Written by James Scherer
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7 Free Templates for your Next Contest or Giveaway

Are you ready to run a social media contest or giveaway? Do you want to make sure it gives you the best possible results, impresses the hell out of your boss and blows the door off your competition?

Contests and giveaways are proven to give you the same kind of return on your social media investment as days of content creation, posting and networking. They create a buzz around your brand, excite your prospective customers about your products or service, and yield huge bonuses to your Fan base and lead generation.

If you’re ready to go, let’s take a look at 7 of the most popular contest templates you can use to reach your business’ objectives.

Ready to dive in?





1. Sweepstakes (Giveaway) Contest


Sweepstakes (or giveaways) are the most popular of our contest types. They have the lowest barrier of entry, are the simplest to create, and often yield a large number of entrants.

All participants have to do is enter their email address and name and they’ll immediately be entered in a random draw to win your prize.

Remember, if you’re running a giveaway, offer something which will be desirable only to your target market. If you offer something like cash or an unrelated product, your sweepstakes entrants will be far less likely to become customers down the line.

Though we actually have more than a dozen sweepstakes templates, the most commonly-used is also our original. It’s a simple template with five primary components:

  1. A large (810x300 px) image at the top in which you can feature your prize and a catchy, eye-grabbing hook of text.
  2. The headline, ideally with the dollar amount your prize is worth and action words (like “enter to win” or “win a [your product] today!”)
  3. A smaller (274 x 274 px) image at the bottom right (optional) where you can feature your product one more time or a model using it.
  4. The form field and CTA button where entrants can submit their email addresses and enter to win through a colorful button.
  5. The body copy, where you describe how the contest will work, its duration, and the steps entrants need to take to get their chance to win.

Free Template #1: Sweepstakes or Giveaway



free contest templates

And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template:



free contest templates

The Numbers:

This merchant’s sweepstakes had 5,740 views and a conversion rate of 37.72%, giving them 2,108 new email addresses for a prize valued at about $500 US.





2. Photo Contest


Photo Contests are a great way to increase engagement with your brand’s Facebook or Instagram page. Given that everybody has a camera in their pocket nowadays, we’re all amateur photographers - proud of our pictures and wanting to share them with the world.

Tap into that desire with a photo contest and not only do you get user-generated content, but every entrant is working their butts off to promote their own photos (and therefore your contest and your brand) with their friends, family and colleagues.

Here’s how it works:

  • Entrants drag and drop or upload a photo to your contest page and enter their details to submit it
  • You have the ability to moderate each photo as it is entered to determine it’s within your contest guidelines (and those of Facebook - no nudity for instance).
  • Entrants get all their friends to vote on their photo (friends have to submit their email address as well)
  • The entrant whose photo has the most amount of votes at the end of the contest receives your contest’s prize

And all the submissions, email management (including exporting) and vote moderation happens within our builder. Couldn’t be simpler. Oh, and once the contest is over we’ll give you a zip folder of all the submitted images (now your property) so you can use them in your future marketing efforts.

Free Template #2: Photo Contest



free contest templates

And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template:



free contest templates

The Numbers:

This merchant’s photo competition had 9,941 views and a conversion rate of 31.30%, giving them 3,104 new email addresses.


3. Vote Contest


Vote contests give you the ability to interact with your prospective (and existing) customers. Vote contests give you priceless insight about the buying habits, interests and habits of your consumers.

Let me explain the best way I know how. Here are a few great examples of a vote contests and how they benefitted the business:

  • A client ran a fall vote contest with 10 of the products they were looking to sell that Christmas. The product with the most votes was given to the people who voted for it at half price, and the client got incredibly important information about the most important buying season of the year.
  • A client often runs internal vote contests within their company, giving their employees the opportunity to vote on branding, design elements, slogans and upcoming corporate events. This facilitates communication within the company and adds an element of fun.
  • A client ran a vote contest in which they asked consumers to create and post their own t-shirt designs for the upcoming festival season. The most voted-on design was created and the winner got free tickets to the festival (sporting their branded apparel, of course).

They’re extremely easy to set up on your Facebook page, website or blog. Entrants (like with a photo contest) have a vested interest in driving traffic towards your brand and contest (increasing virality), and all voters need to do is click “Vote” and enter their email address.

Free Template #3: Vote Contest

free contest templates

And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template:



free contest templates

The Numbers:

This merchant’s vote contest had 19,700 views and a conversion rate of 54.98%, giving them 10,800 new email addresses, all for the cost of a flight to Alaska and a free snowboard.


4. Instagram Hashtag Contest


If your business has an interest in Instagram (and you should, it’s one of the fastest growing and most profitable social media platforms out there), a hashtag contest is a great way to generate Fans and get them interacting with your brand.

Instagram hashtag contests consist of entrants posting their own picture on Instagram and then tagging it with a campaign-specific Hashtag (allowing your business to see all the pictures). You can also tell entrants what you want their submitted image to look like or contain (a product or theme, for instance).

As soon as someone tags their image with your hashtag, the picture will automatically appear on your Instagram hashtag contest page as well as a stream within your Instagram account. You choose your favorite hashtagged image (or select it based on Likes, perhaps) and email the winner.

Instagram hashtag contests connect you with your Followers and also generate serious buzz. If you’re selecting a winner based on Likes, you’ll also increase virality (the same way as photo and vote contests work) as the entrant will work to actively share your hashtag and their image as much as possible.

