The Benefits and Parts of a Text-to-Win Sweepstakes

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, feathered dancers prance down Duval Street in Key West, Fla. during the Fantasy Fest Parade. Attracting some 60,000 people, the procession was the highlight event of the 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival. The annual festival originated in 1979 and has matured into the Florida Keys' largest special event, accounting for some $30 million in revenues according to local tourism officials. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)
The Benefits of Mobile Sweepstakes and Contest Marketing:

Buzz: sweepstakes create tremendous word of mouth. The Florida Keys “Win a Florida Keys Vacation and Experience Key West BrewFest” sweepstakes generated a huge reaction in social media and on blogs, sweepstakes sites and elsewhere. In the first 3 hours alone, it received more than 1,000 visitors and nearly 400 “likes” and 600 “shares” on the Florida Keys Facebook fan page.

Increase Your Email and Mobile Database
: Sweepstakes and contests usually ask for name, email and address. Mobile sweepstakes take it a step further by gathering the mobile number as well. This increases the email and mobile marketing database tremendously and allows marketers to contact subscribers via text message and email after the sweepstakes is over.

High Return on Investment (ROI): The cost of setting up a mobile sweepstakes is far lower than the cost involved in traditional “paper entry” sweepstakes. The mobile entry component makes it very easy for the participant to enter. No forms to fill or staff needed to gather them. Mobile text-in entry increases the number of participants substantially. And the more participants you have, the lower the cost per entry. The ROI can be calculated by total entries or total qualified leads generated. ROI can be taken a step further by factoring in social media reach and new website visitors.

The Main Elements of a Mobile Sweepstakes
Goal: The objective of the sweepstakes needs to be clarified and kept top of mind in all activities. If it’s lead generation, the participants should be pre-qualified upon entry to facilitate the sales follow-up efforts. If it’s for branding, then promotion and related marketing and social networks should be leveraged as much as possible. If market research is a priority, then a survey can be included as part of the entry process. A marketer should plan beforehand what he will do with the data once it’s collected and how that data will turn into actionable analysis and a marketing asset.

Advertising: The beauty of a text-to-win promotion is that it works in every media channel, online and off. Your customers can enter from anywhere they are. They can be in front of their computer, mobile phone or in your store. You can place your a call-to-action (Text WIN to 65047 to enter…) in printed materials or any digital screen because all the participants has to do is send a text message to enter. We like to say, wherever you print your logo, be it, on your website, flyers, menus, Facebook or Twitter, you can advertise you text-to-win sweeps call to action.

Privacy: A lot of personally identifiable data is collected upon entry, especially when participants enter from their mobile phones. Marketers need to have and adhere to a solid privacy policy and a strong data management platform to protect the participant’s data. And always offer a way to opt-out and completely eliminate that participant’s personal information from the database.

Prize: Bigger isn’t always better. It’s crucial to pick the right prize– a prize that appeals to the target audience your product or service is trying to reach. Are you a college targeting high school students? A cruise trip for two to Alaska may not be the best option for high school students, but a new iPad mini will be.
Legal “Official Rules”: Because of their potential for abuse, sweepstakes are heavily regulated. In the U.S. all states have laws covering sweepstakes, sometimes resulting in exceptions, depending on where the entrant lives. Sweepstakes and contests are also regulated by U.S. Federal Trade Commission on a national level. Age requirements, date of birth, state of residency and the monetary value of the prize all affect how sweepstakes’ Official Rules are assembled. The Sweepstakes Official Rules should be reviewed by an attorney specializing in promotion marketing laws. We can help.

Mobile Partner: Whether you are an ad agency or a small business, picking the right mobile sweepstakes partner is key. The mobile partner should be able to provide you with the services of executing and running a mobile sweepstakes. The mobile partner should also have the technical know-how to put together a text-to-win program and create mobile-optimized entry pages to capture participant’s information. A mobile sweepstakes partner should have the technology platform to provide a short code (Text WIN to 65047 to enter, for example), gather a database of mobile entries and provide reports as to the status of the program.  A mobile sweepstakes partner will recommend Official Rules. And when it’s all over, a mobile partner should provide post-sweepstakes mobile engagement ideas to continue to drive the goals of the campaign and leverage the database of leads.

