Text Sweepstakes: Is No Purchase Necessary Really Necessary?

We all know that companies don’t run text sweepstakes just because. In fact, they do it for a multitude of reasons but mainly for financial gain. As a result, when you run your text sweepstakes you must take care to ensure that it’s actually legal.

Here’s how to decide if no purchase necessary is really necessary.

Scenario #1: You only want customers to be able to enter your sweepstakes.

Keep in mind that there are three elements of a lottery: a prize that is worth something, a winner selected at random, and a fee to enter. If all three of these elements are present, then your sweepstakes is actually an illegal, private lottery.

As a result, you can’t require customers to make a purchase in order to enter your sweepstakes. In this instance, you must specify that no purchase is necessary and you also must offer a free alternative method of entry (AMOE) to ensure that your sweepstakes doesn’t qualify as a lottery.

Scenario #2: You want anyone to be able to enter your sweepstakes but you also want to encourage customers to make a purchase.

In the United States, it is actually illegal to require your customers to make a purchase in order to enter your text sweepstakes. This is the reason why sweepstakes rules have the disclaimer that “a purchase will not impact your chance of winning.” This prevents companies from disqualifying entrants if they don’t purchase something from the company first before entering the sweepstakes.

However, asking your customers to make a purchase before entering your sweepstakes is actually permissible as long as you advertise that you also have a free AMOE. The AMOE can be using your website to sign up instead of entering at one of your retail stores. AMOEs are designed to ensure that people who don’t make a purchase get the same number of entries has a person who has.

Also read: Are Text-to-Win Sweepstakes Legal in the US?

Scenario #3: You want people to sign up for your email list before they can enter your sweepstakes.

When it comes to consideration, meaning exchanging something of value for a prize or a chance at winning a prize, a text sweepstakes that requires consideration is in violation of the law. As a result, it is a good idea to make opting into your email list or newsletter optional instead of mandatory for entering your sweepstakes.

Scenario #4: You want to use Sweeppea to run your text sweepstakes.

Did you know that Sweeppea can also act an an AMOE? With our online entry form, you’ll be able to gather additional details about the participant, such as the participant’s name, age, address, and email address while also providing an easy to use AMOE.

Ready to create your first text sweepstakes with Sweeppea? To get started now, see features and pricing.

4 Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Text to Win

Make sure that you aren’t making these mistakes that will hurt your text to win! If you want great results from your text to win, here are 4 mistakes you should avoid.

1. Meager Marketing

Don’t want to invest in marketing for your text to win? Then you can expect poor results for your campaign. Worse, the majority of text to win campaigns that aren’t sufficiently promoted tend to wind up only having professional sweepers enter them.

If you want people who are actually interested in your brand to enter, you need to promote your text to win using social media, print advertisements, and other relevant media channels.

Also Read: Are Sweepers Good or Bad for Your Text Sweepstakes?

2. The Wrong Prize

There are a few reasons why you should choose your prize carefully. First, interest in winning a prize is the main motivation for entrants. If your sweepstakes doesn’t have a cool prize, then you probably won’t get the response you were hoping for.

Secondly, the wrong prize can attract the wrong audience. You don’t want people who aren’t interested in your brand or products to flock to enter because you’re giving away an iPad or tech prize. That’s why you should always select a prize that complements your brand.

3. No Official Rules

Not having official rules can land you in hot water. The rules are meant to protect you and entrants. In return for their entry, you’re promising to award prizes. Remember the rules are a contract between you, the Sponsor, and the participants.

4. No Follow Up

It’s fun to give away awesome prizes, but that isn’t the main purpose of running a text to win. You should be using it to build and promote your brand. Part of that includes following up. If you aren’t following up with entrants after the campaign is over, you’ll be missing out on a powerful source of future leads and sales for your business.

Ready to create your first text sweepstakes with Sweeppea? To get started now, see features and pricing.

How to Promote Your Text to Win Sweepstakes on Social Media

How to Promote Your Text to Win Sweepstakes on Social Media - sweeppea.com

The success of your text to win sweepstakes relies on how many people you reach and how many of them enter. To boost those numbers, you want maximum exposure for your campaign and that can be done with the help of social media.

Here are a few tips on using social media to promote your text to win sweepstakes:

Facebook is a Must

Facebook is the first place you should turn to when deciding how to promote your sweepstakes. With 197 million users in the U.S., Facebook is a microcosm of the general population and is a great resource to build excitement around your text to win.

We recommend organic posts about the sweep on your Facebook page at least once a week. You can also promote it to people outside of your fan base (and hopefully gain new fans), with a Facebook ad campaign. Facebook ads are a cost-effective ad buy online and can bring a lot of attention to your text to win.

Don’t forget, if you’re using a web entry form in tandem with the text entry, you can send fans to the online form directly. They can then enter their mobile numbers and confirm by text or you can just tell them to text your SWEEPKEY (the word they will text to enter) to 65047 for a chance to win.

Also read: Tips for Success on your first text to win sweepstakes

Twitter Tactics

Twitter has a lot more noise. It’s estimated that the average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. To reach your audience effectively on this platform, use hashtags that are relevant to your campaign. Try creating your own hashtag for the sweeps too.

