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12 mar

5 Ways to Avoid Legal Issues when Running a Sweepstakes

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

Running an online sweepstakes or contest is an effective tool to engage consumers and elevate your brand or company. There are many things to consider when including a sweepstakes such as budget, run dates, eligibility, and prizing. The most important and often overlooked items are the legal parameters of a campaign. If not addressed in advance, it could derail all your efforts. Below are 5 ways to avoid legal issues when running a sweepstakes.

Official Rules and Abbreviated Rules

Think of this as your sweepstakes’ user manual. The official rules should be a blueprint of your campaign and should clearly outline eligibility, campaign run dates, how and where to enter, prizing and the total ARV. It’s also important to include when and how a potential winner will be notified. Entrants should have a clear understanding of how the sweepstakes works and there should be no surprises. Abbreviated rules are a shortened version of the full rules that should give entrants a direct link to the full set of rules. Here is a helpful article of what should be included in the rules.

Bonding and Registration

Did you know that certain states require you to bond and register your promotion? Usually, it’s dependent on the total ARV of a campaign, but it varies by state. Neglecting to bond and register and not adhering to the timing deadlines for when you can submit your registration and bonding could amount to hefty penalties. Here are links to New York, Florida and Rhode Island that specifically addresses their requirements. 

Legal Review of Marketing Materials

You may have your official rules buttoned up, but did you know there are legal disclaimers that should appear on your marketing materials such as emails, POP and social media posts? Also, your marketing materials must not be misleading to entrants. A full-service sweepstakes agency can guide you on what is required to keep your promotion legally compliant.

Social Media Restrictions

Social media campaigns are fun and inexpensive, but they do come with legal requirements which are constantly changing. Each platform has their own guidelines that you must following in order to run a campaign. Guidelines change quite frequently so it is a good idea to consult with a legal professional who is up-to-date on all of the changes. If you can’t get outside help, it’s a good idea to go to each platform. Here are links to FacebookTwitter and Instagram’s policy pages. 

Privacy and Collecting PII

Consumer privacy is a very hot-button item. There are many rules and regulations about collecting and storing personal identifying information (PII). Consulting the laws for each participating state and country if international is essential before running a campaign. For example, here is a helpful article about the CCPA law that affects promotions running in California.

While many companies opt to use inexpensive sweepstakes software to build and manage their campaigns, they often overlook the legal elements. It may be less expensive, but in the long run, you may end up paying heavily in fines and even have your promotion shut down mid campaign. Now that you know the 5 ways to avoid legal issues when running a sweepstakes, consider using a full-service agency like Sync to manage your campaign.


10 mar

4 Reasons to Run a Contest Now

By: Julie Link | In: Ask Sync Marketing, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, sweepstakes company, User Generated Content

The last 12 months have been unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. 2021 is the year for companies to give back to consumers more than ever before. One of the best ways to give back is through running contests. Today I will discuss 4 reasons to run a contest now. 

People want to feel connected

Now more than ever, people want to share their experiences as a way to connect. This is a great opportunity for brands to ask their customers to share their story for a chance to win something truly helpful to them. Crate and Barrel is currently asking engaged or recently married couples to share their story for a chance to win everything in their registry (up to $2,500). In addition, Crate and Barrel will make a $1,000 donation to Feeding America® on behalf of each couple.

Feel-Good Content

People are ready to start getting good news again! What better way than to run contests that help share good news and create positive change. Aerie is continuing their Changemakers initiative for a second year to celebrate consumers who are making a difference and reward them with the necessary funds to continue their work. 20 amazing applicants will win $20,000 towards their personal missions. This campaign spreads good vibes while celebrating the efforts of people making changes in their community.

