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10 Tips To Get More Contestants To Your Beauty Pageant

07, January 2023


Any pageant organizer knows that finding contestants to enter your pageant (and pay for their entry fees) can be one of the most challenging tasks for organizers.  Your pool of contestants makes up the face of your pageant, and the quality and quantity of your contestants can make or break the success (and profitability) of your event.

Here are ten tips you can use to help drive more contestants to your beauty pageant.

1. Prioritize What You Need To Start Recruiting Contestants

Creating a timeline for the planning and execution of your pageant is paramount and contestant recruitment should be one of the most essential steps in planning your event.  It may take an entire year to plan a large pageant and you should be focusing on recruitment as early as you possibly can.  

While there are a lot of moving parts (venues, sponsors, tickets, etc) consider prioritizing exactly what you might need to start contestant recruitment.

At a minimum, this could include:

  • The prize offering

  • A website/landing page

  • Payment processing for entry fees

  • Entry requirements

  • Rough date/time of the event

Recruitment efforts should only get easier as you have more information (sponsors, venue, etc) but focusing on the bare minimum you need to start recruiting can get entry fees and contestants flowing as quickly as possible.

2. Streamline & Digitize Your Pageant Signup Process with Sales Funnels

Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields. Photo: Miss America Organization

The pageants of the 1970’s might have been successful without websites, but these days they are a necessity and can help you automate much of the signup process making it easier for contestants and your administrative team.

Consider adopting the same strategy commonly used in online sales and use sales funnels to help push contestants further through the signup process.  In this case - this means that instead of sending contestants you reach out to via email or advertising efforts directly to the payment form (which may be long and complicated) you first capture their email address, phone, and name which makes for a much easier sell upfront.

From there - you can follow up with that contact through automated email outreach and have a better chance of converting them to contestants down the line.

A funnel for a pageant may look like this:

  1. Potential contestant reaches a landing page just capturing name, email, phone number.  

  2. After filling out their information the user is added to an automated email list which sends an email out weekly with information as well as a link to the actual pageant signup and entry fee page.

  3. Potential contestant (after a certain amount of time) decides to sign up for the full pageant and visits the link to your full pageant signup page & entry fee form

The main benefit this provides is the ease at which users will enter the top of your sales funnel which can help you have a larger pool of potential contestants.

3. Create A List Of Potential Contestants To Reach Out To Personally

A pageant doesn’t need 500 contestants to be successful (or profitable) so building a hyper-targeted list of potential contestants to reach out to via social media or email can be a very valuable use of time.  In this case - you’ll want to find potential contestants who might fill some of the following qualifications:

  • Have competed in a pageant in the past 3 years

  • Live within or around the geographic area of the pageant

  • Fit any pageant entry requirements

  • Are potentially active within the pageant scene online/via social media

There are dozens of ways to locate these types of contestants but you might find some success using the following methods

  • Look for similar pageants on Pageant Planet (using our beauty pageant search) located in the same area of your event.  Review the past contestants there and add them to your outreach list.  You can even contact them directly through Pageant Planet.

  • Review the Facebook pages of these local pageants and review who may have followed as a contestant for past events.  You can message these potential contestants directly through Facebook.

  • Review the hashtags used on Twitter or Instagram for previous pageants in your area - you can reverse engineer who used these and also reach out to them through these social media platforms.

  • Look for contestants directly on pageant planet using our contestant matching service.

4. Make Sure You’re Offering A Worthwhile Prize to Winners (and Tell Them About It)

Your prizes for the pageant winners are always going to be a major draw for potential contestants.  In addition to entry fees, the contestants need to spend a large amount of time and money preparing for the event and offering a prize that makes all this worthwhile for the contestant is going to have a direct impact on your recruitment efforts.

