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Using contests to sell products
Written and contributed by Bruce Lawrence. See footnote for more info.

If you sell unique items on the net you should consider adding a free drawing to your promotion activities. This contest will become a very effective tool for generating new business if you manage it well.

Read these seven guidelines; see if you could make a contest work on your site.

Give away what you sell.

Let your contest select the right visitors – the prize should be something you already sell at your site. Don’t be cheap; give away enough to provide for an exciting win.

Hold your contest periodically.

You must earn your visitors’ trust. One visit does not build trust. Get your visitors to return again and again by holding your contest periodically. Communicate with the entrants with respect and humor. Trust will result. Only then do you have a chance to tell your story.

Keep the contest honest.

Give away your prize when you say you will. Make the selection truly random. Announce your winner. Establish your integrity.

Make it easy.

Don’t pester your visitors for data. All you really need are first names and email addresses. Ask for much more and you’ll lose them. You want them back next time - make finding and entering your contest easy and quick.

Announce your winner with email.

Send an email to everyone who enters the contest. List the winner and invite the recipient to enter again. Keep the email fun for your reader. Make it human, make it short. Email is the key to successful Internet promotion – craft it carefully.

Use a database.

You will collect many names and email addresses. Use a database program to manage the contest. You need to compile, sort, cull, and back-up the entry data. These are easy tasks with a database, very difficult tasks without one.

Promote your contest.

You have to spread the word. Fortunately, this being the web, there are plenty of folks to help. Over 250 free web sites, newsgroups, and newsletters tell web surfers where they can find freebies and contests. Use them. Also, spend a little cash to promote. Put high quality banners ads on the best contest promotion sites. A little money goes a long way with them.

Contests can’t work magic. If you have a mediocre site or if you sell commodity items, the contest won’t yield well. But if you have a great site and unique products, go ahead, use the guidelines above, work hard, and build a successful contest – you will be glad you did.

Bruce Lawrence is the owner of theNETrep. Bruce has 20 years of hi tech marketing experience. theNETrep creates web sites that sell products. Our customers are making money right now. For the right products, we share in the risk of building new internet businesses. balaw@theNETrep.com | http://www.theNETrep.com
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