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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 nov

Online Sweepstakes and Contests – Questions on Cyber Monday

By: Sync Marketing | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Facebook, Instagram, Sweepstakes

On this Cyber Monday, we thought it would be fitting to feature some questions that we’ve recently received about online sweepstakes and contests since these promotions live in the cyber world so to speak. 

What are the benefits of running an online sweepstakes vs. running one in a retail store location?

There are many benefits to running an online sweepstakes vs. asking entrants to visit your store to fill out an entry form as the entry method. In fact, brick and mortar store sweepstakes have become increasing less common over recent years because of the convenience and popularity of online sweepstakes. With an online sweepstakes, not only can you give your entrants an easy and seamless way to participate, you can also highlight specific merchandise or messaging that you want to get across during the entry process.  Below are a few other reasons why you should consider running an online sweepstakes:

Easily collect email opt-ins. With a manual entry, if you get entrants permission to send them future communications from your company, you will need to physically enter the entrant’s information, which can be a very time consuming process.

More exposure.  With an instore-only sweepstakes, you are limiting yourself to people that will be already visiting your store location. If you run an online sweepstakes and offer enticing prizes, you have the chance of attracting people that may not have known about your company to check out your site and subsequently your merchandise while they are entering your sweepstakes.

Where should I run my online sweepstakes?

This question really depends on what your goals are for running a sweepstakes. If you want to capture email opt-ins, you should consider running your online sweepstakes on a dedicated microsite or an iFrame on your company’s website. If you want user generated content, you might want to consider a sweepstakes that is featured on social media channels like Instagram or Twitter. Here is a blog article that touches on running social media sweepstakes:

How do I maximize my online sweepstakes to ensure the best possible ROI?

One thing to keep in mind is that marketing your online sweepstakes is as important as creating the concept. It is also very important to know who your target audience is before you run your sweepstakes to ensure that you are promoting the sweepstakes on the right channels. A sweepstakes can be a very powerful tool and can provide a strong ROI if used correctly.  Here is a blog article that touches on the benefits of running an online sweepstakes and why you should consider adding one to your marketing plans. 

If you have additional online sweepstakes and contests questions for this upcoming Cyber Monday, feel free to send them to inquiries@syncmarketing.net or you can reach out to us here, and your question may be featured in an upcoming blog post.

 

 

 

 


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

28 aug

Common Questions asked by Sweepstakes Entrants

By: Sync Marketing | In: Ask Sync, Ask Sync Marketing, Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

We receive many inquiries during our sweepstakes and contests from entrants who want to know the answers to their questions pertaining to the promotion before entering. First and foremost, the official rules are your friend. The majority of the answers to most questions regarding a sweepstakes or contest will be found here. Below we will go over a few of the most common questions asked by sweepstakes entrants.

Can I enter more than one time per day?

This varies by promotion, but if you attempt to enter more than one time in a day and you receive a message stating that there is only one entry allowed per day, then you have your answer. And, no, this doesn’t mean you can sign up with a different email address to try to enter again as that is against the rules and you will be disqualified.

When will I be notified if I am a winner?

It’s very important to know this information as sometimes potential winners only have 24-48 hours to respond to the initial notification regarding their prize. If you enter a sweepstakes or contest that you’re really interested in, set your calendar to be ready for the call or email from the sweepstakes administrator. At a minimum, the date of winner notification will be listed in the Official Rules in the winner notification section. It’s also a good idea to check your spam folder of the email account that you used to enter on the posted date of winner notification as sometimes email carriers may inadvertently mark the notification as spam.

Why can’t I provide a P.O. Box as my address?

Typically this is because if there is a physical prize to be won, some carriers do not ship to P.O. boxes. Also, it allows administrators, like Sync Marketing, to help prevent cheaters from entering their client’s sweepstakes. You can learn even more about this here

Was my entry received?

Sometimes entrants have a computer glitch or their internet goes out during entry. Typically it’s not the sponsor or administrator’s responsibility to look into this as the issue occurred on the consumers end and the hosts of the promotion are not responsible for the entrant’s internet problems. However, if the administrator offers good customer service, and it is something that they can identify, they will look into the entry to see if it has been received, but this process is not legally required in most cases.

How much is the trip worth?

You can find the approximate retail value, also known as ARV for a trip in the prize section of the Official Rules. To learn more about ARVs, check out our post here.

If you’re an entrant or a company planning an upcoming sweepstakes or contest and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Sync Marketing at inquiries@syncmarketing.net. Come back next month for another Ask Sync feature!

 


30 jul

Questions Regarding Prizing ARV

By: Sync Marketing | In: Ask Sync, Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

We are often asked by our clients and blog followers alike a variety of questions relating to online sweepstakes and contests.  We thought it might be informative to highlight some of the questions here once a month in order to offer our insight on a broader scale. This month’s topic specifically relates to questions regarding prizing ARVs.

What does it mean when a sweepstakes refers to an ARV in the official rules?

When you win a sweepstakes prize over $600, you are required to pay income taxes on the amount won. The ARV stands for approximate retail value of the prize. If for instance, the sweepstakes you are entering has a cash prize, your winning income would be the exact dollar amount of the prize. If the offered prize includes non-cash items such as a television, or a service such as a trip, it’s up to the sponsor and/or administrator of the sweepstakes to determine the approximate retail value or the ARV of each prize. For more information on taxes and sweepstakes prizes, see our previous blog post here.

What determines if I need to bond and register my sweepstakes?

The rule of thumb is that if your sweepstakes has a total approximate retail value (ARV) of all combined prizing of over $5,000, you will need to bond and register your promotion at a minimum with the states of New York and Florida. There are also other factors involved where other state or federal authorities may have jurisdiction over your sweepstakes or that your organization may be exempt from this process, so it’s best to consult an expert in the field, such as Sync Marketing, to review your promotion structure and advise you on a case by case basis.

How do you determine an ARV for a sweepstakes at Sync Marketing?

There are several instances where we work with our clients to determine the approximate retail value (ARV) of a prize for a sweepstakes or contest.  If it is an item that our client sells, we will designate the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which is the amount for which the company that produces a product recommends that it be sold for in stores. Here is an example of how one retailer, Diamond Candles, explained the ARV of prizing in their recent sweepstakes. When determining an ARV for a service such as a trip, we do our due diligence to research the average price of the trip elements to ensure that the ARV is on target.

Check back next month for another topic of interest regarding sweepstakes and contests.  If you have any additional questions regarding this topic or another sweepstakes or contest question, feel free to send them to inquiries@syncmarketing.net and they may be featured in an upcoming blog post.