How to run a competition - we’ll show you the ropes

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Everyone loves a competition… that little buzz that accompanies the thought “I just might win this!” The idea of winning a prize taps into that most positive of human emotions - hope. It’s about getting something for nothing; the epitome of ‘surprise and delight’. 

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Clever businesses have long known that leveraging this sense of wishfulness and optimism can lead to highly successful marketing activity. Whether it’s for staff schemes, customer retention or acquisition, running a competition not only provides you with valuable data but more importantly engages people in a distinctly personal way. It creates an emotional connection between brand and consumer; and once that all-important connection has been forged, it tends to remain.

Here at RedBalloon we’ve been partnering with businesses for over twenty years - from the largest multinationals to the smallest home-based enterprise.

We’ve honed our way of doing things and believe we now have one of the best prizes and competition offerings around. The fact is, everyone loves the idea of winning a RedBalloon voucher - after all, it’s a treat, and people aren’t necessarily good at treating themselves. Particularly at the moment.

We’ve learned what works (and what doesn’t), and we can share this knowledge with you so you can in turn benefit, grow your customer base, increase loyalty, and really stand out.

Reasons why you should choose a RedBalloon prize

As we’ve touched on, a RedBalloon voucher is always popular. Happily, we’re a trusted and liked brand, with enormous reach… and that goodwill filters though to the brands who partner with us.

Flexibility

People like choosing their own prizes. After all, different people like different things. One person’s idea of bliss might be jumping out of a plane; another’s, chilling out at a winery. A RedBalloon voucher is the gateway to thousands of amazing experiences. Breadth of choice like this puts people in charge of their own destiny.

All vouchers are valid for five years, so there’s no pressure. And all vouchers are transferable; so the wine-sipper can swap for a skydive if they’re so inclined. It’s all about being friendly and flexible.

Proven track record

We’ve been doing this for a long time and have really finessed our offering. RedBalloon has delivered more than seven million separate experiences over the past twenty years. (That’s a lot of happy customers!)

We’re proud that from more than 114,000 customer reviews we gained a 4.6 star approval rating.

Our eleven-point quality program means our processes are tight, and that’s reflected in the consistently wonderful feedback we receive.

Social proof

People tend to adopt the opinions or actions of people they trust. So, a positive endorsement of your brand via a RedBalloon experience appearing on someone’s social media holds great value.

At the moment, while many people don’t have a lot of cash, a RedBalloon experience can almost be seen to be taking its place. It’s a way to impress without being overly flashy.

Supporting small business

Small, grass-roots enterprises are seeking to regain some of the ground lost during the recent difficult times. We‘ve made championing these local businesses a priority; working with more than two thousand of them throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The sooner we can start a groundswell of support for these people, the sooner they can hope to recover. So, a RedBalloon voucher is a highly effective way of showing solidarity with people who may have been doing it tough. Our ethos is very much “We’re all in this together”.

Experiences – there’s no competition

Experiences cut through the clutter like almost nothing else. A well thought through, well-executed competition with a RedBalloon experience as prize is a powerful incentive indeed.

It can help attract and connect people to your brand, inspire a sense of loyalty, and leave customers with an overwhelmingly positive perception of what you stand for.

And you can’t put a price on that.

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Achieving cut-through in turbulent times

It goes without saying that Covid-19 has impacted upon the business landscape tremendously.  In the competitions area, a whole lot of options - namely, anything to do with travel - have suddenly become redundant. We recognise that there are now challenges around knowing when and where we can go.

Where once a company might have looked to travel vouchers or flights, now there’s a more inward-looking approach. Travel has always been highly aspirational – who doesn’t love a holiday? - but consumer sentiment has changed. People are now actively seeking local experiences. They want to support small Australian and New Zealand businesses.

They still want to get out and about, to see new places and do new things, but are happy (in many instances, obliged!) to seek these closer to home. 

That’s where a competition featuring RedBalloon vouchers can come in. We’re attuned to the current sentiment and remain focused on delivering exactly these types of experiences. Truth is, our prizes are eternally popular… everyone loves seeing that little red balloon on a voucher and dreaming of what they can do with it!

We can show you how

When you partner with RedBalloon you’re reaping the benefit of over twenty years’ experience in the area. With our online resources we can help you pull together a fantastic and fun competition. And it’s easy.

Whether you’re running a game of skill or a game of chance, there are so many ways to connect with people.

