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29 jun

Why Run a Back-to-School Sweepstakes?

By: Julie Link | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes, sweepstakes company, Turnkey Sweepstakes

We’re now officially into summer, and while most people bask in that fact, marketers are already looking ahead and making plans for the back-to-school season. This is a prime time of year to focus on consumer loyalty and brand awareness. This is especially true for retailers that carry merchandise geared for children and young adults. Back-to-school sweepstakes are an effective marketing tool to accomplish these goals. Today I will go into a few reasons why.

  1. Deals, deals, deals.

This is a great opportunity to provide incentives to consumers to shop your brand. Back-to-school sweepstakes allow you to incorporate coupons and surprise-and-delight offers to consumers. This can be accomplished by offering these deals after they have entered for a chance to win. For example, once they receive the “thanks for entering,” message, offer them 20% off their next purchase. Not only is this optimal for reengagement but its also an invaluable way for you to obtain insights on your consumer. If you find that a high percentage of consumers redeem the coupon from the sweepstakes, then you will know that sweepstakes are resonating with consumers.

  1. Consumer Loyalty

It’s a two way street. While you’re looking for consumer loyalty, so is your consumer. By running a back-to-school sweepstakes, you will in turn receive loyalty because you’re offering you consumer something in return. Once you receive their email address, the hope is that these consumers will keep coming back. If you are offering them incentives, like sweepstakes or surprise and delight offers, it’s even a better reason to return to your site. So, after you run that back-to-school sweepstakes, make sure to follow up with a pre black Friday sweepstakes and keep the momentum going! Check out some of our work samples for more inspiration on back-to-school sweepstakes.

  1. Showcase your back-to-school merchandise

What better way to showcase your new back-to-school product than with a back-to-school sweepstakes. Through banner ad campaigns, social media posts and in-store POP, you will be able to promote your new products all while promoting the back-to-school sweepstakes.

When running a back-to-school sweepstakes, also keep in mind the prizing for your sweepstakes. Optimal prizing could be a daily awarding of your product or service with an overarching grand prize like cash or a trip. People love to start planning trips as soon as the reality that summer is over kicks in and cash offers consumers some hope of financial relief to offset some of the money they spend to send their kids back to school. To learn more about ideas for prizing and some of the best types to give away, click here.

As this year’s back-to-school season quickly approaches, consider running a sweepstakes. You will be sure to be top of your class with consumers.

Back-to-School Sweepstakes

 

 

 

 

 


28 dec

Affordable Sweepstakes Company

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Prize Fulfillment, sweepstakes company

Looking to run an affordable sweepstakes while still receiving an exceptional product with the most up-to-date legal expertise? TurnkeySweeps™ by Sync is your affordable sweepstakes company solution.

There are a lot of low cost sweepstakes tools out there, but when looking for a sweepstakes agency, make sure that the company you are looking at is more than an app. Do they specialize in all aspects of sweepstakes and contests? At Sync Marketing we specialize in the ideation, design, programming, legal and prize fulfillment. We eat, sleep and breathe sweepstakes. If they don’t seem to have a rigorous review process and custom official rules, you could be risking running a non-compliant promotion. Sweepstakes guidelines change often, especially when it comes to social media promotions, so it’s imperative to work with a sweepstakes company that knows their stuff. You can learn more about the important of legal compliance in this article here.

We created TurnkeySweeps™ by Sync to offer an affordable sweepstakes solution for our clients who wanted sweepstakes to launch fast with a limited budget. With TurnkeySweeps™ by Sync, we can launch a campaign in under a week after receiving approved creative. Need more than a simple enter to win sweepstakes? We offer photo upload, social share and more as affordable add-ons.

In conclusion, if you would like to learn more about our affordable sweepstakes solutions and what add-on options we offer, contact us today.

Affordable Sweepstakes Company

19 oct

Running a Promotion Directed Towards Children

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Sweepstakes, sweepstakes company

We are continually being asked by companies if they can run a sweepstakes or contest that includes entrants under the age of 13, and the answer is yes. However, if your sweepstakes or contest includes collecting the personal information from children under the age of 13, you must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/childrens-online-privacy-protection-rule. Understanding and interpreting the nuances of COPPA can be quite overwhelming. The FTC has put together a list of frequently asked questions on their website to help guide businesses through the Act. Below are a few of the most pertinent questions and answers to keep in mind when running a promotion directed towards children.

