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13 nov

Promoting the Big Game

By: Sync Marketing | In: Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes, Television, User Generated Content

It may only be November, but consumers are already pinning recipes and creating Facebook events in preparation for the “Big Game” this coming February, 2015. Given the excitement and attention this annual event draws from consumers each year, it’s no surprise that you see hundreds of sweepstakes and contests focused on promoting the Big Game.

There are many reasons why these promotions are so prevalent, but the biggest is that this particular televised sporting event appeals to almost all types of consumers; from the football fanatics, the commercials addicts, to those who love watching the performers during the show. Because of this huge draw, it’s no wonder why sweepstakes and contests are one of the main ways this event is promoted. Most specifically contests, which allow companies to gather user-generated content by asking consumers to come up with and enter their own unique content for the chance to win. Contests range from the somewhat labor intensive, but creativity-invoking yearly make-your-own Doritos commercial, to a more simple approach where companies ask their consumers to prove why they deserve to win a trip to the game in 140 characters or less.  It’s a win for everyone….well, except for the losing team.

One of the most notable promotions each year is the Doritos contest where they ask consumers to create their own commercial that will be played on-air during the game. This is one of the best user-generated content promotions out there. 

If you’re a company considering running a sweepstakes before 2015’s “Big Game,” it’s not too late. Given the popularity of this event, you can run sweepstakes for only a week, even days and generate plenty of entries and opt-ins. Contact Sync Marketing today if you’re looking for an agency to run your Big Game promotion!


31 oct

All Treats, No Tricks! Halloween-themed Sweepstakes

By: Jennifer French | In: Contests, Sweepstakes

For most, Halloween is considered to be the kick-off of the holiday season, and rightfully (or frightfully) so.  Who doesn’t love the costumes, the candy, a good scary movie, and of course, the return of pumpkin lattes at your favorite coffee shop?

When you think of a Halloween-themed sweepstakes or contest, you probably think of the obvious; costume contests, pumpkin carvings, etc., and most likely assume that a candy company or party store would be the host.  But think again. These savvy marketers are “treating” themselves to the spoils of this annual tradition as well.  Below are a few fun promotions that are currently running this Halloween season.

Pure Formula – Frightfully Healthy Halloween Sweepstakes

This Facebook sweepstakes asks consumers to vote for their favorite healthy Halloween snack and rewards the winner with an Apple iPad Air tablet.

ShurTech Brands – Stick or Treat Contest

This contests asks consumers to get creative with DuckTape for the chance to win $1,000 cash, or one of seven DuckTape prize packs.

Cheetos Project TP

Want to virtually TP a friend’s house?  Well, here’s your chance.  Plus, tell a scary story in 140 characters or less on Twitter for a chance to win your story made into a mini Cheetos story.

Big Heart Pet Brands – Tricked Out Costume Contest

Okay, we couldn’t resist listing this costume contest because it involves our four-legged friends.  Upload your pet’s Halloween looks for a chance to win $5,000.  Now that’s a lot of doggie bones.

Enter if you dare, but do it fast because most of them end on Halloween night!


27 oct

Sweepstakes Prizing – What to Give Away

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes

It seems these days that everyone is getting in on the fun by running online sweepstakes and contests. That’s because it’s an extremely effective way of not only gathering consumer data, but rewarding consumers in return.  Today, I am going to focus on the best part; the prizing, and the most effective sweepstakes prizing recommendations for your next promotion.

  1. Money, money, money: Everyone loves cash. If you choose to award cash as your prize, make sure it’s a significant amount, as with all prizing, winners are taxed on anything over $600. If you choose to go the cash route, it is recommended to always relate the cash prizes back to your product. Take Don’t Touch My Dart: The Sweepstakes…Here, Chrysler gave away $10,000 for the winner to use as they wish, but in the creative and official rules they promoted it as money to be used towards the purchase or lease of a new Dodge Dart.
  2. The once-in-a-lifetime experience prize: Awarding your winners with a prize they cannot buy is the ultimate prize. Whether it’s to a red carpet event or a VIP back stage pass; offering prizing that is not available to the general public will allow you to receive entries from consumers who are truly interested in your prize and the exclusive experience.
  3. A trip: Pretty much everyone loves to travel, so a trip is a great way to entice consumers to enter. Just be sure to include all of the critical trip elements; airfare, hotel, transportation, and spending money/money for taxes. And, of course, relate it back to your product or service.
  4. Your product or service; Giving away an iPad is great, but if it doesn’t relate to your product or service, then you might not be getting the type of entrants you want as well as the fact that the promotion will seem disjointed. If you offer a fantastic service, give consumers the chance to win that particular service free for a year. Or, if it’s a product, why not offer gift cards or a prize pack containing your promoted items?
  5. Many prizes. It’s always important to give one larger grand prize, but if you want entrants to feel like they have a true shot at winning, consider giving away several smaller prizes. 

Most importantly, make sure that the prize-winning experience is extremely enjoyable and stress-free for your consumers. By hiring an agency like Sync Marketing to handle your sweepstakes prize fulfillment, you can rest assured that your winners will understand all of the details of their prize and will be taken care of all the way until tax season. For a full list of Sync Marketing’s prize fulfillment offerings, please take a look at our Legal and Prize Fulfillment page, here.


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!


22 sep

Facebook Bans Like Gating for Promotions

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

Planning to run a sweepstakes or contest on Facebook in the near future?  There is an important change that you should be aware of before you proceed.  Today the latest Facebook change and how Facebook bans like gating for promotions, i.e. requiring people to like a page before they can enter the sweepstakes or contest.  Here is Facebook’s reason for the change.

