A successful marketing strategy is one that uses many facets and platforms that are available to them, both online and offline. Holding online sweepstakes or a giveaway is an easy marketing tactic that can be promoted across multiple marketing platforms, from social media to radio commercials.
Because of their mass appeal (everyone loves free stuff!), giveaways and sweepstakes are a great way to get more visibility, create a deeper connection with your audience, and spread awareness about your products and services.
Many companies have found giveaways to be as effective or more effective in increasing sales than other types of promotions (such as direct mail or online advertising), so if you haven’t tried this strategy out in your business, now is the time!
Getting Started with a Sweepstakes or Giveaway
The best sweepstakes and giveaways are those that usually tie into a theme or existing promotion. This additional visibility helps it stand out more in the audience’s mind, and they are much more likely to remember it when they think of something related. For instance, a “spring cleaning” giveaway in March and April could make sense for almost any business. Likewise, it makes sense to do a giveaway when you open a new location or celebrate another year in business.
Think about the existing marketing promotions you already have prepared and fit in some prizes in places that make sense. Any area that would be a cause for celebration or serve as a need for what you’re offering (such as an Amazon gift card to buy Christmas presents in early December) will help tie in all your marketing messaging and likely get more engagement.
Do’s and Don’ts When Getting Started
If a giveaway or sweepstakes was successful for you the first time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep repeating it.
Doing the same promotion every month could cause consumer fatigue, and they will begin to block it out or ignore it. This lower participation rate is because they figure since you do it monthly, the next one will come along soon so they shouldn’t go out of their way to enter your latest one.
Vary your campaigns when possible: either do one big campaign once a year that your audience can look forward to or vary the prizes of what you give away if you’re looking to do giveaways more frequently.
Giveaways also shouldn’t be rushed: make sure you take the time to get the graphics, legal wording, and prize all ironed out. Having a speedy giveaway, especially one for a larger prize (like a trip or something worth more than $100), could cause a lot of headaches down the road if the redemption process isn’t clear. Also, if winners have issues collecting their prize, it could also affect your brand’s reputation if they complain about it on review sites or social media.
Meaningful Hard Metrics
The excitement that sweepstakes bring can lead to a lot of big gains in hard metrics for your business. “Hard” metrics are data that can be tied to exact numbers, like website traffic, email addresses collected, or total sales. These exact numbers can help give a boost to your existing marketing efforts, thus helping you meet your regular goals for the month or quarter.
Below are some areas where giveaways could increase your metrics:
- Conversions: through cookies on your site, you can track who made a sale after entering your giveaway
- Email address acquisition: If you are trying to grow your email list for your promotional campaigns, you will be able to see what emails you collected directly from a giveaway form
- Social media audience acquisition: If you’re looking to increase your following on Twitter, Facebook, or other sites, you can look for correlations between the giveaway period and an increase in audience numbers.
- Note: many social media terms of service don’t allow businesses to “require” their audience to like or follow them to be entered to win.
- Website traffic: Whether you host your giveaway on social media or embedded on your website, you can track incoming traffic from your giveaway to other pages on your site.
Meaningful Soft Metrics
“Soft” metrics are occurrences that are beneficial to your brand but are harder to track than hard metrics. This could include building brand trust, sentiment, and credibility. Word-of-mouth through email, in-person conversations, or other mediums are also difficult to track, as it is not data that companies are privy to.
While it’s always good to have hard metrics data to look at when determining the success or failure of a campaign, considering soft metrics can also help evaluate effectiveness. You can look at some customer feedback, such as comments left about the giveaway on social media, to determine how your audience feels about your promotions. However, many soft metrics are nearly impossible to look at from a hard data standpoint and better prove themselves in a longer span of time.
Soft metrics are usually also from a combination of efforts instead of one exact thing. For instance, an airline could get a new customer support center in the United States to handle customer inquiry load at the same time they launched a new marketing initiative with giveaways. All these new projects at once could contribute to better brand trust and sentiment overall in the coming months and years.
Combining Coupons With Sweepstakes/Giveaways
Many smaller businesses often decide between coupons or holding a sweepstakes or giveaway promotion, as they don’t want to overextend their marketing budget. While there are certainly benefits to both separately, such as increasing awareness and desire to try a product, they can also be combined to create an irresistible offer.
Once a user has input their information to enter a promotion, they can be taken to a link or screen that offers them an additional coupon or discount code, just for participating. It might be useful to A/B test types of discounts, such as flat dollar amounts (e.g. $50 off your next order) compared to percentages (25% off your next order). For some industries, one is more popular than the other.
Companies can also experiment with offering a large coupon code sent via email to all the entrants who didn’t win a prize. This can be a consolation prize and also help keep users engaged, leading to a sale. A deep discount is recommended to show your appreciation for their participation and that it’s not a discount given out regularly.
For instance, if you regularly already give new email newsletter subscribers a 10% discount, and that’s visible on your website, it may turn sweepstakes entrants off to have the same discount offered to them that they could have gotten anyway. Consider doing a larger discount or a free item offer that is different from other promotions you’ve done in the past.
Making Your Contest
Setting up a contest as part of your existing marketing campaign can help bring your brand more visibility, traffic, and sales, as well as higher brand sentiment and trust.
When you create an account on Woobox, you’re able to create as many campaigns as you want for free. You only pay to publish and run a campaign. Experiment when what formats and prize offerings work best for your company and make it a priority track the soft and hard metrics to see if this strategy works for you.
Note: While both ‘giveaway’ and ‘sweepstakes’ are used interchangeably in this article, the “Sweepstakes” campaign type in the Woobox software is what best fits what we covered in this article.