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Using Promo Codes and Contests to Drive Engagement and Registration


Promo codes can be effective incentives to entice people to register for your event. The key is to promote them and get the word out that your discount is available. We are also going to discuss how contests can fuel similar engagement and action.

Using Promo Codes and Contests to Drive Engagement and Registration

Time to put on your marketing and promotion hat! We all have used a promo code to get a discount from an online retailer. Sometimes they offer free shipping, a percentage discount, or a dollar value discount for the promo code. These can be effective incentives to entice people to register for your event. The key is to promote them and get the word out that your discount is available. We are also going to discuss how contests can fuel similar engagement and action.

Let's start with the promo code. This is a slightly different strategy than having early-bird pricing, which is available to everyone. With a promo code, you want to be more targeted. This means identifying some groups in your demographic that you can reach out to through a specific channel. Running clubs and running groups are obvious targets. For example, a local group has 500 members. You can offer the group $5 off a $50 registration. Be sure to have your costs dialed in and know what kind of discount will work for your budget. The amount to offer could be as simple as the early-bird price for group members during the entire registration process. The great thing about this strategy is that the club will be happy to share the discount code, along with the link to the entire membership. They are now helping you market your race! Once you get a few registrations from a group, more will typically follow as your event will become the social running scene to be at for this organization for that weekend.

Another great thing about using promo codes is that it allows to you track how effectively the campaign resulted in new race registrations. If a certain offer or message resulted in many new sign ups, then you should look for other groups to make a similar offer. It there was not much of a response, then maybe you need to re-think the offer. Was it enough of a discount? Was the message effectively delivered? Was it sent via email to the membership or posted on social media? Hopefully you can establish a rapport with the group and they will spread the word through all communication channels.

Besides the obvious running groups, there are other groups and demographics you should consider. Health organizations and hospital systems are another great place to get the word out, and give them their own promo code. Does your event benefit a certain group or cause? Are there parts of their constituency that would make sense to offer this? You don't want to create so many promo codes for so many groups that virtually your entire targeted audience might get a discounted entry. Strategically scattering a few well-placed promo codes can significantly impact your registration and get the word out about your event.

At RaceDirector, we are a fan of contests as well as the promo code. Announcing a few creative contests along the way gives you solid content to communicate to your audience, keeping your event on their radar. It could be something as simple as giving the 300th person to register a refunded/comped entry. You could create a drawing for an entry or a special piece of race swag for people who share the link to your event on their personal Facebook page. Maybe one of your sponsors has a prize of some value they can offer. This would also enhance their exposure as a sponsor and drive some engagement and registration. Be creative and make it fun. Do not be afraid to try several approaches to this strategy. You will find that some fall flat while others will have strong resonance. The better you know your audience, the more effective this will be.

We all know how many hats you have to wear to put on an effective race. At RaceDirector, we want to make your job easier as you take off one hat and flip on another. Hopefully some of these tips and ideas will help you wear your marketing hat a little more easily!

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