“Who is covered by COPPA?”

“The Rule applies to operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children.  It also applies to operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13.  The Rule also applies to websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children.”

The FTC requires that if you are going to be collecting personal information from children under 13 that you be sure to disclose what information you will be collecting and how it will be used. They also require that a verifiable parental consent be obtained.

“What is Personal Information?”

“The amended Rule defines personal information to include:

  • First and last name;
  • A home or other physical address including street name and name of a city or town;
  • Online contact information;
  • A screen or user name that functions as online contact information;
  • A telephone number;
  • A social security number;
  • A persistent identifier that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different websites or online services;
  • A photograph, video, or audio file, where such file contains a child’s image or voice;
  • Geolocation information sufficient to identify street name and name of a city or town; or
  • Information concerning the child or the parents of that child that the operator collects online from the child and combines with an identifier described above.”

“How do I get parental consent?

“You may use any number of methods to obtain verifiable parental consent, as long as the method you choose is reasonably calculated to ensure that the person providing consent is the child’s parent. The Rule sets forth several non-exhaustive options, and you can apply to the FTC for pre-approval of a new consent mechanism, as set out in FAQ H.14 below.

If you are going to disclose children’s personal information to third parties, or allow children to make it publicly available (e.g., through a social networking service, online forums, or personal profiles) then you must use a method that is reasonably calculated, in light of available technology, to ensure that the person providing consent is the child’s parent. Such methods include:

  • Providing a consent form to be signed by the parent and returned via U.S. mail, fax, or electronic scan (the “print-and-send” method);
  • Requiring the parent, in connection with a monetary transaction, to use a credit card, debit card, or other online payment system that provides notification of each discrete transaction to the primary account holder;
  • Having the parent call a toll-free telephone number staffed by trained personnel, or have the parent connect to trained personnel via video-conference; or
  • Verifying a parent’s identity by checking a form of government-issued identification against databases of such information, provided that you promptly delete the parent’s identification after completing the verification.

If you are going to use children’s personal information only for internal purposes – that is, you will not be disclosing the information to third parties or making it publicly available – then you can use any of the above methods or you can use the “email plus” method of parental consent. “Email plus” allows you to request (in the direct notice sent to the parent’s online contact address) that the parent indicate consent in a return message. To properly use the email plus method, you must take an additional confirming step after receiving the parent’s message (this is the “plus” factor). The confirming step may be:

  • Requesting in your initial message to the parent that the parent include a phone or fax number or mailing address in the reply message, so that you can follow up with a confirming phone call, fax or letter to the parent; or
  • After a reasonable time delay, sending another message via the parent’s online contact information to confirm consent. In this confirmatory message, you should include all the original information contained in the direct notice, inform the parent that he or she can revoke the consent, and inform the parent how to do so.”

In most instances, when running any sweepstakes, entrants’ personal information is not disclosed publicly, so the “Email plus” method is very effective and less time consuming for the child entrant and the sweepstakes administrator. Another way around this is to have the parents enter on behalf of their child and award the prize to the parent. This way you know you are getting parental consent without having to do the extra step.

“I want to have a contest on my child-directed website.  Can I use the Rule’s “one-time contact” exception to prior parental consent?”

“Yes, if you properly design your contest.  You may use the “one-time contact” exception if you collect children’s online contact information, and only this information, to enter them in the contest, and then only contact such children once when the contest ends to notify them if they have won or lost. At that point, you must delete the online contact information you have collected.

 If, however, you expect to contact the children more than one time, you must use the “multiple-contact” exception, for which you must also collect a parent’s online contact information and provide parents with direct notice of your information practices and an opportunity to opt out.  In either case, the Rule prohibits you from using the children’s online contact information for any other purpose, and requires you to ensure the security of the information, which is particularly important if the contest runs for any length of time. 

If you wish to collect any information from children online beyond online contact information in connection with contest entries – such as collecting a winner’s home address to mail a prize – you must first provide parents with direct notice and obtain verifiable parental consent, as you would for other types of personal information collection beyond online contact information.  If you do need to obtain a mailing address and wish to stay within the one-time exception, you may ask the child to provide his parent’s online contact information and use that identifier to notify the parent if the child wins the contest.  In your prize notification message to the parent, you may ask the parent to provide a home mailing address to ship the prize, or invite the parent to call a telephone number to provide the mailing information.”  

