The number one challenge faced by small business today is: Finding and Keeping Customers. Once you get past the standard legalese, you can actually use sweepstakes rules & regulations to build your customer databases, sales and profits.

Find New Customers by gaining attention through the excitement of your sweepstakes

Find New Customers by gaining attention through the excitement of your sweepstakes

The first step of any sales process is to Gain Favorable Attention. Contest and sweepstakes are great at this by engaging a prospective customer, and tapping into the incredible 85% emotional factor of their decision-making process. The words WIN or FREE stimulate brain receptors, and when combined with a brand related, highly valued by the prospective customer, prize structure, you build immediate awareness. How you appeal to their wants and needs, the next step of the sales process, to motivate them to enter, opens the door to building your customer data.

 You Determine Eligibility

A sweepstakes is generally easy for prospects to enter, and it gives you the opportunity to collect a few key pieces of information, such as name, age, email, address phone number, and possibly more, for your database. This is where sweepstake and contest rules can work for you. You can limit entries by geographic areas, or many other requirements. Depending on the value and relevance of the prize offered you might be able to ask for even more information. If the prize is appealing and highly valued, prospects may be willing to provide information about their employment, occupation, income-range, next planned purchase or whatever works for your sales cycle.

 Keep Their Eye On The Prize

According to the traditional buying process: People buy to gain a benefit, solve a problem or avoid a loss. Why do customers buy your product or service and how can you tap into their buying process in your sweepstakes prize development? Your prize strategy should be brand related. The higher the perceived value, the more prospects will take notice and enter. You could give away your product, a great way to gain exposure, attention and attract your specific prospect. Keep in mind that you face the conundrum of people making the assumption ‘why buy it when I’m going to win it’. This is the mega bucks lottery mentality; everyone thinks they will win until they lose.

People are not robots, 85% of decisions are made using emotion vs. logic

People are not robots, 85% of decisions are made using emotion vs. logic

Come up with a prize that is brand related. For example, if you offer home restoration services, develop a facebook contest using a sweepstakes to offer a prize to a restored Castle or a restored Resort Hotel to bring the message home about the problem you solve.

Another approach is to gain a benefit by offering online giveaways on certain days to draw attention to your store or site and drive traffic. The giveaways can be a mix of discount coupons, enter to win prizes and interesting facts or advice about your product’s usage. New facebook contest rules allow you to award people with entries for likes and shares to expand your reach. Make sure you verify your contest rules so that your need to collect data are in synch with the social media provider’s regulations.

Winner Selection, Notification and Public Relations Value

There’s more that you can do with official rules. For years I had been entering a sweepstakes to win a new home. When the winner was announced the lucky person was always just the right demographic for the specific prize. The family-sized house with kids bedrooms, the city bachelor pad or artist loft were always one by the family, the bachelor and the artist. How can that happen? In reviewing the official rules it was clearly stated that ten winning entries would be drawn and one winner will be selected from the ten by a panel of judges. This gave the company the flexibility to match the winner with the property type and promote the campaign using the winner’s story related to the uniqueness of the home they won. The company accomplished many objectives by driving people to their site, their TV shows and, after the winner was announced to increase the public relations value for a full year.

When developing your sweepstakes or contest promotion concentrate on who you want to attract, what will motivate them to enter, and the brand relationship you wish to build with them, over time. Think of your promotion in terms of the buying/selling process. As you Gain Attention they are subconsciously evaluating your company, your product and the need’s you meet for them under the guise of your prize

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