Special Issues to Consider to Ensure Your Mobile Sweepstakes Is Legal

regulations-mobile

Are you good at following the rules? When running a mobile sweepstakes, it certainly helps. In fact, it’s vital to follow the rules to avoid a problem that could cost thousands. We’ve written before about the legal documents for a mobile sweepstakes and text message marketing rules, but there are still other special issues that may arise. 

Here are some special issues that will need extra consideration.

Is it Open to Entrants Outside the US?

Is your sweepstakes open to residents of Canada? Mexico? Other countries? If so, make sure your official rules comply with the laws of that region. In Canada, for example, it’s illegal to run games of pure chance with a random draw (i.e. a sweepstakes). It’s best to add a skill-testing question to make it more of a contest. In Mexico, any prize of more than US$5,000 has to be delivered in the presence of Mexican authorities. Be sure you’re aware of the legal requirements of the region.

Sending Direct Mail?

This is less common these days, but if you’re using direct mail  to promote your sweepstakes, you’ll need to make sure you have permission to send mailings to those recipients, per the Federal Trade Commission. The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and HIPAA are other legal protections that prohibit the use of mailing lists from DMV records or medical facilities for direct marketing purposes.

Will it Involve User-Generated Content?

Are you asking entrants to enter with photos, videos or other material? If you’re making use of user-generated content as an entry requirement or also for promotional purposes, put terms in place to cover their use with regard to copyright.

Are You Targeting Children or Minors?

When targeting children or minors, you’re adding another layer of rules and complexity. You must take privacy into account and other issues. If your mobile sweepstakes will target that audience, make sure you’re in compliance with federal and state laws, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and FTC rules.

Mobile sweepstakes should be carefully structured to ensure maximum participation, while minimizing the associated legal risks. Before beginning your mobile promotion, consider the legal aspect. While we assist with creating official rules for a sweepstakes, legal counsel is always best. We can help you get that professional guidance.

 

What Legal Docs Are Needed for a Text-to-Win or Mobile Sweepstakes?

In today’s competitive market, more businesses are using sweepstakes and contests to promote their brands. But we see many hosting them without giving much thought to the legal documents needed. Before starting your own text-to-win or mobile sweepstakes promotion, make sure your legal docs are in order.

Here is a list of the legal documents you’ll need to run a mobile sweepstakes or contest.

Official Rules

We see too many companies using a short one-line sentence to cover rules, but this is not enough to cover you if there’s a problem. No matter how small your company is, you should have official rules. This protects the entrants as well as your business. States outline what these rules should contain, including who is eligible, how to enter, start and end dates, a description of the prize value, and more.

Abbreviated Rules Disclosures

In addition to the official rules, you should also use an abbreviated set of rules when you promote the mobile sweepstakes. In fact, all ad or marketing materials used as part of the campaign, including registration pages, web pages, direct mail pieces, and ads, must have the abbreviated rules disclosures, as required by the state(s) in which the promotion will be available. This includes stating “No purchase necessary,” for sweepstakes and other disclosures. See a law firm’s summary of abbreviated rules here.

Release and Affidavits for Prize Winners

Are you planning to announce the winner publicly and include their photo or information? Consider having a publicity release form for prize winners. An eligibility affidavit will also protect you as it asks the winner to affirm they are eligible to win the prize and meet all entry requirements.

Sponsor/Advertiser Contracts

Be sure you have contracts in place with any sponsor, advertiser or third-party vendor that will be a part of the contest or sweepstakes, whether it’s as a sponsor or a provider of contest prizes.

Special Legal Considerations

These are just the basic requirements for running a mobile contest or sweepstakes. There may also be other legal considerations when…

  • Your contest or sweepstakes is open to entrants outside of the U.S.
  • The ARV (Approximate Retail Value) of your prize is more than $5,000.
  • You plan to use direct mail or a third-party website for promotional purposes.
  • Your contest or sweepstakes will involve user-generated content or public voting.
  • Your business is in a highly-regulated industry (alcohol, for example).
  • Your contest or sweepstakes will involve children or minors.

