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16 dec

Sweepstakes Trends in 2015 and looking ahead towards 2016

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

As 2015 comes to a close, Sync Marketing discusses sweepstakes trends in 2015 and what to be on the lookout for in 2016.

Biggest Sweepstakes Trend in 2015

When talking sweepstakes trends, Mobile-optimization was definitely one of the biggest in 2015. Our clients either asked to have it included or when we suggested adding a mobile version for the sweepstakes, they were much more receptive than in years past. As mobile devices and tablets become more and more relied upon by consumers, it is imperative that companies make the shift to spending extra dollars on creating mobile and tablet-optimized sweepstakes and contests. To take a closer look at our services, including mobile-optimization, click here.

What will be the biggest marketing trend of 2016?

Consumer Engagement Marketing will be the biggest marketing trend of 2016. As social media and experiential marketing categories grow, we foresee companies making even more of a shift to engage their consumers directly in this medium, rather than spending big dollars on traditional advertising mediums such as media buys and direct mail. When companies run a simple social engagement sweepstakes on Twitter or a photo contest on Instagram, they engage consumers and establish a positive interaction with consumers. Not only does this method of marketing allow companies to interact with their consumers, but if they run an Instagram photo contest, for example, they will receive user-generated content and will be able to reward their consumers with prizes as part of their participation, creating a feel-good situation for all.

What was the best sweepstakes marketing effort of 2015? 

The #Hashtag. Whether a hashtag started because of a celebrity tweet or a presidential debate, hashtags took over the internet in 2015. And, the companies and marketers who acted on it, received amazing exposure. From #picoftheday social engagements to asking users to share their #TBT photos, companies increased their reach by interacting with the most popular hashtags, all while gathering user-generated content along the way. And with regards to sweepstakes, companies using hashtags for their sweepstakes, created their own trending hashtags as part of their promotion. Take a look at some of our social sweepstakes, here.

What was the biggest sweepstakes faux pas of 2015?

Not running social media sweepstakes correctly. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this important element and be sure to entrust its care to an experienced team who specializes in sweepstakes and contests. The FTC implemented many new rules with regards to social media sweepstakes and it’s important to make sure to hire an agency like Sync Marketing to make sure you run a legally compliant sweepstakes or contest.

As we enter into 2016, sweepstakes trends are as important as ever. Consider hiring Sync marketing for you future sweepstakes and contest needs. To learn a little more about Sync and what we’ve been up to, click here or call us at 323.596.7962.


30 nov

Online Sweepstakes and Contests – Questions on Cyber Monday

By: Sync Marketing | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Sweepstakes

On this Cyber Monday, we thought it would be fitting to feature some questions that we’ve recently received about online sweepstakes and contests since these promotions live in the cyber world so to speak. 

What are the benefits of running an online sweepstakes vs. running one in a retail store location?

There are many benefits to running an online sweepstakes vs. asking entrants to visit your store to fill out an entry form as the entry method. In fact, brick and mortar store sweepstakes have become increasing less common over recent years because of the convenience and popularity of online sweepstakes. With an online sweepstakes, not only can you give your entrants an easy and seamless way to participate, you can also highlight specific merchandise or messaging that you want to get across during the entry process.  Below are a few other reasons why you should consider running an online sweepstakes:

Easily collect email opt-ins. With a manual entry, if you get entrants permission to send them future communications from your company, you will need to physically enter the entrant’s information, which can be a very time consuming process.

More exposure.  With an instore-only sweepstakes, you are limiting yourself to people that will be already visiting your store location. If you run an online sweepstakes and offer enticing prizes, you have the chance of attracting people that may not have known about your company to check out your site and subsequently your merchandise while they are entering your sweepstakes.

Where should I run my online sweepstakes?

This question really depends on what your goals are for running a sweepstakes. If you want to capture email opt-ins, you should consider running your online sweepstakes on a dedicated microsite or an iFrame on your company’s website. If you want user generated content, you might want to consider a sweepstakes that is featured on social media channels like Instagram or Twitter. Here is a blog article that touches on running social media sweepstakes:

How do I maximize my online sweepstakes to ensure the best possible ROI?

One thing to keep in mind is that marketing your online sweepstakes is as important as creating the concept. It is also very important to know who your target audience is before you run your sweepstakes to ensure that you are promoting the sweepstakes on the right channels. A sweepstakes can be a very powerful tool and can provide a strong ROI if used correctly.  Here is a blog article that touches on the benefits of running an online sweepstakes and why you should consider adding one to your marketing plans. 

If you have additional online sweepstakes and contests questions for this upcoming Cyber Monday, feel free to send them to inquiries@syncmarketing.net or you can reach out to us here, and your question may be featured in an upcoming blog post.

 

 

 

 


30 sep

Running Sweepstakes and Contests on Social Media Channels

By: Sync Marketing | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing, Sweepstakes, Twitter, User Generated Content

This month’s Ask Sync Marketing is all about social media. We are address common questions relating to running sweepstakes and contests on social media channels.

