So, you’re interested in planning your brand’s sweepstakes campaign. Who wouldn’t be? Arguably the most recognizable type of promotional marketing campaign, a targeted sweepstakes campaign can have a massive impact on your brand’s marketing.
Effective at generating leads, exciting new and current customers, increasing brand awareness, and, pretty much anything else your team needs, sweepstakes help brands of all shapes and sizes achieve their marketing objectives.
Of course, before you can execute an effective sweepstakes campaign, you must first develop it. A full-service promotional agency, our team of promotional marketing experts has been planning sweepstakes for nearly 30 years. We have the experience, knowledge, and capabilities to ensure your brand launches an effective campaign. We’ve tapped our team for their valuable insights on how to best plan your sweepstakes for maximum success.
Before You Even Begin Planning Your Sweepstakes
Yes, before you even begin planning your sweepstakes, your brand has some work to do. Most importantly, prior to developing your brand’s sweepstakes campaign, ask yourself a few questions. Aimed to provide guidance, these questions help determine if a strategic campaign is the right solution for your brand.
Why do you want to plan a sweepstakes? What goals do you hope to reach?
Are we prepared to optimize our efforts for maximum success from this campaign?
You don’t have to have a perfect answer for both questions or even either of them right now. Just get brainstorming and thinking about these questions now, and keep them top of mind throughout the rest of your development process. Need some inspiration to get those creative juices flowing? Check out some of our favorite campaigns here.
While incredibly effective tools within your marketing toolbelt, sweepstakes are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, sweepstakes are targeted campaigns, focused on your specific goals and designed to achieve them. At least, the sweepstakes we administer are.
If, after answering these questions, you’re not sure if a sweepstakes is right for you, get in touch with one of our promotional marketing experts for their personalized insight.
How To Set Your Sweepstakes’ Goals
Like any well-executed campaign, your sweepstakes must have clearly defined goals. As mentioned above, a sweepstakes campaign makes for a great tool to achieve several types of marketing goals. Set your brand up for success and set clear, actionable goals tied to your sweepstakes campaign.
A helpful tip, keep SMART goals in mind when planning your sweepstakes. Be sure your goals are always specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Doing so helps ensure you set the best, most realistic goals for your brand.
A few examples of great goal setting before you begin planning your sweepstakes:
- Collect contact information from at least 15,000 new leads during a 2-month period.
- Increase sales by 3% during the first 8 weeks of the sweepstakes.
- Maintain social media engagement rate of 20-25% on Instagram and TikTok for 6 weeks.
As you can see, the goals above clearly state a measurable goal to be completed within a certain amount of time. “Attainable” and “relevant” mean different things to different brands, so use your best judgment here when coming up with your sweepstakes’ goals.
Determine Your Identity While Planning Your Sweepstakes
The last thing you want to do while planning your sweepstakes is develop a great, exciting campaign and then realize it has nothing to do with your brand or target audience. All that hard work and you’re left with a confusing representation of your brand at best, and an unengaging and inaccurate one at worst.
Instead, take the time at the very beginning of the planning process to identify a few guiding principles for your campaign. Some of these may require approval from other departments or stakeholders.
Determining Your Promotional Positioning
“Promotional positioning?” You might be wondering ‘what the heck is that?!’ Basically, your brand’s promotional positioning refers to the tone, meaning, and timing of your campaign’s messaging.
Ultimately, your promotional positioning should closely match your brand’s general positioning. So, if you brand usually takes a helpful, friendly approach to interacting with your target audience, maintain that same demeanor when planning your sweepstakes campaign.
Consumers crave consistency in general, but even more so during times of economic uncertainty. While an exciting promotional campaign might seem like the best time to totally reinvent your brand, try to stay as close as you can to what your consumers know and, more importantly, expect.
Planning the Details of Your Brand’s Sweepstakes Campaign
With your goals clearly defined, it’s now time to begin the fun part. You know, actually planning your sweepstakes. The whole reason you came to this blog in the first place.
Of course, there are countless “details” involved in planning a promotional campaign, especially an effective one. We’ll walk through the most important details to keep in mind when planning your sweepstakes campaign but we highly recommend exploring our Sweepstakes 101 Guide or contacting our team of experts for a comprehensive strategy built to meet your specific goals.
The ‘’logistics,” the “details,” the “behind-the-scenes stuff,” whatever you call it, comprise, arguably, the most critical aspects of your promotional sweepstakes. Failure to build a strong foundation at this point of the planning process and the entire campaign can come crumbling down post-launch.
Timing, Location, and Duration of Your Sweepstakes
Take some time to carefully consider when and where your sweepstakes campaign will launch. For some brands, a national or even international launch makes the most sense, whereas, for others, more regional campaigns perform better.
Consider when the best time to run a promotional campaign is for your brand and audience. Look to the questions below as you consider the timing of your campaign:
- Is there a time of year that your business needs a boost?
- Do you have seasonal or limited-time offers that you want to promote?
- Can you tie your product to a season or event?
Take Gatorade, for example. Obviously, a huge, national brand (and one we’re exceptionally proud to partner with,) Gatorade finds tremendous success in properly timed, localized campaigns.
