Contests have been pretty popular on the blogosphere over the past couple of years. The trend seems to be waning quite a bit these days. This could be the result of the economic crisis or it could be that many bloggers felt that they got a lousy ROI from contests.
I have run a few contests on this and other blogs. By and large I would say they were failures. I have learned from my mistakes and I figured that I could fill in some space on this blog by telling you about some of them.
One of the most common mistakes is giving away something that nobody wants. I found a good example of this at Six Different Ways. There may be a few people who would want something that may damage your wall, door or the product if removed.
I have held two separate contests that had ‘mystery prizes’ and it seems that people don’t like surprises. I had one entrant for the first contest and zero for the second.
Some people offer fantastic prizes, but ask for a lot in return. Tyler Cruz is giving away PS2s and wide screen monitors, but only to people who become affiliates (downline from him) and earn high revenues.
Personally, I think that cold hard cash is often the best prize. I had a very simple contest a few years back that involved awarding cash (through PayPal) to the first person who congratulated me on reaching a certain web traffic milestone. This was modestly effective because it encouraged frequent visits from the people who had seen the contest details and decided that they wanted to win.