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If you’re an online merchant, you should consider adding sweepstakes into your marketing mix. They’re an effective marketing channel to help grow your business, generate more leads, promote your brand and increase sales.
A sweepstake is easy and affordable to run, and when done correctly, their benefits are far greater than many other marketing methods. From a single promotion you can get more email subscribers, new customers, a boost in sales, an increase in followers on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, and greater brand exposure and awareness.
Planning and building
Sweepstakes are a relatively low cost marketing promotions method that can have a very high impact when it comes to growing an audience and building a business. Before you run a sweepstakes though, you need to plan it out so you have a roadmap for success with a set of predetermined goals. Many businesses think that by giving away anything for free they will automatically get a flood of new visitors, email subscribers, Facebook likes and sales. Unfortunately, without a clearly defined goal and a solid marketing plan, this is hardly ever the result.
To begin creating your roadmap for a successful giveaway, you’ll want to plan out each step of your promotion, ultimately arriving at the goal that you want to achieve. Once you have a clear roadmap you can start building your sweepstakes.
Planning and setting up your sweepstakes is a solid start, but you’ll also need a solid marketing plan if you really want to accelerate your sweepstakes and hit your goals.
Here are 21 different ways we’ve seen sweepstakes promoted which brought real, measurable results to the marketers who tried them:
1. Sweepstakes and contest directories
A great way to drive a ton of traffic to your sweepstakes is by submitting to these websites that will link directly to your promotion.
These contests can be a great way to get traffic; however, keep in mind that a lot of the consumers who visit these websites are freebie seekers. If your goal is to get as much exposure as possible, submitting to these sites is one of your best bets. If you’re trying to build a targeted audience, then absolutely do not submit to these sites.
Here are the 10 directories we’ve seen deliver the most traffic:
- Online Sweepstakes (requires a free account)
- Sweepstakes Advantage (requires a free account)
- Slickdeals Contests & Sweepstakes (requires a free account, make sure you follow the posting guidelines or you will get banned)
- WinPrizesOnline (requires a free account)
2. Write a blog post
Writing a blog post about your sweepstakes is a great way to inform customers and prospects that you’re running a promotion. Your post should include a short description about the promotion, how to enter, what the prizes are, and when it ends. Bonus points if you can tie in why winning the sweepstakes can improve the reader’s life.
3. Link to your sweepstakes from your homepage using an image
Most people who land on the homepage of your website won’t know you have a sweepstakes going on unless you alert them! Create an image that you can place on your homepage that links directly to your giveaway. You can also use a simple service like HelloBar to alert people on your homepage that you have a giveaway going on. It seems simple, but many companies simply forget it’s an option!
4. Send an email newsletter
Send out an email to your list announcing your sweepstakes and provide a direct link to the page for people to enter. Although these people are already on your list, you’ll still want to promote to them because when they enter, they’ll end up sharing the giveaway with their friends and family (Facebook and otherwise). Sharing is caring, after all.
5. Post it on Facebook
Write a post on your Facebook timeline promoting your giveaway. Include an image of the prize that will grab people’s attention, and write a short description letting people know what they can win. Finally, link directly to the giveaway in your post.
6. Post it on your other social networks
In addition to Facebook, post about your giveaway on Twitter with a tweet that includes information about what people can win as well as a direct link to the giveaway page.
Pin the giveaway to Pinterest, and if you use networks like Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Instagram, share it with those audiences too!
7. Utilize video
With the power of smartphones, creating a video these days is no longer a daunting task. Utilizing Vine, Instragram, or YouTube, you can easily create short video clips to promote your sweepstakes. A good starting point would be to create a short video clip showing people the prizes they can win.
8. Promote Facebook posts
Using Facebook’s Boost Post feature, you can now pay a small fee to spread your posts to reach a larger audience. Prices start at $5. Look for a button at the bottom of your Facebook posts that says Boost Post.
9. Promote tweets
Using Twitter’s ad platform, you can target the audience you want to reach and you can pay to promote your tweets. As always, start with a small budget to see the kind of response you get and then move on from there.
10. Google AdWords
If you’ve planned a budget to promote your sweepstakes, then using Google AdWords can be a powerful way to reach your ideal customer. It lets you target specific keywords that people are searching for and have your promotion show up in the search results.
11. Post on Reddit
Reddit is a social news website that has built a community based around thousands of niche topics, which they call sub-reddits. You can search Reddit for a sub-reddit that is closest to your niche, and you can make a post letting people know about your sweepstakes. Reddit’s community can be very guarded sometimes, so make sure the prize has a high perceived value.
12. Seek endorsement from someone famous in your industry
Getting someone famous or well known in your industry to endorse your sweepstakes can really help spread the word. Something as simple as tweeting about the promotion can be a great way for you to get some initial exposure. You should seek out these types of influential people before your promotion begins, so you’ll have time to provide them with any information that they request and work out a coordinated schedule.
13. Promote the giveaway to customers post checkout
If you sell a product, adding a link to your sweepstakes post checkout can be a great way for you to gather entries. Since these people already bought something from you, they’ll most likely be happy to have the chance to win something.
14. Include a message in your packages
If you ship out physical products, a great way to get people to enter your sweepstakes is to toss a little card inside of every package telling them to enter the promotion. Remember, just because these people are already customers does not mean that they won’t get their friends and family to become customers too!
15. Submit to StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that allows you to “stumble” the best of the web. You can submit your sweepstakes to StumbleUpon for free and there is a chance that the page gets stumbled enough times that it drives a significant amount of traffic to your promotion.
16. Use StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery
StumbleUpon’s paid discovery allows you to get targeted traffic directly to your sweepstakes. Paid discovery is a unique system because there are no ads or links involved; you choose your targeting and they automatically serve your site through the StumbleUpon system. With this type of promoting, you’re getting guaranteed visitors.
17. Blogger outreach
Bloggers are constantly looking for great content to share with their audience. Compile a list of 10 or 20 bloggers in your niche, and reach out to each of them with a personalized email about the sweepstakes you’re launching, and how you think it would be a great fit for their audience if they would be willing to promote it for you.
18. Partner with another company
Partnering with another company on your giveaway is a great way to offer more prizes and get more exposure. Reach out to businesses that are related to your niche but are not your direct competitors, and see if they would be interested in offering up one of their products as a prize in your giveaway. If they agree, you now have another company that will aid in marketing the giveaway! It’s a win/win situation.
19. Write a press release
20. Partner with YouTube channels
Believe it or not, there are some amazingly popular YouTube channels that may be the perfect partner to help promote your giveaway. Search for channels in your niche that have a good amount of subscribers and check to make sure their videos have a decent amount of views. When reaching out, you may need to offer some form of compensation (either monetary or a gift — many of them review products for their audiences) in order to get them to promote your sweepstakes.
21. Provide bonus entries
With a service like ViralSweep, you can reward people with bonus entries for sharing the promotion with their friends. Incentivizing your entrants with additional entries can really help to accelerate the performance of your sweepstakes.
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