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17 feb

Common Mistakes Companies Make When Running an Online Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Sweepstakes

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.

Common Mistakes Companies Make When Running an Online Sweepstakes

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

 


07 oct

Sweepstakes 101: Sync’s Guide to a Successful Sweepstakes

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

Clients run promotions for different reasons, but the list of steps to take below is a good rule of thumb to ensure you are on the road to a successful campaign; one that both accurately represents your brand as well as appeals to your target consumers. Need some help? See below for Sync Marketing’s Sweepstakes 101: Sync’s Guide for running a successful sweepstakes or contest:

Identify your goals:  Are you looking to increase your consumer database and/or social media following, or is your goal to promote a new product or service?  It’s important to determine these goals before you begin planning your campaign.

Consider your audience:  Is your goal to reach the millennial audience or are you promoting a new retirement community?  Know your audience and what type of campaign will appeal most to your target.

Determine the type of campaign:  Are you looking to collect cool user-generated content that you can use to promote your product?  If so, a contest might be your best option.  For a contest, keep in mind that the more you require from an entrant, the lower number of entries you will receive, but the better chance you’ll have of reaching people that are genuinely interested in your company.  Plus, gathering UGC can be helpful for your brand in the future. Or, are you looking to build your email database?  If so, consider running a simple random drawing sweepstakes. This will allow you to gather more entries and opt-ins and reach even more potential customers when you send future email blasts. If you want to learn more about whether or not you should pre-check your email opt-ins, check out our post regarding that subject here.

Select a platform:  What platform works best for you?  If your target audience is constantly on their phones, consider hosting your campaign on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Cater to a more traditional consumer? A custom microsite that links from your website is a simple and effective place to host your sweepstakes or contest.

Prize matters:  How big of a prize do you need to offer?  What type of sweepstakes prizing should you give away? In our experience, it comes down to both quality and quantity.  First, you want to get entrants excited about winning your prizing so make sure that what you are offering is appealing to your target.  Think of a grand prize experience; something your consumers don’t have access to on their own such as a celebrity meet-and greet or tickets to an exclusive event.  Second, the more you give away, the better chance your entrants have of winning, so consider offering several secondary prizes.  More winners equal more happy customers. Lastly, it all depends on your sweepstakes budget. If your total approximate retail value is $5,000 or more, you will most likely need to bond and register. If you have question regarding prizing ARV, check out this article by Sync Marketing.

Have very clear and accurate official rules:  Has the fear of possible legal ramifications stopped you from running a sweepstakes or contest in the past?  One way to put that fear to rest is to utilize an agency that specializes in promotion law (hint Sync Marketing).  Our legal teams stay up-to-date on all of the changes in the field and will make sure that you are following the rules to the letter of the law.

Promote your campaign:  Do you believe in the saying, “If you build it, they will come?”  It’s not always the case.  You have created a compelling sweepstakes concept, fun entry method and are offering awesome prizing.  Let people know about it!  Advertising is key to ensuring success.

Hire a sweepstakes agency: This should really be the first items listed for sweepstakes 101, but we will end with it as it’s the most important. There are many reasons why you should considering hiring a sweepstakes agency for your future sweepstakes. A sweepstakes agency can help you with all aspect of a sweepstakes or simply pieces. Sync Marketing can handle all aspects of a sweepstakes campaign including, but not limited to; ideation, strategy, management, design, programming, legal, and prize fulfillment. So whether you need a big idea including the creative around your sweepstakes, or you already have the concept, but need someone who specializes in promotion law (official rules, abbreviated rules, winner release forms, bonding and registering, etc) to handle the legal, hiring a sweepstakes agency that lives and breathes sweepstakes and contests if the way to go. For more information and reasons to hire a sweepstakes agency for your next campaign, click here.

It’s exciting to know that a successful campaign can be right around the corner.  All you need to do is just remember to plan, know your audience, consult the legal experts (like Sync Marketing) and get the word out.  It’s a win, win for you and your consumers!


23 jul

Using an Agency to Handle your Sweepstakes Legal and Prize Fulfillment

By: Sync Marketing | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Marketing, Sweepstakes

There are many benefits as to why companies, large or small, should consider hiring an outside agency, like Sync Marketing, to be their administrator for their legal and prize fulfillment needs. We’re breaking down our top five reasons as to why your company or agency can benefit from contracting sweepstake fulfillment agency, like Sync Marketing, to oversee all of your sweepstakes legal and prize fulfillment elements for your next campaign.

1. We eat, sleep and breathe promotion law. You may have an internal legal team, but typically they are there to handle a broad scope of legal work for your company. At Sync Marketing, our legal team specializes in promotion law and stays up-to-date on all of the latest legal actions and changes in the field – specific to sweepstakes and contests. They even attend all of the promotion law conferences and are quite frequently speakers at these events. Especially when it comes to running a social media sweepstakes, the sweepstakes rules change monthly, sometimes daily. If you were to hire Sync Marketing to handle your sweepstakes legal and prize fulfillment needs, we handle so much more than official rules and winner release forms, we also review all of your marketing materials and social media posts to make sure they’re legally compliant.

2. Let your legal team do what they do best. They’re there to protect and advise you. If they’re simply reviewing the legal documents for a promotion (official rules, abbreviated rules, affidavit of eligibility and release forms, and travel companion forms) that are created by Sync, they’ll have more time to focus on the promotion’s legal documents and ask questions, rather than spending valuable time creating them from scratch. We even review all of your social media posts and marketing materials to make sure they are legally compliant and are consistent with the promotion.

3. Verifying Potential Winners. This is an extremely important step that often gets overlooked. Sometimes winners are simply selected without being verified for their eligibility or compliance with the official rules. At Sync, our project managers oversee the campaign from start to finish and know the campaign better than anyone, so when it’s time to select potential winners and verify if they’re eligible, you can trust that it’s being done right.

Winner Selection

4. Prize Fulfillment. We know that you don’t have time to fulfill hundreds of prizes, so let Sync Marketing help you with that task. We can handle procuring your prize and can fulfill everything from gift cards to booking travel; just let us know what you need and we can help.

5. Sometimes time is of the essence. You’re busy, we know that, and that’s why if you come to us when you’re in a jam and need Official Rules turned around ASAP, we are ready to jump in and start immediately. Plus, we won’t charge you rush fees to do so.

If you need help, or simply have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. You can either call us at 323.596.7962 or email info@syncmarketing.net.