 And even with screening measures in place, you may run across the following issue:

“Am I responsible if children lie about their age during the registration process on my general audience website?”

“The Rule does not require operators of general audience sites to investigate the ages of visitors to their sites or services. See 1999 Statement of Basis and Purpose, 64 Fed. Reg. 59888, 59892. However, operators will be held to have acquired actual knowledge of having collected personal information from a child where, for example, they later learn of a child’s age or grade from a concerned parent who has learned that his child is participating on the site or service.”

 “What are the penalties for violating the Rule?”

“A court can hold operators who violate the Rule liable for civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.  The amount of civil penalties a court assesses may turn on a number of factors, including the egregiousness of the violations, whether the operator has previously violated the Rule, the number of children involved, the amount and type of personal information collected, how the information was used, whether it was shared with third parties, and the size of the company.  Information about the FTC’s COPPA enforcement actions, including the amounts of civil penalties obtained, can be found by clicking on the Case Highlights link in the FTC’s Business Center.” 

Reading through and understanding COPPA can be a daunting task for those not as familiar with the Act. With the possibilities of steep penalties for violating COPPA, it is advisable that you consult the experts to advise you if you choose to run a sweepstakes or contest aimed at children. Furthermore, Sync Marketing’s legal team are experts in the field and can guide you through your promotion to ensure compliance with COPPA. Here are some of the services we provide and don’t forget to contact Sync today for your next promotion.

Running a Promotion Directed Towards Children

 


25 aug

Prize Fulfillment Solutions for Your Next Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Prize Fulfillment

There are a lot of factors that go into running a successful online sweepstakes or contest. One of the most important ones is the prizing you award to the winners. A lot of companies who decide to run a campaign without the help of a sweepstakes agency often find that the prize fulfillment portion of the campaign can be very time consuming and costly if not done correctly. Below I will talk about prize fulfillment solutions for your next sweepstakes or contest.

Before I go further into the prize fulfillment solutions, I think it’s necessary to first touch on the importance of prizing. You may have great online creative and a healthy marketing budget, but if your prizes aren’t compelling, you run the risk of receiving low entries. Here are a few tips on the types of prizes to offer. But what really constitutes a compelling prize to consumers? A lot of times it simply comes down to the odds of winning. The more prizes you award, the better chance the entrant has of taking home a prize. This makes consumers feel like they have a better chance to win, resulting in increased entry numbers.

Okay, great, you’ve listened to your consumers and want to award a large number of prizes. Where do you start? What does that look like? This is where prize fulfillment solutions come into the picture.

Are you awarding physical prizes? If so, there are a few things you will need to take into consideration. You will need to securely warehouse, package and ship the prizes. A benefit of using a sweepstakes agency that handles prize fulfillment is that they will do all of the work for you. And, because they ship prizing on a regular basis, you will be guaranteed to have the lowest possible rates. Plus, packing and shipping hundreds of prizes can be a very time consuming job, which will in turn costs you money. Check out a list of prize fulfillment services offered by Sync Marketing.

Are you awarding digital prizes? This is definitely a more cost-effective way to award a prize. But, do you have the manpower to follow up with hundreds or even thousands of winners to make sure they’ve received their prizing via email? Leave it to the experts who have the proper programs in place to quickly and efficiently deliver your prizing and take this daunting task off of your plate.

Another thing to consider are the steps that need to take place before prize fulfillment; winner selection, notification and verification. This can also be a very time consuming process. And, if your prizes are valued at over $600, you will need to report this to the IRS and provide a 1099 for each winner. Hiring a sweepstakes agency to oversee this portion of your campaign will take the worry out of the project for you and ensure that it is being handled correctly.

Finally, no matter what the type or quantity of prizing you chose to award to your winners, consider contacting Sync Marketing to handle your prize fulfillment solutions. We will put together a cost-effective and time saving plan for your next campaign and do the “heavy lifting” so you don’t have to.

