For many businesses, every holiday season is a busy time of the year, but finding a way to successfully market your business (in the middle of a pandemic, no less) can be a challenge.
What if you could get hundreds — or even thousands — of your audience members to spread the word about your brand for just a few hundred dollars?
You can, with a contest or sweepstakes promotional campaign.
Contests are one of the most effective strategies to build your brand. They’re also powerful at driving more engagement. You can even add voting to your contest, increasing these benefits by encouraging entrants to share their entry with friends and family members.
But what type of holiday or seasonal contest should you create? The most effective contests are fun, encourage creativity, and related to your brand.
Holiday Contest Ideas for Your Next Promotion
Ready to leverage the power of contests to grow your business? Here are twenty-six unique contest ideas you can use to inspire your next campaign.
Try a contest related to your industry that’s also fun for your audience:
1. Fall Decoration Photo Contest
See how creative your audience members are by asking them to show off their indoor or outdoor fall decorations. Choose the winter by popular vote to encourage entrants to share their photos or video with friends and family.
2. Fall Holiday Selfie Contest
Ask audience members to show off their favorite fall outfit, jewelry, or reaction to the cooler weather with a fall holiday selfie contest. Nearly 93 million selfies are taken every day — now your audience can win a prize with one of their selfies.
3. Teacher Appreciation Contest
Fall is back to school time. Show your business’ appreciation for teachers’ hard work by hosting a teacher appreciation contest. Ask teachers to share a picture of their classroom set up or an inspiring story. If your business sells school-related items, consider offering a prize pack from your shelves. Alternatively, a gift card or funding a project on DonorsChoose can be a great way to show you support teachers.
4. Best Family Group Halloween Costume
For many families, Halloween is going to look a lot different this year. Let families show off their creativity by hosting a fun family Halloween costume contest. Photo contests help drive user-generated content, which can increase social media engagement and drive traffic to your website. Set a theme, such as a movie or a book, or let audience members get creative.
5. Most Creative Homemade/Repurposed Halloween Costume Contest
If your business is eco-friendly, consider hosting a Halloween costume contest made from things around the house or repurposed items such as cardboard boxes, empty juice bottles, and milk jugs. The winner could receive an eco-friendly prize pack or a fun family gift, like a movie and snack pack.
6. Best Pet Halloween Costume Contest
For those with four-legged kids, consider hosting a pet Halloween costume contest. Offer one grand prize as well as a smaller prize for second and third place. Share the winners from your business’ social accounts to make the most out of user-generated content.
7. Most Creative (or Realistic) Face Painting Contest
If your audience leans towards the artistic side, ask them to show off their skills by entering a face painting contest. The criteria can be customized to your audience; for example, an art supply store might ask for the most realistic face painting while a kid’s clothing store might ask for the most creative painting overall.
8. Pumpkin Carving Photo Contest
Ask your audience to share photos or videos of their most creative carved pumpkins. Choose a theme, such as music, books, or a specific artist, or let users choose their own theme. Consider offering a grand prize and several smaller prizes to runners up!
9. Awkward Family Photo Contest
In a perfect world, family photos would feature all members smiling and looking at the camera. In reality, however, things don’t always work out that way. Celebrate those ‘real’ family moments by asking your audience members to share their most awkward family photos. Choose the winner by popular vote!
10. Remake an Old Family Photo Contest
Recreating family photos encourages your audience to recreate their favorite childhood photos as grown-ups. It’s a little weird and a lot of fun. Share the winners on Instagram Stories to drive even more online engagement.
11. Winter Holiday Selfie Contest
If you want to drive sales for the holidays, consider hosting a winter holiday selfie contest. Look for ways to relate the contest to your brand. For example, a book store might ask entrants to share a selfie with their winter to-read pile while an online fashion boutique could ask entrants to show off their favorite holiday looks.