Fulfillment: A winner must be picked randomly and the prize awarded with the time limits that were set in the Official Rules. The winner must be contacted and a Declaration of Compliance, Liability and Publicity Release should be received before any prize is delivered. Based on the value of the winnings, a 1099 tax form needs to be sent to the winner as well. Fulfillment it’s a detailed and necessary process to avoid any future legal complications.

If you want to reach your mobile consumer, a text-to-win sweepstakes is absolutely one of the best way to do so. It allows the marketer to gather a detailed, permission-based profile of your mobile customer. Above all, it can create a fun, buzz-worthy event to energize current customers and reach new ones.

Why Is It Important To Have a Mobile Optimized Sweepstakes Page?

Mobile Optimized Sweepstkes -MOMARESThe short answer is because you get more participants when your sweepstakes is optimized. Making the sweepstakes mobile optimized shows that you are in sync with customer preferred communications channel and you’re making the sweepstakes entry process as seamless as possible. This causes fewer barriers to entry and ultimately more participants.

5 tips to help make your sweepstakes mobile optimized:

No Pinch
The easiest way for a person to know if the sweepstakes is not mobile optimized, is if they have to pinch or stretch their fingers to zoom in or out of the page. Pinching is cumbersome and sweepstakes like these face a higher chance of being abandoned simply because of inconvenience and time consumption in having to zoom in or out to view the content. To prevent this from happening, build a mobile version of the sweepstakes page, formatted for up and down scrolling only and easily legible text. All images should be proportional for the frame. In other words, make the images size up or down automatically based on the mobile device screen size of the user.

Keep the Entry Form Process As Simple As Possible
The sweepstakes entry form should accomplish two goals:
1.    Capture the data you need from the participants
2.    Guide the participants through the entry process
The entry form should be as short as possible to accomplish the marketing data goals and not more. Small changes to the entry form, like combining first and last name fields and not having an address field, can make a huge difference in total participants. Make the form as short as needed, but not more.

Test Across All Mobile Devices and Mobile Browser
Its one thing to make your sweepstakes mobile optimized for iPhones, but if it’s not for Androids, Windows, or tablets, you risk losing participants. Make sure to test your sweepstakes across devices and mobile operating system. This tool can help you test rendering across mobile devices www.mobilephoneemulator.com

Track Mobile Vs. Desktop Entry Stats
Tracking your sweepstakes may provide insights on the kind of devices your specific target market uses to view your site’s sweepstakes. It may turn out that almost all of your sweepstakes entries are coming from mobile devices. This insight can help you focus your future marketing efforts. Google Analytics will give you desktop vs mobile traffic.

We’re here to help. Any questions, reach out to us at support@momares.com

What are the Top Sweeptakes Prizes People want to Win?

Text To Win Sweepstakes
Me, me, me.

Running a sweepstakes is one of the best ways of getting more people to join your eNewsletter list, your Facebook page or your mobile text message marketing list.

From time to time we are asked “What are the top prizes people want to win?” Here is the short answer:

  • Cash and gift cards: in reviewing sweep’s participation across all types of clients and all types of industries, a cash prize or gift card prize is the most sought after price. Who doesn’t like cash?
  • Electronics: people love gadgets and hot gadgets are usually expensive. How wouldn’t like to win the latest thing?
  • Trips: the “dream” vacation may not be attainable for many families unless they win it. Vacation experiences are always in demand.
  • Cars: they are always popular with entrants and lately the trend is to give away eco-friendly hybrids.

The best prize for your sweepstakes is the one that attracts your current and prospective customers. All the prizes above are great but the ultimate objective of a sweepstakes is to build a database of your prospective customers you can re-market to.

