6 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Game-Based Promotion


Game-based promotions can be hugely successful when done right. But they’re also pretty easy to get wrong. Good planning can make the difference between a ho hum promo and one that goes viral.  

Getting less than stellar results? You may be making some of these common mistakes when planning your promo.

1) Not Having Your Goals Defined

You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know what they are.  

With so many ways to customize game-based contests and sweepstakes, you need to have a clear idea about what you want to achieve.  Certain types of promotions are better at reaching specific goals. And you don’t want to find out too late that you should have gone with a different one.  

Having clear goals ensures every part of the promotion works towards achieving them. A lack of focus can leave your promo floundering and compromise your ROI.

2) Running a Hit and Run Promo

We’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Hit and Run Promotions Suck.

You engage consumers for maybe 30 seconds as they fill out a form (yawn) and then they’re gone. No repeat plays, no real engagement. What’s the point?

Don’t pour time and money into a promotion that, at best, is only going to get you a few emails.

3) Focussing Your Media Messaging on Your Brand

Yes, improving brand engagement is probably part of the reason you’re running a promo. But that doesn’t mean you should only focus on brand messaging in your ads.

Your media messaging needs to focus on driving people to your promo.  You can put as much brand messaging inside the promo as you want. But unless you get people to play, you may as well have just run an ad and skipped the promo part all together.

To drive traffic you need to show consumers what’s in it for them.  Words like Play and Win, have high value for consumers — so make sure they are in your ad copy!

4) Skimping on Prizing

Don’t build a great promo and then shoot it in the foot by offering crap prizing. Let’s be honest, no one is going to do anything for a $20 gift card. You have to offer appealing prizing if you want consumers to engage with your promo.

Working on a limited budget? That’s no reason to skimp on prizing.  

There are solutions that can help make it more affordable.  Like finding a prize partner.

And you don’t have to offer money as a reward. It’s all about knowing your audience and offering prizes that have value to them.

5) Not Planning Far Enough in Advance

Ever hear that old saying: “Fast, Cheap or Good. Pick Two”? Well it extends to digital promotions.

Promotions take time to plan, design, and develop.  If you wait until the last minute, you’ll limit what you can create. Especially if you want to take an omnichannel approach and integrate the promotion in-store.

Integrating your promotion with your in-store marketing can drive more traffic to your promo.  And it lets you track sales that result from participation in the promo. Plus printing redeemable purchase PINs on your receipts encourages repetitive purchases.

But if you start planning too late, you won’t be able to promote your promo on your in-store assets. And that can significantly hurt your ROI.

It’s better to just start early. Trust me.

6) Waiting Too Long to Book House Media

Similarly, waiting too long to book House Media can result in not getting any spots at all. And that means you could miss a whole group of consumers who already engage with your brand.  

Start early to get your promo on as many of your house media channels as possible. Consumers who interact with your brand during the promotion should hear about it and be encouraged to participate — whether they visit your website or your store.  

Now that you know what to avoid, it’s time to get started planning your promo.