Plus four creative platforms for hosting your campaigns and how to run a sweepstakes without one!
We think most people can agree, at one time or another, you’ve entered a sweepstakes. Perhaps you filled out a company survey trying to win a $100 Amazon gift card, or tagged three friends in a social post hoping for a free pair of shoes.
Sweepstakes are a fun way to engage with your audience and give back to the community that supports your business. They can also be an inexpensive marketing channel that generates valuable leads via increased social media engagement, email sign-ups, and website views. They’re a great secret weapon that you can use again and again (because people like the chance to win!).
Before we begin, let’s get some definitions straight:
- Sweepstakes: a promotional drawing in which prizes are given away at no charge to the participants at random chance
- Contest: a competition in which entries are judged and the winner is chosen on merit
- Giveaway: an umbrella term used to define BOTH Sweepstakes and Contests
- Raffle: a means of raising money by selling numbered tickets, one or some of which are subsequently drawn at random, the holder or holders of such tickets winning a prize
We’ll primarily be exploring sweepstakes, but keep an eye out for contest suggestions later on.
We’ve outlined 4 different budget-friendly Sweepstakes Platforms and why they’re worthy.
1. Best for Multiple Actions & Ease of Use: Rafflecopter
This platform is ideal for simply embedding a giveaway on your website page and requesting a variety of actions from your entrants. Expect to receive lots of social chatter.
In Rafflecopter, you can request entrants to:
Visit Facebook (you may no longer request them to ‘like’ a page…thanks Facebook)
Follow a Twitter account or tweet a custom message
Follow a Pinterest account or pin an image
Comment on a social post
Take a poll/survey
Subscribe to a mailing list
Refer a friend
‘Invent Your Own’ action
Pro Tip: you can invent an action requesting users to follow an account on Instagram or ask them a specific open-ended question like, “What flavor of ice cream should we make next?”
Requesting additional actions increases user activity across multiple marketing channels. You can also allow certain actions to be taken once a day – like tweeting a message. This has the potential to create a flurry of social exposure.
Rafflecopter’s platform makes it easy to add partner brands to increase audience size and scope. You can add endless additional actions on each giveaway, so users can follow multiple Twitter accounts, visit multiple Facebook pages, etc.
Price: Pricing starts at $16/mo with access to a full range of add-ons for $84/mo
2. Best for Partnering with Multiple Brands & Gaining Email Sign-ups: DojoMojo
This savvy partnership marketing platform has only been on the market for a few years, but has filled a large gap where other platforms have failed. Expect to boost email acquisition with this platform.
Dojo has a beautiful user dashboard that allows businesses to ‘email’ each other to discuss media buys, content swaps and cross-promotional sweepstakes (no more searching LinkedIn for the right contact). It’s easy to start a sweepstakes and invite other brands to join, hash out prize details, and discuss promotional expectations. Brands can also search for other brands they’d like to partner with and request inclusion. The sweepstakes templates are simple, optimized, and responsive. Consumers enter the sweepstakes via email and those emails are transferred in real time to your email marketing platform of choice. (You can also manually export them if your platform is not available.)
Pro tip: Request that partner brands only gain access to email entrants once they have sent over a certain amount from their own database. This resolves the issue of multiple brands working hard to increase user sign-up and engagement, and another brand disappearing without promoting the content on their end.
Price: It’s free for basic use of the application and increases to $499/mo for a premium membership.
3. Best for tracking analytics in real time: Short Stack
This platform gives extremely helpful analytics. Expect to track your giveaway in real time and react quickly to promote successful channels.
Short Stack’s real time analytics show you which sources are the most effective at driving traffic. It can also show you when certain traffic came in. For example, did your social media campaign perform best the first day with your site’s landing page or is it performing well overall? This information is invaluable in knowing which channels to promote and how to meet your goals moving forward.
Some of the analytics Short Stack interface captures:
- Number of unique views
- Total number of views
- Number of entries
- Total number of shares
Price: Basic plan starts at $29/mo with several additional tiers leading to $499/mo
4. Best for social media #hashtag contests and photo contests: Woobox
This platform makes it easy to create photo submission based contests, or #hashtag giveaways on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and even Tumblr. Expect to gain user-generated content and build your social following.
Woobox comes with tons of pre-build responsive templates that allow for embedded sweepstakes and contests on landing pages, social media, pop-up forms and more. According to their site, “the user dashboard allows for contests that automatically collect content with a direct upload from a variety of social platforms.”
Curate and moderate image submissions by manually approving and managing image rights in the submission dashboard.
Pro tip: After the contest ends, you can display galleries of your submissions on social media or your website and even create voting polls to celebrate the “Best Of.” (Learn how to properly judge a photo contest here.) This is a creative-forward platform.
Price: Free to start with several tiers leading up $249/mo for their ‘power’ plan
Not quite ready to dive head first into a paid platform? Try running a sweepstakes on your own! Sweepstakes can still be a rock-solid marketing strategy without any of the fancy software above.
Here are some simple ideas:
1. Reward your biggest supporters & remind them about your services
Give away a free service or product to someone on your email list. Create an email letting them know you are grateful to have them as customers and pick one person at random to win.
2. Gain followers on Instagram
Post a photo stating you’re giving away a free product or service. In order to win, entrants must follow your page and tag two friends
3. Increase email acquisition and returning web visits
Host an ongoing sweepstakes on the front page of your website. In order to win, entrants must enter their email address. Try giving away one product or service a month for a few months – did your email sign-ups increase during that time? If you’re driving traffic to your site, make sure it’s optimized for site speed.
Pro tip: Remember to create basic Terms and Conditions for each sweepstake.
Love another platform?
We are always excited to check out new platforms and ideas. Give us a shout at email@example.com and let us know!