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21 sep

Solutions for Running Cost-Effective Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Marketing, Sweepstakes, sweepstakes company, Turnkey Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

When running a sweepstakes, there are a lot of factors to consider. As you start to plan, think of your objectives, target audience, timing, and theme. A major factor that can determine the entire scope of the campaign is your budget. Many marketing teams have the fortune of having large supporting budgets to run their campaigns. Some on the other hand have limited budgets. Regardless, all are in search of running a quality campaign which achieves their goals. Below are a few suggestions for running cost-effective sweepstakes.

Social Media

One cost-effective sweepstakes idea would be to offer your method of entry on one of your social channels. This will require you to create a campaign hashtag to track your entries. It will also require that a full comprehensive set of official rules be created. The benefit of running social sweepstakes is that it can increase your social following and allow you to collect fun user-generated content. These types of sweepstakes however are not ideal for a brand who is only looking to increase their email database. This is because there is no personal data collected from the entrants.

Here is an example of a social sweepstakes that is currently running for REI. In this sweepstakes, they are asking entrants to take a photo of themselves enjoying the outdoors. In order to be eligible, entrants must use both #OptOutside and #Collegesweepstakes when uploading their photo on Instagram or Twitter. Here are some additional reasons to run a social sweepstakes.

Prize Provider

You may not have the actual funds to run a sweepstakes, but you may have plenty of compelling merchandise, travel elements, or services to trade with a company who is already planning to run a sweepstakes. Companies are often looking for a partner to provide the prizing. This allows them to save money, offer compelling giveaways, and it helps their sweepstakes. A lot of time, the prizing that you can offer is at cost so it is less of an investment for your company. In exchange for providing the prizing, the company can feature the merchandise you are providing along with your company logo and link to your website. You should also ask them to collect and provide email opt-ins on your behalf. In exchange, you can promote the sweepstakes on your social media channels and marketing pushes to help promote the sweepstakes. If you are looking to utilize the cost-effective sweepstakes idea of becoming a prize provider, contact Sync Marketing today. We can put you in touch with companies who are looking for this type of partnership.

TurnkeySweeps by Sync

If you are looking for a cost-effective sweepstakes option that is full-service, you should consider our TurnkeySweeps by Sync platform. These turnkey sweepstakes are an affordable solution that can launch within one week of receiving approval on creative. With TurnkeySweeps, not only will you receive programming, design, legal and prize fulfillment at a very competitive rate, our price also includes Sync’s personalized customer service and management. They are a low-cost solution that offers exceptional ROI. Here is some additional information about TurnkeySweeps by Sync.

We know that budget can be a concern for everyone who is considering a promotion. With that in mind, reach out to a team member at Sync Marketing who will be happy to discuss your options and provide pricing that will work for you.

Cost-Effective Sweepstakes

 

 

 


29 sep

Marketing to Millennials with a Sweepstakes

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

Marketing to millennials can be a challenge. They are currently the largest living generation and that’s a lot of people to target with many different personalities and habits. So, if you are a brand, how do you get their attention and stand out among all the messaging sent their way? Surprisingly, marketing to millennials with a sweepstakes or contest is an extremely effective method. Below I will break down a few reasons why this method works.

They Love to Share

Millennials love to share with anyone and everyone who will like, retweet or view their messaging. Whether it’s Instagramming a photo of their lunch, snapchatting a reunion with their best friend, or tweeting their opinion on the election, sharing is their impulse reaction. Why not take advantage of that constant need to share by inviting millennials to share their talents by snapchatting a video for their chance to win a prize.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on Marketingland.com on the subject:

“I didn’t expect that my daughter and her friends were looking for coupons but was a little surprised that they were willing to actively engage with the brand and even enter into a traditional sweepstakes (albeit via sharing a picture).” For the full article, click here

They Love to Engage

This is the next step that organically occurs after asking millennials to share. They in turn engage with your brand. When running a sweepstakes or contest, think about engaging with millennials rather than focusing on selling your product or service. Have your prospective customer tell a story with your hashtag. The more you engage with them by having them organically spread content about your brand, the better your content and relationship with that millennial will be. American Eagle’s latest #WeAllCan campaign is a great example of this.

