Admit it, it’s fun to enter a contest. It’s even more fun if you are a winner, right? Yes it is true. We all love to win. In times past to enter a contest meant you had to fill out a form, send it in and wait to see if you won. It took time, effort and a lot of desire to follow through and what did you get? Usually nothing. Nada. Nilch. It was kind of a waste of time and energy. If you were like me you probably chose not to participate that often. Today, in the age of the digital revolution as marketers we have the ability to capture people’s attention, get them to enter a contest with a simple click and yes sometimes they even win. And the results can be quite significant. You can get people interacting with your brand, company or event. Customers become your promoters, your brand ambassadors and event your content creators. And it can be done with minimal investment. Even a small business and nonprofit can participate without a big financial investment. Last week I participated in two social media contests and I won both. I usually don’t participate in contests because I don’t have time and/or don’t feel compelled to participate. Yet last week I found myself interacting, participating and winning. And what did I do when I won? I talked about it on Twitter, Facebook and now my blog. I promoted the brands that chose me as the winner and shared great resources that others in my circles may find useful. The first contest was a Twitter contest run by @RickMahn through the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/Saint Paul group. I tweeted a phrase early last Thursday morning and by 3:30pm I had won a ticket to a $300 Online Marketing Summit. The other contest was part of a 10-week online course I am taking with @KeithFerrazzi called the Relationship Mastery Academy. I simply had to share the best tip I have received for using Linkedin. I was chosen as on of the people with the best tip and I won Seth Godin’s last three books: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, Tribes, and Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync? Stay tuned, as my winning tip will be featured in Keith’s blog this week. What did these organizations get from offering these contests? The Social Media Breakfast and Online Marketing Summit got a lot of great publicity. It was a great way to get the word out about the conference to a target market of possible attendees. The Relationship Masters Academy used the contest to encourage interaction amongst their closed online community, but also used crowdsourcing to get two pages full of great Linkedin tips that Keith can now blog about while promoting his online course. Finally what did the participants get? A chance to win, knowledge of great educational opportunities and shared resources. And for a few lucky people, the grand prizes! It was win, win, win for everyone involved! As for me, good things happen in 3’s, so perhaps it’s time to buy a Powerball Ticket. Wish me luck!