When picking one of the many smart link providers for your artists, looking beyond their core functionalities is key. Functions that help drive important marketing goals – like saving music, or DSP follows –  are of special interest. With that in mind, smart linking and music marketing platform Feature.fm has just launched a new contest feature which will be interesting for many artist teams.

The new tool allows artists and their teams to create prizes and incentives for the fans who take specified useful actions, where each action undertaken by the fan earns them points. ‘Viral’ competitions are not necessarily a new invention in the smart link space – however Feature•fm‘s iteration on it provides some distinct advantages.

How it works, and setting up contest rules

Feature•fm’s Chief Commercial Officer Daniel Sander says that simplicity is key: “The value here is that any artist or any label in a matter of a couple of minutes can get a pretty robust contest up and running that allows fans to enter and then take additional actions for additional entries.”

Let’s look into some more detail. Whether you’re on an Artist or Business account, when setting up a smart link, you can simply choose the “contest” version available. You’ll then be guided through all the steps needed to activate the contest: Details, Registration, Actions, Referral, Social, and Sharing.

On the Details level, you’ll be able to define the URL name, upload an image and include a description of the prize(s). The Feature.fm team recommends you include plenty of detail on the prizes you’re going to give away, so that fans are tempted and know what to expect. The colour scheme can be personalised, and an image – or even a moving gif – can be uploaded as the background, to create a branded experience for your artist.

Competitions need to be worded carefully, and Sander says the team has put a lot of focus on providing teams with default contest rules due to the highly regulated nature of sweepstakes, so that it’s very easy for them to launch a competition. There are a few options available here. One of them is the default rules template which most artists will rely on, and they’re available while setting up the contest.

Feature•fm will automatically generate all of the appropriate contest rules based on the details you have previously provided whilst setting up the contest. By default, contests will open globally for people who are 18+ years old. If you’d like to change anything –  like only making a contest available for certain territories – you will have to enter your own contest rules link. For these more segmented contests, you’ll  agree to be responsible for managing it – Feature•fm simply provides the rules and technology to carrot it out in this instance.

Deciding what you’d like fans to do to take part

The next step is to customise the actions you want fans to take in return for entry – or multiple entries – to the competition. Fans will initially have to connect to participate, which they can do via email, Spotify or Facebook and you’ll get all of the email addresses of those fans. You’re also able to customise how many competition entries a fan will be rewarded with for connecting via certain methods, which can push fans towards your preferred route of authentication.

Once connected, fans will be presented with the different actions they can take to earn additional competition entries. You can get creative here: you can add buttons, for example, to get fans to visit any landing page that you want them to visit – perhaps an artist’s merch store, concert tickets, or a new music video.

There are also in-platform actions available for Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Soundcloud – where you can ask fans to follow or subscribe, and save or add music to their libraries. (Feature•fm says there are plans to integrate pre-saves as an option in the future too.)

There is no limit to how many of these actions you can include in a contest – and you can assign different entries to each action. Finally, there is also a referral action you can set up. Here, fans will get a unique URL for them to share – and for every person they refer, they can get extra competition entries.

Accessibility on Feature•fm’s various tiers

The competition feature has just launched for the Pro Artist and Pro Marketer tiers, but in the next few weeks, versions of it will appear for every tier. Free users, for instance, will have access, but with some restrictions on how many actions can be added. All paying customers will have access to all the actions.

Once a contest is launched, users also receive analytics. These are statistics of how fans are engaging with the contest, in what timeframe, which marketing channels they are coming from, and which actions they are visiting the most. Importantly, while you will see a list of all entrants and how many entries they have. Having the most entries does not mean the fan will win – this distinction was important to Feature•fm as they wanted the system to allow everybody to have a chance of winning based on participation.

Feature•fm also gave early access to the tool to certain customers. For example, AWAL recently used it  to promote American country singer RaeLynn, and AWAL Digital Marketing Manager Shelby Schumitzky found it useful: “Utilising Feature.fm’s new contesting link allowed myself and the rest of the RaeLynn team to seamlessly centralize fan acquisition for a giveaway across streaming, socials and user generated content! This giveaway via the FFM contesting feature was a huge success for artist RaeLynn and culminated in her crossing 100M streams for her most recent album, Baytown!”

Alternative platforms and comparisons

There are a few alternatives in this space, and Feature•fm has a competitive offering. With Linkfire’s competition option, you can currently only choose between three different actions – and there is no point-based incentive for the fan to undertake several of these actions. When compared to ToneDen, Feature•fm may perhaps be more convincing to you if customisability, in terms of branding, is important. Tunespeak does have more features, and is a managed service, so there’s less work for the artist’s team, – but it’s also a pricier solution. So if what you’re looking for is an accessible, customisable solution, Feature•fm is worth a closer look.

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