Directory Maximizer

One Underused Link Building Strategy: Contests

People love contests! If done right, they generate a lot of buzz around your business. Contests can be implemented as part of your online marketing strategy. Wondering why you would do that? Here are a few benefits of running them:

  • Lead generation
  • Increased online and offline traffic
  • Brand recognition
  • A more “personalized” interaction with customers
  • Gather data about your target audience
  • Getting a ton of backlinks

This post will talk about the last benefit listed above: link building.

Whatever gurus may say, link building is hard. Probably not hard to understand, but hard to get it right. However, this is not a reason to drop it altogether, as link building accounts for a major part when it comes to search engine results page rankings.

Online contests for link building

contests to build links

The use of contests is a powerful link building strategy. If you think about it, they can be implemented in almost any niche. As for the prize, it doesn’t always have to be a big thing. Most people are happy saving even $9 (ever experience a slow page load time at when they run their “$0.99 domain sale”?). So don’t be scared even if you only have “10 bucks to spare”.

Why some contests stink

Not all contests are successful. A lot of them fail miserably. Here are a few reasons why

Lack of effective advertising

It’s not just about “putting an ad out there”. You need to invest quite a bit in your ad before sharing it with the world. If your ad stinks, people will stay away from it.

Take the time (and spend the money if needed; if you want to succeed!) to carefully word and design your ad. Ask your team, family and friends what they genuinely think of your ad, and if they can think of anything that you can add or remove to make it better. After all, the ad will be displayed to people just like them, right?

Lack of credibility

Advertising is important. But it’s not the only important thing. If you sound scammy, you will definitely be losing a big share of potential participants (and future customers). Don’t believe me? Well, how about that: You come across a lot of ads everyday while surfing the Internet or even having a nice time on Facebook…do you click all of them? I know I don’t!

Types of contests appropriate for link building

Contests can take a whole array of shapes and sizes. There are:

  • Giveaways – Generic cash or generic, unrelated product giveaways.
  • Product promotions – Free product of your own company giveaways.
  • Coupon codes – Coupons giving discounts or even 100% off small products.
  • Free services – If you are a service-based business, this is for you. You don’t have to giveaway your highest priced package for free; just a good enough package.

How contests work for link building

There are various ways in which contests can help generate links. First, if you reach out to related bloggers in your niche, many of them will be happy to blog / write about your contest if it provides good enough value. And how will they send visitors to your contest? Through a link of course! Secondly, if you have a certain exposure on social networks and make an announcement on the contest you are holding, people will talk, participate  and share it with their friends. Social signals = Higher rankings.

Of course, don’t expect to just contact a couple of bloggers and expect a ton of traffic. Be prepared to look for and contact 15 – 20 bloggers in your niche, and make sure your approach is personalized enough for them to even consider taking you seriously. Some of them will reject you. Some will ignore you. A few of them will agree to spread the word.

Similarly, just posting a status on Facebook might not be enough. Consider multiples status updates (hitting a different angle each time) and uploading related pictures.

A point to note here is that you will only benefit from the links if the contest is hosted on your website. If you hold a contest on your social networking account, then the links will point there. So you want to use a page on your site as the main contest page.

Here are 2 cool tips you can use to take even more advantage of your contest

1. Give enough time for the buzz to get big enough. How? By announcing the contest well in advance. If you are into smartphones, you know how in advance they big corps announce their “next big thing”, right?

2. The backlinks do not have to go to waste after the contest. Simply do a 301 redirect to your homepage when it’s over to benefit of the link juice.

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