How to implement contests/promotions successfully
OK, so you decided that the autumn promotion you planned will be a positive contribution to the desired station image or your market share. Now it’s time to implement it. This is my Top 10 for a successful major promotion:
1. The promotion should be broadcast at a fixed time slot, never be rotated and be easy to communicate. For example: „weekdays at 5 to 7“, „every hour after the news“ or „always at 7 past 7 and 5 past 5“.
2. Every promo should encompass an appointment, or an engagement with the listener. A promo without an appointment is a wasted opportunity for a tune-in moment.
3. No rules in the promo. Game rules should be explained during the call or in the pay-off.
4. Every break that features the contest should be perfectly understandable for everybody –meaning 100% of your listeners! If the break, for instance, would be: „OK, we now know that Petersburg is not the right answer. If you have any idea what we’re looking for, call us now!“, you’re leaving the listener with nothing but question marks and confusion, and, in the worst case, a reason to tune out.
5. At the end of every break you shoud include a teaser to the next opportunity to win! To be safe, you can also pre-produce an outro that the DJs can use.
6. Keep everything as simple and straightforward as possible. Less is more. The less information you need to communicate, the surer you’ll bet hat the message will come across. Do NOT use extra opportunities to win, complicated rules, different amounts to win or anything that needs additional explanation.
7. Make sure that after six weeks, your presenters will promote the contest as passionately as in the beginning. Also ensure that they will make the contest comprehensible, also after promoting it for weeks. We often have a wrong image of our listeners. Not a single listener, listens to the radio like we do! Remember that every listener hears your station in 30-minute segments and that they’re probably doing something else while they’re listening.
8. Do not get annoyed when your staff comes complaining about the contest after 4 weeks, telling you that the game is burnt and that they can’t stand to listen to it anymore. Remember that by now, you can assume that the majority of your listeners has only heard the game and that some of them have just come to understand what it’s about..
9. Never use pure „backsell promos“! Whenever you „backsell“ a winner, use it as an opportunity to work forward at the same time and tease!
10. Make sure that the promos always sound fresh and varied, as the promotion may run up to 12 weeks! Creative contributions from the DJs and regularly updated promos, ideas and possible even editorial attention on the promotion will extend its life and ensure that you’ll reach your image and ratings goals!
In any case: good luck with your autumn promotions!