Twitter cards can bring the tweet a little extra attention (as an organic post or a paid one). You may also want to consider reaching out to influencers on Twitter to have them tweet about your text to win sweepstakes as well.

You can use a call-to-action like “Text SPORTS to 65047 for a chance to win tickets to…” or link directly to our web entry form and have users enter first online, then confirm by text.

Pinterest is Best for Certain Sweepstakes

The key to success on Pinterest is strong visuals with a vertical orientation. It’s best to reconfigure your creatives especially for Pinterest. Keep in mind also that Pinterest’s audience is best suited to text to win sweepstakes involving food, beauty, health, fashion and travel.

Again, use a text call-to-action in your graphics or send followers to our web entry form where they can enter their mobile numbers.

Also read: Promoting a Concert or Musical Festival ? Promotional Ideas for Mobile

Instagram Hashtags

While visuals are just as important on Instagram as on Pinterest, good hashtags are also key to success when promoting your text to win sweepstakes here. Pick hashtags that are short, relevant, memorable, and not too general or overused for best results. Influencer campaigns are also prevalent and can increase your visibility on Instagram.

Since Instagram posts can’t carry live links, we recommend using a strong call-to-action with instructions on how to enter by text in the post.

Promotional Best Practices for Text to Win

You may know best practices for social media marketing, but there are a few differences when promoting a text to win. Make sure you include the following for best results:

1. Use a strong CTA in your graphics

Visual content is important for any social media campaign. But within your graphics you should also include the call-to-action (e.g. “Text WIN to 65047 for a chance to win…”) to get the best results for your text sweepstakes.

2. Include required disclosures

Wherever the call to action is made, you must also add a disclosure to let entrants know “Message & data rates may apply.” This is required of all text to win sweepstakes to make entrants aware that entering could result in extra fees.

Also read about the rules of text message marketing.

3. Link to your web entry form

If you plan to use the web entry form as part of your text to win campaign, you can also link to the form from your social media posts. The form is a way to collect more information (email, etc.), but can also act as the first stop of an entry. Once a person enters their mobile number in the form, they get a text message asking to confirm their opt-in. This method helps drive entries from your social properties, keeps it mobile and follows the rules.

Need help setting up and promoting a text to win sweepstakes? We’re here to help. See our features to get started or contact us.


When and Why You Should Register Your Text Sweepstakes

In certain states, you must register your text sweepstakes in order to run it in that state. If your sweepstakes falls within certain parameters, registering it is the only way you can run it without risking serious fines in Florida, New York and Rhode Island.

Here is a breakdown of each state’s requirements.


If your text sweepstakes has a total prize Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of $5,000 or more, you have to register it with the state of Florida. You’ll need to submit a copy of the official rules for your sweepstakes, have a surety bond and open a trust account so that the state can be sure the money is available for the prize winner.

These items must all be provided at least 7 days before the start date of your promotion. Once your sweepstakes has ended, you’ll need to send an official winners list to the state of Florida within 60 days or file an extension to extend the deadline for another 60 days.

New York

New York also requires companies to register sweepstakes with prizes of more than $5,000. A surety bond must be obtained in the amount of the prize value.

Register 30 days before the sweepstakes begins and submit a winners list within 90 days after the sweepstakes ends.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a much lower threshold for registering a sweepstakes. If your company offers prizes valued at $500 or more, you must register the sweepstakes with the state.

But, this only applies to sweepstakes offered at retail establishments in Rhode Island. This means that if an entrant has to go to a brick and mortar retail location to enter, then this sweepstakes must be registered with the state.

Unlike the other states, Rhode Island doesn’t require a surety bond or a winner’s list. Companies are only required to keep information identifying the winners for up to 6 months after the sweepstakes has ended.

Ask a Lawyer

As always, we recommend you seek out legal counsel before running your text sweepstakes to ensure you’re abiding by all of the regulations for your state. If these regulations complicate things for your campaign, you may even want to consider excluding entrants from certain states to keep it simpler.

Sweeppea offers full sweepstakes creation and administration. We’ll take care of all the compliance and legal requirements of running your text sweepstakes.

Ready to create your first text sweepstakes with Sweeppea? To get started now, see features and pricing.

Read also: Are You Complying with the Rules of Text Message Marketing?

Jazz Lovers Entered the DC Jazz Festival Text to Win Sweepstakes

Sweeppea hosts the DC Jazz Festival Text to Win Sweepstakes

The famous DC Jazz Festival, presenting more than 125 performers and 300 artists was in its 13th year this year. And they offered jazz lovers a chance to win tickets through the festival text to win sweepstakes. By texting the word JAZZ to the number 65047, entrants got a chance to win one of five pairs of free tickets.


  • To promote the show.
  • To build excitement and awareness for the event.
  • To gain a database of participants to re-market sponsor’s offers via text message and emails.

Promotional Channels:

  • TV channel spots
  • Social Media promotion
  • Local billboard advertising


  • Hundreds of participants entered.
  • Hundreds of new emails were collected.


Five (5) winners of the DC Jazz Festival text to win sweepstakes each received two (2) tickets.