Get access to our brand assets for your competition marketing.

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Running a competition – best practice right now

You’ve decided to run a competition. What now? Firstly, it’s vital to make sure you have a clear vision. You need an overall theme – something you can really ‘hang’ the competition on, which has a singular message. Then, there are several aspects you need to consider - so ask yourself...

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What do you want to achieve?

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Are you hoping to reward your staff? Gain traction with new audiences? Or turbo-charge your existing database? Make sure you remain clear about your ultimate objective throughout the process as this will help your competition ‘flow’ smoothly.

And remember that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Be laser-focused on your target market. If you have different markets, then consider running different, targeted competitions.

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What will your competition look like? 

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Is this an internal competition for staff? Try to find a fun idea that will get everyone involved - whether that’s a best-dressed contest, a sweepstakes (for the Melbourne Cup - or even The Bachelor!) or something creative like a T-shirt or Christmas card message or design.

If you’re looking externally, Facebook and Instagram are a great way to engage with people who are already invested in social media. An online sweepstakes is an easy path to generate leads and you can also invite people to ‘like’ your page. To acquire new customers, it could be as simple as asking them to sign up to a weekly newsletter and then be in the draw to win a voucher.

Alternatively, create something that gathers user-generated content via, for example, ‘tag a friend’, or ‘upload a photo’…these things can really snowball, again leading to greater brand awareness. To engage customers externally, something like ‘Tell us in 25 words or less what your favourite holiday destination was’, or ‘Share your most creative photo with your Mum and win a RedBalloon voucher for Mother’s Day’ could work.

Think about the right hashtag that works in with your overall theme. Then make sure it runs consistently across all your social media.

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Have you got an awesome prize?

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By this we mean a RedBalloon voucher, of course! But make sure you share the love around.

In our experience, the most successful competitions are the ones where everyone feels they have a legitimate chance to win. So, try to have one or two major prizes, and then several smaller ones. For example, if you were running a $25,000 giveaway, you could have one prize of a $10,000 voucher, then five $1000 vouchers, then a hundred $100 ones.

The more winners the more they will talk about your business. Trial different amounts to see which gives you the greatest results. It might be $100 major prize every day for a month or 60 $50 prizes – the amount is the same but the outcome may be different.

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What should my prize budget be?

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This will depend on what you are wanting people to achieve. Are you looking for people to sign up to a newsletter, this could be a relatively small prize but given monthly. Or are you wanting to increase the size of your database dramatically.

The rule of thumb is that at least 10 percent of your promotional budget should go to the prize pool and 90 percent to promoting the competition to new audiences.

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How will people enter?

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Try and make this process as easy as possible. Best practice dictates there should be no more than five steps to entry. If it’s all too hard, people simply won’t bother. Facebook and Instragram have some very easy competition tools to use if you are planning to promote on those platforms.

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How will you choose who wins - and how will you notify them?

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Again, this will depend on what format you’ve adopted. Will you phone or email them? Better yet, capture their image (with permission to post of course) and upload to your socials to let everyone know the result.

For more information, head to our competitions ‘How To’ guide.

Charity fundraising

Using experience to boost your fundraising efforts

Attracting donations and support for causes has never been harder. But experiences are a powerful means of engaging possible donors - via raffles, competitions, auctions and even volunteering opportunities. We work with hundreds of charities every year to provide experiences to support fundraising efforts.

Learn more

Making light of legalities

Running a competition doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. As long as you follow a step by step process, you can be on your way very quickly. So go for it! Remember, we’re here to make it easy for you. The sooner you get a competition underway, the sooner you’re reaching out and engaging existing or potential new customers.

There’s a reason why contests have been around for decades and show no sign of waning in popularity: they’re fun, they get people involved and talking, they build connection, trust and word-of-mouth.

A competition can be one of the most effective marketing tools in your arsenal.

Get access to our promotional media kit for your competition marketing.

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Promoting your competition

You’ve come up with a great idea for a competition, set the wheels in motion to get it all covered off in terms of legalities, locked in your fantastic RedBalloon prize/s; in other words, you’re set to go. But now comes the essential part – promoting your competition.

We’d like to guide you through the most effective ways to do this; because there are plenty. And most of them are free.

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Inspired and ready to organise your competitions? We're here to guide you

We'll show you how experience prizes with RedBalloon can help attract customers to your brand, and build loyalty.

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