Prize Fulfillment Solutions for your next Sweepstakes

 

 


16 aug

Looking for the Best Sweepstakes Platform

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes, sweepstakes company, Turnkey Sweepstakes

When looking for the best sweepstakes platform, it’s important to consider a few things before picking one from the first company you see. I get it. You want to run a sweepstakes fast and affordably, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality. Today I will discuss what to look for when choosing a sweepstakes company and platform.

Does the company offering the sweepstakes platform also offer legal services?
Chances are, if you’re using a sweepstakes app company, they don’t offer robust legal services to support your campaign. Make sure you are hiring an agency who also specializes in promotion law, not just in building apps. Why? Because the company providing the legal support will take on the liability in the official rules and will act as the administrator of the promotion.

Did you know that Facebook has changed their policies three times in the last two years regarding allowing social shares for extra entries in a sweepstakes? Our legal team has direct connections at each social network to make sure we’re constantly getting the latest updates on new policy changes directly from their legal teams. When you hire an agency that specializes in promotion law, you know that all the components provided with the sweepstakes platform will be legally compliant.

Do they also run custom campaigns?
If a sweepstakes company creates more than just turnkey apps, chances are they also know a lot about sweepstakes. If a sweepstakes company also runs custom campaigns, then there is a good chance that they can run instant win games, partnership promotions and video contests. This will reassure you that the sweepstakes company you’re using understands the latest trends and best type of promotion to run for you to receive the best ROI.

Can you quickly and easily reach someone at the company?
Some of these sweepstakes platforms are “do-it-yourself” apps that don’t allow for customer support. There are so many aspects to consider when running a sweepstakes from the official rules, winner release forms, bonding and registering to winner selection. It’s imperative to hire a sweepstakes company that provides a designated project manager to oversee and run your promotion.

If you’re looking for a fast, affordable, and effective sweepstakes platform, check out TurnkeySweeps™ by Sync and contact us today for a customized same day quote.

Sweepstakes Platform


22 apr

Reasons to Hire a Sweepstakes Agency for Your Next Campaign

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Sweepstakes

If you’ve never run a sweepstakes or contest before and you are considering adding one to your marketing plans in the near future, it is important that you do your homework on the subject before you begin the process.  There are many things to first identify when planning a sweepstakes. Budget, timing, target audience, goals, etc., (see tips for running a successful sweepstakes), are just a few. You will also need to figure out how the overall process works, and for that, we recommend working with an agency that specializes specifically in sweepstakes and contests.  Here are a few important reasons why you should hire a sweepstakes agency for your next campaign.

Strategy

With anything, you need to start with a plan. Consulting an agency to help you determine how to build the best promotion to meet your goals, all while staying within your budget, is a great place to begin. With these goals in mind, a sweepstakes agency can present a plan for the overall concept of the campaign and determine the best platform to showcase your promotion. Some of these types of campaigns could include; social media, sweepstakes microsite, or an iFrame on your company’s website. They can also brainstorm creative and cutting edge concepts offering you a one-of-a-kind sweepstakes.

Management

There are a lot of moving parts to think about when running an online sweepstakes. Working with an agency who has experience with the process who can take on the management of the promotion is imperative for busy marketing teams.  Not only do they have the expertise, but they are dedicated to the project and will make sure that it is running successfully so that you can focus on other tasks at hand.

Design

A lot of companies have internal creative teams, but do not have teams that specialize specifically in sweepstakes creative. It’s imperative to know how best to design a mobile-optimized sweepstakes. Understanding this ensures that the functionality and flow works from a consumer standpoint. In addition, when you hire a sweepstakes agency, they will be able to design all of the supporting creative such as web banners, in-store POP and social media.  It’s a one stop shop for your promotion, which will save you time and money in the long run.

Programming

In your research you may have come across a sweepstakes app that can build a basic entry form and capture online entries at a low cost.  If that is your only goal, then this could be a valid option for you. If you want to have any customization to your promotion, you will need to hire a sweepstakes agency for programming.  An agency’s programming team can add an instant win component, award extra entries for completing tasks such as sharing on social media, or even collect photo and video uploads.  The sky’s the limit on the possibilities.  They are also able to collect and deliver email and mobile opt-ins. This is typically a big reason companies run sweepstakes. Lastly, if budget is an issue, reach out to us about Turnkey Sweepstakes by Sync Marketing.