Oh, and did I mention that you’ll get a ton of fantastic user-generated content you can use for future social media and marketing campaigns? So long as you include a sentence which reads something like “all photos entered in AcmeCo’s Instagram hashtag contest are deemed the property of AcmeCo,” you’re good to go.

Free Template #4: Instagram Hashtag Contest




And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template



free contest templates

The Numbers:

This merchant had 2,138 entries for a prize worth about $400.





5. Coupon


Coupons are a great way to reconnect with previous customers and engage with new ones, as they alleviate the primary barrier between interest and purchase: the price.

Before you run ahead with a coupon, decide what you’re looking to achieve with it…

  • Do you want to engage with new customers?
  • Do you want to increase purchase volume from existing customers?
  • Do you want to drive traffic into stores?

For new customers, offer a limited-time open return policy on all online purchases (when the coupon code is used). Many first-time buyers are skeptical of your business to begin with. Alleviate that concern with free returns.

For existing customers, offer a straight discount or free shipping offer. A Forrester study from a few years ago found that 44% of shopping cart abandonment occurs because of shipping costs. Drop your abandonment rates with a coupon.

  • Cross-sell by suggesting a product to pair with their purchase. This can be the traditional “buy one get one free” coupon or something a bit more creative like, “get 50% off this leather watch to go with those new shoes!” You’ll quickly recoup the cost of your coupon by stimulating higher spending.

To drive traffic into stores, offer Facebook or Twitter Fan-exclusive coupons to your brick-and-mortar. Be sure to emphasize the exclusivity of your offer to make your Fans feel the love.

Free Template #5: Coupon



free contest templates

And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template



free contest templates

The Numbers:

This merchant’s coupon had 740 views and a conversion rate of 39.46%, giving them the email addresses of 292 prospective clients (alongside the extra sales brought in by the discounts).


6. Essay Contest


There are a wide variety of essay contests. They can be run asking entrants for their favorite famous quote (only a few words) or asking them for a 5,000-word short story which you’ll feature in your yearly publisher’s journal.

Either way we’re talking about a higher barrier-of-entry than many of the other contests, so your prize will need to increase accordingly.

A few essay contest prize suggestions:

  • Featured on your blog or hard-copy publication
  • Free trip to a conference or networking event related to the essay submitted
  • First edition of an author’s new book (with the submission being a favorite quote or character from the author)
  • Summer family getaway package (with the submission being the story of a favorite family summer memory)

Essay contests also allow you to connect with your customers and prospective customers, giving you insight into what they’re feeling and thinking, hearing their stories and giving them a platform to voice their passion. This is hugely influential in developing a relationship between your (perhaps hitherto faceless) brand and your consumer.

Once again, by basing your essay contest’s winner on votes, you encourage each entrant to share your brand and their submission with their friends and family (or, as in the real-world example below, their huge personal followings).

Free Template #6: Essay Contest



free contest templates

And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template



free contest templates

The Numbers:

This essay contest was the final in a Indian fashion magazine’s promotion for female vloggers. It generated 99,280 views and a conversion/vote rate of 75.1%, giving the merchant 74,569 email addresses for the cost of a flight to Paris and hotel stay.


7. Referral Contest


A Referral contest (or promotion) is a great way to take advantage of your existing contacts and social media Fans to get more.

Here’s how it works:

A person goes to your entry page and enters in exactly the same way you would a sweepstakes, but (usually) for something substantially smaller, like a 50%-off coupon or $5 gift certificate (this is the initial prize).
Once the entrant has entered to win the initial prize, they work to redeem the larger reward (like a gift card or product) by referring their friends to enter with a URL unique to them.
A referral is counted when the entrant’s friend or family member clicks on the unique URL and enters the promotion (redeeming their own initial prize).

Make sense?

Basically referral promotions are a fantastic way to leverage existing Fans or customers. Instead of doing all the heavy-lifting of promoting your contest, you let your entrants do it for you (creating buzz, eliciting engagement and opening your brand up to thousands of new, prospective clients in your entrant’s network).

Free Template #7: Referral Contest



free contest templates

And a real-world example from a merchant who found success with this template



free contest templates


The Numbers:

This referral contest was viewed by 13,400 people and had a conversion rate of 19.63%, giving them the email addresses of 2,624 prospective customers. As a high-end furniture seller, offering a $1,000 gift card in exchange for 2,624 prospective customers would have given them an impressive return on investment.





Conclusion


Hopefully seeing how easy it is to create hugely successful contests of all types has inspired you to give it a shot. When it comes to social profile growth and lead generation, there’s few online strategies which come close to the power of a good promotion. Don't forget to check out our free ebook Complete Guide to Facebook Contests and Promotions for some great tips on running your next Facebook contest!

To learn more about each of these promotions, including best practices and how to set them up, check out these free courses from Wishpond Academy:

P.S. Wishpond's Facebook Contest Apps make it easy to create sweepstakes, photo contests, Instagram hashtag contests & more. Looking for inspiration? Check out 25 Creative Facebook Contest Ideas You Can Use Today.

Written by James Scherer

James Scherer is the content editor at Wishpond. When he's not writing or designing for Wishpond he's risking his life biking around the city. Reach out to him on Twitter @JDScherer.