Consumers are on their phones now more than ever

Since you already have a social team trying to drive awareness and followers, why not add a contest? It’s a win for you and a win for consumers.  A social contest is a great way to garner user-generated content and followers. With consumers on their phones now more than ever, having them upload content all while promoting your brand along the way is a no brainer. This also builds awareness for your brand, allows you to learn more about your consumer, and leaves them feeling seen and rewarded. As stated in outgrow.com, companies who run contests get an average of 17,500 new followers through a contest: 

Have some Fun

Did you see the Big Game this year? If so, you probably saw the commercial for Mountain Dew’s Major Melon Bottle Count contest. Viewers were asked to tweet out how many bottles of Mountain Dew appeared in the ad for a chance to win $1 million dollars. Within minutes, there were thousands of tweets. Not everyone has Pepsi’s budget, but you get the idea. Offering consumers a fun contest will get them excited, engaged and will leave them with a good taste in their mouth about your company or brand (pun intended). 

I hope these 4 reasons to run a contest now, were helpful. There are an assortments of ways to run a contest, and this year is the time. Let’s give back to our communities and let their voices be heard. Contact Sync today for help brainstorming your next campaign.


25 nov

5 Reasons to Run a Quiz with a Sweepstakes

By: Julie Link | In: Ask Sync Marketing, Marketing

Taking a personality quiz or participating in a poll is all the rage these days. Who doesn’t want to be told if you are an introvert who likes to cuddle up next to a fire or an extrovert who is always keeping busy? Quizzes are very popular, especially on social media sites, so it makes sense to take advantage of this marketing tool. While running a quiz on its own is a great marketing tool, in this article I outline why adding a sweepstakes component  has exponential benefits. Here are my 5 reasons to run a quiz with a sweepstakes.

1 Data Collection

You can learn so much about consumers and potential consumers when running a quiz. The information you receive from the quiz can be used for future marketing opportunities for your brand. And, you can target all of the new email subscribers you obtained through the sweepstakes and tailor your messaging to their specific likes. Second street also believe data collection is a benefit as they mention in this blog post.

2 Engagement

Quality engagement is so important when running a sweepstakes. If a consumer is willing to go to the effort to fill out a quiz, you know they have some curiosity for your brand. An effective add-on to any quiz with a sweepstakes is to offer a surprise and delight coupon after entry. This will lead to further engagement and traffic to your website, ideally leading to a sale.

3 Reach

As previously discussed in my post, “5 Ways to Increase Email Subscribers with a Sweepstakes,” people inherently want to share things about themselves to others. A quiz in no different. After you get your result, it’s common to want to share it with the world. This is an effective way to increase your reach when running a sweepstakes. You can even offer entrants extra entries for sharing their result with their friends on social media.

4 Reward

Make sure the prize is grand. At Sync Marketing, we always recommended including several smaller secondary prizes and a larger overarching grand prize. The smaller prizes give entrants the feeling that they have a better chance to win and the larger prize can be eye catching and tend to motivate people to participate. Whether it’s cash, a trip or a gift card for your site, make sure it’s worth the effort for your consumers to enter. As with all the reasons, great prizing is a fantastic way to increase the number of people who enter your sweepstakes and take your quiz. 

5 Fun!

Since quizzes and sweepstakes are so popular, offering them allows consumers to have a fun and positive association with your brand and/or products. Plus, the more memorable engagement you have with consumers, the higher chance they will return to your site again and hopefully purchase something while there.

In conclusion, running a quiz with a sweepstakes is a fun and effective way to gather consumer information, email opt-ins and create a positive interaction with current and potential consumers. Here is a current quiz Sync is running. For more information on Sync Marketing’s quiz with a sweepstakes feature, contact us today.


19 nov

Sweepstakes Rules and Legal Requirements

By: Jennifer French | In: Marketing

Running a sweepstakes is a highly effective way to grow your email database, reward your current clientele, and promote your products or services. There are many things to consider when adding a sweepstakes to your marketing plans. Not only do you need to identify the type of campaign you will run, prizes you will award, platform where the promotion will live, but you will need to ensure it has accurate sweepstakes rules. While we always recommend that you speak with a legal professional before running any sweepstakes campaign, below are some basic sweepstakes rules and legal requirements to consider.

