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Your advice...how can I break this cycle?

Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Hey Folks,

I am currently running a prize draw through my newsletter, 12 draws in one year, one per month. Each member of the newsletter gains entry to the draw. Nice and simple...so I thought!

The first prize I offered was to go to 6 people, but the challenge I'm facing is getting people to accept their prize! One of the main reasons is that the draw has been tagged on to my list of newsletter subscribers, rather than the draw first then the newsletter - if you see what I mean.

My rules state that acceptance of the prize must be within two weeks or it shall go to another winner. Sounds ok, but this will be the third lot of winners I have offered after this week and it could go on for ever!

How do I break the cycle?

One suggestion is to update the rules to say that if the prize isn't claimed after 'x' amount of week/attempts, then I should simply post the prize on my forums and ask who wants it. Then, draw winners from those names. The main challenge I see with this is that some newsletter subscribers, who may not be registered with the forums, may feel this unfair.

What do you think?

Should I ask the newsletter subscribers to forward their names if they want the prize, then pick a winner from those?

All I want to do is give these things away :w00t:

Your advice would be appreciated :thumbup1:
 
The simple question is why don't people want their prize?

Earlier this evening I had some random woman 'phone up to tell me I'd won a Carribean cruise. They had a fair bit of demographic data about me and my family. And my immediate reaction to the call was "what's the catch?"

...And lo there WAS one! It was one of those timeshare sales scams. I suspect I won't be the only person to have passed up on the opportunity tonight...

...So what's the catch with your prize?
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Thanks for your reply.

I also think like this with prizes, especially the ones where they seem too good to be true!

I have a few ideas why people aren't accepting...

1. they think there may be a catch!
2. the email informing them of being a winner is captured as spam?
3. they are on holiday
4. they are off sick
5. they haven't got round to reading the winning email yet
6. they don't want it
7. they forgot to reply
8. their email accepting the prize has been caught in my spam box

I have built my site up over the years aiming for trust from my visitors, and I think I have that to a certain degree. My passion for what I do hopefully shows this and all I want to do is give somebody something to help them along. There are a few of us out there, whether some people believe it or not ;)

There is no catch with my prizes other than the knowledge that the winners will learn and go help people be safe and healthy.
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Hi Jack,

Is the newsletter double opt-in?
Am I correct in saying everyone who gets the newsletter gets entered without actually opting in?
What sort of prize are we talking about?

I think any prize has to appeal to the audience you are targetting but I would also be suspicious of winning a prize in a competition I didn't know I entered.

Do you get any stats with your newsletters such as open rates and click throughs etc or even bounce rates?
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Thanks for your reply.

Yes it is double opt-in.

Everyone who gets the newsletter is automatically entered into the prize draw. This is highlighted on the newsletter landing page, registration page and welcome email to the newsletter. Not to mention the forums, blog and facebook update areas.

The prizes are things like health and safety courses, study books, vouchers for Amazon, all donated by reputable organisations.

I get limited stats with the newsletters at the moment, most of which come from my web stats for the site, i.e newsletter images etc. Obviously these can be flawed.

I get bounce information from the 'mailman' programme running the list.

I'm not punting the draw here, I genuinely need advice on how best to approach this, but if you have a look at my site you will see what it's all about.

I managed to receive a couple of awards through the safety groups I am part of for these prize draws during 2007, hence the reason some companies are wanting part of this for the publicity.
 
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Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Hi Jack,

Have you ever thought about investing in a better email marketing program? There are a few good ones out there that all have different benefits. I think you need to know much more about how subscribers are interacting with the newsletter.

I'm sure you get this all the time and please dont take this the wrong way but i'm sure many people dont find health and safety exciting (for many businesses it's more of a have to do than want to do in my opinion).

I think stats are key here initially in order for you to get some answers. It will then be a case of testing things to see if you can get things like the open rate up. You also have to have some way of cleansing the list as there's no point in people winning if they no longer have that email address etc. The other option might be to gather enough information that allows you to post out the prize or at least some form of notification to get them to contact you.
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Thanks , good suggestions.

Do you know of a decent email newsletter program? Stats are key, I completely agree with you here.

You are right, most people don't see health and safety like I do, or my colleagues (we are not all as dull as Ed from a recent Channel 4 show!). But, the people that use the site for it's resources all share the passion somewhere, even if they just work in H&S.

I'm not ruling out the posting of notifications at the moment, but I'm not too keen on taking postal addresses from people at this stage. It's hard enough getting email addresses from people!

To be honest, even though I've run the site for over 4 years, I'm still kinda new to some things. Plus the fact I have a day job as well, a family, studies....the usual things most of us share.

