Ten Tips for Winning A Pet Voting Contest
#1 Choose the right contests and get in early. There are many contests out there and they are only as far away as a Google search. You don’t need to go after the biggest prizes at the largest companies. In fact, many smaller companies often have comparable prizes for less effort and less competition. When prizes are equal, enter a contest with less competition to give yourself a better chance at winning. Be realistic about what you can achieve and sharpen your skills at smaller contests before tackling the big boys.
#2 Read the rules. They’re there for a reason. Don’t be one of the people asking why your entry hasn’t appeared when the rules clearly state there’s an approval period before you can being voting. Many contest do this to avoid spam. It’s understandable. Know how long the contest runs and what the runner up prizes are. If a runner up prize is comparable to a grand prize, it’s much easier to shoot for top 10 than the only number one slot. Make sure asking for votes also isn’t against the rules. Some contests discourage this behavior.
#3 Make your entry worthy of winning. Nobody wants to see the Grand Prize Winner in a photo contest with a blurry photo and bad concept. While this does happen, it’s certainly easier during the voting process to promote something award winning to begin with. An entry with quality also helps you avoid hate mail if you do win. Nothing ruins a victory party more than sore losers flinging nasty comments.
#4 Change your voting requests each day. Asking for votes is boring. Don’t simply copy and paste across the internet. Anyone can do that and nobody really notices when you and everyone else is doing it too. Instead, try making a video, or a photo album, or artwork. Get creative! Tag other groups that you think might be interested in your theme. Contests are often long. Keep things fresh and add interesting elements to gain attention. While people are laughing at what you’ve made, give them a link. You’d be surprised how many will reward you for brightening their day.
#5 Gather your supporters. Unite them in a Facebook group, use a Twitter hashtag, or start a free forum. Using social media is your best ally. If you know about the contest and set this up ahead of time, you will have a jump on the competition. Don’t add people who don’t want to be part of the group even if they can opt out. The polite thing to do is invite them instead.
#6 Make a goal and stick to it. Maybe you want to win for a pet makeover. Maybe you want to contribute to a local rescue. Whatever your reason, make it clear and then support that with what you do during the voting period. Don’t simply ask for a vote. Let people know WHY they should vote for you. Your friends will vote. That’s easy. You need to reach beyond your friends and let others, who don’t know you, why they should vote.
#7 Make a secondary goal for yourself separate from the contest prizes. What do you want to get out of this contest experience? Build a community of animal lovers of your particular pet breed. Promote an animal welfare cause. Start a pet newsletter. Learn for the next contest. Share this goal with your community and find other like minded people to connect with that last longer than the contest. Remember, even when promoting your photo, you’re creating a following. Do something productive with it.#8 Hit the streets. Nearly every sandwich and coffee shop is also an internet cafe these days. Many of them have billboards too. Make a poster and tell them why they should vote. Use Bitly to shorten your URL and include tear of strips at the bottom of your poster so anyone interested can take the URL back to their table. Even better if you can post it by the bathroom. Coffee drinkers will eventually end up there.
#9 Find someone to trade votes with. If you know a friend in another contest and they need votes, help promote them as an exchange for them voting for you. Use websites like Contest Galaxy to find others who need votes if you don’t have a friend that needs them during your contest. As we mentioned before, make sure trading votes isn’t against the rules. Some contests discourage this behavior.
#10 Don’t forget to be yourself. Don’t make voting your life during this time. If all you talk about is winning, it will get boring fast. Reward those who are voting for you with whatever makes them smile. If you find you’re obsessing over the grand prize, try to think about your secondary goal and focus your energy on that. Remember that’s YOUR prize and nobody can take that away.
If you’ve won the contest, congratulations! Don’t forget to thank your faithful voters and point out significant contributions along the way. Be sure to post follow up information on how you carried through with your prize if you had a goal they were in support of. Show them your pet makeover or your check in the hands of the rescue workers. Also, be prepared for a fallout. I got a lot of hate mail after I won a large contest. Don’t take anything personally even if they try to make it personal. Don’t entertain them with a response. Ignore hate mail and keep your chin up.
If the contest is over and you didn’t win, don’t be a sore loser. Don’t talk about how the contest was rigged, the company is bad, or the winner is terrible. Thank your faithful voters and don’t forget to support them in the future. Send them something fun or funny to keep them smiling and keep your spirits up as well. Congratulate the winners if you know them. Your competitor in this contest might be your supporter in the next one and they might give you tips on how they won this round. Learn from them. Don’t forget your secondary goal. Did you achieve it? Then you’re already a winner. Congratulations and good luck in the future!
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