Ask a Lawyer

Our platform offers suggested official rules to get you started, but you should still speak with a lawyer about the potential liability, privacy, regulatory and intellectual property concerns of your campaign. While it may increase the costs of developing your promotion, following these steps under the guidance of a legal advisor can improve the odds of success for your business’s mobile campaign.

Have any questions about the legal aspects of a text-to-win sweepstakes? Contact us for more information.

How to Use a Text-to-Win or Mobile Sweepstakes to Generate Sales

You already know running a sweepstakes or text-to-win is a great way to grow your subscriber list, your reach, and your social following. But can you also use it to produce sales?

The short answer is yes. There are also cost-cutting strategies that will benefit your business.

Here are 4 ways to improve your bottom line with a mobile sweepstakes.

Everyone Wins with a Coupon

Users will be shooting to win the grand prize, but why not give them a smaller win along the way? After they enter, offer a discount by text or email. It’s a nice “thank you for entering” gesture and is one of the best ways to generate sales during or after a sweep. It can encourage new customers to try your product or service as well.

Get a Paid Sponsor

Bringing in a paid sponsor is a great way to tap into another company’s audience to increase the bottom line. Collaborate with a complementary brand or product and you can gain new subscribers who may become customers in the future. The sponsor gets exposure to your customers as well, making it a win-win.

Cut Costs with a Prize Sponsor

Deciding on a prize? Sure you can offer your own product or service, but if you’ve done that before, change things up with a sponsored prize. Secure a prize sponsor (or multiple sponsors) and offer their item(s) instead. This can reduce the cost of your sweep or text-to-win and increase the number of signups , especially if the sponsor is a well-known brand or can offer a desirable prize.

Think Long-Term

These techniques will help during or after your sweep, but there are plenty of long-term sales opportunities as well. The goal here is to get these prospects on your list for a future sale. By “on your list,” we mean on your text subscriber list, email list or both. This way, you can continue marketing to them on a weekly or monthly basis and lead them to an eventual sale.

Just Don’t Make this Mistake

Above all, remember to say “no purchase necessary.” If you ask for a purchase, you’re not running a sweepstakes, you’re running a lottery and Uncle Sam may have a problem with that.

Also, make sure subscribers understand that their personal information may be shared with sponsors (if any). Including this information in the legal terms can help you avoid legal headaches later on.

Do you want to learn how you can grow your business with a text-to-win or SMS Sweepstakes campaign? Contact us or call us at (305) 505-­­5393 for help.

5 Tips for Successful Mobile Sweepstakes & Contests

Sweeppea . Text-To-Win Sweepstakes, Mobile Marketing

The benefits of a mobile contest are clear: your customers win awesome prizes and your company gets loyal subscribers that you can market your products and services to. But how do you make sure that your mobile campaign will produce the results that you want?

Here are 5 tips for successful mobile contests to help you launch a great campaign that is guaranteed to boost your business.

1. Define Your Objectives

It may seem obvious, but understanding your objectives for running a mobile contest will help you to decide if a contest is the best way to get the results you want, and most of all, what type of contest to run. If the end goal of your mobile campaign is to build a loyal list of subscribers, then you should opt for a contest that offers a low barrier to entry.

However, if the goal of the contest is to produce high quality content that you can use to promote your business in the future, then create a contest that focuses on having your subscribers creatively describe what your brand means to them. Either way, you need to make engagement the focus of your campaign.

2. Plan It Out

If you plan to evaluate user-generated content in order to select winners for your contest, you need to plan out the selection process, as well as, the attributes of a winning submission.

3. Choose the Best Mobile Partner

Choosing the right partner means that you need to find a mobile marketing company like Sweeppea that will be able to deliver all of the features that you want for your mobile contest. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Can you customize my contest for my brand?
  • Can you handle all of the legal requirements of a contest?
  • How can I measure my success with your platform?
  • Will a dedicated representative be available to assist me with campaign setup?

4. Promote Your Campaign

You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you need to make an effort to promote your contest if you expect to get entrants. Promote it on your website and in your company marketing materials.

5. Use the Contest Results to Improve Your Business

Once the contest is over, make sure to capitalize on all of the great content and relationships that were acquired over the course of your mobile campaign. Include contest submissions in your advertising campaigns and extend the relationships you’ve acquired to social media so that you can continue the conversation about your brand.

