How to Use Nomination Contests to Connect with Your Customers on Mother’s and Father’s Day

Learn how to engage with your customers for Mother's Day and Father's Day by running a nomination contest. Personalize the experience and tap into the emotions of the occasion.

By Will Blunt ・5 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Mother’s Day (May 8th) and Father’s Day (June 19th) are just around the corner.How do you plan to connect with your customers for these sentimental events?Running a contest is a great way to engage with prospects and reward them for their loyalty and interest. When it comes to these personal events, contests offer your audience the chance to reward their parents with something special.The key to a successful contest for Mother’s or Father’s Day is to tap into the emotion of the occasion.That’s where nomination and recognition contests come into play.

What is a nomination contest?

A nomination contest is just as it sounds. Instead of entering the contest for themselves, participants nominate someone else for the chance to win. In the example of Mother’s and Father’s Day, your entrants would be entering the contest on behalf of one of their parents.Nomination contests can take many forms. It may be as simple as nominating someone to win a contest prize, or it could be something much more personal, such as voting for recognition - mother (or father) of the year, for example.

Tips on how to use nomination contests for Mother’s and Father’s Day

Nomination contests are uniquely different from any other kind of contest. They are much more personal and require subtle changes to ensure they’re successful.Here are some tips for running an effective nomination contest:

Make it personal with photo submissions

The best nomination contests tap into our raw emotions. They inspire people to enter by asking them to share their love and appreciation for the person they’re nominating.An excellent way to personalize a nomination is to require a photo entry. Photos contests are wildly successful because they are easy to enter, and well, people on social media love taking photos!For Mother’s or Father’s Day, have your audience submit a photo of them with their parents for a chance to win. This approach was hugely successful for small radio station KCLD. Their Mother’s Day nomination contest had 24 million views and more than 200,000 entries.The cool thing about these numbers? The prize they were giving away was a simple spa day for a mother-daughter duo, not a vacation to the Bahamas! That’s the power of an emotional connection.Here’s a snapshot of some of the photos that were submitted:

How to use nomination contests for mothers and fathers day

Built with ShortStack's photo contest template. And another Mother’s Day photo contest that took a similar path:

Built with ShortStack's photo contest template. The punchline? Make your nomination contest personal. Photo contests are perfect for this.

Be sentimental with entries

Nomination contests with a photo submission are a way of showing love for the nominee, but your participants can be sentimental in other ways, too.Contestants could submit stories about their parents or a letter of appreciation. Or maybe it’s a simple comment on social media. That’s what Be U Lifestyle thought when they ran this Instagram contest for Mother’s Day:

Nomination contests sentimental entries mothers day

Showing appreciation for someone special with a comment-to-win contestTo enter the contest, people needed to leave a comment describing what they admire about their mom.I love the simplicity of this example. It only takes a few seconds to leave a comment, and anyone that does so will be left feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Showing appreciation to those we love makes us feel good! That’s the type of association you want people to have with your brand.

Make the nominee the hero, but don’t forget about the entrant

Your nomination contest should focus on the nominee, of course. However, you can’t forget about the person who is entering the contest on their behalf.Be sure to consider the entrant’s emotions and behavioral triggers when creating your marketing copy. They want to do something for their mom or dad. So, yes, while the mom and dad’s desires are important, the main focus will be on what the entrant thinks those desires are.At the end of the day, the individuals are looking to show-off how much they love and appreciate their parents by entering them into this contest.This Instagram contest from Dot Badges is a good example of balancing both of these aspects. Note how they label the dad as a ‘superhero,’ a universally powerful compliment for a dad. They also offer a ‘gift specially made for your dad,’ increasing the personalization factor.

Instagram nomination contests for fathers day from Dot Badges

Making dad the hero of your nomination contestThis Mother’s Day contest example from Lambert Jewelers does something similar. ‘Do you have the world’s greatest mom?’ the post description asks. Naturally, people will want to prove to everyone that their mom is the best!

Instagram nomination contests for mothers day from Lambert Jewelers

Making mom the hero of your nomination contestThink about how you can make the nominee the hero of your contest, but be sure to consider the feelings of the active participants, too.

Encourage tagging

If you’re running your nomination contest on social media, be sure to encourage tagging in the comments. This is more of a universal rule for any social media contest, but it’s especially important for contests that are underpinned with a sentimental gesture.Whether you’re asking entrants to tag friends to increase the reach of your contest, or getting them to tag their mom or dad to increase the stickiness of the nomination, tagging others will improve the performance of your contest.I love how Elite Cookware has done this in their Mother’s Day Instagram contest below. You’ll see that they have taken a unique approach by encouraging entrants to ‘tag a friend who is like a mother to you’ - this opens the door to a bigger audience and limits the restrictions of who they can share the love with.

Elite cookware the mother friend contest Instagram

An Instagram Mother's Day nomination contest that encourages taggingBe sure to encourage tagging if you launch your contest on social media, especially on Instagram.

Follow contest rules

*Boring but important message alert*Contests are meant to be fun, right? Yes, of course. But you also need to follow the rules or risk repercussions. If you don’t abide by the contest rules of your location and social platform of choice, you could have your account banned, or even worse, be in legal trouble.We put together a comprehensive social media contest rules template which you can swipe and use to save you a ton of time. Of course, you should also get legal advice from a qualified attorney before conducting a promotional campaign, just to be sure.


If you’re launching a promotional campaign this Mother’s or Father’s Day, think about using the nomination contest format. More so than any other campaign, this approach has a sentimental and personalized approach that suits these events perfectly.If you do, use the tips in this article to get the best results. And don’t forget to abide by contest rules and other best practices, too.

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About the author

By Will Blunt ・5 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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