Why Sweepstakes Need to Be the Foundation of Your Promotions Strategy

by Julie Foley Second Street

Why does email matter so much?

Email is the #1 driver of digital conversions. According to eMarketer, 91% of American adults check their email at least once a day. This engagement produces results. As you can see in the graph below, Quad-City Times saw 70% of submission come in the day they sent a promotional email!

QuadCityTimesContestSubmissionsByDay_ImpactOfEmail

Why run sweepstakes?

One of the best ways to grow your email list and ensure that your messages are reaching the broadest possible audience is by running simple enter-to-win sweepstakes contests and including an email opt-in checkbox on every single entry form.

The cycle of database growth that results will look something like this:

Promotions-Build-Your-List1

However, while their broad reach is one HUGE reason that sweepstakes will build your email database, it is by no means the only reason. Let’s take a look at a few more:

  • Sweepstakes encourage social sharing. Unlike a more targeted submission contest, such as Cutest Kids, that’s designed to appeal to a certain segment of your audience, sweepstakes are for everyone. In order to broaden your reach and attract even more entries (and email addresses!), give people extra chances to win for every friend they refer to the contest.
  • Sweepstakes have a low barrier to entry. Since there is no registration page (like there is for a submission or pick’em contest), all that your customers need to do to enter a sweepstakes is fill out one simple entry form. The time and effort involved is minimal, so more people are going to enter – which is perfect for building up your database!
  • Sweepstakes are easy to set up and run. Each sweepstakes consists of two things – the prize and the entry form. It’s simple to create a standard sweepstakes template, so all you’ll need to do to before you can launch your sweeps is edit the copy and update the image of the prize. Templates are key to U-T San Diego’s sweepstakes strategy, which we’ll cover in more detail below.
  • You can run as many as you want at a time. A sweepstakes is a promotion that you could run every single week of the year. You could even run multiple giveaways in a single week! After all, the barrier to entry is so low that the prize you’re offering doesn’t need to be valuable in order to drum up entries. (Discover some simple & affordable sweepstakes prize ideas.)
  • Your audience will never get sick of them. Everyone loves free stuff and everyone loves a chance to win, so your audience is never going to get tired of your giveaways. So when it comes to sweepstakes, there’s no such thing as too many!

U-T San Diego‘s Sweepstakes Strategy

U-T San Diego has a page on their website (and a Facebook Page) entirely devoted to contests. They can do this because they have approximately 10 different contests running at all times. While some of these promotions are sports pick’ems and photo submission contests, the vast majority are sweepstakes.

UT-Contests-Page

How do they have so many sweepstakes running at a time?

The answer is movie tickets. The U-T San Diego promotions team discovered a while ago that the free movie tickets and advance screening passes the paper received were perfect sweepstakes prizes. They created a standard template for these movie ticket giveaways, and now the team can launch a sweepstakes in less than 15 minutes.

You can read more about a standard U-T San Diego ticket giveaway – as well as learn more about the team’s process for administering and promoting sweepstakes – in this article from Jennifer Balanky, the paper’s former Content & Community Manager.

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