Launching in regions based on College Football conferences, and just before the season starts, Gatorade executes hyper-targeted campaigns to just a few regions at a time. This allows them to offer a bit more personalization than a larger, national program would (a Gatorade fan in Alabama probably wouldn’t be too motivated by the chance to win BIG10 tickets or gear), while still reaching a large number of engaged fans.
Not only that, but Gatorade nails their promotional positioning for these campaigns as well. Launching before college football officially starts and offering gear and tickets as a reward, Gatorade affirms itself as the drink for college football. You can’t imagine a gameday without the bright orange coolers on the sidelines.
Is it easier to run 3 concurrent campaigns? Of course not. But, it is more effective and both the Pepsico team and our team recognize that the extra work is more than worth it in the long run. Clearly, the Gatorade team answered “yes” to our question ‘are you prepared to optimize our efforts for maximum success from this campaign?”
Winners and Eligibility
You can’t have a sweepstakes without a winner. What’s the point? When planning your brand’s next sweepstakes, pay special attention to winners and eligibility.
What does it take to “win” your sweepstakes? Typically, brands execute a sweepstakes so they can collect valuable consumer information. So, what consumer information does your brand want? What will you ask in exchange for an entry into your brand’s sweepstakes?
Look to your brand’s goals to help determine what users must share in order to win your sweepstakes. However, keep in mind, that the more that you ask for, the less likely people will be to enter your sweepstakes. They’ll get tired and abandon a form, or simply not try to enter at all. Because of this, carefully consider exactly what information your brand needs, and ask only for that.
Similarly, you must also determine who is eligible to enter and win your campaign. Will you take a broader approach and allow anyone to enter? Or will your campaign be a bit more targeted to one region or demographic?
Planning How to Enter Your Sweepstakes
Remember when we said “you can’t have a sweepstakes without a winner?” Just a few paragraphs above this one? Well, you can’t have a winner if nobody knows how to enter your campaign in the first place. When planning your sweepstakes, be overwhelmingly clear about not only how to enter, but when and where as well.
To help you determine the finer details of how to enter your brand’s sweepstakes, consider the following:
- Will you require users to enter on a dedicated landing page?
- Or maybe a mobile app?
- Can they enter on social media?
- Will your audience have to scan a QR code or enter a unique code?
- Will they get an entry if they purchase something?
As with all elements of your campaign, look to your brand’s goals to help you make decisions. If your ultimate goal is to increase your social media following, allowing users to enter via social media makes perfect sense. Conversely, if your goal is to increase in-store traffic, you may want to limit entries and exclude social media.
Writing Your Sweepstakes Offical Rules
Your sweepstakes official rules guide every element of your campaign. The ones you and your fans can see and experience, and even the ones you can’t. If you take just one piece of information out of this blog, let it be this: do not skimp on writing your sweepstakes official rules.
A promotional sweepstakes campaign contains several high-level elements to consider when writing rules. Before your sweepstakes can ever go to market, your brand must first write ironclad sweepstakes official rules.
Your campaign’s official rules must remain compliant with all local, state, and federal laws. On top of that, they must also outline every single aspect of your campaign. How to enter, the value of the prize, what it takes to win the prize or reward, and how winners will be notified are just a few of the critical elements you must include when planning your sweepstakes.
We suggest reading our comprehensive guide on how to write your sweepstakes official rules for even more guidance.
Selecting Your Sweepstakes’ Prize Or Reward
Finally, one of the last items to consider when planning your sweepstakes, the prize. Do not overlook the importance of selecting the right promotional prize when planning your sweepstakes.
To a consumer, the prize is the reason to enter a sweepstakes. In nearly 30 years of administering campaigns, we’ve never met a winner who just didn’t want their reward. Your brand can do literally everything else right, then select a terrible prize and run an ineffective campaign.
While there are no hard and fast rules to define what makes a “good” promotional prize, take some time to consider appropriate rewards for your campaign. Will your prize motivate consumers to participate? Is your prize relevant to your brand or the purpose of your campaign?
On top of that, your sweepstakes prize must also be relatively valuable. We say “relatively” because, “valuable” means something different to everyone, brands included. Instead of trying to find some secret (non-existent) formula to ensure you always select a valuable prize, keep our rule of thumb in mind.
In general, the approximate retail value (ARV) of your promotional prize should be relatively equal to the effort it takes to enter your campaign plus the value of the information your brand receives. Of course, there will always be outliers, like a grand prize, for example.
For even more info on selecting the right prize or reward for your brand’s sweepstakes, check out our blog here.
Let Marketing Resources Plan Your Next Sweepstakes
As you can see, planning a sweepstakes campaign is no walk in the park. With so many moving parts and so many different elements to consider, things can quickly get out of hand.
At Marketing Resources Inc., we’ve been administering promotional campaigns, including sweepstakes, for nearly 30 years. With decades of experience executing engaging campaigns, we know exactly what it takes to take your brand from planning a sweepstakes, to reaping the rewards of one.
Contact one of our experts today to get to work on your brand’s sweepstakes.