In February 2012, we participated in the American Family Go Get Your Dreams Challenge – it was an online vote-getting contest, with the top ten voted dreams going on to be contest finalists. Of 2700 entrants, we were fortunate to be in the top ten, but didn’t win in the final round. A few days ago, I posted a tips for people who are interested in entering a similar contest. Today’s post is for people or companies who are interested in conducting such a contest. Read the first post, "Making Dreams Come True: Entering and Winning Online Vote Contests…
We took some notes during the contest of what went right, and what could be improved.
Build enough server. There will be an enormous amount of pressure on the server where the contest is housed. The site crashed several times a day at the beginning.
Give entrants somewhere to ask technical questions. I went on Twitter and found the contest organizers when I couldn’t find a spot to ask a question. As it turned out, they weren’t aware there was a problem, but if I hadn’t been persistent in finding them, it could have taken much longer to sort out.
Create a FAQ section that explains how to clear a cache, that links may change, how to effectively link to the site, etc. It will help the contestants explain things to their voters.
Make voting easy, using as few steps as possible.
Do not solicit voters once you have their email addresses. They’re trying to support their friends, not signing up for sales calls from you.
Make the site fun. Ours had a leader board at the bottom so people could see the top 8 vote getters. This made it more competitive and got the voters into the spirit of the contest. I think a contest where people are voting blind and have no idea how their “candidate” is doing. would not be nearly as popular.
Don’t create a site that’s a resource hog. If I had the contest site open for any amount of time, I not only had to close it, but often restart my browser to restore the speed of my computer.
Have you participated in a similar contest? Let us know how it went, what worked, and what needed change. And, good luck!