12. Holiday-Themed Pet Photo Contest
Pets are cute, but what’s even cuter? A pet in a Santa costume, wearing a wreath or cuddling next to the Christmas tree. Ask your audience to share their favorite holiday-themed pet photo for the chance to win a prize.
13. Holiday-Themed Kids Photo Contest
If your target audience includes families and parents, a cute kids holiday photo contest can be just the thing to drive brand awareness. Choose the winner by vote to encourage entrants to spread the word about your campaign.
14. Holiday Movie Trivia Quiz
How much do you remember about famous holiday movies? Create a holiday movie trivia quiz to see who remembers the most about holiday favorites. Use the quiz to gather email addresses and ask for permission to add them to your email marketing list.
15. Christmas Carol Trivia Quiz
Who remembers the most random facts about favorite holiday songs? Trivia quizzes are fun on their own, and adding a small prize can encourage even more participants.
16. Holiday Book Trivia Quiz
Businesses in the book or education field can host a trivia quiz based on our favorite holiday books like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and The Night Before Christmas. For example, did you know the Grinch wasn’t originally green? The book was first published in black and white — the Grinch became green in a holiday television special.
17. Fulfill a Wish Contest
Combine the fun of a contest with civic engagement by offering to fulfill the wish of one deserving entrant. Ask people to nominate a person in their life who deserves to have their wish fulfilled.
18. Winter Holiday Decoration Photo Contest
Inspire Christmas cheer by hosting a winter holiday decorating contest complete with lights, trees, and maybe even music.
19. Caption this Photo Contest
Post a funny or awkward photo and ask your audience to come up with an amusing caption. Choose the winner by vote, then share the winner’s post and caption to your social media accounts.
20. Holiday Song Video Contest
Ask your audience to sing and dance to their favorite holiday song for the chance to win a large prize. Pick the winner by popular vote to increase your contest’s reach.
21. Giveback Promotions
Support your local community by offering a buy-one-give-one giveaway. For each item sold, you could support your local schools or charity with a giveaway. For example, for every bag of dog food your pet store sells, you could donate one to a local animal shelter. Share your progress on social media and consider offering a small discount to everyone who participates.
22. Ugly Holiday Sweater Photo Contest
Ugly sweater contests are a popular holiday party game, so why not take it virtual with an online holiday sweater contest? Ask participants to share a photo or video in their best (or worst!) ugly holiday sweater.
23. Most Creative Holiday Gift Contest
What do you give the person who has everything? Crowdsource gift ideas by asking your audience to share their most creative holiday gift, like a book of family recipes or a shawl knit from a favorite dog’s fur (yes, that is a thing.)
24. Holiday Office Decorating Contest
Plenty of people are still working from home, making it hard to show off those fun office decorations. Host a contest for the most creative holiday office decorations — even if it is a home office!
25. Holiday Story Contest (Essay)
Host a contest for the best holiday-related story. It could be a story about their favorite Christmas or Hanukkah family tradition, what the holidays mean to them, or what they are most grateful for.
26. Illustrated Book Contest
Ask kids (or adults) to write and illustrate their own book and share a video of their creation. Select a topic related to your brand or let entrants choose their own. For example, an outdoor sports store could host a contest for the best campfire story, while an education-related brand might ask for books about going back to school.
Create Your Holiday Contest With Woobox
Contests are one of the most cost-effective strategies for driving online attention and traffic to your website. A small business, in particular, can increase their reach by offering a fun prize in exchange for engagement and email addresses.
Once you’ve chosen the contest you want to host, consider what type of prize will attract entrants in your target audience.
An expensive electronic like an iPad is sure to draw tons of entries — but those folks won’t necessarily be in your target audience. Instead, offer a prize that people in your target audience will find valuable. For example, a cake shop might offer a gift card for a free holiday pie, a book store might offer a collection of new fiction books, and a small tax advisor might provide new businesses a free tax consultation.
Need help creating your holiday contest? We can help! Woobox Support is available from 8 am to 5 pm PST, Monday through Friday at 1-360-450-5200 and firstname.lastname@example.org.