Official Rules

The official sweepstakes rules are essential to create for all campaigns. This document is the outline of the sweepstakes or contest. It should contain the campaign eligibility such as age requirements, participation areas, entry method, the dates of entry, prizes and values and how the winners will be selected, notified and verified. The sweepstakes rules are where entrants will find all the required information. Here is some additional information on official rules

Eligibility

When setting up the eligibility for the sweepstakes you should consider what the age of majority is for each state. There are also several states that deal differently with respect to marketing and collecting information for people under the age of 13. There are also states that have different requirements for alcohol companies. A sweepstakes agency can guide you on what each State’s Attorney General requires.

Marketing Materials

You want to ensure that all the marketing materials you produce to advertise the sweepstakes are accurate from a legal standpoint and that they are not misleading. You also want to be sure to always state that no purchase is necessary. Here is a good reference from the FTC.

Campaign Platform

Will you be hosting an online entry form and collecting people’s personally identifiable information (PII)? You will need to consider what you do with the PII and how you keep it protected. There are also laws in states like California (CCPA) that require you to delete a person’s PII if they request for it to be deleted. Here is a reference about CCPA. What if you are you planning to host an Instagram contest? Social media platforms have their own promotion guidelines, and they are constantly changing. Here is the most current for Instagram for example. 

Bonding and Registration

Depending on the total ARV of your prize, some states require that you bond and register the sweepstakes. In addition to this, some states require you to file a final winners list at the end of the promotion. Knowing each state’s requirements and timing is critical to avoid being fined and/or having your sweepstakes removed.

Creating well drafted sweepstakes rules and following all the legal requirements is crucial when running a campaign. We would highly recommend consulting a sweepstakes legal expert like Sync Marketing to guide you through the process and make sure you are following all of the requirements. Contact us today. 


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10 nov

5 Ways to Increase Email Subscribers with a Sweepstakes

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes, sweepstakes company, User Generated Content

Sweepstakes are a cost-effective tool for increasing your email subscribers. It’s important to note that not all subscribers are created equal. You want people who are truly interested in your brand to sign up. While the number of email subscribers is important, it’s also more important that you obtain subscribers who are truly interested in engaging with your brand. Today I will discuss 5 ways to increase email subscribers with a sweepstakes.

Know Your Audience

Running a sweepstakes specific to your brand will increase engagement and build your email subscribers list with authentic and quality opt-ins. A recent example of this was a dog food company that ran a photo contest where they asked entrants to upload a photo of their dog dressed up in a Halloween costume. The fact that it was very specific to dog owners and thematic to a holiday, lead to quality engagement. It also created fantastic user-generated content as well as increased email subscribers.

Incentivize

Incentivizing entrants to share the opportunity for more chances to win is an effective and free way to promote your sweepstakes. While this could be a separate blog post all on it’s own, it’s important to consider a few factors if you want to incentivize entrants. People inherently want to share things that tell others more about them. That share could be from a quiz result, a charitable cause they hold dear, or anything else that evokes emotion. Try to tie one of these reasons for entrants to share into your sweepstakes concept. One example is to consider running a sweepstakes with a quiz component. People love sharing their results. And if it’s for an extra chance to win, this will increase tenfold. Here is an example of a quiz Sync recently completed for Aerie. 

Offer an Exclusive Opportunity

It’s often all about the prize. Offering an exclusive opportunity is a great way to get many quality entries. This could be a VIP experience at the Super Bowl, a meet-a-great at an awards show, or a red carpet experience at a movie premiere. Last year our client Paul Stewart offered exclusive prize packages. They partnered with a home rental company to give away weekend trips to different locations in New York and added on a custom fitting to their Paul Stewart store in New York.

Share Share Share

A great way to increase engagement and therefore increase the chance of signing up email subscribers is to offer multiple chances to win. Try offering weekly entry periods with an overarching grand prize. When an entrant first enters, give them the opportunity to opt-in. You can also offer them the chance to receive email reminders about the sweepstakes. Each week you will have an opportunity to tell them about that week’s prize, getting them to continuously engage with your brand.

