One surprising finding of our recent online research on contests is that a majority (65%) of 18-64 radio listeners have tried to win one…at least once. But only 2% actually tried on the day they took our survey. Fortunately, our research uncovered a powerful way to boost participation…

We asked listeners how likely they would be to participate given various means of entry — from “not at all likely” to “very.” And website and email entry top the list:

How likely would you be to participate in a radio station contest if you could enter…  .       ”Very Likely”
ON A WEB SITE 59%
BY EMAIL 59%
BY TEXT MESSAGE 39%
BY PHONE 38%
ON A SMARTPHONE APP 26%
BY REGULAR MAIL 23%

Now, let’s put these numbers in perspective. Do I think 59% really are very likely to enter using email??? No! Respondents usually over-emphasize what they might do in a hypothetical situation. It’s easier to click off on “very likely” to email than it is to actually send the email. (And these are internet respondents, so it makes sense they’d be more web-oriented than average.)

But even given these caveats, what counts here is the big numbers for web and email entry and their big margin over  other means. It makes sense.  After all, it’s almost as easy to enter a station site or send email as click on “very likely.” (And it’s a whole lot easier and less time-consuming than trying to be the 100th caller)!

What’s especially impressive is the impact of online entry among those who have never tried to win a contest. These listeners put even more distance between website and email and other modes of entry:

How likely would you be to participate in a radio station contest if you could enter…  .       ”Very Likely”
ON A WEB SITE 45%
BY EMAIL 40%
BY TEXT MESSAGE 25%
ON A SMARTPHONE APP 19%
BY PHONE 18%
BY REGULAR MAIL 16%

So, the bottom line is that broadening contest entry methods to include the internet has significant potential for expanding the pool of potential participants, even reaching listeners who have never entered a contest before.  It’s all good!

The only “bad” is that way to many stations are overlooking the upside of online contest entry as another way to interact with listeners.