Writing compelling prize descriptions for your competitions

By Lex Haringman

When somebody lands on your competition page, you’ve done something right. Your ad copy, email, social media post – however they discovered your site – got them interested in your competition. Now you just need to turn this potential customer into a real one by convincing them to buy a ticket! Here’s why writing compelling prize descriptions is important…

Your prize description is an important factor which will influence many people’s decisions. It should let them know the following:

  • What the prize is (or what’s included if it’s a bundle of prizes)
  • How much it costs to enter
  • What are the maximum number of entries per person
  • When and where the live draw will take place.

While this is not a requirement, you may want to include a timer on the competition page. The timer feature lets people know when a competition is closing and that there’s limited time to enter. It’s also one of the many features of our Zap Competition plugin.

Here’s some other things to think about when writing your descriptions for your competition prizes…



Make your description clear and feature-focused.

It should be obvious what people can win by entering your competition. The prize’s name should be specific without being too wordy.

For example, instead of “win an iPad”, the prize name could be “win this iPad 10.2 inch 8th Generation”. It highlights the key features of your prize without being too long. If a potential customer is a fan of Apple products, they’re given enough information to know this is one of the latest models.

Your description can further support the prize name by listing more of the prize’s features.

Multiple prizes, one competition?

If you’re offering multiple prizes within one competition, we recommend that you keep the prize name brief by describing it as a bundle. In your description, as well as in your ad copy, you can provide more details about what each individual prize is.


Tailor your description to your audience.

To make sure your prize description is both relevant and enticing, it needs to be geared towards your target audience.

This involves thinking about your audience’s interests and values, as well as which aspects of your brand they find appealing and trustworthy. The features and benefits which would interest your audience the most should be mentioned nearest the start of your description.

Your description should also be keyword-friendly. In other words, include the keywords your audience are likely to search for. The higher your competitions rank on search engines, the easier it is for people not subscribed to your social or email marketing channels to discover them.

It is, however, possible to go overboard with SEO (i.e. optimising your prize descriptions for search engines). When including keywords in your description, keep in mind that your language should remain natural and be user-friendly. The short-term gains you might receive from pumping your description with keywords is not worth damaging your customers’ experience. This history of Google algorithms further shows the many changes the most popular search engine releases to prevent businesses from abusing the keyword system and improve overall user experience.



Tailor your description to your brand.

As well as tailoring your description to your audience, your description should also be consistent with your brand’s personality and voice.

Here’s a couple of approaches you may want to take to appeal to your audience in a way which represents your brand.

A chatty and friendly approach…

Write the description in a way your audience would describe the prize to a friend.

Using too much jargon can be off-putting, especially if it frequently uses terms they’re not familiar with. If you’re writing a description for a competition geared towards motor enthusiasts, however, you should include a list of specs and other important details about the vehicle.

Add Power Words to your description for an emotional response. Common examples of power words are “amazing”, “delight”, “mind-blowing” and “stunning”.

Telling a story approach…

This is where you focus less on what a prize is and why your audience would want to win it.

As with any good story, you’ll want to craft a description which shows instead of tells. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ditch superlatives like “highest quality”, and be more specific. For example, what materials is the prize made from? What specific benefits do they provide? Are the materials known for being sturdy or resistant? Is the prize handmade?

This approach is great for prizes like secondhand and classic cars, or other limited edition items which have an appeal that comes from their history.


Make your description professional and easy to scan.

In this industry, first impressions count. Your prize description is no exception.

Your copy should have good grammar and be free from spelling errors. Poorly written prize descriptions look unprofessional and can damage your business’s credibility. It can also affect readability, making your description hard to understand and fail to communicate the prize’s full value.

You’ve only got a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention and convert them into customers. Research further shows that most users only read 16% of text on a webpage. So lay out your prize description in a way which supports skim reading.



Think about visuals accompanying your description.

Getting the visuals right for your competition is important for making your prize stand out and capturing its true value. It’s also a vital trust signal.

We probably don’t need to tell you that the image included should accurately convey your prize. If it doesn’t, you will lose your customers’ trust.

Check out this Beginner’s Guide to Product Photography by HubSpot for detailed tips on how to take pictures of the competition’s prize. Other tips we suggest specifically for our prize competition and raffle clients are:

  • Use an original photo, possibly with one of your front-facing members holding the prize to show that you have it
  • Show the prize from different angles
  • Make sure the photo is of a high quality or it won’t look professional.


Some further considerations…

No emojis in the competition’s url. It’s not supported in all browsers and some search engines aren’t designed to find them.

If the competition prize is a holiday or event, make sure you are accurately describing the prize. This includes any restrictions and any extras the winner will be expected to pay for themselves. For example, travel to the venue.

If you are offering a cash or voucher alternative to any prize, you must state the value. For giveaways with prizes like a car or bike, mention in your T&Cs how the value is calculated (i.e. using auto trader car valuation service” or “parkers.co.uk car valuation”.

You may also want to hire a copywriter for your prize descriptions. With their experience and expertise, they can guarantee professional and engaging prize descriptions which sets you apart from competitions offering similar prizes. It also takes some of the pressure off, helping you to focus on other areas of your business – especially if the thought of crafting longer pieces of text stresses you out!


Looking to work with a digital agency who specialises in prize competition web design and marketing? Get in touch today.