How to maximise revenue with awards program entry fees

by | Jan 30, 2020 | Articles, How-to-guides

An awards program can be a great marketing and outreach tool for your business or organisation. But have you ever thought of your program as another possible revenue source? 

One of the best ways to create revenue from your awards program is to charge entry fees for the privilege of entry into your program. But, before jumping into the strategy behind entry fees, it’s important to consider whether an entry fee is right for your program.

Should you charge an entry fee for your submission program?

Charging for program entry is a serious consideration. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your awards program offer enough value to charge for entry?
  • Does your brand and place in the industry warrant the privilege of applying?
  • Will the entry fee hurt or help entry quality and quantity?

For example, it’s common for industry award programs to justify an entry fee because they are offering the chance of industry-level recognition and provide significant credibility. In these cases, entry fees can actually increase the number of entries your program receives because the barrier to entry lends even more credibility to the program. 
But if your program is new or lesser-known, or is a nomination program, entry fees can decrease submissions because the value is less tangible. It’s important to think about your potential entrants and whether they will support this entry fee.

How to increase entry submission with entry fees

It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s possible as we mentioned above to actually increase your submitted entries by charging an entry. How can you do it successfully? Offer a mix of discounts and compelling marketing correspondence. 

Discounts to drive submission

If your program has more than one category, and entry to multiple categories is possible, a great strategy to entice people to submit multiple entries is to reward them with entry volume discounts. 

A volume discount is also a way for you to say  ‘thanks’ for their dedication, passion and support. It’s also a way to communicate an expectation, a measurement of how many entries your program is expecting, per entrant, based on averages. Anyone submitting entries above the expectation can be rewarded with a discount. 

Social post for awards program promotionsAnother way to drive submission – and add early excitement  – is to offer an early bird special for all entries submitted by a specified date. 

Good discounts, good marketing

These entry specials are only as good as the marketing that promotes them. It’s important to communicate often with your target audience. Post on social media, send emails to your contact list, and remind all those who have started entries: Now is the time to submit! 

Providing incentives for entrants with discounts is a tried and trusted strategy. But, remember, you also need a good communication and marketing strategy to ensure potential entrants are aware of the incentives.

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