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Your contest page is the page where people enter your referral program. For the sake of this guide, it doesn't really matter if you are running a referral contest (like a Sweepstake) or an ongoing referral program. Most principles apply to both.

Your contest page will be the first thing people see when they land on your website. Whether they decide to sign up or not it's up to how well you can sell your contest. Some people go crazy on design, others focus on great copy. We leave that to you, however here's a list of things we think should go on every contest page:

  • Clear design
  • Sign up form (obviously!)
  • Contest instructions
  • Show your prizes
  • Countdown (if applicable)
  • Clear terms and conditions

Let's analyse them one by one.

Clear design

When it comes to design, simplicity always trumps complexity: choose a simple, confusion-free design that limits barriers to sign-up. Below, you can see Current's landing page that led to over 600K subscribers. As you can see, both the copy and the design is extremely simple. The lead can clearly see that initial signup is going to be simple, with just two fields (Name and Email) to fill out before they click the sign-up button. This increases the likelihood of them going through with the signup.

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However, a good design is more than just a minimalist page. People will land on your page and, more often than not, will make a snap-decision about whether or not they will sign up.

Here's some quick tips to make your design effective:

  • Use great images of your rewards
    People love images because they instantly create an emotional connection. Ecommerce websites know this very well, which is why they use images extensively. For example, if you are giving away running shoes, show them on your page, from multiple angles, worn by gorgeous models, etc.
  • Clear Call-to-Action
    Your page is only as good as the amount of people who sign up to your referral program. So don't hide your sig up form, instead make it the most prominent thing on your page (ideally above the fold).
  • Highlight words for skim readers
    Most people will skim read your page, meaning they will quickly scroll through the page to see if it's interesting. Highlighting the right words makes sure they get the gist of the page quickly.
  • Remove elements of distractions
    People are VERY easily distracted, especially online. If you want to increase your conversion rate, remove all elements of distractions from your page such as menus, footers, etc.

PS: If you are not a designer and/or a developer, worry not. You can easily find your perfect design from thousands of ready-made landing pages on ThemeForest or create it yourself using Carrd or Instapage.

Sign up form

You need a sign up form so that people can join your referral program and get their referral link.

We might be slightly biased, but we think Maître is the best sign up form for referral programs in the world :) Maître forms come with everything you need to run a successful referral campaign, including:

  • unique referral links for each sign up
  • social buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and 6 more) to immediately share.
  • automated referral tracking with zero configuration
  • users can easily check their status, like how many people they have referred and the rewards they have won

Best part: you can customize text, colors and looks and feel to match your website's. Also, if you don't like our forms you can easily integrate Maître with your existing form.

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Contest instructions

A common mistake is to think that your users know EXACTLY what to do. This is usually not the case; most people will land on your page and have no idea what to do. Guide them. Assume they are kids and your job is to tell them exactly what to do.

The instructions you need to put on the page are about how your referral program works, for example: "Sign up. Share your referral link with your friends. For every 3 referral you get a 20% Coupon code" or "Sign up. Share you referral link with your friends. The top 5 people in the waiting list by Monday 12th of June win a VIP ticket to Techcrunch Disrupt".

Ideally you want to make your instructions as simple as 1,2,3.

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It might seem pedantic or even silly that you give people step-by-step instructions, but trust us when we say it will make a huge difference.

Show your prizes

People want to know what they can win so.. show them!

When you use a Maître form, your rewards will appear in the Sharing screen but only after they sign up. It's better to show them the reward (or rewards) they can win BEFORE they sign up.

By displaying what they can win, people will naturally create an emotional connection with your contest/referral program by imagining themselves using the prizes. Use your best images for this one.

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Countdown (if applicable)

If your contest has a specific deadline, adding a countdown timer to your contest page is a great way to create urgency and improve conversion rates.

The reason is simple: people are extremely irrational when they feel they are missing out.

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Clear terms and conditions

When does your competition end? What are the rules? How is the winner decided? When are they announced?

Your users will want answers to these and more questions so we recommend creating an FAQ section that answers the most common ones. We also recommend creating a proper Terms&Conditions document and linking it from your contest page so that users can read it if they want to.

(Bonus) A/B testing

If you are running a large campaign (and this have a lot of traffic), we highly recommend you testing as much as you can (headers, images, copy, etc). By A/B testing your contest page you can increase your conversion rate substantially, which then leads to more people entering your contest and more people being referred.

Live Example

You can see an example of contest page designed using the principles in this guide here: https://maitre-example-page.carrd.co/