Sweepstakes and contests are great promotions to engage consumers and increase sales. Many brands utilize these promotions serve as a way to secure valued shelf space by teaming with retailers or restaurant chains. An effective enter to win promotion starts with a clear understanding of the goals that the brand is looking to achieve.
Common goals for sweepstakes and contests include:
- Drive sales through specific channels
- Increase brand engagement and social followers
- Incent trial of new products or line extensions
- Collect consumer data and marketing opt-ins
A strategic approach to promotion planning and design will help you maximize the effectiveness of your promotion while ensuring compliance with the regulations that govern them. Before launching a new promotion, there are some factors you’ll want to be sure are aligned with the goals of the program.
- Choose your promotion type thoughtfully. The nature of the engagement driven by each promotion type can vary. For example, an instant win promotion is a great way to drive repeated engagement over the promotion period, generally delivering higher volumes than a contest. It’s a great option if your objective is to drive heavy sales volume during a particular drive time or if you want to build your consumer database. A contest requires more effort on the part of the consumer. Therefore, it will likely deliver lower volume, but if structured and promoted strategically, it can drive organic exposure in the marketplace and most often attracts participants that are more engaged with the brand. This can be an effective way to source user-generated content or to support PR efforts.
- Align the entry method with your audience. It’s tough to get consumers to engage with a promotion if it is not aligned with their communication preferences. Communication preferences generally follow the audience’s stage in mobile adoption. If the audience is regularly using SMS to communicate peer-to-peer, they are likely to engage with brands using the same functionality. In addition to aligning with consumers’ expectations, the entry method needs to be compliant with promotional regulations. For example, if a consumer needs to enter via an app that requires a fee to download, or if the promotion is a text-to-win, then the brand must provide a secondary method for entry to ensure every consumer has equal opportunity to participate.
- Develop and publish Official Rules for the promotion and follow the regulations that govern enter to win promotions. Regulations can vary by state and can change frequently, especially if social platforms are involved. Some states require that you bond and register the promotion, including disclosure of the Official Rules. It can be tempting to use rules from another promotion – or skip this step altogether, but this shortcut can result in unintended noncompliance and potential penalties, fines or negative press if it results in consumer issues. Working with an experienced partner with expert knowledge on the subject will ensure your promotion is structured in compliance with these regulations and also help protect you from consumer issues.
- Offer rewards that will drive the desired level of engagement. Rewards are the part of the promotion that marketers and consumers get the most excited about and thus they get a lot of attention. It’s important to carefully consider not only the value of the reward, but also how useful the reward will be to the intended audience. A trip can be a great prize, but if the winner isn’t able to take time off an hourly paid job, it can dilute the excitement of winning. You’ll also drive more participation if you offer prizes in addition to the grand prize, giving consumers more confidence in their chances of winning. Also, remember if the reward has an Approximate Retail Value (ARV) over $600, it is considered taxable income and you are required to issue a Form 1099.
- Get the word out. The successful execution of any sweepstakes, game or contest is heavily dependent on the consumer’s exposure to the promotion. Depending on the type, audience, objective and budget, this may include media support, in-store promotion or on-pack promotion. Ensure you’ve carefully considered the best way to reach consumers where they are and that the communication makes it simple for the consumer to participate. Consider leading with an SMS short code and keyword in the communication to simplify the delivery of a mobile experience and to enable opt-in for data capture.
To learn more about the essential elements for enter to win promotions, register for our whitepaper on planning successful promotions here: http://info.yaengage.com/ya-enter-to-win-guidelines-and-how-to
Mary Beth Aamot is a Senior Director of Client Services at YA. She works with clients everyday to design sweepstakes and contests.