Is one social platform more effective than another when running a sweepstakes or contest?

This really depends on the goals of your campaign and your target demographic. Ask yourself, “Do you want to gather user generated content?” “Do you want to appeal to a younger demographic?” If so, Instagram would be a good medium to choose. This way, you will gain UGC by capturing their uploaded photo. In addition, you will hopefully in turn get them to follow your page in the process. Here is an example of a winning social media campaign that we created. It was even highlighted in Chief Marketer. Lastly, here is an article on the benefits of running an Instagram sweepstakes.

Next we need to cover the ever popular Twitter. When running a sweepstakes Twitter, you will find that it’s an effective way to increase your odds of getting word out about your sweepstakes your mass demographic. It will also help increase your followers. However, if your goal is to encourage consumers to opt-in to your email subscription list, you may consider running a sweepstakes on Facebook. Running a sweepstakes on Facebook will allow you to collect user information and collect opt-ins. While Facebook is for all ages, if your demo skews older, this might be the best social media platform for your campaign. Regardless of the platform you choose, it is important that your entrants have access to the official rules.

Do I have to include a Hashtag in my social sweepstakes or contest?

If your only method of entry is via Twitter or Instagram for example, a hashtag will need to be included in order to identify your entries. For example, if you are running a sweepstakes where you are asking entrants to upload a photo of their pet in a Halloween costume, you might consider asking them to include the hashtag, #Halloweenpetparadesweepstakes with their upload. By doing this, you will be able to recognize all of your entries into the sweepstakes.

One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to make sure to clearly outline that your entrants’ Instagram, Twitter and/or Pinterest profiles must not be set to private during the sweepstakes entry and selection period. It’s also extremely important to add the term, “sweepstakes” or “contest” to the end of your promotion’s hashtag. This is a recent required ruling made by the FTC. It needs to be included in order to help consumers identify that others are posting as part of a sweepstakes. You can learn more about the rule change here.

Am I able to let my customers enter on more than one social platform?

Certainly! As long as it is clearly outlined in the official rules, you can give entrants more than one way to enter. We also recommend that you make it very clear to entrants if they are allowed only one entry total in the sweepstakes. Or, if they are able to earn one entry per method.

The next time you consider running sweepstakes and contests on social media channels, feel free to reach out to Sync. Our expert team will guide you on the best platform to use to achieve your goals. In addition, our legal team stays up-to-date on all of the changes to the rules of social. If you would to some example of Sync’s social media campaign’s check out or work page, here.

Sweepstakes and Contests on Social Media Channels

16 jan

Sync Marketing’s Year in Review – 2014

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing, Sweepstakes, Twitter, User Generated Content

2014 was a fantastic year for Sync Marketing that seemed to come and go in a blink of an eye. Not only was it a year of change for Sync Marketing, but a year of growth. Here’s Sync Marketing’s year in review:

A lot of “new” for Sync Marketing

Not only did we design a new logo, we also launched a brand new website which showcases our services, work, and introduces our co-founders, Jennifer French and myself, Julie Link. We were also fortunate to work on some really fun and exciting campaigns for a variety of new clients. Click here to “meet” some of our new clients.

Sync Marketing is now an award-winning agency

We were honored to take home the Silver in the Best Use of Game, Contests and Sweepstakes at the Chief Marketer 2014 PRO Awards. The competition was definitely tough. Jennifer French and myself attended the annual awards last June in New York City, and were able to meet the Senior Editor and Promotions Awards Director of Chief Marketer and other amazing colleagues in the field.

Sync got Social with Claire’s

Social media sweepstakes were huge this year and Sync Marketing ran everything from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest sweepstakes. As CBI’s agency of record, Sync Marketing helped Claire’s stores increase their social media presence in 2014. One of the most notable promotions we ran with them this year was in support of the launch of the Katy Perry’s Prism collection, which you can learn more about here.

We’re excited to see what 2015 has in store and we will continue to share our updates with you throughout the year!


07 oct

Sweepstakes 101: Sync’s Guide to a Successful Sweepstakes

By: Sync Marketing | In: Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Sweepstakes, Twitter

Clients run promotions for different reasons, but the list of steps to take below is a good rule of thumb to ensure you are on the road to a successful campaign; one that both accurately represents your brand as well as appeals to your target consumers. Need some help? See below for Sync Marketing’s Sweepstakes 101: Sync’s Guide for running a successful sweepstakes or contest:

Identify your goals:  Are you looking to increase your consumer database and/or social media following, or is your goal to promote a new product or service?  It’s important to determine these goals before you begin planning your campaign.

Consider your audience:  Is your goal to reach the millennial audience or are you promoting a new retirement community?  Know your audience and what type of campaign will appeal most to your target.

