29 Tips for Creating Campaigns that Work

by Ellen Trunk Second Street

Tips for All Promotion Types…

Always add an opt-in.

Your email database is the cornerstone of every initiative for your company. Treat every campaign as a way to grow your database.

Be clear about your rules.

Explicitly stating your rules will not only grow trust with your audience, but can also boost your participation if users are allowed to enter more than once.

Pick the right prize.

A good prize will bring you a lot of entrants, but the right prize will bring you a lot of qualified entrants. For instance, if you’re working with an HVAC company, the prize of a new HVAC system will only bring in people who own a house and would be in the market for one.

KPWJ Math Quiz Prize

Add a thank-you coupon.

Make everyone a winner by attaching a thank-you coupon to every promotion. Additionally, you want your promotion to drive measurable results, and a coupon is a great way to clearly track foot traffic.

Customize your social message.

When users go to share your contest on social media, make sure you’ve customized the message that will appear. If you have a sponsor, this is a great place to mention them again.

Leverage survey questions.

Survey questions deliver hot leads for your advertiser. Asking 2-3 questions will elevate any promotion to the next level.

kingsport baby photo

Tips for Sweepstakes…

Run for 1-2 weeks.

This length of time keeps your audience engaged in your contest, allows them to come back to enter multiple times, and gives lots of branding opportunities for your sponsor.

Use multi-page registration forms.

People are more likely to enter your sweepstakes the more simple it looks. Using multiple registration pages for the fields you want answered, means users aren’t looking at a daunting list of registration fields.

multiple registration pages

Turn on extra chances.

Incentivize your users by offering them extra chances to win by encouraging them to get their friends to enter with their unique referral code.

Tips for Quizzes…

Stick to 6-8 questions.

Six to eight questions is the sweet spot for quizzes. After that point, users start to lose interest and exit before completion.

Stick to 4 answers per question.

Consistency is key, and you want users to stay engaged. Too many answer choices can make the questions trickier and cause the users to drop off early.

Margarita Quiz

Shoot for 4-6 outcomes.

People take quizzes because they’re interested in the outcome. Whether it’s a personality or trivia quiz, prepare enough outcomes so people feel their response is unique.

Incorporate a sweepstakes.

Turn your quiz into a data-collection tool by offering a sweepstakes. If people are incentivized with the chance to win a prize, they’ll be more willing to complete a registration form.

Enhance your outcome page.

Your outcome page offers a ton of customization options. Try including a clickable link to your own or your sponsor’s website.

wbae kid activity quiz 3

Tips for Photo & Video Contests…

Run separate submission and voting periods.

Having two separate phases (each running two weeks) gives you more opportunities to promote your contest with your audience leading to more overall participation.

Don’t forget your top themes.

Kids, pets, and home makeovers are always a big win with any audience. If you’ve got an empty spot on your promotions calendar, one of these will be a great fit.

puppy day photo contest

Incorporate a sweepstakes.

Photo and video contests require a bit more effort to enter than a basic sweepstakes. While it’s a no-brainer to include a prize for your winners, you should also include a sweepstakes for random participants.

Tips for Citywide Ballots…

Setup with 6-8 groups.

Groups make it easier for your users to navigate your ballot. Sticking between six and eight groups makes you your ballot appear comprehensive while still being manageable for your users.

Run a three-phase ballot.

Having three separate phases for nominating, voting, and celebrating winners allows you to maximize your revenue as you can sell three different sponsorship packages to prospective advertisers.

Sell group and category ads.

Group and category ads can help ensure the win for any particular category. As a best practice, make your group sponsorships exclusive so you can attach a higher sponsorship investment.

nevada appeal ballot group and category ads

Sell enhanced listings.

Complete with an image, description, address, social media buttons, and more, selling enhanced listings is a great sponsorship opportunity for every single entrant on your ballot.

wdiv ballot enhanced listing

Sell winners’ directory.

Whether it’s online, print, or both, create a winner’s directory and sell ad space. These are go-to guides for locals looking for the best nail salon or top burger place, and businesses want to make sure they’re brand is prominently displayed – that means annual revenue for you.

Tips for Yearwide Ballots…

Leverage audience-favorite ballot topics.

Ballots are about much more than your annual citywide. Ballot themes like high school sports, local music, food trucks, or weddings drive in tons of participation amongst any audience.

phoenix battle of the brews ballot

Tips for Emails…

Keep From Name consistent.

Changing your From Name frequently can cause your open rates to drop if readers and email providers don’t recognize the name as a trusted voice in their inbox.

Change up your subject lines.

If you’re sending out a recurring email newsletter, change up your subject lines to reflect the contents. Using the same subject line over and over (i.e. “Today’s Morning News”) can lower open rates.

Don’t overlook pre-header text.

On mobile, the preheader text is just as prominent as your subject line, yet so many people fail to update this. Use this as an extra opportunity to say why a reader should open your message.

Preheader Text

Personalize whenever possible.

One of the quickest ways to increase open rates is by simply adding the person’s name into the subject line. In fact, emails with a personalized subject line increase open rates by 29%.

Don’t bury your call-to-action.

If the point of your email is to get your reader to click a button, make the button clear and noticeable and don’t bury it amongst a bunch of other links. Try to limit the amount of scrolling it takes to see the call-to-action.

Don’t design as one solid image.

While you may have a design team who creates beautiful promotional images, relying solely on these images can cause big problems. For many email clients, images aren’t displayed, and that means a lot of unhappy readers closing your email without getting your content.

images blocked in email

Whether you’re a veteran at creating promotions and emails or just getting started, you want to ensure you’re designing the best campaign you can. Take a look at your current process and see where you have places you could improve to help you drive even better results.

Get your copy of the Seller's Guide to Promotions.