While monetary or scholarship prizes are often the main draws of the event (and harder to fund) make sure you are clearly showing contestants the other benefits of your pageant - this can be:

  1. Upcoming events contestant winners might host

  2. Deals with potential sponsors (beauty, clothing, skincare, makeup)

  3. Photography sessions

  4. Partnerships with charities, non-profit organizations

Whatever your prize may be - make sure all of your marketing materials going to contestants clearly define what they can expect as a winner of your pageant.

5. Consider Financing Options For Collecting Entry Fees

Collecting your entry fees can be one of the biggest roadblocks to securing contestants and making this process as smooth as possible can help get more contestants through the door.  A surprisingly easy option to streamline this step is to provide financing options to your contestants - this can spread out the initial entry fee payment for your contestants as well as get funds through your door to help plan the event.

Using Pageant Planet’s Pageant Management Software you can easily offer 0% financing to all of your pageant contestants.  Our easy system removes the hassle of setting up your payment processing and financing on your own and gives you a proven method to offer financing to your contestants.

6. Promote Your Pageant Across Major Pageant Networks

In addition to our pageant match services Pageant Planet also offers a number of advertising options for your pageant.  Coupled with an effective sales funnel (as described above) you can very quickly take advantage of not only our website but our social media accounts as well in order to spread the word about your pageant.

Take a look at our various pageant advertising offerings and if you’re looking to schedule a demo you can contact our team directly to get started.

7. Run Low-Cost Social Media Ads To Landing Pages

Sending ad traffic via social media directly to your entry fee page is most likely not an effective way to drive signups.  For advertising on social media platforms you generally want to drive your traffic higher up in the sales funnel (ie just capturing a name, email, phone).  

Focusing traffic from social media ads to this page can be much more effective.  You should especially focus on keeping your target audience as accurate as possible - take the following into account when setting these up:

  • User location

  • Activity on other pageant pages, accounts

  • Likes/follows on similar pageants, accounts

  • Age and gender for entry requirements

In this case, starting these ads early on and tracking your budget and signups can make sure you are gaining traction here instead of needlessly spending money on social media ads.

8. Cross Promote with Local Companies & Organizations

While also a prime target for potential sponsorships, reaching out to local beauty pageant suppliers or potential sponsors can be a great way to build your audience.  Start here by looking at who may have sponsored other pageants in your area in the past (check the pageant websites) and additionally do your own research in your area.

You might want to look for:

  • Beauty salons

  • Nail salons

  • Dress makers

  • Clothing designers

  • Skincare products

  • Makeup products

  • Photography studios

  • High Schools

  • Middle Schools

  • Dance Studios

  • Cheerleading Squads

For these locations that may be physical (ie salons, dress stores, etc) approaching them directly can be very effective.  Make sure to bring a flyer or similar handout you can leave at their location and if they do have a digital location (or social media) consider seeing you can work with them across those platforms as well.

9. Consider Offering Recruitment Bonuses To Other Contestants

Your contestants will always be the most excited to share news and announcements about your pageant, so why not take advantage of that energy?  Chances are your contestants know many more potential recruits in their age range and offering already signed-up contestant recruitment bonuses can help take advantage of this audience.  

This can be structured similarly to an affiliate program and depending on your recruitment goals and entry fees it can be worthwhile to calculate what kind of bonus you can give any contestant recruits.  

For example - you can offer 15% off your entry fee to any contestant that successfully helps you recruit and signup another contestant.  

10. Buy Contestant Leads Directly Through Pageant Planet

Each week Pageant Planet gets approximately 500 contestants looking for pageants to join in  their area and by creating a director profile you can easily message these potential contestants through this platform.  Pageant Planet has even published a case study of exactly how many leads pageant directors have recruited through our platform and what the costs were.   

If you are looking to get an idea of eligible contestants in your area before purchasing a lead package you can view our contestants directly from our platform.  You’ll be able to filter contestants by country or state, pageant won or competed in, and more.

Do you have any clever ideas you used to find more contestants for your pageant?  Feel free to comment below and we’d love to include them as well as provide you credit for your idea.  


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