Create a Landing Page

While running a social media sweepstakes is great to collect UGC, you won’t have the opportunity to collect email opt-ins. Therefore, we always suggest running a sweepstakes that has a dedicated landing page vs. a social sweepstakes. Whether potential email subscribers enter on your landing page or just get information about the sweepstakes, a landing page allows you to have a dedicated spot for consumers to get all of the information they need. It also increases traffic to your site. If you are running a social sweepstakes, you can still have a landing page with all of the information in one spot. On the landing page, give entrants the opportunity to opt-in directly on your page to get more information about the sweepstakes and other opportunities.

In conclusion, there are several effective ways to increase email subscribers with a sweepstakes. If you need some ideation help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for some ideas! 


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01 oct

Run a Sweepstakes to Help Sell Products Online this Holiday Season

By: Jennifer French | In: Marketing

Let’s face it, the 2020 holiday shopping season will not be like any we’ve seen in the past. With ever-changing local and national restrictions on crowd capacity at big box stores, retailers will need to entice their customers to do the lion’s share of their holiday shopping online. An effective way to capture their interest is to run a sweepstakes to help sell products online this holiday season. 

The key thing a sweepstakes will accomplish is to build and/or strengthen your email marketing efforts. Email is one of the most effective ways to directly reach your ideal audience. When someone opts-in to be on your email list, they are personally welcoming you to reach out, so you will want to be sure to take advantage of their attention. According to Constant Contact,you can expect to receive an ROI of $42 per $1 you spend on email marketing. Here are some additional email marketing statistics.

But, to convince consumers to join your email list so you can ultimately sell products online, you’ll have to first give them something they can get excited about.  This is where running a sweepstakes comes into play. An online sweepstakes gives your audience a fun, interactive experience offering them the chance to win great prizes. This interaction can be incredibly useful because it creates a bond with the consumer and puts you in a good light.

They’ve signed up for emails, now what? This is your chance to reap what you sow, so to speak. The content of your email must be enticing and attention-getting. Here are a few tips from Campaign Monitoron how to leverage your email marketing. 

Consider running a sweepstakes during the holiday shopping season to keep consumers engaged.  Offer a daily prize giveaway that coincides with a theme; 12 days of Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Also consider offering a surprise and delight element like a discount coupon or free sample after each person enters. Free shipping is also a huge incentive to drive sales so you should consider it if feasible to your business. 

Reach out to Sync who will help best strategize how to run a sweepstakes to help sell products online this holiday season for your business.


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21 sep

Retail Sweepstakes: How to drive consumers online with a retail sweepstakes

By: Julie Link | In: Marketing

This post is a continuation of my previous post about how to drive consumers in-store with a retail sweepstakes. Due to the current pandemic, retailers have had to shift most of their focus to online sales. Today, I will discuss how to help drive consumers online with a retail sweepstakes. Something retailers need to do now more than ever.

CTA:

At Sync, we always recommend a simple sweepstakes microsite to create the best ROI and traffic to your website. Big Commerce also discusses how simple online sweepstakes are a great way to drive traffic to your website. No hoops, just a simple entry form and a great prize. If you want to go a step further and prompt entrants to shop online, create a call to action after entry. Perhaps it’s a surprise and delight discount coupon good for 25% off a pair of jeans or a code for free shipping. 

Get Trending:

As we all know by now, social sweepstakes are a fantastic way to create user-generated content. In addition, it’s a great way to get trending via hashtag. People are home now more than ever and ready and willing to provide content. Some are begging for it! So why not create a contest that asks consumers to showcase their quarantine style? This is a great way to connect with your consumers and reward them in the process. The more the hashtag trends the more eyes you will have on your brand or products, which in turn will translate into more online sales.

E-gift Cards for the Win:

Prizing is key to drive consumers to enter for a chance to win. While we have discussed prizing many different times, if you are really focusing on online sales, provide e-gift cards as prizing. If budget allows, I would recommends giving away as many gift cards as possible and then having a larger overarching grand prize. We have found this makes a sweepstakes very enticing to enter. Consumers feel as though they have a real chance at winning and the larger grand prize is always appealing. 

With the holidays around the corner, now is the time to run a sweepstakes and drive online sales. Contact Sync today if you want to set up a brainstorming call.


