See Part one of the Maximising program revenue series for ideas on how to maximise revenue through paid entries.

An awards program with paid entries is a great way to create an additional revenue stream for your organisation.

Another way to maximise revenue for your awards program through paid entries is to create excitement with entry specials. 

Limited-time discounts

For example, you could offer a limited-time discount for entrants based on various conditions. These conditions can be created based on the program data in your Award Force platform, a way for you, as the program organiser, to make data-based marketing decisions to increase submitted entries. For example, your program might have: 

  1. A high percentage of in-progress entries
  2. A large number of registered entrants without entries in the current season
  3. A healthy number of returning entrants who have submitted entries in previous seasons. 
  4. A list of industry professionals who have not registered for your award program

Powered by this information, you can design strategies specifically to engage, entice and excite your entrants. You can create discount codes in your platform to help market and drive entry submission. Here are some scenarios and ideas to consider.

1. If you have… a high percentage of in-progress entries

At strategic intervals, you can create and distribute a discount code to all entrants who have in-progress entries and meet your specific conditions.

For example, the discount could be: 

  • 5% off entries until a certain date
  • 10% off entries in a specific category until a certain date
  • Or a one-time-use 15% discount off the entire cart until a certain date 

By using promotions like this, you can drive the conversion of in-progress entries into paid and submitted entries. After each promotion, you’ll likely see a spike in submitted entries, especially if you create a sense of urgency by applying a  promotion deadline. 

2. If you have… a large number of registered entrants without entries

People sometimes register for an awards program but, for varying reasons, don’t create any entries. If your marketing efforts aren’t working to remind them to create and submit entries, try offering them a sweeter deal with a discount to pique their interest. Create a promotional discount code and send it to all your registered entrants who do not have any entries and entice them back to your program.

3. If you have… returning entrants from previous seasons

Consider offering your past participants a loyalty discount. You can create a discount code and distribute the code to registered entrants who have submitted entries in previous seasons. This way, you demonstrate your appreciation and reward them for their involvement in previous years, while at the same time, increase your chances of yielding higher volumes of submitted entries.

4. If you have… non-registered industry professional contacts

When your program is open for entries, you might want to reach out to people in your industry who have not registered and offer them an incentive. You could create a series of promotional discount codes and use these, periodically, when targeting people in your industry marketing campaigns.

Staged fees

Another popular strategy some programs employ is a staged-fee system, which rewards people with discounts for early submissions, or, commonly, an early-bird discount. Early bird discounts reward entrants who submit in a set period of time, early in the program. Early bird discounts are very useful during initial marketing and promotional periods and drive interest in your program.

See below for illustrations demonstrating a typical pattern of entries submitted when an award program does and does not use a staged-fee system.


Without a staged fee system, there’s a final push close to the end of the entry period as there’s very little motivation for anyone to submit their entries early. However, with the staged-fee system, there are significant spikes at specific intervals as entrants are more motivated to claim the cheaper rate before the price increases.  

Using a staged-fee system can help with promotional and marketing campaigns, too. You have a real reason to remind people, prior to each fee increase, the benefits of submitting early.

Creating a sense of urgency by using staged fees at different times during your entry period is a tried and trusted method to increase submitted entry volume and maximise revenue. 

Making data-based decisions

You can generate genuine excitement and incentive for your entrants by using special discounting and staged entry fees. Study your program and user behaviour to explore which discounting option, or combination of discounts, would work best for you.  

Enjoy this article? Keep an eye out for Part 3 where we’ll share advice on two-stage payments and entrant fees. 

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