Congratulations, your sweepstakes or contest is LIVE. Finally, your work is in the public domain, it’s been weeks and sometimes months in the making and now you are ready. You’re looking for new leads, new data if using a survey, a coupon perhaps to drive traffic online and or instore. Great job! A little pat on the back perhaps?
NOT SO FAST, your job is just beginning, launching a sweepstakes or contest is the first step of many in ensuring you have a successful program. Remember that the old motto, “if you build it, they will come”, sorry, it does not apply to anything online or on the internet. Certainly doesn’t apply to a sweepstakes or contest. DOES NOT APPLY!
The game is on! So, let’s get started.
First and foremost, promoting your sweepstakes or contest is job number one. As with any successful program, you and your team will need to build awareness, push engagement and do so consistently throughout your program. Your marketing efforts should be planned and mapped out, with tactics and verifiable steps each and every day. After all, you want your consumers to be notified, you want your consumers to enter, and you want your consumers to share this great opportunity. Your marketing efforts typically should start a few days before you launch and should end a few days after your program closes. “Coming soon” is a great way to build some pent-up demand, and a winner’s promotion goes a long way in reinforcing your brand and message.
We know this much for CERTAIN, if you aren’t doing anything specific to drive traffic to your microsite, sweepstakes, contest or promotion, you won’t see any traffic! You’ve done so much work, it’s important to continue to your efforts and make your sweepstakes or contest an amazing success.
Don’t forget the opportunity to build your brand, increase awareness after the program is complete, after all you want your consumers looking for your next outreach. Sharing some stats about the program, sharing your winners is another great way to build brand, show a positive brand experience and show your customers that your brand is consumer friendly.
We like our customers and we want them to like our brand. SO, LET THEM KNOW!
Keep in mind in most cases your program is running for a few weeks or a few months, as such, it likely will not be indexed by Google and if it is indexed it will be towards the end of your campaign. This means that organically you won’t see traffic coming from Google The result is that you and your team have to work for your traffic and work for your entrants.
Looking at social media, we know that Facebook, Instagram & Twitter all use special algorithms to control the feed and show you what they think you’ll want to see. Especially true on Facebook where just 2% of all followers of brand pages see a post made by that page. As such, you have to post often, and we recommend paying for additional ads throughout the campaign, adding a social media budget can provide your sweepstakes or contest much needed traffic.
To recap, your marketing team has a lot of work to do in order to ensure your program gets noticed and gets traction.
Today’s consumers are inundated with information (information overload), but make no mistake, they know your brand, love your brand and would very much like the opportunity to engage with your brand. Especially when it’s a great program with great prizing and an amazing opportunity. Everybody loves a chance to win!
It’s been suggested that the average consumer sees or hears over 4,000 ad messages per day. FOUR THOUSAND … so how do you help your program stand out?
How do you drive traffic to your promotion?
A few of the tactics you can leverage to get your sweepstakes or contest front and center with your consumers:
Social media posting – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest
Paid advertising – Social Media
Paid advertising – Google Ads
Paid advertising – Email List rentals
The best tool in any marketer’s arsenal is email. Email is your #1 way to drive traffic home! Why? Consumers receive it to all of their devices: phones, tablets and computers. Email is the primary marketing tool for business.
Did you know that we send more than 74 trillion emails every year? And the numbers keep going up, with 1.8 million more emails sent in 2017 than in 2016.
Your email campaign is best to be single message focused (tell the consumer about ONE thing and ONE thing only) with a single click; tell the consumer what you want them to do and what they get for doing it. If they’re interested, you’ll get your clicks, visits and entrants and if not …. Well, they’ll move along.
Remember it’s NOT a puzzle, it’s a direct ask, a specific item you want the consumer to consider, don’t make your readers have to read a novel and not provide them with a visual button to click. Keep it concise, clear and simple!
Social Media Posting
Social Media – Facebook
Before we get going, marketers must note there are over 2.23 billion monthly active users (MAU) as of December 31, 2018. This is a 9 percent increase in Facebook MAUs year over year Worldwide, as such your consumers are out there. On average, users spend 20 minutes per day, noting that 1 in 5 pageviews take place in the US. Note that 29.7% of users are in the 25 to 34, it is the most common age demographic.
