Q: In your experience do affiliate contest work? If so, what are some examples of the types of contest and prizes offered?
A: The well executed affiliate contest can definitely work, but there are many factors that will impact how well the contest comes off.
If you are going to have a contest based on total volume of sales, biggest increase from month to month, or something similar that relies on performance, you may well see a spike from your top performers.
But the bulk of affiliates will probably know they don’t have a chance, and their usual behavior won’t change.
Alternately, I would suggest a contest where all affiliates have a fair chance to win. Something along the lines of soliciting suggestons for how you could improve your program.
You could consider each entry equal or select one as the winner based on a previously determined set of parameters.
This can not only increase your mindshare with active and inactive affiliates alike, but it can also provide you with some great ideas that make your program more attractive to affiliates.
Some methods for making the contest attractive and accessible are an entry without barriers and a contest length that’s long enough for everybody to hear about it.
Rather than ask the affiliates to send entries by email, which can be time consuming to tally, I’d sugest using a service like Survey Monkey, where you can set up surveys (contest entry forms) quick and easy.
Survey Monkey enables you to collect all of the entries online and then export them to a CSV file.
As far as lenth, try something like 4 or 6 weeks. This way, you can plus the contest in one or more affiliate newsletters, and maybe send a solo email about it, too.
The prize is going to be a big key in the success.
I’ve run a bunch of contests, and there are two types that have been the most successful: cash (either a lump sum or a significant commission increase that doesn’t expire) or when there’s a prize for all who participate (magazine subscription or corporate schwag).
When you are giving a bigger prize vs. something to all, I’ve generally seen much better results when I give away ten $100 widgets vs. one $1,000 widget.
Bear in mind, different types of affiliates want different things – try asking your affiliates what they want as a contest prize and giving it to them (within reason).