They Love to Reach People

The natural step of sharing a photo on Instagram and an opinion on Twitter is to reach the masses. Prizing is an important component when running a sweepstakes geared towards millennials. Make sure that the prizing is something that will resonate with them. If your prize is an experience trip, have your winner share their experience through social media by using the campaign hashtag. Get them excited by telling them the winner’s experience on their trip will be featured on your social media channels. This is a great way to spark the interest of millennials. Knowing their experiences will be shared with thousands to millions of people is reason enough to enter for them.

If you’re interested in marketing to millennials with a sweepstakes, reach out to us today for a quote.

 


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 mar

Questions about Running a Successful Contest

By: Sync Marketing | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, User Generated Content

So you’ve decided to add running a sweepstakes or contest to your marketing plans this year, but you are not really sure where to start or which one will work best for you to reach your goals. Below are a few questions about running a successful contest from fellow marketers.

What are the benefits of running a contest?

We are always upfront when someone comes to us who is considering running a contest. The truth is, in most cases, you will not receive as many entries as you would if you chose to run a sweepstakes. The reason being is that with a contest, you are typically asking people to complete an extra step beyond just filling out a simple entry form. When running a contest for example, you might ask people to upload a photo or video of themselves completing a particular outlined task, or to write an essay, or even name your new product. If you want to run a buzz-worthy campaign, make sure you are reaching your true customers and collect fun user-generated content, a contest is the way to go. A contest will provide you with much more QUALITY entries. Here is a helpful article touching on the differences between sweepstakes and contests.

Are there any legal parameters to consider when running a contest?

Yes, and they change frequently, especially on social media platforms. That is why we always recommend that you consult an expert like Sync Marketing, when putting together any contest or sweepstakes. One of the most crucial elements is to make sure that you clearly outline the contest criteria and judging parameters in the official rules.  Here is an article that was written to give advice for contest entrants that might help give you additional insight.

Does one contest theme attract more entries than another?

Theme is certainly one of the factors for consumers when deciding if they want to enter a contest. Although it isn’t the only thing that might pique their interest. You will almost guarantee that you will have a good amount of entries if the contest is offering a new or fun twist or has a “cool” factor, but we find that prizing is what really drives entries. If you offer a fun experiential prize, or something that the consumer can’t obtain on their own, they will take the extra steps to enter. Another great option is build a contest around a philanthropic cause that is close to your company’s heart. Here is a case study of a contest campaign that Walmart and some of its vendors partnered together to run to a contest to support the cause to fight world hunger.

If done right, contests are a fun way to create positive interaction with your consumers and possibly create some exciting buzz for your company online and beyond. If you have any additional questions about running a successful contest contact us today at 323-596-7962 or info@syncmarketing.net.

Sync Marketing – The Sweepstakes and Contest Experts

23 mar

Retail Sweepstakes: How to drive consumers in-store with a retail sweepstakes

By: Julie Link | In: Contests, Instagram, Marketing, Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

Are you a retailer whose goal is to create a promotion that drives in-store traffic and sales? If so, running an online sweepstakes is a great way to not only collect consumer data, but to also drive consumers in-store. Today, I will discuss how to drive consumers in-store with a retail sweepstakes.

Instagram Sweepstakes

Running an Instagram sweepstakes provides many benefits for brands. These include gathering user-generated content, increasing their social reach, and interacting with consumers. If you’re a retailer, it can provide even more. One example is when launching a new brand of products. By encouraging consumers to come into your store and take a photo with the new merchandise with the campaign hashtag, you not only have the opportunity to drive in-store traffic and increase your Instagram reach, but it also allows you to obtain user-generated content for your brand.