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24 aug

Common Mistakes When Running a Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Marketing

Running a sweepstakes is an effective way for a business to obtain new customers. It’s also a great tool for staying connected to current customers and rewarding them for their loyalty. It’s a very cost-effective marketing tool when done correctly. When contemplating running a sweepstakes, there are important things to consider. Below I will discuss some common mistakes when running a sweepstakes.

No Official Rules

This is probably one of the most important mistakes to avoid. We find that many company’s in-house legal teams do not necessarily specialize in marketing law, so a lot of times, this critical element is neglected. There are a lot of intricacies, especially when it comes to running a sweepstakes on social media platforms, which change their policies frequently. There are also state regulations to also be aware of that may affect your promotion. They are also crucial for entrants as they outline the details of the promotion such as in eligibility, run dates, prizing, etc. Here is an article on the importance of drafting sweepstakes rules. 

Weak Prizing

Nothing kills the excitement of a sweepstakes than an insignificant prize. Would you take the time to enter for a branded water bottle or beach ball? Well most likely, neither will other consumers. If you are going to ask people to do something, give them something worthwhile in return. Consider a cash prize or shopping spree if you are in the retail sector. Also, awarding multiple prizes gives people the sense that the have a better chance to win.

Over Complicated 

You may be promoting an exciting brand or product, are offering amazing prizes and have your legal buttoned up but you are asking entrants to do too many things. The more you ask from the entrant, the higher the risk of drop off. This is especially true in the age of online scams and hacking. People are just not comfortable providing their personal identifying information (PII). Consider just asking for name and email address. This is also true about the entry process. We’ve seen promotions asking people to upload photos, answer essay questions, create a video, etc. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, sometimes less is more.

Choosing the Wrong Platform 

If your goal is to obtain email opt-ins, a simple online entry is the best way to go. You wouldn’t want to run a social promotion in the instance because emails are not typically collected. The opposite runs true if you are looking to get your message to go viral. A social sweepstakes would be a good choice in that case. Again, it’s important to keep in mind the different policies on each social platform. Here is a good reference

Poor Timing

It’s always a good idea before running a sweepstakes to check the calendar for critical dates that may conflict with your promotion.  Knowing that a lot of people with children travel during spring break, you may want to wait until afterwards to run a promotion aimed at that sector. The length of campaign is also important.  Too short and you run the risk of people missing the promotion. Too long and the momentum may be lost. Typically, a two-four-week campaign is ideal.

Poor Marketing

If you build it, they will come does not always apply in marketing. You can have the coolest sweepstakes concept, but if people don’t know about it, your entry numbers will be low. This article gives helpful suggestions for promotion your sweepstakes. 

No Follow Up

So, your campaign was successful, and you obtained a good number of email opt-ins. If you don’t follow up with these potential clients, it’s definitely a missed opportunity. Consider sending a thank you email after they enter. You can even include a “Surprise and Delight offer like a discount coupon or free sample.

When done correctly, there are many great benefits to running a sweepstakes. Consider hiring an agency like Sync Marketing, who can guide you through the process and help you prevent making common mistakes when running a sweepstakes. Contact us today


28 jul

How to Get Customers Excited to Shop Online

By: Sync Marketing | In: Marketing

While there has been a significant shift in consumer shopping habits due to COVID-19 as discussed in the Quantcast Blog, some consumers need more of a push to shop online. Today, I will discuss how to get customers excited to shop online by running a sweepstakes or contest.

Prizing

One of the most cost-effective ways to get customers excited to shop online is to incentivize them with a chance of winning a prize. What better way to do this than running a sweepstakes where your customers can win a gift card to your company or store? Many big box retailers have started  running sweepstakes to entice their customers to come online for a chance to win. While there, the hope is that they will see something they like and that it will translate into a sale.

In order to make the entry process “worth it,” it’s important that your prizing is up to snuff. We would recommend giving away several small gift cards (possibly one or more a day) with an overarching larger grand prize. This makes customers feel as though they have a better chance to win. Also, by giving away gift cards, you are encouraging them to shop online, and in most cases, they will buy more than what the gift card is worth. 

