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26 may

Sweepstakes are Making Waves in the Digital Space

By: Julie Link | In: Facebook, Instagram, Instant Win, Marketing, Sweepstakes, Twitter, User Generated Content

It’s no surprise that the digital age is becomes more of a prominent fixture in our daily lives. This is especially true for millennials. As such, marketers are doing everything they can to break through the clutter to reach their consumers. One of the best ways for marketers to increase their ROI and engage with consumers through digital, is by running sweepstakes. This cost effective promotional tool is a win-win for consumers and brands. Below I discuss the three key aspects as to why sweepstakes in the digital space are becoming increasingly more popular.

1. Content is King

User-Generated Content (UCG) is an effective tool for marketers to gain authentic usable content for free. Once way to get UGC is with a video dance contest hosted on a microsite. Or, a cutest puppy photo sweepstakes held on Instagram. By running these types of campaign, brands are able to gather this UGC for free and use it on their website and social media channels.

Legal Alert: Keep in mind that specific language needs to be included in the official rules and winner release forms to be able to utilize this content in your future marketing. That’s why hiring an agency that specializes in promotion law is key to running a legally compliant promotion.

Some of the most memorable and talked about commercials and campaigns in recent years are completely customer created. In the past, brands shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and run a commercial spot.  Now, they can award an eager fan an exclusive experience prize and in turn receive an exceptional ad. The most well-known example of this is the promotion that Doritos ran. Here, they asked consumers to submit their own Doritos commercial for the chance to have their spot aired during the big game’s half time show.

2. Social Media

Every type of company, especially retailers, are running social media campaigns. That’s because it’s not only an inexpensive venue to run a promotion, but an invaluable tool to engage with consumers. Even if a brand is running an online sweepstakes, social sharing is a great way to spread the word about the brand. There is no better person to share your content than a consumer. That’s because they are already interested in your brand and therefore excited to share with their friends.

The use of hashtags in promotions has seen a dramatic increase this year as well. Not only is it a way to track entries, but if you create a clever hashtag (that of course must include sweepstakes in the tag), the viral possibilities are endless.

3. Mobile

For large brands, creating a well adaptable user-experience focused app is a great tool to increase brand loyalty and exposure. With apps comes the easy addition of layering on a sweepstakes component. This allows brands to reward consumers and increase engagement. Last summer Sync Marketing was a part of a Slurpee instant-win campaign that rewarded those who used the app and purchased a Slurpee to be entered for their chance to win from thousands of prizes. This was a great way to layer on a sweepstakes, drive sales and bring exposure to the app.

In addition, because digital has become a fixture in our daily lives, sweepstakes now must be mobile-optimized so that the user experience is seamless and enjoyable. As a result, this leads to a good ROI for the sweepstakes.

 “So many consumers these days are on the go so you want them to have a good user experience on their phones,” says Julie Link, from a recent Chief Marketer article.

As sweepstakes in the digital space become increasingly popular, there is no better time to add them to your marketing plans. If you’re a brand considering adding a sweepstakes to increase your digital reach, you are on the right path. This is because it’s one of the most affordable ways to spread the word, engage consumers, and create quality content.

Sweepstakes in the Digital Space

 


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

 


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!