compers use on Twitter and Instagram too.
Once the winners have been chosen
When you have the details of the winners, put a note in with their prize thanking them for taking part and ask them if they could send a photo of their pet with the prize.
You can share this on social media and tag them in if they follow you.
You can announce the winners on your page when the prizes have been sent out and this is a good time to offer something to those who took part but didn’t win.
Create a discount code to share, or use the announcement to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter.
Add ‘as seen in’ or ‘as featured in’ to the press page on your website.
You might like to add the masthead of the newspaper or magazine on the product page of the item that was featured like Michelle from Scruffy Little Terrier did here when her ‘Birthday Boy’ bandana appeared in Pick Me Up magazine.
Other follow up ideas after you’ve been in a competition
Use the competition to spark other ideas for promotions and collaborations.
Ask your audience what their favourite product is and consider using this for a giveaway.
Ask them to share their pet using the product in the competition.
Create a poll on what they love the most about the particular product.
Maybe they can make suggestions of other competitions you can take part in.
Remember you can create competitions yourself whenever you want on your website and on social media.
If you’d like to learn more about doing this, there is a brilliant Janet Murray podcast with Mark Simpson about building your audience with competitions.
He has a Dropbox folder you can download with step by step instructions and templates for setting up your giveaway.
You can listen to the interview and get the downloads on this link:
Final thoughts on competitions
One of the ladies in my Facebook group, Sarah White from Ruffle Snuffle said she has found they are full of surprises.
Sarah makes pet accessories such as snuffle mats and puzzle cubes, they’re brilliant, and she’s appeared in national newspapers and magazines.
She’s also featured in smaller blogs, like my pet blog in this product round up on www.thepawpost.co.uk
Sarah said: “I’ve had some huge exposure nationally with disappointing results. And then a teeny tiny blog post hit the jackpot and great results from influencer collaborations.”
So when you’re thinking about competitions, the key thing is to go in there with an open mind and keep your expectations reasonable.
If you appear in a massive newspaper or magazine, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your website will be melting down with orders.
But it is a long game and being visible in the media will build trust and credibility in your brand.
I’m adding a Competitions masterclass to my Publicity for Pet Businesses membership, and if you’re interested in joining, you can send me a message here or find out more Publicity for Pet Businesses Membership.