Determine the type of campaign:  Are you looking to collect cool user-generated content that you can use to promote your product?  If so, a contest might be your best option.  For a contest, keep in mind that the more you require from an entrant, the lower number of entries you will receive, but the better chance you’ll have of reaching people that are genuinely interested in your company.  Plus, gathering UGC can be helpful for your brand in the future. Or, are you looking to build your email database?  If so, consider running a simple random drawing sweepstakes. This will allow you to gather more entries and opt-ins and reach even more potential customers when you send future email blasts. If you want to learn more about whether or not you should pre-check your email opt-ins, check out our post regarding that subject here.

Select a platform:  What platform works best for you?  If your target audience is constantly on their phones, consider hosting your campaign on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Cater to a more traditional consumer? A custom microsite that links from your website is a simple and effective place to host your sweepstakes or contest.

Prize matters:  How big of a prize do you need to offer?  What type of sweepstakes prizing should you give away? In our experience, it comes down to both quality and quantity.  First, you want to get entrants excited about winning your prizing so make sure that what you are offering is appealing to your target.  Think of a grand prize experience; something your consumers don’t have access to on their own such as a celebrity meet-and greet or tickets to an exclusive event.  Second, the more you give away, the better chance your entrants have of winning, so consider offering several secondary prizes.  More winners equal more happy customers. Lastly, it all depends on your sweepstakes budget. If your total approximate retail value is $5,000 or more, you will most likely need to bond and register. If you have question regarding prizing ARV, check out this article by Sync Marketing.

Have very clear and accurate official rules:  Has the fear of possible legal ramifications stopped you from running a sweepstakes or contest in the past?  One way to put that fear to rest is to utilize an agency that specializes in promotion law (hint Sync Marketing).  Our legal teams stay up-to-date on all of the changes in the field and will make sure that you are following the rules to the letter of the law.

Promote your campaign:  Do you believe in the saying, “If you build it, they will come?”  It’s not always the case.  You have created a compelling sweepstakes concept, fun entry method and are offering awesome prizing.  Let people know about it!  Advertising is key to ensuring success.

Hire a sweepstakes agency: This should really be the first items listed for sweepstakes 101, but we will end with it as it’s the most important. There are many reasons why you should considering hiring a sweepstakes agency for your future sweepstakes. A sweepstakes agency can help you with all aspect of a sweepstakes or simply pieces. Sync Marketing can handle all aspects of a sweepstakes campaign including, but not limited to; ideation, strategy, management, design, programming, legal, and prize fulfillment. So whether you need a big idea including the creative around your sweepstakes, or you already have the concept, but need someone who specializes in promotion law (official rules, abbreviated rules, winner release forms, bonding and registering, etc) to handle the legal, hiring a sweepstakes agency that lives and breathes sweepstakes and contests if the way to go. For more information and reasons to hire a sweepstakes agency for your next campaign, click here.

It’s exciting to know that a successful campaign can be right around the corner.  All you need to do is just remember to plan, know your audience, consult the legal experts (like Sync Marketing) and get the word out.  It’s a win, win for you and your consumers!


08 sep

The Benefits of Running an Instagram Promotion

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Instagram, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

Social media has come a long way in the past several years and it has become a fantastic tool for companies and brands to promote their products and/or services. We have found that Instagram is an extremely useful and effective platform to run promotions for brands looking to increase their visibility and their connections with their consumers. Today I’m going to cover the benefits of running an Instagram promotion.

If your key demo is between the ages of 13-24, an Instagram sweepstakes or contest is a great way to grow your follower base. Typically during a promotion, entrants are asked to follow and tag your brand in order to enter as well as include a specific hashtag that relates to the sweepstakes or contest. By asking entrants to take these steps, you are instantly increasing your visibility and creating user-generated content. Speaking of UGC; Instagram is all about sharing experiences and passions through photos. Running an Instagram sweepstakes or contest is a simple yet effective way to ask your consumers to express themselves, all while giving you the possibility of collecting meaningful and visually-interesting user generated content. Sync Marketing recently ran a successful Instagram sweepstakes for their client CBI specifically for their Claire’s division. Learn more about it here.

Instagram Photos

Although it all seems easy enough to orchestrate, it’s highly recommended that you hire an agency who specializes in sweepstakes and contest law to handle the legal portion of your campaign. Not only does promotion law change on a daily basis (bye bye Facebook likegate), but hiring an agency to produce the official rules and necessary winner release forms is an investment that is absolutely worth it to protect your company from possible infractions due to these changes. Sync Marketing has a knowledgeable and experienced team that can walk you through the process of running an Instagram photo sweepstakes or contest and will provide you with all of the legal elements to ensure a successful and legally-compliant promotion. We even check all social media posts and marketing materials to make sure your program is consistent and correct from a legal and customer service standpoint.

Contact us today is you’re interested in running an Instagram sweepstakes or contest! 323.596.7962.