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

It’s Facebook’s aim to make sure that the almighty “like” retains its value.  If you are required to like a page for the purpose of entering a sweepstakes rather than being an actual fan of the page, it may tend to water down the user experience, which may equate to the user spending less time on Facebook.

Obviously, increasing your likes is still an important goal, so this just means you will need to think of other ways around the ban.  One idea is to offer a Facebook “like” icon on your entry page and gently invite people to like your page rather than making it a required step.

In addition to this major change, there have been other important changes within Facebook’s promotion policy that were rolled out throughout the year. This is why it’s imperative to hire an agency like Sync Marketing who specializes in promotion law to administer your sweepstakes and contests. At Sync Marketing, we stay up-to-date on all of these important changes and can help you formulate a plan to increase your reach on Facebook (and beyond) despite this new restriction and future changes.


08 sep

The Benefits of Running an Instagram Promotion

By: Julie Link | In: Best Practices, Contests, Instagram, Legal and Prize Fulfillment, Sweepstakes, User Generated Content

Social media has come a long way in the past several years and it has become a fantastic tool for companies and brands to promote their products and/or services. We have found that Instagram is an extremely useful and effective platform to run promotions for brands looking to increase their visibility and their connections with their consumers. Today I’m going to cover the benefits of running an Instagram promotion.

If your key demo is between the ages of 13-24, an Instagram sweepstakes or contest is a great way to grow your follower base. Typically during a promotion, entrants are asked to follow and tag your brand in order to enter as well as include a specific hashtag that relates to the sweepstakes or contest. By asking entrants to take these steps, you are instantly increasing your visibility and creating user-generated content. Speaking of UGC; Instagram is all about sharing experiences and passions through photos. Running an Instagram sweepstakes or contest is a simple yet effective way to ask your consumers to express themselves, all while giving you the possibility of collecting meaningful and visually-interesting user generated content. Sync Marketing recently ran a successful Instagram sweepstakes for their client CBI specifically for their Claire’s division. Learn more about it here.

Instagram Photos

Although it all seems easy enough to orchestrate, it’s highly recommended that you hire an agency who specializes in sweepstakes and contest law to handle the legal portion of your campaign. Not only does promotion law change on a daily basis (bye bye Facebook likegate), but hiring an agency to produce the official rules and necessary winner release forms is an investment that is absolutely worth it to protect your company from possible infractions due to these changes. Sync Marketing has a knowledgeable and experienced team that can walk you through the process of running an Instagram photo sweepstakes or contest and will provide you with all of the legal elements to ensure a successful and legally-compliant promotion. We even check all social media posts and marketing materials to make sure your program is consistent and correct from a legal and customer service standpoint.

Contact us today is you’re interested in running an Instagram sweepstakes or contest! 323.596.7962.


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.

 


10 apr

Keeping Winners Happy – Even During Tax Season!

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

Since we are almost down to the wire for the end of tax season, I thought it fitting to bring up a few thoughts about sweepstakes prizing and paying taxes.  Yes, the reality is if you host an online sweepstakes or contest and offer consumers the chance to win exciting and sometimes expensive prizing, Uncle Sam will be waiting to receive his fair share from the winners come April.  Despite this, running a sweepstakes or contest is a great way to engage and excite consumers, and if you keep the few items below in mind, there won’t be any surprises at tax time and your winners will walk away with positive feelings due to their winning experience.

  • Clearly outline in the official rules that the winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with the prize.
  • Provide the potential winner with an affidavit of eligibility and release form that again reminds them that if they agree to accept the prize, they are responsible for all taxes and fees associated.
  • Suggest that the potential winner speak to their tax consultant regarding their personal financial situation and what accepting the prize will mean to them.
  • Refer them to http://www.irs.gov for more information on paying taxes on sweepstakes prizes.

These are just a few suggestions, but my number one recommendation, if your budget allows, is to offer a cash prize to offset the winner’s taxes. Your gesture of providing cash to ease their tax burden will go a long way!  Ultimately, the main reason you run sweepstakes is to engage and reward  new and current consumers, so make sure that in addition to their great prize, you reward them with the best possible experience.

 winning


20 mar

Marketing the Insanity Better Known as March Madness

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

Today not only marks the first day of spring, but kicks off the start of March Madness;  a great time of year for marketers, especially in the sweepstakes and contest arena. Many companies create tournament bracket challenges that offer huge cash payoffs for the lucky entrants as they know the appeal is undeniable to the young, sports-minded, social-preoccupied market. And since this dedicated (or obsessed) demographic will be entering into pools regardless; whether it’s with work, friends or family, it’s a winning opportunity for marketers.

Quicken Loans partnered with Yahoo! Sports this year to present their Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, aka the Tourney Pick’em 2014. Even though the chances are slim, it’s a fun way to get in on the spirit of March Madness. Once you place your bets, you can’t help but think that your bracket has a chance – at least until you realize 50% of your picks are out in the first round.

Another popular bracket bonanza is the ESPN Tournament Challenge, giving participants a chance to win a $10,000 Best Buy gift card. And for those who didn’t start off on the right foot for March Madness (Ohio State anyone?), there is always the Fox Sports Second Chance Bracket.

It’s seems that regardless of whether you’re a marketer, college basketball fan, or just playing for the chance to win, everyone goes a little mad for this month that is March.

 


06 mar

To check or not to check, that is the question.

By: Jennifer French | In: Best Practices, Contests, Marketing, Sweepstakes

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.