Daniel Prindii | How raffles can help your marketing strategy

How raffles can help your marketing strategy

How to run a raffle in your community and what you can learn from it.

Engagement is a term frequently used by community professionals. Everyone is thinking about, discussing, and experimenting with new ways to engage a community. I won’t get into the various points of view, but simply said, engagement refers to how a group of people participate, interact, and work to achieve their personal goals within the community’s goals.

A community manager (builder) will use different tactics, tools, and processes to create relations and interactions in a community. And raffles are one of the fastest ways to do that. When thoughtfully planned and implemented, raffles can provide valuable insights into the members of a community.

What are raffles?

Let’s refer to Wikipedia:
“A raffle is a gambling competition in which people obtain numbered tickets, each of which has the chance of winning a prize. At a set time, the winners are drawn at random from a container holding a copy of each number. The drawn tickets are checked against a collection of prizes with numbers attached to them, and the holder of the ticket wins the prize.”

Or in simple words, a raffle is a time-defined competition with prizes where people will participate by showing their intent via ticket acquisition, commenting (engaging in the activity) or donating.

An engaging raffle will bring joy, and opportunities to discover other community members and build that “sense of community” together with your members.

How to create a raffle in your community

With a bit of planning and research, it is fairly easy to start a raffle.
Here are a few tested guidelines for your initiative:

  • Have a dedicated space for it, like a channel on Slack or Discord, where people can participate. This will help you keep track of the participants and will keep the main channels distraction-free.

  • Create the messaging. You will need a launch message, where you will add all the details (how long will the raffle last, what are the prizes, and how can people participate) and reminder messages.

  • Decide the prizes. If you are managing a product community, you can offer free subscriptions, discounts or similar. Furthermore, you can offer partners’ services or event tickets. (I’d love a raffle with Taylor Swift tickets).

  • Decide the rules. Have clear indications of how to participate. This can be by commenting, sharing a story or images, etc. Make sure to remind people what is happening if they participate multiple times. (you can count them every time, or only once). Have a rule in case someone wins two or more raffles.

  • Decide the topic/theme. A good theme will increase your chances to have members engage in the raffle. Aim for topics that can be fun and educative and have the potential to reach a larger audience. Be careful when selecting topics related to or close to religion, customs, identity or regional sensibilities. For example, don’t ask for meat recipes when it’s possible to have vegetarians or vegans in your community.

  • Have a calendar for reminders. You will need to remind people about the raffle constantly. For example, if your raffle is a month-long, a reminder every week is enough. This is necessary for big communities with over 500 people. My recommendation is to test the frequency of your messages and see the feedback from the community.

  • Be active as an organizer. Be present in the conversation, chat with people, and support them.

  • Be transparent with the documentation. Keep a document where you can update every entry in the competition, and edit the winner list and other important information. Make the winner extraction transparently, like having a live video or a video recording where every entry is clearly shown.

How can a raffle support your marketing strategy?

Now that you have a few tested guidelines about creating raffles, let’s talk about how they can help your community and marketing strategies.

Repurpose responses into various content assets

One of the main ways is that a raffle will generate content in your community. For example, you selected as a raffle topic “Summer reads”, and members are posting images with their books in different locations. Easily, these posts can be transformed into Instagram Stories or Carousels.

But before posting, ask each person privately for their permission for you to post. (If the answer is yes, ask for the Instagram handle, so you can tag them). Moreover, make sure the images are good for social media (they are General Audience level, with no advertising to guns, tobacco, alcohol, or other brands) and in line with your brand.

Promote your partnerships

Raffles can be a good opportunity to share and announce your partnerships. Ask your partner to offer discounts or free subscriptions, and choose a topic that can be relatable to the partner’s activity domain. It doesn’t make sense to have holiday ideas as a raffle theme when your partner is offering a discount on a productivity SaaS, for example.

For a more technical community, offering early access to new features of your product will have more traction, and you’ll win a few beta testers.

Gain insights into the community

You can discover new things about the members and have new starting points for future research efforts. Generally, people are sharing insights into their habits and preferences in a non-intentional way. A good manager is one who knows how to use the available information and reframe it in a way that will bring value to him. The best research results are obtained when you least expect it.

Takeaways

An engaged community is a mix of people, activities, and goals. Starting your community-building path with a clear plan can help you in the long run.
To recap, a successful raffle will:

  • Have rules and guidelines, which are important for a smooth experience,

  • Have a carefully selected topic (it should bring people together, not antagonize them)

  • Be a great source for user-generated content to promote your community on other channels, but mind the permissions

  • Be a way to promote partnerships (an option to consider, not a must-have).

In the end, a raffle will help you create new connections between members and surface new ideas for the community.
Remember that most of these connections will happen “behind closed doors”, a.k.a. in private messages, and it will be difficult for you, as community manager, to control everything.

But, that’s the fun of a community: meeting and connecting with people you didn’t think you’d connect with.

Photo by Dylan Mullins on Unsplash



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Daniel Prindii

Community Designer. Marketing Strategist.

Art Historian. Photographer.

Cluj, Romania/ Vicenza, Italy

danielprindii [at] pm.me

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