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24 feb

What is the Difference Between a Sweepstakes and a Contest and Which One Should I Run?

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

What is the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest? This is one of the most common questions we’re asked when working with companies or agencies who are planning to run these types of promotions for the first time. Today I am going to break down the differences between sweepstakes and contests as well as discuss which one will work best for your next promotion.

First off, what is a sweepstakes? If you were to look up the actual definition you would find that the word has many different meanings, but the following is Sync Marketing’s definition: A sweepstakes is a game of chance in which consumers are asked to provide basic information about themselves to be entered into a prize drawing. Most importantly, potential winners are selected in a random drawing. After the names are drawn, they are notified and then verified before being announced an official winner. In a sweepstakes, there can be no consideration for entry and winner selection must be completely random.

Now, what is a contest? Sync Marketing’s definition is as follows: A contest is a game of skill, where entrants are asked to complete a measurable task that is judged and scored. For example, this could be anything from a video contest featuring consumers’ pets doing their best trick, an Instagram photo contest asking entrants to submit their favorite wedding planning moment, or a Pinterest contest requiring entrants to create a board of what they think would be their dream vacation.  In a contest, the judging criteria must be clearly defined for the entrants in the Official Rules. also has a nice breakdown of the differences between a sweepstakes and a contests.

So how do you determine when you should run a sweepstakes vs. a contest?

Good question! You should run a sweepstakes when your goal is to reach and engage the masses with the purpose of promoting your product or service, gather email opt-ins, and collect basic consumer data. Of course, the number of entries you receive and the popularity of your promotion will be based on a few factors; how strongly it’s promoted, the ease of entry and the value of your prizes to the consumer. For more information on what types of prizes to give away see my post here. When you run a sweepstakes expect to receive a lot more entries than if you were to run a contest, and if you provide social share it has the possibility to spread like wildfire.

You should run a contest when your goal is to create PR buzz, gather user-generated content, and gain and reward consumers who are truly invested in your brand or service.  If you’re giving away an international trip to a grand opening of a new store, maybe consider running a contest in which entrants are asked to upload a video of why they deserve to be at the grand opening. To further reinforce consumer interaction, have the top 10 judged videos posted online for consumers to vote for their favorite. You can then ask for publicity releases from the top 10 entrants and use those videos on your website and social media accounts to continue to promote your brand. Also, by asking for entrants to take the time to create and submit a video as a condition of entry, you know you’re going to award the prize to someone who truly wants to go on the trip!

Regardless of whether you want to run a sweepstakes or contest, please consider calling Sync Marketing to help you plan and execute your next promotion. You can find a full list of our sweepstakes and contest services here.

13 feb

Love is in the prizes; Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes

By: Sync Marketing | In: Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

It’s the weekend of love. Whether people are out buying a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates or an engagement ring for their sweethearts, everyone seems to get in on the action of this Hallmark-created holiday. And why shouldn’t they? The world celebrates love. This holiday is a marketer’s dream; from the obvious travel sites, jewelry stores and candy shops to the often overlooked but viable options such as home improvement outlets and car dealerships, everyone can put Cupid’s spin on the products they sell and relate them to love. Below are a list of some extra lovey Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes.

Pick The Pick-Up Line Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes

Bahlsen is giving the customers the chance to shine, or should I say, sparkle in their Pick The Pick-Up Line Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes. The winner will receive a pendant adorned with sapphires and diamonds worth nearly $3,700.

Shower Her with Love Sweepstakes

A Macbook Air, a necklace, free flowers, who wouldn’t want that? From You Flowers is giving their consumers the chance to win from an assortment of fun prizes in their Shower Her with Love Sweepstakes.

Check-in to Romance Giveaway Sweepstakes

Want to get away with your Valentine? is giving their customers the chance to win a romantic vacation for two in the Check-in to Romance Giveaway Sweepstakes. The winner will receive a trip to a bed and breakfast of their choice, a subscription to The Bouqs, and some delicious chocolates to share with their love.

All Hearts on Deck Sweepstakes

All aboard! Onboard is giving away a romantic cruise for two in their All Hearts on Deck Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner will receive a $1500 cruise voucher.

Make sure to enter today because all of these sweepstakes end tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, just in time for you to spend time with the one or ones you love.