How Big Brands Use Text-to-Win

Text-to-win examples from big brands

Planning a giveaway or text-to-win sweepstakes? You may be wondering…

  • What should I offer as a  prize?
  • What will excite my customers and prospects?
  • How should I set it up?

These can be answered in many ways, so how about answers with a little inspiration from big brands?

What Should I Give Away?

We suggest offering a prize that’s relevant to your product or service. Your own product or a service package can be a great prize.

Will your own product be enough to excite your customers or prospects? While we’d like to say yes, this can be a challenge if you sell a low-cost consumer good or inexpensive service. You may need to get a little creative or offer a prize with a bigger dollar value to really incentivize consumers to sign up.

Here are a few examples of both product prizes and higher ticket items:

Twisted Tea Offers Branded Motorcycle

This brand added a little “twist” on the typical prize vehicle with a branded motorcycle. It’s a unique way to go beyond its own product, while still offering a branded item.

Text-to-win sweepstakes with a motorcycle prize

SUBWAY Gives Away Subs – Lots and Lots of Subs

Subway offered its own subs as a prize… every 15 minutes!  This translated to 96 winners per day or 2,976 total. While not every business can give away this much product, it’s a good example of how to be creative when offering your own item. Consumers could enter by text or online.

Subway's text-to-win prize was awarded every 15 minutes.

Free Pet Food for a Year From Pet Supermarket 

Another creative way to give away product is to offer a full year’s worth. Who wouldn’t want to win free product for a year? And it isn’t as expensive as it sounds. Offer a set amount for each month (a free bag or case of dog food, for example, or a $25 gift certificate for each month). This will limit your costs while still keeping it attractive for your customers.

Free pet food for a year from Pet Supermarket

How should I set up my sweepstakes or text-to-win?

How do you decide which method to use? Look at your goals first. To make a splash and keep entry as easy as possible, use text-to-win. If you want to build excitement and also collect emails or other information, use text-to-win and an online entry form. When using both methods, you can collect mobile numbers and other information, such as emails, addresses, birthdays, and more.

A few examples:

Coca-Cola 2016 NCAA Text-to-Win with 3 Ways to Enter

Coca-Cola tied into the excitement of the NCAA finals by offering a 4-night trip for two to Glendale, AZ to attend the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Consumers were asked to text the word MADNESS, use an online entry form and/or enter via Facebook.

ncaa-text-to-win

Old Milwaukee Sweepstakes with Text & Online Entry

Old Milwaukee fans had a chance to win a custom branded truck, a valuable prize that was likely to appeal to that audience. Besides texting to enter, fans could also enter online by providing their email. This allowed the beer brand to collect not only mobile phone numbers, but emails as well. Having mobile numbers is a good option when it comes time to contact the winner.

Beer distributor sweepstakes with 2 methods of entry.

Corona Used Text and Social

Corona gave its fans 2 ways to enter for a chance to win a 3-day, 2-night trip for two to a pro-boxing match.  The first was by texting the word CORONABOXING, the second was via social media. In an obvious effort to build their network on Instagram, they asked fans to use the hashtags #coronaboxing and #sweepstakes on a photo post to enter.

Sports themed sweepstakes offers 2 entry methods.

Dunkin’ Donuts Used Web Only 

Dunkin’ Donuts is another brand that offered a free year of product. The actual prize was 1 pound of coffee every 8 weeks for a year. (This could have been better in our opinion.) The brand only offered 1 method of entry: an online web form asking for entrants’ emails. Dunkin’ limited the overall appeal of this one with the prize (7 bags of coffee isn’t a year’s worth as far as we’re concerned) and with 1 method of entry. In our experience, it’s harder to reach a winner when you have email only.

A free year of product but only email entry from Dunkin'

Lessons Learned?

  • Think about what will excite your fans most when deciding on a prize.
  • Don’t hesitate to get creative when giving away your product or a branded item.
  • Set goals before deciding how to set up your sweepstakes or giveaway.
  • Offer text entry to keep it easy or add another method to collect emails or other information.

We hope these examples offer inspiration and spur ideas for your own text-to-win sweepstakes!

(Please note: All names and images are trademarked and/or copyrighted by their respective owners.)