Legal Compliance

This is probably one of the most important reasons to consult a sweepstakes agency.  Most companies have in house legal counsel that has a general background in the field of their company’s specialty (i.e. retail, manufacturing, automotive, etc.). With a sweepstakes agency, the legal team specializes in promotion law and stays up-to-date on all of the changes in the field.  If you hire a sweepstakes agency, not only will they create the necessary official rules, affidavits of eligibility and release forms for you, but they will review all of your supporting marketing materials to ensure legal compliance.  Here’s a recent article which outlines Sync Marketing’s legal services.

Prize Procurement and Fulfillment

Does your marketing team have time to select, notify and verify all of the sweepstakes winners?  And after that is complete, do they have time to arrange winner travel, ship out prizing, and/or file tax documentation to the IRS?  If the answer is no, then you should definitely hire a sweepstakes agency.  Not only will they provide these types of services, they will also make sure that all of this is done in compliance with the official rules.  Speaking of prizing, here is an informative article on types of prizing you should consider for a sweepstakes.

Analytics and Reporting

How do you know if your sweepstakes was a success?  The analytics. When you use the services of a sweepstakes agency, they will work with you before the campaign begins to identify the types of metrics you are looking to receive. In addition these metrics can be provided as often as necessary or on a 24/7 password protected website. Without metrics, you cannot clearly determine your ROI.

Running an online sweepstakes is a cost effective way to reach and reward your consumers and promote your company and brand. As we have outlined here, without the proper guidance, mistakes can be made along the way.  We hope the information provided today gave you some better insight on why you should hire a sweepstakes agency for your next campaign. While you’re at it, consider reaching out to Sync Marketing for your next sweepstakes campaign.  Contact us today! Jennifer@syncmarketing.net or 323-596-7962.

Hire a Sweepstakes Agency like Sync Marketing for your next campaign.

 


05 apr

Sweepstakes Legal Services

By: Sync Marketing | In: Best Practices, Contests, Instagram, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing

If you’re looking for a sweepstakes law company to handle the legal needs for your upcoming project, Sync Marketing has got you covered. We specialize in all aspects of planning, implementing and managing sweepstakes and contest campaigns, although we consider the sweepstakes legal services to be the most important piece of the puzzle. Our legal team specializes in promotion law and are experts in the field. It’s important that when running a sweepstakes that you can trust your sweepstakes administrator to provide accurate and current official rules. This helps to minimize any risk that may come with running a sweepstakes or contest.

The official rules is the most important legal document that you will create for your promotion, but did you know that there is a lot more that goes into making sure you’re running a legally-complaint promotion than the official rules? Not only do we thoroughly go through the concept of the sweepstakes or contest with you and provide creative ideas to ensure you achieve your campaign goals, but we also make sure the promotion is in line with today’s legal standards. In addition, we will review all of your promotional materials to make sure they include all of the necessary legal language. We provide this service to ensure that your sweepstakes is meeting the legal guidelines on all levels. 

Below is a comprehensive list of the sweepstakes legal services we provide at Sync Marketing to help you build a legally-compliant sweepstakes or contest campaign:

  • legal counsel
  • official rules creation and review
  • abbreviated rules
  • legal disclaimers
  • winner affidavit of eligibility and release forms
  • travel companion forms
  • trademark search of campaign title
  • patent negotiations
  • partnership negotiations
  • client indemnification
  • letter of opinion
  • fraud mitigation of promotion offers
  • fraud mitigation of consumer entrants
  • bond and register campaign per state and federal guidelines
  • legal compliance review of all promotional materials and social media posts
  • contest criteria
  • contest judging
  • background checks
  • insurance coverage of prizing
  • file all required winner lists

If you’re on the fence and about hiring an sweepstakes administrator for sweepstakes legal services, check out this article that provides reasons as to why you should.  We hope to have now convinced you to not only hire a marketing agency that specializes in sweepstakes law, but to considering hiring Sync Marketing. Whether it’s an Instant-Win Sweepstakes, an Instagram promotion or video contest, Sync Marketing will cover all of your legal needs and make it a seamless process to build and launch your next sweepstakes. Contact us today at inquiries@syncmarketing.net or 323-596-7962 to receive a quote.

