Knock, Knock. It’s the Sweeps Police. How to Keep Your Text Sweepstakes Out of Trouble

Do you want your text sweepstakes to be successful? A surprising number of business owners still don’t follow the rules when it comes to text sweepstakes. 

Avoid legal headaches and take this advice. Here, we cover common issues to help you keep your text sweepstakes out of trouble and away from the attention of regulators.

1. Always use official rules… and don’t change them once the sweep begins.

When it comes to official rules, always have official rules in place before you start your first campaign. While Sweeppea has templates available for you to use, it is best for you to have an attorney review your rules as well. This is to ensure you have covered all potential risks to your business.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should never change the rules once your sweepstakes begins. Not only will changing the official rules cause confusion for your entrants, it could also open you up to legal liabilities.

2. Follow rules for sweepstakes AND text messaging.

Being aggressive in your marketing efforts might usually be a good strategy to boost your sweepstakes. But not so fast… follow the rules so you don’t land in hot water with the FCC or the FTC.  

The FCC regulates SMS programs under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the U.S. You’ll need to understand how these laws apply to your campaign and the disclosures you’re required to make.

Keep in mind also that certain industries and states have their own rules for sweepstakes as well. Alcohol brands, for example, have to get their sweeps pre-approved in certain states.

Also read: Are You Complying with the Rules of Text Message Marketing?

3. Make sure to bond or register your sweep when it’s required.

Some states require you register your text sweepstakes if the prizes are valued over a certain dollar amount. This is why we encourage clients to keep prizes under $5,000 in value. Check to see if you have to bond your sweepstakes. Keep in mind that these states also have an advanced deadline for taking care of these issues, so make sure you don’t leave things until the last minute or it could derail your entire campaign.

4. Understand what “no purchase necessary” really means.

While the spirit of sweepstakes involves free entry, the phrase “no purchase necessary” doesn’t actually mean that entrants can’t buy something in order to enter. For new products or brands with loyalty programs, you can actually encourage a purchase with entry, as long as you also have a free method of entry (AMOE). A Sweeppea text-to-win can also act as an AMOE.

Take this advice to heart. By following a few rules, you can benefit from the advantages of running a text sweepstakes, while avoiding any legal issues.

Build a better text sweepstakes with Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.

Holiday Promotion Ideas for Your Next Text Sweepstakes

Holiday promotion ideas for text sweepstakes

Want to fit in a last-minute holiday promotion? We realize it happens and have put together some ideas for holiday text sweepstakes promotions you can still run this year. Take a look at 5 ideas that are sure to resonate with your customers.

1. What I Really Want for Christmas Sweepstakes

The holidays are all about giving, but sometimes we miss out on getting something for ourselves. This year, you can give your customers a chance to get the gifts they really want by offering them a prize of their choosing. You can offer to fulfill their “wish list” or registry of favorite things at your store or site, offer a collection of items they can customize or simply give prize options they can choose from (Ex: choose from our new line of iHome tech gear of up to $500).

2. Black Friday Online Shopping Spree

Most people are looking for a way to beat the crowds on Black Friday. So why not give them an advantage by offering an early Black Friday online shopping spree? They can enter your text sweepstakes to win a $500 shopping spree. Let them choose items the day before to ensure they get what they want.

To boost exposure for your brand once the text sweepstakes has ended, encourage them to share all of the cool items they got from your store on social media.

3. Multi-Day Giveaway

What better way to keep the excitement going all season long than to host an ongoing text sweepstakes with daily and weekly prizes?

To make sure entrants continue to participate and to draw in new entrants, offer bigger and better prizes each week until the holiday season is over.

4. Holiday Party Sweepstakes

With all of the holiday festivities going on, why not host your own or offer to host an event for the winner?  They’d get exposure to your products or services whether you host your own in-store event or take the party to their home.

From an in-store concert to a chocolate tasting, you can create an exclusive holiday event for a few winners and their friends or families. Another option is to giveaway a holiday party package with a catered meal and entertainment at the winner’s home. This can work as a New Year’s party as well.

5. Post-Holiday Getaway

Let’s be honest–the holidays can be stressful. To give your customers a much-needed break, offer a post-holiday getaway. A spa day? A weekend cruise? The idea is to let them wind down and relax in your venue or with an experience that includes your product or service. This is a great way to get exposure for your brand and can result in a shared experience on social media.

Create your holiday text sweepstakes results with Sweeppea. To get started now, see features and pricing.

How to Choose the Right Sweepkey for Your Text to Win

A text to win is a mobile version of the commonly used sweepstakes campaign. Participants enter by sending a text message with a Sweepkey, such as “MIAMI,” to a 5 to 7-digit number or short code.

If you want your text to win to be successful, you must make sure that your Sweepkey is easy for entrants to use. Here are some tips on how to choose the right Sweepkey.

Brand Your Sweepkey With Your Brand or Product Name

Branding your Sweepkey with your brand or product name not only makes it easier for entrants to remember, it also associates your sweep and the prizes with your brand. After all, you want to use your text to win to promote your brand or product, not just to give away free prizes.

To further emphasize the branding, you should include your Sweepkey in any outbound text messages you send out during the campaign. “Miami” is the Sweepkey in this example: “MIAMI: Thanks for entering! Although you didn’t win today, visit our site and use code 15OFF for 15% off with our thanks!”

Also Read: Tips for Success on Your First Text to Win

Make it Easy to Remember and Type

Choose a Sweepkey that is easy to remember and is phonetic. This is especially important if you will advertise your text to win using print or in-store advertising or radio advertising where entrants might be challenged to remember your Sweepkey in order to enter.

