Sitting in between the Evergreen Funnel and the High Ticket Funnel is the Mid-Grade Funnel. This is actually a great contest funnel for most businesses and is exactly the “sweet spot” between cost and value.
When would you want to run a “Mid-Grade” funnel?
- When you want a bigger pop then you’d get with the Evergreen funnel.
- When you have a little bit of a budget, but not a $5k+ budget.
- When you want all your emails to be qualified.
- When your product is in a niche that doesn’t have mass appeal. (For example, if your products only appeal to golfers.)
Pros of the Mid-Grade funnel
- Get emails in a short amount of time (as opposed to the Evergreen funnel).
- Not super expensive to run.
- Emails you capture are more qualified.
- Won’t generate as much virality as the High Ticket funnel.
Picking a prize.
For Mid-Grade funnels I like to pick prizes with high purchase intent. You do this because you know the viral sharing won’t be as high because it’s a more niche product. For example, let’s say your product is a year’s supply of tennis balls. This is a great prize that will have a lot of appeal for tennis players, but when the tennis players share your contest, you will only attract other tennis players. This means less emails, but they’ll be more qualified emails.
For more help on prize selection, check out this article.
Finding sponsors and/or partners for your prize.
The Mid-Grade funnel is great for partnerships and sponsors, especially if you can find partners within your niche.
Tyler Lai of Avant Photo gave away a portfolio critique from top beauty photographers. He was able to get this prize by networking with each photographer individually and providing them value. He interviewed each photographer for his magazine and then gave each photographer publicity within his monthly magazine. By creating these “warm connections” he was able to offer this amazing prize without paying a single dollar. He did all of this with an almost non-existent audience (started his contest with ~300 emails).
Cold emailing sponsors works as long as you can provide value to the sponsor. For example, you could mention that you will link out to their website, you will give out their coupon as an opt-in bribe, and/or provide them publicity on social media. This works really well when you already have a decent-sized audience as your sponsor gets a more pronounced benefit. Jack and Jenn of WhoNeedsMaps used this tactic to get all their prizes for free.
I highly recommend NinjaOutreach for cold emails as this thing is the bomb. Remember, The KEY IS IN THE FOLLOW-UP!
Great partners can split the cost of the prize and you can cross-promote to each other’s list. Sometimes the final email list of contestants is shared. If that’s the route you want to take, make sure to keep it to 2 or 3 partners, because anymore and you’ll bombard your contestants with emails.
Promoting this type of funnel.
When you advertise your contest, look at targeted groups that are within your niche.
- Reddit Subreddits are amazing for these kinds of promotions.
- Communities in general within your niche (think forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, etc) are amazing if you can make it work.
- Influencers on Instagram related to your product.
- Mailing list blasts (aka rent someone else’s list) — target the email lists of people within your industry.
- Look for a prize that’s reasonably priced — I look at items less than $500 when I’m trying to execute this type of funnel.
- Alternatively, look at prizes that cost you nothing, but deliver an experience to the winner that no one else could provide (for example, getting into Dan Bilzerian’s party).
- Pick a prize with high purchase intent (aka HIGHLY related to your company’s products) but still has brand recognition within your industry.
- For example, if you’re giving away a basketball shoe and you’re in the US, give away Nike not Li-Ning (China’s Nike clone).
- Promote this type of funnel within targeted groups rather than a “spread it everywhere” type of strategy employed by the High Ticket funnel.