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.