Sync Marketing has extensive experience running Instagram sweepstakes. Check out our work page to see some examples of Instagram sweepstakes that succeeded in driving in-store traffic and increasing sales. Most specifically, is our Claire’s Show Us Your Minions Style Contest. One this to keep in mind is that because some entrants may not have access to visit a store to participate in the sweepstakes, you will need to provide an alternate means of entry. This can be done either online or a by offering a mail-in option. Both are services that Sync Marketing offers.

Secret Code Sweepstakes

Another way for retailers to drive in-store traffic when running an online sweepstakes is to direct consumers in-store to obtain a secret code word. They will need to go to the counter to ask a store associate, and then will be asked to go online or text-in the secret code for their chance to win. In this situation, we think an SMS (text-to win) campaign is extremely effective. As with the Instagram sweepstakes example, you will need to offer an alternate means of entry.

Exclusive Coupon Offer

Another effective idea is to offer an exclusive in-store only discount to all those who enter your online sweepstakes. This is where retail sweepstakes can really stand out from other traditional forms of media. We recommend that for these types of promotions, you run a sweepstakes with a large grand prize and an easy entry method. After consumers enter, you can have the in-store discount coupon code appear on the thank you page and in a follow up email. This will ensure that the entrant is able to easily access the coupon after closing the webpage. Typically, this discount offer is most effective when it appears as a surprise and delight offer. It’s also a great way to encourage consumers to visit your store who may have not planned to visit and/or shop otherwise. We have seen a recent upswing of retailers adding this element to their retail sweepstakes.

If you’re a retailer and are considering running a retail sweepstakes, reach out to Sync Marketing. We can put together a results-driven sweepstakes to drive in-store traffic and sales. 

Retail Sweepstakes


18 jan

How Long Should I run a Sweepstakes?

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

How long should I run a sweepstakes? Once a client determines the benefits of adding a sweepstakes or contest to their marketing plan, this if often the most common question they ask. There are a few important factors when determining the length of time that your sweepstakes or contest should run, so let’s get started.

1. What type of prize are you providing? If you want to provide smaller weekly prizes and a large grand prize, then running your sweepstakes or contest for a month to six weeks is a good amount of time. This way, consumers feel like they may have a chance to win a weekly prize and you will receive many entries because there is a large grand prize tied to the promotion.

2. What is your goal? If your goal is to create hype for a new product or service, then a really exciting short term sweepstakes before the launch of the product or service is the way to go. This way there are a couple weeks of build up (the sweepstakes), then the grand prize is selected on the day the product or service is launched leading to good PR opportunities along the way. The same goes for seasonal sweepstakes. If it’s a Valentine’s day sweepstakes, try to launch it towards the end of January so there is some build up. Then, close the sweepstakes a week before Valentine’s day so that hopefully the winner receives their prize in time for the big day.

3. Who is your target demographic? If you’re running a summer sweepstakes and your prize is a cruise, you want to obtain many email opt-ins, and are gearing it to an older demo, a longer sweepstakes should do the trick. If you’re targeting millennials or younger and are running a user- generated Instagram sweepstakes where you ask entrants to upload photos, then the shorter the better.

To sum it up, most sweepstakes run between 2-6 week, with four weeks being the sweet spot. This allows consumers to get excited and not feel like it’s so long that they don’t have a chance. There are always exceptions to this rule, so if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

 


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.


16 oct

Adding a Sweepstakes or Contest to your Marketing Plan

By: Sync Marketing | In: Advertising, Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

This is about the time of year when companies start thinking about their marketing budgets for the upcoming year. They analyze the current year’s successes and misses, and start the conversation about what might work to their advantage in the next year. Does your upcoming marketing strategy include an online sweepstakes or contest? If not, we think it’s something you should consider. Below we list the benefits of adding a sweepstakes or contest to your marketing plan. It could be a win for your company.

