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Jun 9, 2023

Increase your awards program revenue and submission rate with a simple change 

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An awards program can be a great way to get new business leads and contacts, boost your brand, and, if you make it paid — bring in revenue. How much revenue, however, is contingent on multiple factors, one of them being your submission rate. And while marketing might be the go-to answer for how to get more submissions and revenue, there is a simple change in your awards management process that can help you significantly lift both with minimum effort. Sounds too good to be true? Read on to see how it works. 

A look into the old-fashioned awards submission process   

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the traditional awards submission process. Generally, when you set up an awards program with an entry fee, you can expect the following to happen, regardless of the contest administration software you use (if any): 

  1. People create an account and register for your program; 
  2. They add submissions and start filling them in; 
  3. They end up paying only for the submissions they have managed to complete by the respective deadline, that is, if they make any submissions at all. 

In an ideal world, people would submit all the entries they intend to but in reality, everything is left for the last moment, then life happens, and many entries are never submitted and by implication — never paid. This results in a loss of potential revenue for the awards organizer. Let’s face it — while awards have multiple benefits for both organizers and entrants, submitting an entry for an awards competition is not always a top priority and can easily get sidelined in the case of a business emergency.  

The game-changing hack   

So, how do you turn planned submissions into actual ones, and more importantly, how do you monetize intention? This is where the simple hack comes in — ask your entrants for payment at registration, rather than when they submit for judging or later. The efficiency of this strategy is predicated on 2 factors: 

  • ScienceDirect research shows that impulsive buys account for up to 80% of all purchases, depending on the industry. And while these numbers refer to B2C, in B2B, decision-makers are still human, meaning, they are also susceptible to excitement, loss aversion, and instant gratification which you can utilize by requesting payment at an earlier stage of the application process;  
  • An application of the endowment effect — if your entrants have already paid to register for your program, they are much less likely to squander the opportunity to submit their entries. In the case of payment at registration, your applicants “own” their unsubmitted entries and value them more than they would if they have not paid for them. So, even when we put aside the cost of the entries as such, the perception of ownership will make your applicants more likely to submit.  

As you can see, the effect of requesting payment at registration is two-fold, which enhances the impact on your program, resulting in a better registrations-to-submissions ratio. Or in other words, this specific change can help you get ahead both in terms of revenue and submissions with practically no effort on your part. 

Payment at registration stats & facts 

Still not sure? We have seen how this works in practice. Since Evalato’s settings allow payment at registration, at submission, and after submission, we have a unique point of observation of how these scenarios play out in terms of submission rates. 

So, we examined 1000+ awards programs to find out if you should ask for payment at registration or at submission to increase both your revenue and submission rate. The results were pretty conclusive: 

  • The average submission rate when asking for payment at registration is 91.87%;
  • This compares to 66.94% for payment required at submission.

Our research covered programs with a minimum average entry value of $50, programs with at least 50 entries, and programs with an overall income of at least $20,000.  

So, while no two awards programs are the same, Evalato’s statistics point to a difference of at least 25% in submission rates, depending on when you ask for payment. Additionally, the higher the price, the more significant the difference in submissions and revenue is between the two payment options.

Case in point — Eventex Awards, which traditionally charges entry fees at the registration stage, achieved an unprecedented 99% submission rate for its 13th edition, thanks to Evalato.   

The bottom line 

While a lot goes into charging entry fees for your awards, asking for payment at registration is a surefire way to maximize both revenue and submissions. That is why we recommend it too, and as seen above, we have the data to prove it. The best part? Evalato makes it possible with a simple tweak. That, coupled with Evalato’s embeddable registration form which keeps people on your website, creates a seamless experience for your applicants, boosting conversions and ultimately — your bottom line.   

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