A cost-effective sweepstakes may seem difficult to pull off. Here are 4 creative turnkey sweepstakes innovation hacks to consider when you want to implement a successful sweepstakes.

Keep Top-Of-Mind a Sweepstakes Objective is to Attract ATTENTION

First, keep top-of-mind in your development process that the primary objective of a sweepstakes promotion is to attract attention and get noticed.

Breaking through the clutter, to get someone to pause and take notice as they scroll through messages, flip through a magazine or wander down a store aisle is itself a huge accomplishment.

Accumulating emails for a database, driving prospects to your site, making a purchase and other marketing goals are secondary strategies.

Disrupting behavior to move the consumer to perform those secondary activities is the reason why you run with a sweepstakes or contest.

1. Participate In A CO-OP Sweepstakes

When I was an on the account/sales team at a sweepstakes agency, there were some prospects that had a fear of jumping into the sweepstakes waters.

As marketers, we naturally lean toward testing as the ideal first step.

Cooperative Sweepstakes are a great way to conduct a promotional test

Developing the sweepstakes concept and creative, along with a prize structure focused on a unique brand attributes, are challenging tasks.

The technical back end elements required to collect entries, comply with different state laws, and fulfill prizes and winners list, is often more than a busy business owner or category manager wants to focus on.

Another fear is: will the promotion get results?

Although all the creative and technical services are provided by Sales Promotion agencies and online providers, many prospective customers wanted to limit their investment to a test campaign.

For that, the agency I represented had a brilliant solution. They created a co-op sweepstakes that many non-competing brands participated in. Costs were shared, reducing the price to participate.

High-end Grand Prizes were bartered for the media exposure they would receive. If a brand could adapt it’s message to the prize structure, the concept served as an excellent test vehicle.

Coop prize structures should be adaptable to match your benefit-centric message

Purposefully, the prize structure featured many categories of high-end prizes, that could serve as the lead prize. The creative execution may be changed based on the product attribute being featured by a participating brand.

For example, a cruise, a car, and a home makeover were included in the grand prize category. At the conclusion, the sweepstakes winner would have a choice of these prizes, However, for the participating brand, they could lead with a the prize that matched their creative strategy.

Participating in a co-op sweepstakes takes some research and lead time. Make yourself aware of any opportunities to test a sweepstakes using a co-op provider as you begin planing your strategy and budget for next year.

As a endorsement for the concept, my experience was that most of the companies that used the co-op sweepstakes test continued to use the cost-effective co-op strategy, or launch their own sweepstakes campaign, as a result of running their internal ROI process.

2.  Share The Spotlight With Partners

Using the concept of partner cooperation, I created many sweepstake campaigns working with industry partners to create shared campaigns, or feature their product as a prize.

While working at an ad agency I created an Olympic themed sweepstakes for Visa, an official Olympic sponsor. I negotiated with the official automobile category participant to provide a vehicle as the sweepstakes grand prize, based on the advertising exposure they would receive.

Be creative, invite industry or service provider partners into your sweepstakes

As a marketing manager in the rental car category I invited partners, whose loyalty programs we awarded points within, to participate in a co-op sweepstakes. 

Industry partners provided hotel points and airline miles as prizes. My company provided rental cars to create a prize package.

Each participant ran their brand related sweepstakes featuring a grand prize package presenting their unique creative execution.

Note, that as long as the official rules indicate that the promotion is developed and shared by many participating brands, all the bases are covered.

If you are in a category that may not have partners that seem appealing as a sweepstakes and contest prize, I suggest you get creative.

Take relationships to the next step. Similar to the VISA Olympic sponsorship, does your brand have a sports or licensed relationship that you could work with? Perhaps a credit card or finance company relationship with a co-op budget?

Many brands are focused on Corporate Social Responsibility as a marketing strategy. Consider a partnership within your selected social or environmental cause to work together, share costs, develop bigger than life prizes and promote the change you make in the world.

3. Promote Your Blog While Building Relationships

“Building Network Effect business is going to be the only way to compete over the next decade” according to a recent statement by Gina Bianchini, COO and Founder of Mighty Networks. She went on to comment that “every founder, whether they’re in a small digital business or a large enterprise has to understand the Network Effects and leverage them.”

Creating joint sweepstakes with blog partner gets you noticed by new prospects

Blog partner sweepstakes increase your reach

Developing blog partners and sharing content, concepts and promotions across your blog partners creates a larger audience for each of you while building shared interest and strategies.

Creating joint sweepstakes and contest, raising money for a common cause or developing bundled packages containing both parties products or services is among the best ways to get noticed, while reaching your secondary marketing goals.

Smaller sweepstakes campaigns, with a prize structure less than five-thousand dollars, do not have to be registered with NY and FL, as larger campaigns do. Running frequent, smaller sweepstakes and contest with blog partners, is a great way to expand business relationships as we move to a new inter-connected reality.

4. Use Online Turnkey Sweepstakes provider

Online service providers offer a step-by-step process to launch a quick and easy sweepstakes

When you consider what is a turnkey sweepstakes, there are great online service providers that will provide simple steps to make your sweepstakes a reality, fast.

The steps to a turnkey sweepstakes have been well thought out and simplified.

I could have lead with this information, however, I present the above creative approaches because a bigger than life Grand Prize, developing partnerships, and creating new products and segments lead innovation in marketing.

The goal of business is to create and maintain customers.

Use everything at your disposal to change behaviors and wake-up customers to your unique product and service benefits.  

Kevin Danaher

Kevin’s career spans over 30 years where he worked for New York Sales Promotion and Advertising agencies such as Ventura Associates, and BBDO developing promotional campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including VISA, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods, Fidelity Investments, and Chrysler. Read More