Monday, October 31, 2011

Ten Tips for Running a Golf Competition on Facebook

Running a competition on your website or via Twitter or Facebook is a great way to increase your followers and generate awareness of your golf equipment or your golf course. But there are some rules that you need to follow.

The following are our top tips for running a competition on Facebook

1. Follow the rules of Facebook.

As you can imagine, there are literally thousands of competitions on Facebook at any one time. In the past Facebook required you to get their permission to run a competition, now they just ask that you follow their rules.

2. Don't use the 'Like' button

DO NOT run a competition by asking the entrant to 'Like' a post or a picture, OR a page, OR checking in to a location. But you can ask someone to 'Like' your page to access the competition, this is where you would use a 'Like gate' and most third party apps will enable that for you.

3. Stay legal

Make sure your competition is legal in the country in which it operates. If the competition runs across political borders (different countries) then you need to make sure that all the relevant laws are followed. You can limit a competition to a specific country, but you need to make this clear in your terms and conditions.

4. Get the mechanics right

YOU MUST run your competition through a third party app, our software tools are designed for the golf industry and based on the social media app platform called Pheme from 650hours.com, Facebook will not allow you to use the native mechanics of Facebook to run and manage a competition. What this means is that you cannot post an entry on to your wall announcing a competition and then have your fans posting their entry in response. A classic example of this is the current Facebook competition from Gary Player - Gary is generously donating some tee slots at an event he is hosting around the time of the US Masters. A great competition but it's being run the wrong way!

5. Be creative in your choice of prizes

For example, don't just offer an iPad in exchange for Likes. The current competition run by Mizuno and Luke Donald is a great example. The winner gets to play a hole at Bearwood Lakes in Berkshire, England (that's important as they do not cover travel costs) with Luke Donald and take home a custom fit set of clubs. That is a prize that money cannot buy and it requires the winner to be able to play golf. So they should get loads of entrants and pre-qualified data from golfers, and not just entries from people who like to enter competitions as a hobby!

6. Plan and measure your ROI

Whatever marketing activity that you run, you need to make make sure that it was all worthwhile. Let's face it, in this economy we need to make sure that every penny counts, and before you embark on your competition you need to plan what you will do with all these new Facebook fans and their contact data. Can you measure the value they will bring to your business against the cost of running the competition and the prizes? For example, remember that driver that I won from GolfMagic.com? Well, it was a £249 prize and they had just 28 entrants and I have received no follow up marketing from either GolfMagic.com or the sponsor John Letters - so it's quite difficult to see what they were trying to achieve. On the other hand, the Mizuno competition looks like it has gathered data from over 17,000 golfers which is a very good ROI (even if they are just trying to raise awareness) for what amounts to about 2 hours of Luke Donald's time and three sets of clubs. If you are golf club running a competition you might for example offer a prize of a team in the annual pro-am. But what about all the people who didn't win? How about sending them a follow up email with a voucher for a discounted four ball valid for a certain period of time? Or get your club pro involved and help generate some business for them with an offer related to a course of lessons? Either way, these are measurable activities and will help you to determine if it was worthwhile or not.

7. Keep it simple and keep it accurate

The chances are that any competition that you run will require the participant to answer a simple question or two. If this is the case, make sure that it is possible to discover the answer without too much work. You also need to make sure that the question is accurate. Consider three recent examples: (i) I recently saw a competition on Facebook for an iPad!, that required the participant to identify three pictures from their business page wall. I'm a naturally curious individual so I decided to have a go - 45 minutes later I had managed to complete the task, but I wonder how many people started then gave up out of boredom or simple time restraints? (ii) The Gary Player competition mentioned earlier asks a question relating to the golf clubs that he used in 1965 to win the US Open. Well, the answer can be found on his website, well, actually it can't. His website refers to the golf shafts that he used, but makes no mention of the club heads. So we have half an answer. The competition also fails to make clear if this weeks question is the only one we need to answer, or if we have to answer next weeks as well, or maybe next weeks question relates to a second prize? See what I mean about accuracy and simplicity? (iii) The Luke Donald competition requires you to watch a YouTube video to determine his 'swing dna' - now, in the video you can quite clearly hear Luke Donald and Chris Voshall of Mizuno state that his swing dna is '92 4 3 5 5′ and yet this is not an option in the competition. Now this might just be a typo on the multiple choice form, but what effect does this have on the legality of the competition and the trust with all the entrants?

