We are continually asked our opinion on whether or not a pre-checked opt-in is recommended when running a sweepstakes or contest. I always reply with the question, “What are you trying to accomplish?”
If it’s a true numbers game where quantity rules out over quality, then pre-check away! Critics of this suggestion may say that you aren’t necessarily reaching your target audience by “tricking” entrants into opting in. My feeling is that if you have even one shot at capturing their attention you’re ahead of the game. Let’s be honest, on more than one occasion I’ve received an email from a “deal” website that I opted into and ended up purchasing a weekend getaway I wasn’t planning on or looking to take. Sometimes, it just works! It’s all about the content and the timing. However, I would like to offer a few caveats –
Let them know what’s in it for them. We always recommend that the opt-in copy clearly outline exactly what the entrant is agreeing to receive. Emails, mailings, whatever it is; be transparent.
Speaking of trickery, this one always gets me…Don’t hide the opt-in check box and copy! Both should be located within the entry form and not hidden in small print at the bottom of the page.
If you love someone, set them free..! You must offer consumers the option to easily remove their information and prevent themselves from receiving future communication if they so choose. We advise this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s the law! See CAN-SPAM Act here.
So again I ask, “What are you trying to accomplish by pre-checking the opt-in box?” If you want to gather a high number of possible new customers so that you may provide them exclusive and one-of-a kind content, then I highly recommend the pre-check. Pre-checking the opt-in may produce more loyal customers than you anticipated.