Surprise and Delight

Want to encourage more online sales? Offer a surprise and delight coupon to every person who enters the sweepstakes. Make the discount worth it at 20% or more.

Social Media Contests

Another way to get customers excited to shop online is to run a social media contest. Engaging with your customers is more important than ever.  Perhaps you can ask your customers to upload their favorite “lounge look” to Instagram for a chance to win. Julie Link Co-Founder of Sync Marketing wrote

“It’s not business as usual. Businesses are struggling to find ways to connect with their consumers while we are forced to “social distance” by staying home. So how do brands interact with consumers? How do they connect? A great way is engaging consumers with sweepstakes and contests.” 

Another way to encourage engagement is by including a call to action after entry. One way to share the sweepstakes and encourage engagement is to offer entrants extra chances to win by sharing on social media.

As we all try to navigate these times it’s important to continue to assess your goals and think of cost-effective ways to engage with your customers in a positive way. Sweepstakes have always been a great way to do that. If you want to brainstorm ideas on how a sweepstakes might benefit your brand, reach out to Sync today.


22 jul

5 Social Media Sweepstakes Ideas to Engage Customers

By: Jennifer French | In: Marketing

Running a social media sweepstakes or contest is an easy and cost-effective way to promote your brand or company. It is also a great way to create buzz and collect meaningful user-generated content from consumers.  Below are 5 social media sweepstakes ideas to engage customers.

#1 Photo Upload

Crate and Barrel Sweepstakes
Crate and Barrel Sweepstakes

A simple Instagram or Facebook photo upload contest is a great way to capture user-generated content all in the name of fun. Think cute babies, furry friends, or fabulous food creations as a few examples. Crate and Barrel ran a wedding registry sweepstakes where they asked entrants to upload a photo of their wedding prep. Daily prizes were awarded throughout the month of February. 

#2 Twitter Hashtag Sweepstakes

Tide Pods Sweepstakes
Tide Pods Sweepstakes

This is probably one of the easiest social sweepstakes you can run. All you need to do is post your message on Twitter and ask for entrants to tweet you back with your campaign hashtag.  Tide did just that in the fall of 2019 to promote their partnership with the NFL for their Tuesday Night is Laundry Night campaign. Select NFL players tweeted on their own Twitter accounts asking for fans to tweet back for a chance to win limited edition Tide PODS. 

#3 Like and/or Comment 

#AcedIt Sweepstakes
Acer’s #AcedIt Sweepstakes

This is another easy and effective sweepstakes idea.  Entrants are required to like and or comment on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post for a chance to win. Acer uses this sweepstakes concept to promote their partnership with the LPGA. Their yearly #AcedIt Sweepstakes offers entrants a chance to win an Acer lap top every time an LPGA pro hits a hole-in-one during the season.  The hole-in-one becomes a triggering event and entrants have 48 hours to comment on Acer’s Facebook or Twitter post for a chance to win. Due to the stoppage of all sports during their 2020 campaign, Acer got creative and worked with the LPGA to hold virtual golf matches pitting pros up against one another on a computer golf game.

#4 Tiktok Contest

TikTok Contest with Claire's
TikTok Content with Claire’s

Tiktok is the new gold standard for creating fun videos. Because proms were canceled this year, Claire’s Stores wanted to give high schoolers a chance to win prizes through a Prom-themed contest. They ran a PJs to Prom contest on TikTok asking entrants to show their PJs to Prom looks. 

#5 Vote to Win

A great way to gage consumers interest in your products is by asking them to vote on their favorite while offering them a chance to win a prize. Specialty Materials™ ran a Facebook sweepstakes where they asked entrants to vote on their favorite pattern of fabric for the chance to win a 20-sheet prize pack.

Now you have some social media sweepstakes ideas , but you are not sure which platform(s) to choose. Here is an article that may help you narrow it down. Also, before you decide to run a sweepstakes or contest on a social platform, you need to be aware of the rules and limitations of each platform first. Our Legal team has hands-on knowledge and experience running promotions on all social media platforms.  Here is a link to Sync’s legal services we offer to help you with your next sweepstakes or contest. 

Contact us today.


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