Sweepstakes are a very cost effective marketing tool

Unlike traditional media, sweepstakes are a low cost way of getting your company’s name or products in front of the masses. By putting the word out on your company’s social media sites, it will engage conversation about your company and the free buzz will organically occur.  It’s also a great way to build your SEO. Here is a case study showing how Star Fine Foods increased their website visits by 288% from the previous year due to running an online sweepstakes.

Sweepstakes are a good medium to build your email database

Your online sweepstakes may just have been the catalyst that brought a new customer to your site. Once there, hopefully you have impressed them enough to want to keep in touch so to speak by signing up for future communications from your company. Here is an article that outlines sweepstakes best practices and ways to build your email database.

Sweepstakes offer insight into who is interested in your company

You are in control of the information you collect from entrants so if you’re looking to obtain demographics on your consumers, the sky can be the limit on what you can collect. One word of caution, however, is the more difficult you make the entry process, the higher chance you have of drop-offs. Make sure you are only requiring information that is important to you and perhaps make the other information optional for entry.

Sweepstakes and Contests can produce unforgettable UGC and PR

One instance that comes to mind is the annual Doritos contest. I can’t image watching the “big game” without the anticipation of seeing the winning commercial from the Doritos contest. This is an example of a fun promotion that has garnered a lot of free advertising through blogs and social media sites over the years. When companies ask their consumers to upload photos or videos, those companies have unique user generated content directly from their consumers that can benefit them in the future. Check out the 2016 contest here

Sweepstakes build a good relationship between the company and the consumer

The common thing that all sweepstakes share is that they give away a prize. Whether it’s thousands of instant win prizes, an unforgettable family trip, or a brand new car, rewarding your consumers with prizing will always leave them with a good feeling about you that will hopefully translate into future sales.

If you are sold and would like to consider adding a sweepstakes or contest to your marketing plans, be sure to consult the experts at Sync to get started. We will formulate a plan to make sure you have the most successful campaign and ROI.


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

31 may

Sweepstakes and Contests: Handle Internally or Hire a Sweepstakes Administrator?

By: Sync Marketing | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, User Generated Content

We may be a bit biased when it comes to whether or not you should handle a sweepstakes internally or hire an administrator, but we hope the following tips will lead you in the right direction. Whether you’re a marketing agency or an international corporation, these questions will help you determine if you’re equipped to handle a sweepstakes or contest, or if you need to call the experts.

1. Does your in-house legal counsel specialize in promotion law?

Promotion law is very specific. Just recently, Facebook changed its policy to no longer allow entrants to share on Facebook that they’ve entered a sweepstakes or contest in order to earn extra entries. Using a legal team who specializes in promotion law will allow you to stay up to speed on these types of changes so that you know you’re running legally-compliant promotions. You can read more about the policy change here.

2. Does your creative team know how to design mobile-optimized websites?

These days, a lot of consumers enter sweepstakes through their mobile devices and it’s important that your site is mobile optimized to provide the best consumer experience. More importantly, you must have a creative team that understands how to design for a mobile optimized site to ensure your site will run smoothly. It’s also important to know the difference between mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized and responsive sites, and determine which one is best to use for your sweepstakes or contests…but that’s for another post. 🙂

3. Does your ideation team know the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest?

It is not only imperative to know the difference between a sweepstakes, but it’s also important to know which one to run to achieve your goals. Are you looking to obtain user-generated content or are you looking for data capture? To learn more about the differences between a sweepstakes and contests and which one you should run, check out co-founder Julie Link’s article on the very subject, here.

4. Is your accounting team set up to handle winner paperwork and issue 1099’s at tax time?

Whenever the total ARV of your prize is over $600, you will need to obtain a W9 from your winner and then 1099 them during tax season. Your accounting team will need to gather this information during the year, submit the information to the IRS and answer all consumer calls that come after you send the 1099. Co-founder, Jennifer French, has a lot to say about this topic, here.

Hopefully we have helped make the decision of whether or not to handle a sweepstakes internally or not, a little easier. And if you have decided to hire an agency, please give Sync Marketing a call! 323.596.7962.