Sweepstakes Legal Services provided by Sync Marketing


26 feb

Why hire an administrator to create your sweepstakes Official Rules and Winner Release Forms

By: Julie Link | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Legal and Prize Fulfillment

In this month’s Ask Sync Marketing, we answer the question, “Why should you hire an administrator to create your sweepstakes Official Rules and Winner Release Forms?”

Why can’t we just use our in-house counsel to draft our rules?

It’s not to say that they can’t, but if your in-house legal counsel does not specifically specialize in promotion law, chances are they are not up-to-date on all of the latest legal actions and changes in the field. Our advice is to keep them focused on what they do best and ask them to review the rules we create for you. Our legal team specializes in promotion law and are the top in the field. We will provide you with a comprehensive set of official rules that include the current promotion laws.

We want to run a promotion on Facebook and they offer Promotion Guidelines, isn’t this enough?

Reviewing Facebook’s latest promotion guidelines is helpful, but it’s definitely not enough to have full insight on all of the required language needed for a fully-compliant set of official rules. There are many eligibility, publicity, and state and local laws that should be considered when running a sweepstakes or contest. Hiring an agency like Sync to create the rules for you will allow you to rest assured that your official rules will meet these laws.

We found a similar promotion that ran last year, can’t we just use those rules for our sweepstakes?

Absolutely not. First, they’re not your rules to take and second you cannot be sure that these are up-to-date or were even legally compliant in the first place. Not to mention, it’s highly unlikely your promotion will be running identically to the rules you see online.

What if we don’t have time to vet out a new agency to handle our rules?

Even more reason to hire an outside agency! There is nothing more time consuming than dealing with legal ramifications when you don’t follow the law when running a promotion. There is so much that is required when running a sweepstakes or contest, which is why hiring an agency like Sync Marketing to take care of all of this for you, will take a ton off of your plate. Not only do we draft legally complaint official rules, we can also provide the following services when we handle legal:

  • Legal counsel
  • Abbreviated rules
  • Legal disclaimers
  • Winner affidavit of eligibility and release forms
  • Travel companion forms
  • Trademark search of campaign title
  • Patent negotiations
  • Partnership negotiations
  • Client indemnification
  • Letter of opinion
  • Fraud mitigation of promotion offers
  • Fraud mitigation of consumer entrants
  • Bond and register campaign per state and federal guidelines
  • Legal compliance review of all promotional materials and social media posts

Do I even need Official Rules?

We are often asked this by our current clients when they are wanting to run a sweepstakes with a shorter entry period or for sweepstakes or contests with a small prize. Our answer is always, yes. If there is a time frame to enter, you’ll be promoting the sweepstakes in any way, or you’re requiring your entrants to complete certain tasks to enter, then you need to have official rules. Keep in mind that Official Rules are your friend – they protect you and your consumers.

If you’re still on the fence about hiring an outside agency to handle your sweepstakes official rules and winner release forms, give us a call. We would be happy to ease any concerns and talk you through the process in more details. Contact us today

Official Rules and Winner Release Forms

 

 


17 feb

Common Mistakes Companies Make When Running an Online Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Sweepstakes

Running an online sweepstakes can be an easy and effective way to promote your company’s services and/or products, when it’s done correctly. By omitting important key components in your sweepstakes campaign, you not only run the risk of upsetting your loyal customers and potential new customers, but also open up your company to potential legal ramifications. Below are a few common mistakes companies make when running an online sweepstakes.

No Official Rules Posted

This is a big mistake to make as this is one of the most important elements of a campaign. You must always create official rules that are easily accessible to the public throughout the sweepstakes entry period. The official rules should outline the sweepstakes eligibility, start and end dates, prize values and winner selection date. Not only do the official rules add legitimacy to your sweepstakes, it holds you accountable to run the promotion as stated.

Requiring a Purchase to Enter or Win

There are instances when a promotion awards an entry to a consumer for making a purchase, but in most cases, this is not an acceptable practice. If you do decide to add a purchase for entry, in most cases you must have a “free” method of entry that is clearly disclosed in all of your marketing materials and advertising. Also, payment should be for an actual legitimate product or service, and not just for an entry. Click here for more information on that subject.

