During the '90s, I set up a promotion for a guy who wanted to collect e-mail addresses. In return for the e-mail addresses, he gave away a grand prize: one single mouse pad.
What surprised me was the impressive response he got. I don't remember how many e-mail subscribers he got, but it was significant.
It's doubtful that giving away a mouse pad today would have much response. People are more protective of their e-mail addresses than they were in the '90s.
However, it isn't impossible. I've been running a couple promotions recently for just that type of thing.
Free Conference Tickets
These campaigns, which have a prize of a free ticket to two different conferences, are interesting to look at because both have nearly the same number of displays. That means, roughly, that each campaign has received about the same amount of exposure.
One campaign was centered around a free ticket to the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago. It's nearly a $2,000 value, and the more valuable of my two promotions.
My second promotion is for a small regional one-day conference in Northeastern Ohio, the eMarketing Techniques for Business One-Day Conference. The value of that ticket is $199.
Both were launched roughly at the same time. As of this writing, both have been viewed almost exactly the same number of times. The eMarketing promotion has been displayed 39 times, while the SES promotion has been displayed 36 times.
To be eligible to win either ticket, a visitor must sign up for my newsletter. The winner will find out how to win only through correspondences in the newsletter.
What's striking is that the local eMarketing promotion now stands at over double the conversion rate of the SES promotion.
The SES promotion has an 11.1 percent conversion rate and the eMarketing promotion has a 23.1 percent conversion rate. A conversion in this instance is when a visitor signs up.
That shouldn't make any sense at all.
The SES promotion was much more announced. It was sent around the social media space much more prolifically. And I spent more time telling my friends to spread the word. It's a great deal, after all.
There was one difference, however. My eMarketing promotion featured a bonus enticement. Every person who signed up would also get exclusive access to a long format, in-depth video tutorial, "Become a Success with Google."
The bonus material made all the difference. The chance of maybe winning a free ticket is a long shot. But with my eMarketing promotion, people knew that they were assured to get something in return for signing up.
The recipe is this: Offer some enticing free content in conjunction with a chance to win a special prize.
You see, the special prize is the unique reason to reach out to people in your social media contacts including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn repeatedly. Without the special prize, your social media contacts will become numb to the offer of free content. But a chance to maybe win a special prize might not be enough to get people sign up for the offer.
I also have a trick up my sleeve in the eMarketing promotion. I sent it to about 100 LinkedIn contacts. If you haven't spent much time there, you should. You can easily sort your contacts by region and industry and send them e-mail that way, 50 people at a time. It was easy for me to reach out to people just in northeastern Ohio.
Revising the SES Package
I'll relaunch my SES promotion with the same video tutorial content giveaway for all entrants. I'll also send a quick note about the promotion to my friends around Chicago who would like the opportunity to go to the greatest SEM show.
If you're interested in winning this ticket, check out how here. You have a great chance of winning.
Meet Sage Lewis at SES Chicago on December 7-11, 2009. Now in its 11th year, the only major Search Marketing Conference and Expo in the Midwest will be packed with 70+ sessions covering PPC management, keyword research, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, video optimization and usability, while offering high-level strategy, keynotes, an exhibit floor, networking events and more.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!