I have been thinking about running a contest for my forums, to launch the new design (Aug 1st). I already have a sponsor who will give me a $40 Joe Blow bike pump. A good floor pump is something that every cyclist should have, and most dont, so this item can apply to all members of my forum, road cyclists, mountain bikers, bmx riders ect.
Im wondering how i should run this contest? My main goal is to get registered members, once registered, i can work on getting them to post by sending a weekly community update.
Should i run the contest for new members only? Thoes who register in the next month, or should i include my current 1400 members, even 50% are not active in the contest? How long should i run it for? Are there any legal issues i need to deal with?
I've been thinking, recently, about implementing a contest, but I've also been thinking that it would be very complicated.
If someone in the US were to win, it would cost me very little for postage and handling, but if somebody in another country won, such as here in Australia, it would cost quite a lot for postage, in some cases doubling the cost of the prize to me.
Because my site is hosted in the US, I think I would be exempt from (Australian) gambling and/or contest laws, but I am unsure.
I think that I would not implement a contest as a first stage in getting traffic to my forum, as I need some inital traffic to be able to enter the contest!
I just recently tried to run a contest with a small price (a custom title, dont blame me, its my forum members ) but after getting crucified for giving out a title, I stopped it.
I think contests are a superb way of getting people to like your community. Maybe not post more, but like it. If you run a contest and someone tells his friend "Hey, on these bike forums they're giving out a free floor pump, go sign up" I am pretty sure you will get a lot of new sign ups...
The question is - Is your site good enough to make them participate beyond the contest? Only you can answer that...