Fallen Off the Engagement Campaign Wagon? Try a Sweepstakes

by Julie Foley Second Street

Optimizing Your Sweepstakes

One of the biggest advantages of a sweepstakes is the huge amount of email addresses you can collect. When you create your contest, be sure to include an email opt-in. This is the best way to reach out to people for future marketing campaigns. Here are some tips for crafting the perfect email opt-in.

If you have a valuable prize, you can ask for more information than just the email address. Besides demographic data, consider adding on a couple survey questions to collect even more data about your consumers. If you have a sponsor, this is an ideal way to collect hot leads for your advertiser.

Entercom New Orleans worked with a local bakery to create a holiday sweepstakes. The first year, they collected nearly 2,200 opt-ins for the advertiser and gave the bakery tons of consumer data from their survey questions.

Sweepstakes Delivers Thousands of Opt-Ins

Picking Your Prize

When it comes to a sweepstakes, the better the prize the more entries you’ll receive. We recommend most sweepstakes prizes be valued over $500 (preferably over $1,000!) But these prizes don’t have to break the bank. Some of the best prizes are fan experiences like an exclusive on-field tour or backstage passes. Work with your vendors to see if they can help provide an invaluable experience to your users.


WE Vancouver gave away a 6-pack of tickets to see a CFL (Canadian Football League) game at the local stadium. The contest attracted 2,682 entries, but also – even more significantly – generated 3,570 email addresses for publication’s email lists thanks to the two opt-in checkboxes they included on the entry form.

The “Yes, I would like to hear about future contests” checkbox received 2,093 opt-ins (a 78% opt-in rate!) and the “Yes, please sign me up for money-saving deals and coupons from BCDailyDeals.com” checkbox received 1,477 opt-ins (a 55% opt-in rate!).

Planning Your Sweepstakes Calendar

If you know you need to grow your email database, the best place to start is with sweepstakes. And the first step, is creating a month-by-month sweepstakes calendar. Take a look at the sample calendar below to get some ideas for the types of sweepstakes you could run throughout the year.

Use this sample calendar as a jumping-off point and adapt it based on the free tickets you get for productions or events throughout the year. Be sure to tie your sweepstakes in with holiday themes when it makes sense!

MonthSweepstakes #1Sweepstakes #2
JanuaryNew Year, New You Gym Membership GiveawaySports Ticket Giveaway
FebruaryValentine's Date Night GiveawayMovie Ticket Giveaway
MarchLuck of the Irish VISA Gift Card GiveawayLocal Theater Ticket Giveaway
AprilApril Showers $500 Cash GiveawaySports Ticket Giveaway
MayMommy Makeover Mother's Day GiveawayMovie Ticket Giveaway
JuneDaddy's Day Out Father's Day GiveawayLocal Festival Ticket Giveaway
JulyGas Card GiveawayState Fair Ticket Giveaway
AugustFootball Ticket GiveawayOutdoor Theater Ticket Giveaway
SeptemberUltimate Tailgate GiveawayGrocery Store Gift Card Giveaway
OctoberPumpkin Patch Family Fun Day GiveawayHaunted House Ticket Giveaway
NovemberGrocery Store Gift Card GiveawaySports Ticket Giveaway
DecemberVISA Gift Card Shopping SpreeLocal Theater Giveaway

Get your copy of The Sweepstakes Playbook.