The point here is that YOUR CONSUMERS ARE ON FACEBOOK! Targeting them is easy; by age, interest, location, and more.
We recommend that you post to your Facebook page the day your campaign goes live, post a captivating cover photo with a description that gives the user a clear indication of what you want consumers to do and provide an easy to see link to your program.
Secondly, create a post with similar attributes and PIN it to the top of your brand page. Every visitor that visits your page can’t miss what’s happening. Finally, consider setting a budget and running ads targeting those that are fans of your page (remember organic reach is only as much as 2%) as well as those that aren’t. As they say “it takes money to make money”, sweepstakes and contests require the same consideration.
Social Media – Instagram
Before you get started, there are some things that need to be noted about Instagram. There are more than 1 billion active users (source) placing it well ahead of Twitter (326 million active users: source) Snapchat (300 million+ active users: source), and Pinterest (250 million active users: source).
Instagram is growing in 2019, nearly 25% of Facebook’s total ad revenue is expected to come from Instagram. By 2020, Instagram’s share of that revenue will grow to 30% globally. So, don’t think that it’s just a millennial’s social network anymore.
Now for some of the basics, you can’t pin a post on Instagram, and you do not have a cover photo. So, what can you do?
Post a story and add it as a highlight to your account. What else?
When you make a regular post and ask visitors to comment, tag friends, etc. Always ensure you have an updated link in your bio and remind readers to click the link in your bio. This creates engagement with a post, and it will be more likely to show up in user feeds in addition to friend’s notifications.
When running an ad on Facebook, don’t forget to include Instagram as an option for ad placement, users are everywhere and so should your outreach.
Social Media – Twitter
There are over 300 million active users on Twitter, so don’t overlook it. Especially since there are over 500 million tweets sent EACH DAY. That’s 5,787 tweets per second, so if your brand is not on Twitter or using Twitter for marketing you need to ask your marketing team why not and what would the costs be to develop and implement a Twitter strategy.
On Twitter, we have a similar formula as Facebook. Ensure you have a cover photo posted but, in this case, post the details on how to participate as well as the URL in the image since you cannot add a link to it in the post.
Secondly, create a post and pin it to the top of your page. Of course, a paid ad budget will get targeted viewership and will appear in feeds of those that do not follow you. Again, we are talking brand reinforcement, awareness and engagement.
Social Media – Pinterest
Don’t forget about Pinterest, especially if your demographic slants female.
Pinterest has 250 million users, 77.4 million of them in the US. Note that 83% (that’s most of them) are women between the ages of 25 – 54. Now, how does that fit with your demographic? But men are catching up, on Pinterest 50% of all NEW signups are now male, so things are changing. Given that there continues to be growth 13% in 2017 and 7% in 2018, things are looking up for Pinterest. If you’re not yet impressed with Pinterest, note it skews high income and educated US households are twice as like to use Pinterest versus low income and less educated. Pretty amazing really.
On Pinterest, the cover photo for your brand by default is a collage of pins generated automatically from your latest pins. We suggest updating this to a specific board that contains pins regarding your contest instead. You can create posts known as “pins” easily by clicking the + and dropping in the URL to your contest. It will automatically pull images from your microsite and all you need to add is a Title and Description. After posting a pin, you can then promote it by providing a daily budget, campaign duration and target your audience based on keywords. To reach even more, we suggest running an ad campaign that will show up natively in user feeds when they are browsing Pinterest. With ad campaigns on Pinterest, you can drill down to demographics, interests, locations and more.
The other way to get eyeballs on your campaign is to spend a few dollars on conventional marketing tactics. Billboards, signage, POP, print coupons, print ads all have impact on your programs. If your budget allows you to spend, we recommend looking carefully at how you spend your budget. It used to be that half of your budget was wasted, you just didn’t know what half. While that used to be true, today things are measurable.
Paid Advertising – Social Media
Paid ads that show up in the feed or your favourite social network will get noticed. There are opportunities to purchase measurable, trackable and targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Each network is a bit different, but you can tailor your ads to target specific people based on their likes, location, demographics, psychographics and more. Your marketing team should have access to all the details, if not let us know and someone on our team will be able to assist you.