Didn’t Bond or Register Promotion

If the promotion is open to residents of Florida or New York and the total ARV of all prizing is over $5,000, you will need to bond and register the sweepstakes in these states. Here is a link to Florida’s statute. Here is one to New York’s statute. Also, if you are a retailer and the promotion is open to residents of Rhode Island, you will need to register the sweepstakes in this state as well. For additional information click here.

There are many elements to consider when running a sweepstakes, which is why its best to hire an agency who specializes in sweepstakes. If you have any doubt about how to proceed with setting up your next sweepstakes and have legal questions, be sure to reach out to Sync. Here is a blog article with additional reasons why you should hire an agency like Sync for your legal and prize fulfillment needs.

Common Mistakes Companies Make When Running an Online Sweepstakes

31 dec

How do I maximize ROI when running an online sweepstakes?

By: Sync Marketing | In: Advertising, Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes, Twitter

To answer this question, I am going to first ask you to image that you have agreed to volunteer to bake a cake for your child’s school bake sale to raise money for their upcoming class trip. Your goal with this task is to make the most appealing product that will fetch the most money possible, doing so all within a set budget for purchasing your ingredients. Why this exercise, you may ask? Because this scenario is very similar to the process of trying to maximize ROI when running an online sweepstakes.  Below is the “recipe” for a successful sweepstakes campaign:

Identify your goals:  The goal of the bake sale is to raise as much money with as little financial investment as possible. It’s a challenge because you don’t want to invest too much money towards creating the cake, but the product must still be appealing to fetch a decent price.  Does that sound familiar?  You want to run an online sweepstakes to reward your consumers and get your name out to the masses, but you have a limited budget.  If money is an issue, you may want to consider running a simple social media initiative on Instagram or Twitter for example.  These types of promotions are a cost-effective way to engage your consumers all while promoting your company and/or product.  Here is an article on the benefits of running an Instagram sweepstakes: http://www.syncmarketing.net/benefits-runnings-instagram-promotion/#.VoR5y_9Iios

Know your Audience:  It’s a bake sale that will be attended by other parents at the school who will be most likely be buying the cake to serve to their family that evening. A rum raisin cake might be your baking specialty, but based on the audience, it most likely will be passed up.  The same goes for your online sweepstakes.  If your core consumers are not on social media, it would make much more sense to host the sweepstakes on an iFrame on your website, or on a dedicated sweepstakes microsite.  It may cost a bit more money, but the investment will pay off when you receive entries and email opt-ins. Identifying your audience and their habits is very important to maximizing your investment.

Quality of the Product:  So you signed up to participate in the bake sale knowing that baking is not your forte and now you are nervous.  Since you are not one to shirk responsibility, you whip up your best attempt at a chocolate cake, but it looks more like a hockey puck with frosting.  You certainly get an “A” for effort, but unfortunately, no one is buying your cake.  The same goes for a sweepstakes.  The overall quality of a sweepstakes consists of many ingredients, so to speak.  The design, value of the prizing, and overall user experience are very important to its success.  The icing on the cake is having clearly outlined official rules.  This is something a consumer really values because it’s the basic recipe to the promotion; it outlines the entry period, eligibility requirements, prize description and how they will be contacted if they win to, name a few. It also allows you to rest assured that you are running a legally compliant promotion.  Here is an article outlining the benefits of hiring an agency like Sync to handle your legal needs for running a sweepstake or contest:  http://www.syncmarketing.net/2014/07/#.VoVbSP9Iios

Product Display:  You made the most perfectly delicious cake and you are so excited to bring it to the bake sale to hopefully fetch a handsome price.  The problem is, you wrapped it in cellophane and it’s sitting on the back end of the table in the cold auditorium and it’s completely passed up.  Don’t make the mistake of letting your perfectly constructed sweepstakes go unnoticed by hiding it in the clutter of the online world. Even with a small budget, you can promote your sweepstakes or contest on social media channels, by writing a blog post, or by calling it out on your website’s home page.  You should also consider sending emails to your current subscribers.  The more traffic, the more entries and the higher return on your investment.    

For more information on building the perfect sweepstakes check out this article:  http://www.syncmarketing.net/steps-take-run-successful-sweepstakes-contest/#.VoVhF_9Iios