What Every Marketer Should Know About Sweepstakes and Contest Laws in the U.S.

One of the reasons why contests and sweepstakes work so well is because consumers have faith that these promotions are legitimate and that the prizes promised will be delivered as presented. This was not always the case, but today laws are in place to protect consumers and fine companies that don’t play nice. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates most sweepstakes and promotions. The rest of the regulatory work is handled at the state level, with every state having their own set of laws for sweepstakes and contests. SMS sweepstakes are also bound by these rules.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and the following information is not legal advice. It’s meant to guide marketers in running promotions. You should contact an attorney for specific advice.

What is the difference between sweepstakes and contests?

  • In Sweepstakes the winner(s) is selected randomly from a group of entries.
  • In Contests the winner(s) is determined primarily on a basis of skill by a judging body. An essay contest is one example.

What should I do if the sweepstakes prize is $5,000 or more in cash or value?

  • When the approximate retail value of all prizes exceeds $5,000, the sweepstakes (contests do not need to be registered) must be registered in the state of New York and the state of Florida. Registration must be done 30 days prior to the start of the promotion in NY and 7 days prior to the start in Florida.

Do I need a surety bond?

  • A surety bond is basically an insurance policy that New York and Florida hold to guarantee the sponsor will award all prizes. If you register your promotion in Florida or New York, you will need to set up a surety bond in the amount of the prize value.

I heard that in Rhode Island you also have to register your sweepstakes?

  • It’s true, but only if you are running a retail sweepstakes with a prize valued at more than $500. A retail sweepstakes requires the participant to walk into a retail store in the state of RI to enter.

What if I’m giving prizes that are less than $5,000 in cash or value?

  • Then you are good and there’s no need to register the sweepstakes in either NY or FL.

What if my promotion is targeted to children?

  • When promoting to children, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) comes into play. Operators of commercial website(s) and online services directed to children under the age of 13 that collect personal information, like a sweepstakes, must be compliant with COPPA. This requires posting your Privacy Policy and obtaining verifiable consent from parents to the collection of information from their child. Nickelodeon’s Sweepstakes Official Rules offer a good example.

What about Mobile or SMS Sweepstakes and Contests laws?

  • I thought you’d never ask. All federal and state laws apply as in regular sweepstakes. In mobile sweepstakes or contests, where the participants enter the contest via text message (SMS), all of the Mobile Marketing Association’s Best Practices and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules should be upheld. As of 2014 the TCPA requires additional opt-in language similar to this;
  • “Message and data rates may apply. Autodialed texts will be sent to your cell phone. Consent is not required to purchase goods or services. To opt out at any time, reply STOP to [your short code]. For help, text HELP to [your short code]. View our privacy policy and terms of service.”
  • It’s extra fine print, but a small price to pay for the most effective way to build a mobile database and gather sweepstakes participants.

What about Facebook promotions?

Facebook recently simplified its sweepstakes and contest rules as follows:

  1. You are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including; The Official Rules and Offer terms and eligibility requirements.
  2. All promotions should be in compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered.
  3. Official Rules must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant and acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  4. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook.

Don’t let all of the legal speak discourage you from launching sweepstakes or contests. They are one of the best promotional tools out there by far and you won’t regret your decision to hold one. Like all promotions, just make sure to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. If you need any help with your next promotion contact us at support@momares.com

The Difference between Sweepstakes and Contests

People often use the words “sweepstakes,” “contest,” and “giveaways” interchangeably. They all mean something different and will affect the type of promotion and rules you use.

The basic definition are:

Sweepstakes are games of chance, where the winner(s) of picked randomly

Contests are a games of skill, where the winner shows the best skills within a particular set of judging criteria.

Giveaway are promotions where something is given free usually to all participants or the first of some.

In summary:  Contest winner(s) are selected by judges and sweepstakes winner(s) are randomly selected.

If you need help planning your sweepstakes or contest contact us at support@momares.com