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Harvest New Founders Interview: Wildfire Promotion Builder

Wildfire Promotion Builder is connecting businesses with the technical tools and know how they need to run successful contests in a wired world. Wildfire Promotion Builder allows user to create and monitor contests on their own websites and on all of the most popular social networking sites from one place. Their team is bringing sweepstakes and Web 2.0 together with smashing results. We had a chance to speak with founders Alain Chuard and Victoria Ransom about how to run a great contest and the reality of what you consume when getting a successful startup off the ground.

Contests and sweepstakes are nothing new. What does Wildfire Promotion Builder offer that puts a new twist on this old idea?

We add a new twist in two ways. We enable companies to run promotions, contests, sweepstakes, giveaways and coupons that are integrated with the viral features of social networks. Friend invites, activity streams and notifications are a far more powerful way to spread the word about a campaign than running it via a company website alone. Through social media, every person that enters your promotion, potentially scores of their social network friends will heard about it via friend invites, newsfeeds and other viral tools. Secondly, we provide a turn key solution for companies to create and manage interactive promotions both within social networks and on their websites. Instead of having to spend a great deal of time and money to create your own custom micro-site or social network application to run a promotion, you can create an account with us and follow six simple steps to have your own attractive, branded promotion up and running within minutes.

What value do you feel time tracking brings to the Wildfire Promotion Builder team? How has Harvest helped in this area?

We have a very global, dispersed team with members in a variety of different time zones and continents. Unlike teams where all people are located in the same office, it’s not easy for us to keep track of when people work and what they’re working on. Harvest makes this process seamless. It would be much harder to manage our team without it! On top of that we love the Harvest UI. It’s intuitive and beautiful!

Statistics and metrics are a huge advantage to online marketing and research. What specific stats do you think a small business owner should watch to learn the most from?

Running promotions via our technology, business owners can gather all sorts of data that can be extremely useful to them as they work to optimize their online marketing activities. For example, they can identify which kinds of users were most influential in ‘spreading the word’ about the campaign, what what kinds of users were most responsive and which viral channels were most effective. They can also gather a wealth of valuable demographic data about their entrants such as average age, gender, interests and political affiliation.

What is the number one factor that will make a giveaway or sweepstakes promotion successful?

It’s really hard to narrow this down to one factor, but there are a few things which we consider very important.

  • Make the campaign social by offering a prize that can be shared among several friends,  because this will encourage entrants to spread the word about the promotion to people they know.
  • Offer an attractive prize. Naturally, the ‘cooler’ the prize, the more likely it is to generate interest.
  • Plant a large initial ‘seed’ of entrants. In order for your campaign to spread, you must encourage as many initial entrants as possible so they can spread the word to their friends, who spread the word to their friends and so on.
  • Make it easy to enter. Only ask for necessary information in your entry form. The more fields that people have to fill out, the more likely it is that they’ll drop out.

One of the greatest things about Wildfire Promotion Builder is how many platforms and outlets you can access in one place. What were some of the logistical issues you had to deal with setting up Wildfire Promotion Builder?

Yes, this has been quite a challenge. Making our technology flexible enough so that it could be integrated with multiple social networks, while still ensuring that it is simple to use and provides creative flexibility, has been a challenge. We have a crack team of developers working with us, several of whom are world-recognized Ruby on Rails coders, to come up with a solution that is both simple and scalable.

What are five things you have enjoyed consuming lately?

My life recently has mostly consisted of many hours in front of my computer and multiple all-nighters, so I’m sad to say that coffee and Diet Coke are the most common things I’ve consumed lately! I did manage to see Slumdog Millionaire, which is an awesome movie and I recently discovered the series Big Love on iTunes which is a really unique concept for a TV show, but I like it a lot. I’ve just signed up for Deelish! which is a gourmet, ready-made-meal service which has certainly improved the quality of my meals. I’ve also enjoyed ‘consuming’ my brand new Burton ‘Custom 62’ snowboard, though, thanks to the terrible snow conditions in Tahoe this season, not as much as I would have liked.

We want to thank Alain and everyone at Wildfire Promotion Builder for taking the time to speak with us, and welcome them to the Harvest New Founders family. We’re excited to see this idea take off in a big way, and they are definitely someone to keep a sharp watch on.

To help companies get on their feet, The Harvest New Founders Program gives one year’s subscription of Harvest time tracking service to a new company each month. Think you might be a good fit for our New Founders Program? Learn more and apply.

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