Thanks again for your suggestions. :)
 
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Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Hi Jack,

I use a system called Icontact whixh in addition to allowing me to send out newsletters also manages all the stats side, automatically removes unsubscribes etc. It also has autoresponder features and also allows you to deploy surveys as a seperate option but to the same or a segmented part of the mailing list. I dont want this to sound like a sales pitch but it is the one that works for me.

Dont do yourself down either, you have a very active forum and i'm sure a site that is full of great information. Like most things marketing related whether it be online or offline testing and measuring are key and if you keep doing that and improving it will all come right I have no doubt :)
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
I ran something similar for 2 years on my website

Enter email address get into monthly prize draw

Prize each month was free white water rafting for 6 people. Got thousands entering and everyone accepted the prize.

Some did not use it though.

People are overloaded with ( stuff) today in this fast moving world. Even free prizes do not do it for many anymore.

Increase prize value by a lot and only run once every two months or three months and see if that has an impact.

Peter
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Thanks folks, all great suggestions. I'll have a look at those email services and will give one of them a try.

:)
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Just to let you all know that I started the trial for iContact. So far, everything looks just right for my needs and to be honest, I'm very impressed!

Thanks for the tips folks, very much appreciated.

I'll feedback if I go ahead with iContact.
 

peteark

Banned
Hi Jack

Competitions are a tried and tested method of marketing any business, that said if a competition is not structured correctly they really can be more trouble than they are worth. A little like adding a video to a website, its a great idea but if done incorrectly it can have an adverse affect on an online business.

One of my clients ran a competition a while back, this is how he went about it

The competition details were entered on his homepage, people simply clicked the link, registered (I believe there was an opt in tick box for a newsletter),the competition was based around finding information from within his site. The good thing about this system was he had a ton of people searching through many pages of his site, (search engines like this). The downside, due to the nature of the business the conversion between a competition subscriber and potential client was poor. His newsletter subscribers increased (these do work virally) and it was a good marketing exercise, big exposure in large forums like UKBF helped. On the closing date all the information was collated and the winner selected. It must have gone down well as he is contemplating another.

This double opt in malarkey will always make people suspicious even if you are genuinely giving away fantastic prizes.

If I was to run a competition I would take it a lot further by trying to incorporate a spot of 'link baiting' and would certainly have a mechanism for people to add content to my site as I view this as crucial in a sites development. I would also wait for the release of a new gadget, like iphone 2 or something bonk like that and then spend a week upsetting people like Matt (joke) by telling the world and his dog about it.

Pete
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Thanks Pete.

I'm looking this year at figuring out a way for people to add daily content (other than the hundreds of downloads they already do),so that's in the pipeline.

As for gadgets, no thanks. I have nothing to sell other than ad space so sales conversions isn't required on the site. I rely on organisations donating prizes to give to people for free. I'd much rather spend the little income from the site improving the quality of the site with things like the newsletter mailing software.

Good advice though under different circumstances, thanks :)
 

peteark

Banned
No problems Jack

If you ever want to chat about content related issues on your site just slap a post up and I will have a look, it's an area I am familiar with, that and link baiting. Both these systems are difficult to introduce but when done well they will help the long term development of a site.

I am also familiar with h&s after being Kneeboshed myself
 

peteark

Banned
Jack

I have a little spare time so I will give you my thoughts now

Content

The trouble in many business sectors is the over complication of procedures and legislation and the lack of clear understandable guidelines, no sector highlights this more than H&S.

So what can be done at the low level

The introduction of an understandable wiki, populated by the yourself and other experts so it becomes a focal point of understanding and training

A question and answer section much like Yahoo Answers where basic questions can be placed

Link Baiting

I would introduce a health and safety directory, where sector related sites can list a regular listing in exchange for a link on their website (links/resources) page and a premium listing that requires a submitter to add your small attractive logo on their homepage. This can be backed up by displaying the latest submissions on your homepage.

General

I would do away with the Adsense,it has no place on corporate based sites and clean up the layout a little
 
Jack Kane

Jack Kane

New Member
Thanks Pete, some good info again and some food for thought for the future. I'll definitely post here with my questions when they come up.

I won't be doing away with Adsense though as that's pretty much how the site stays free for everybody, and whilst I run it from home, it's never really going to be 'corporate'. ;)
 

peteark

Banned
Jack

I understand now, you have set up the website up to be a free resource for people searching for health and safety information, my fault as most people I work with or speak to are looking to monitries their websites.

Well over half the businesses I work for are ran from home, the first thing I try and do is to move their websites from having the one man band, amateurish feel to that of corporate.

About 4 years ago I had an offer of working as a h&s auditor in the oil sector, the money was very tempting but the work would have meant more time away from the family. As I had already missed out on seeing my children grow up so I turned the job down and moved into the 'snake oil' business. Now I can see it was a good decision, back then I was not sure.
 
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