8. Default landing page

In order to boost the performance of your promotion, make sure that you make the competition app / tab the default landing page on your Facebook business page. You can set this up with a Like gate and our preferred platform, Pheme, has this as a basic option.

9. Data protection

It's important that you want to gain trust with your new fans. So make sure that you publish a data protection and data privacy policy as part of your competition. You don't need to go overboard with it, just make sure that you demonstrate that you will respect the data and ideally that you won't be selling it to the highest bidder. Of course in some countries, depending on the volume of data that you collect, you may need to have a formal process and adhere to local regulations.

10. Finally - promote it like there is no tomorrow

It's amazing how often an organisation sets up a competition and then fails to promote it (think GolfMagic.com). So if you are going to embark on this type of promotion, then use every tool possible. Send out tweets (not just the one), post it to your Facebook wall, run Facebook adverts (that's how I discovered the Mizuno competition), add it to your email newsletters and your email signature strip.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tips and Tricks in Conducting Online Focus Groups

With marketing rese`rch becoming all the rage for up and coming businesses as well as established companies that want to gain an edge on their competitors it is no surprise that people are curious as to how exactly this type of data is gathered. There are various ways that marketing research can be conducted. Selecting what kind of approach to take would depend on your target market, what kind of shopper insights you want to collect and how much time you are willing to invest in marketing research.

In-depth interviews are the perfect approach when you want to truly grasp your shopper's insights. This is a one on one interview between the respondent and the interviewer. A few tips on how to collect the most relevant information would be to identify what business concerns you would like to resolve and to prepare the proper questions that would be most helpful in creating a resolution. Preparation is key when conducting these in-depth interviews. Because one on one interviews consume more time than other marketing research services it is crucial that you ask all the right questions. It would be a shame for an interviewer to invest time conducting an interview ill-equipped with the questions you required to further the success of your business.

Another marketing research technique that has proven to collect accurate data is online focus groups. Online focus groups consist of a website wherein a moderator, a number of respondents and observers can exchange thoughts, concerns and answer questions. It would be advisable to select a moderator that is specialized in conducting marketing research because he or she will be the one that creates a sort of discussion guide, which will be the topic in the focus group. Having a user-friendly online focus group is also a plus. If the manner in which the focus group is conducted is too profound, some respondents may be intimidated, resulting in a counterproductive group.

Recruitment of respondents is also a very important aspect of conducting any type of marketing research. You may have the right moderator and interviewer, but if you recruit respondents outside of your target market the information that will be collected will be invalid. If you are conducting more than one focus group, it would be helpful to be given some type of summary of what was accomplished. This allows you to process a small amount of information at a time, which lessens the chances of overlooking something important.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How Choosing the Right Graphic Designer?

Choosing a good graphic designer is extremely important in the development of your brand. There are dozens of graphic designers around and everyone you know will recommend someone.

When desk top publishing became popular, suddenly everyone was selling themselves as a graphic designer. Make sure to work with a designer who has had formal graphic design training at a reputable institution.

Spending some time to choose the right person will really pay off in the end. Look for a designer who has done work in your area of focus. If you are marketing a food product, make sure to choose a designer who has packaging, and in particular, food packaging experience. Packaging food is quite different from packaging electronic equipment! Most designers will gladly send you their portfolio for your review.

I recommend starting with three designers and narrowing it down to one. Make sure to have a conversation with each designer to see if you feel aligned to work with them from a personal chemistry standpoint.

How to find a graphic designer?

Start with your network and ask friends or colleagues who have done a great job on their brand. Look for design that you like and find out who did it. That's how I found my designer, Megan Hunt.

Every major city has a graphic design association you can call for recommendations. AIGA ( www.aiga.org ) was founded in 1914 and is the oldest and largest professional membership organization in the United States for graphic design. It has a chapter in every state. In Canada, you can contact the GDC, Society of Graphic Designers of Canada ( www.gdc.net ) for recommendations.

If you are tight on budget, go to a local art college and find out who their top graphic design students are.

Pricing design work

Before you speak to a designer for the first time, send them your brand summary. Make sure you are very clear on what you need, your timing, and your budget.

If you don't feel comfortable telling them your budget, make sure you have a number in your mind of what you are prepared to spend on design. Don't waste their time, asking for a proposal before you know if they are in your ballpark. Ask for a verbal price range to make sure they're in your ballpark. Once you know you are somewhat aligned with pricing, you can ask them to spell out the scope of the project, the deliverables, schedule and budget. I strongly advise that you do not make your decision based on price alone!