Facebook Business – https://www.facebook.com/business/
Instagram Business – https://business.instagram.com/advertising/
Advertise on Twitter – https://ads.twitter.com
Pinterest Ads – https://ads.pinterest.com/
Paid Advertising – Google
Utilizing Google Ads ensures that when users are searching for your brand or specific keywords you’ll be at the top of their search.
You can leverage various types of ads; search ads, display ads, the Google network or just leverage search. People will find you when they’re looking for your services.
Don’t forget to utilize retargeting ads, they can be very effective.
Google Ads – https://ads.google.com/ (Display & Search Ads, Remarketing Ads)
AdRoll – https://www.adroll.com/ (Retargeting Ads across multiple partners including Facebook/Instagram)
Paid Advertising – Email list purchases, rentals and sponsorships
At times it’s appropriate to expand your reach using either purchased email lists (not in Canada or UK), utilize a list rental or sponsorship opportunity or pay for ad on an established email list that is deployed by a partner or marketer that may have a similar audience.
Keep in mind list purchasing is a tricky little business, it’s legal in the United States, but in the grey area. We’d recommend any list purchase be carefully evaluated and should you decide to move ahead follower these steps:
1. List Cleanse – there are paid services that will sort bad/incorrect/catch-all emails
2. Slow Deploy – test a few emails at a time, instead of going to the full list
3. Soft Launch – use a separate domain or provider for an initial launch so as not to tarnish your existing sender reputation
In the Canada list purchasing is a NO-NO and runs against CASL legislation that incorporates some hefty fines. The same can be said in the UK with the GDRP legislation that was implemented in 2018.
List rentals or sponsored emails and ad placements in existing outbound emails can be very effective tools if you:
1. find the right list or partner and
2. have the right offer for that audience
But don’t expect too much, keep in mind, that the average open rate is 20% and assuming a 15% CTR, the numbers could be less than you think. So, insist on a 3-deployment program, that way your program could potentially reach half of the list’s audience. Here’s how the numbers shake out:
Email list size 100,000 / Open rate 20% or 20,000 / Click-through rate: 15% or 3,000
Now, how familiar are the 3,000 with your brand and are they likely to click on an ad in an email, we’d suggest 20% tops…
Website visits 20% or 600
So, keep this in mind, given the opportunity and the right list at the right price, this might work very well for your brand, especially if your program has social sharing built into the process.
In this case with 3 deployments, you might reach 2,000 to 3,000 visitors and amplify that by say 100%, you could be looking at 4,000 to 6,000 entrants overall. Note, this is an example ONLY and it could be even better or worse, so weigh everything carefully.
Here are a few general list rental/sponsorship companies:
US/CA – Black Flag Deals – https://www.blackflagdeals.com/
CA – Sweepstakes.ca – https://www.sweepstakes.ca/
US – Exact Data – https://www.exactdata.com/
Get other people talking about your campaign for you. If you have something unique or newsworthy, specific to an industry or just plain interesting, consider putting out a press release. With the right timing and quality of writing your story will be picked up across the web by various publications and news sites linking back to yours. This further adds fuel and legitimacy to your campaign via Google as numerous sites will drive links back to yours.
eReleases – https://www.ereleases.com/
If all of this sounds like a lot, it should! Launching a successful sweepstakes or contest takes a lot of planning, work, and a budget!
Marketing a successful sweepstakes or contest is even more work, and frankly without the marketing efforts you could find your results less than you had hoped. It’s important to get the word out about your campaign if you want engagement.
So, jump right in there, we’d recommend a spend of somewhere between 25% and 50% of the campaign cost, so make sure you factor your marketing dollars into your budget. The appropriate spend is critical to your program’s success!
Think about it as buying a new high-end car, it looks great sitting in your driveway, but if you don’t put gas in the tank, it’s still a beauty, but you’re NOT going anywhere, not going anywhere fast!
Remember our motto, “Everybody wins with Sweepstakes Marketing”.
Confused? Don’t be. Allow RAVEN5 to ignite your sweepstakes, contest or promotion, we are “The World’s First Sweepstakes Marketing Agency”.
Leaders in contests, sweepstakes & promotions