Marketing Madness

Contests Vs. Content, Content Wins!

When it comes to attracting traffic and getting them to sign up for an email or other type of list there are many different options to choose from.  A recent study has shown that one of the most effective ways to quickly attract new visitors and get them to sign up for your list is to host a contest.  It could be held directly on a web page, or through Facebook or just about any other platform and it will still result in a rapid boost to the number of people signing up.

The study shows that when sites hold contests which offer $500 worth of prizes they gain up to 700% more email subscribers than when they aren’t holding contests at all.  These numbers fluctuate quite a bit depending on the specific niche, with fashion and clothing companies generating 11 times more leads through the contest and some professional services companies only seeing about 5 times more leads.

Regardless of where the contests are held, brands who hold them also found that during the contest they generated increases in traffic and interaction on their Facebook and Twitter accounts as well.  It is clear that contests are a great way to engage customers and get them to sign up for your email list, but the question is whether or not they will convert into buyers down the road.  In most cases these contests will draw in a combination of targeted visitors and those who are simply there for the contest itself.  One of the main benefits is that it will get users who are visiting the site anyway to take that next step, and these types of visitors are often easier to convert down the road.

While these contests are an excellent way to bulk up an e-mail list and drive some quick traffic, they don’t do as much to keep people coming back or to directly convert sales.  For that, a site needs high quality content which will engage and help sell the products or services to visitors.  A survey from B2B magazine found that 47% of customer retention, brand awareness, lead nurturing and customer acquisition was credited to having high quality, custom content.

When combined, however, a contest is a great way to build up a list and having high quality site content and well written e-mail content it can draw in a significant number of buyers.  Over the long term this is an excellent way to build and maintain an active list for virtually any niche or industry.

Click HERE for the study regarding contests.  Click HERE for the B2B Magazine survey.

Have you ever used contests to build your lists?  What types of prizes do you offer, and do you find that the contests was an effective way to build a great list?

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Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is the assistant editor of Performance Marketing Insider, and an experienced freelance writer. He writes content for a wide range of sites in virtually every niche, though he specializes in technical writing as well as creating content for the performance and internet marketing industry. Michael was born in Grand Rapids, MI where he still lives with his wife and three children.

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  1. Nice comparison Michael. I think that in the long term, the content will also continue to keep on delivering new email signups where as the contest will only be a short term, one off rush of sign ups.

    Both are great ways to get those all important targeted customers on your list though.

  2. Hi Michael,

    I’m commenting again from the point of view of the common, normal user.

    1. 47% ? This is very surprising. After all that talking about content, after so many sites praising content and saying: “Content is king”… . Now we find out that content is just 47% king (!)It seems that content is not so important, after all. Probably, the same thing with relationships and engagement.

    This is just another example of the so-called “mainstream wisdom”. Everybody talks about content but the majority of players use different cards than content (contests, ads etc.).
    The takeaway from here? Don’t bother too much about what marketers, advertisers, bloggers or influencers say. Pay attention to what they do.

    2. I just joined a content contest. People are asked to provide their best content, to create content so awesome that it will go viral and boost their traffic to the sky.

    This morning I’ve “processed” about 200 posts and shared only 15. 15 posts out of 200! Less than 10% quality.

    Probably we must believe 10% of what we read or watch on the internet (even less for TV or other media).

    Have a nice day

  3. Content is King, Consistency is Queen and Contests, I guess that could be your Knight in shining armour if it is properly executed.

  4. Hey Michael,

    I appreciate that you connected our research on this. However, the point of our research is different. In fact, we advocate that you do NOT use contests for traffic generation etc. It leads to many unqualified leads.

    According to our research, the best way to use contests is to convert your organic/paid targeted into leads. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much content you put in, companies still struggle to convert more than 2-5% of their average visitors.

    According to our research, you can significantly increase your the amount of targeted leads and fans you convert on your landing page with contests. Additionally, you can use free books or discounts to meet the same objective – contests just work the same and work better for different audiences.

    I hope that clarifies a bit 🙂


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