Choose a word, such as “ORANGE,” rather than a made-up word or a sequence of letters to avoid confusion. Spaces aren’t accepted by the system so choose one word or a combination that still makes sense when seen as one word, such as “TECHSTORE.”

Plan for auto-correct as well. Don’t select a word as a Sweepkey that is almost always auto-corrected by smartphones.

Make sure that the Sweepkey is short enough for a mobile user to engage with. Keep in mind that your entrants will be entering your text to win on the go. Using a long Sweepkey only increases the risk of a mistake by your entrants.

The simpler and catchier your Sweepkey, the better. If you want maximize the number of entrants to your text to win, choosing the right Sweepkey is the first step.

Build a better text to win with Sweeppea. To get started now, see features and pricing.

How a Social Media Sweepstakes Differs From a Text to Win

Are you comparing the value of a text to win versus a Facebook sweepstakes? Running a social media sweepstakes is actually very different from a text to win campaign. Here are a few basic differences that can help you decide which option is best for promoting your business.

Facebook Isn’t Free

Many people still have the misconception that you can simply create a page on Facebook to promote a business for free. Unfortunately, that’s no longer true.

If you want potential customers to see your sweepstakes, you’ll have to pay for advertising. And if you don’t have a decent budget for advertising, you shouldn’t expect to see much traffic to your page or your sweepstakes since Facebook drastically reduced organic reach for business pages several years ago.

Also Read: How to Promote Your Text to Win Sweepstakes on Social Media

No Control Over Timing

When you post to Facebook, you have little control over the time and date when someone actually views your post. That means that you could send out a post at a specified time but your target audience might not read it until hours, or even days, later.

In contrast, research shows that a majority of mobile phone users read text messages within 3 minutes of receipt. This means you can actually send out time-sensitive content during or after your text to win that most of your entrants will act on right away.

Facebook is the Gatekeeper to Your Sweepstakes

Like every other social platform, Facebook is for registered users. And while it’s popular, there are still many people who aren’t on it and won’t be able to participate in your sweeps. You might even be surprised to know that some members of the Millennial and Gen Z generations avoid Facebook because their parents are on it!

In contrast, a text to win campaign can work on every mobile phone. Since SMS text is a basic feature of all mobile phones, you can be sure of reaching a majority of your audience. 

You Don’t Have Your Audience’s Full Attention on Social Media

Most users on Facebook and other social sites are trying to catch up with friends, read the news, and watch funny videos. Your brand messages may get lost in the news feed–if it appears at all.  

In contrast, text to win can be promoted in any environment (yes, including social media). You might have signs in store, messages in your emails or ads and elsewhere. You have a little more control and once someone enters, you’ll have their full attention with each text message. If you want a captive audience, text to win is the way to go.

Reach your audience with a targeted text to win campaign. To get started now, see features and pricing.

Top Prize Ideas for Your Text Sweepstakes

Are you struggling with coming up with a prize for your text sweepstakes? There are options available that will entice your customer base. Here are some of the top prize ideas for your text sweepstakes to help spark your creativity.

Memorable Experiences

With Millenials, experiences are highly prized. A study by the Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences vs. material things. Can you create an experience that includes your product or service? Experiences can range from private tours or a private tailgate party with DJ (like the one offered by Bud Light) to closing off an entire water park for you and your closest friends. Other examples: like Ikea UK, offer a sleepover for a winner and friends (in a unique location, at the zoo, etc.) or offer a cooking class using your food product with a well-known local chef.

Upgrades

Instead of thinking of an entirely new prize to offer to your text sweepstakes entrants, why not simply upgrade them on your existing products or services? By offering free access to the full version of your product or service, you’ll get feedback from potential customers while also ensuring that the majority of entrants to your sweepstakes are genuinely interested in your business and aren’t simply signing up in order to win a generic prize.

Other ideas include a full year’s supply of your product or a large package that includes your product.

Sports Memorabilia

Does your customer base include some of the hometown team’s most dedicated fans? If so, you should consider giving away sports memorabilia as a prize for your text sweepstakes. Sports memorabilia makes a great prize because it is usually a one-of-a-kind prize that fans will be happy to share via social media.

In fact, Washington Gas & Light Energy gave away autographed Washington Wizards Memorabilia as a part of its company’s re-marketing efforts. By announcing the prize during the game, the company was able to capture the attention of its audience and open the channel for post-event text message marketing offers.

Also read: Case Study: WGL Energy Captures Fan Info and Boosts Engagement During Sports Games

Trips and Vacations

Offering a vacation or trip is a tried and true prize option for a text sweepstakes. Many companies have taken this approach. However, offering such a prize should be done with careful consideration to ensure the trip closely aligns with your brand and you aren’t actually offering a prize that will be so expensive to fulfill that it actually subtracts from your campaign ROI.

But if your goal is to attract potential and repeat visitors to a particular area, this strategy can be highly effective. In fact, the Florida Keys & Key West Tourist Development Council used this strategy when it offered a chance to win a trip to  the Florida Keys & Key West with fun, food & VIP tickets to Fantasy Fest.

Also read: Rocking the Conch Republic: Results of Our Text-to-Win Sweepstakes for the Florida Keys & Key West

The key to choosing a great prize for your text to win sweepstakes is creativity and relevancy. It should be highly relevant to your business. With the right sweepstakes prizes, you can drive major results for your business.