Why Your Sweepstakes Should Have a Privacy Policy

When it comes to running a text to win sweepstakes, you absolutely need to make sure that your promotion has a legally compliant privacy policy. Failing to include one could seriously hinder your company’s ability to utilize the consumer information you’ve collected from your entrants.

To help you understand why a privacy policy is so important for a sweepstakes, here are the top reasons why your sweepstakes should have a privacy policy.

You Can’t Use Entrants’ Data for Marketing Without Consent

If you want to use the data that you’ve collected from your entrants for marketing purposes, such as follow-up discounts and email marketing, you must obtain their consent first. To ensure that you have consent, create a privacy policy that contains all of the required consent language and make sure that it is provided to your entrants at the point of entry into the sweepstakes.

Without a privacy policy, your business is likely to be in violation of state and federal privacy laws if you contact entrants again for any reason after they’ve signed up.

Also Read: Sweepstakes Mistakes You Might Be Making

You Want to Publicly Announce the Winners

Did you know that announcing the winners of your sweepstakes is illegal in many states unless you have a privacy policy in place for your sweepstakes with the proper disclosures? In fact, you will not be permitted to use the name, likeness, or biographical information of the sweepstakes winners to publicly announce the winners unless they agreed to your privacy policy.

This is because disclosing the winner’s information could be considered as a violation of the winner’s rights to privacy. You should also know that some jurisdictions, such as the State of Tennessee, may also require additional consent beyond a privacy policy if you want to use the name or likeness of the winner.

You Want to Use Your Entrants’ Information in Your Branding

Sometimes a text to win turns out so well that you just might want to incorporate the sweepstakes winner into your branding. Whether you plan to feature a previous sweepstakes winner in your next promotion or you want to show them off as a spokesperson for your brand, you need to fully inform entrants upfront.

Make sure your privacy policy covers all of the potential ways in which you might want to utilize any information that your entrants provide to you.

Consult an Attorney

Drafting a comprehensive privacy policy for your sweepstakes isn’t a straightforward task, especially if you haven’t yet decided how you plan to use any data that you collect. Therefore, the information provided in this article should not be considered as legal advice. Every situation is unique and you always seek the advice of an attorney to draft a privacy policy for your sweepstakes.

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Prize Idea Bank for Your Mother’s & Father’s Day Sweepstakes

It’s that time of the year again: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are almost here! For marketers, this is the perfect opportunity to grow your audience and attract new customers. So if you’re looking for some prize ideas for these holiday sweepstakes, here are 20 prize ideas to try.

Mother’s Day Sweeps Prize Ideas

Here are the top 10 Mother’s Day sweepstakes prize ideas that will grab your audience’s attention:

1. Shopping Spree: While a free item or gift card is nice, a shopping spree boosts the excitement! Offer a chance to win a shopping spree worth $500 or shopping with a stylist.

2. Spa Day: Mom deserves a day of pampering for everything she’s done for you. Offer a chance to win a Mother’s Day Spa Day or a Makeover worth $500.

3. In the Garden: Spring has arrived and Mother’s Day is the perfect time to tend to the garden. Mom’s with green thumbs would love a chance to win a garden makeover, gardening supplies or credit at their favorite garden center.

4. Theater Tickets: Mom will absolutely love to see the hottest show in town. Offer a chance to win tickets to an upcoming Broadway show or local play.

5. Gift Card: Give Mom the freedom to buy whatever her heart desires! Offer a chance to win a gift card worth $1,000.

6. Dinner: A night out with a nice dinner is another mom favorite. Offer dinner for two or even a chance to win a month’s supply of meal delivery!

7. Ebook Reader: Help mom relax and catch up on her reading list. Offer a chance to win an ebook reader, complete with bestselling titles.

8. Family Vacation: Mom would love to spend time with her kids! Offer a chance to win a weekend getaway for her and her family.

9. Beauty Treatment: Mom deserves to look her best. Offer a chance to win cosmetic treatment sessions worth $500.

10. Home Makeover: Doesn’t every mom want to live in her dream home? Help get her there with chance to win home decorating services or a home decor shopping spree worth $3,000.

Father’s Day Sweeps Prize Ideas

1. Golf Lessons: Give dad the weekend to work on his swing. Offer a chance for a chance to win golf lessons worth $300.

2. Action Camera: Help dad capture all of those action-packed moments while vacationing with the family. Offer a chance to win a GoPro camera worth $300.

3. Grill: Help dad enjoy Father’s Day with a backyard barbecue. Offer a chance to win a barbecue grill worth $400.

4. Season Tickets: Dad deserves to see his favorite team win in-person with season tickets. Offer a chance to win season tickets for 2 worth $600.

5. Power Tools: Dad’s who love working with their hands would  love some new tools. Offer a chance to win power tools worth $300.

6. Drone: For tech-loving dads, a drone is perfect way to try new tech while exploring the city from the air. Offer a chance to win a drone worth $400.

7. Lawnmower: Some dads enjoy lawn work, especially if it involves riding a big lawnmower. Offer a chance to win a John Deere mower worth $600.

8. Gift Card: Dad needs some new clothes so that he can look his best. Offer a chance to win a gift card to a men’s clothing store worth $500.

9. Cruise: Help dads in your audience spend more time with their families. Offer a chance to win a 4-day, 3-night cruise to the Caribbean!

10. Car Accessories: Dad needs new car accessories to keep his ride in perfect condition. Offer a chance to win custom car accessories from the auto parts store worth $500!

Final Tips

Remember to choose a prize that is relevant to your brand and delivers real value for your audience. By doing so, you’ll lure in more entries and encourage entrants to spread the word.

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Sweepstakes Mistakes You Might Be Making

If you don’t know what to look out for, the most common sweepstakes mistakes can seriously derail your promotion and land you in hot water with regulators. Don’t let legal concerns ruin your text to win promotion!

To help you avoid a major slip up, here are 5 sweepstakes mistakes you might be making and how to avoid them.

1. Making a Purchase Necessary

Every sweepstakes must allow entries where no purchase is necessary, otherwise it’s considered an illegal lottery. While you can allow entries with purchase, you must have an entry method where purchase isn’t required. This is why you often see an option for mail-in or email entries.

2. Not Reviewing Official Rules

Keep in mind that your Official Rules are akin to a contract with your customers. Official Rules should be carefully drafted for every sweepstakes you run to ensure you’re in compliance with all applicable laws.

So consider an official rules template or previous version as a starting point. Build on the template to make sure the final rules address all of the unique features of your promotion. While our rules wizard does help with rules setup, we always recommend having rules reviewed by an attorney.

3. Not Including Abbreviated Rules in Ads

When advertising your sweepstakes in-store or anywhere else, include abbreviated rules and disclaimers required for your sweepstakes. They should always be included in all ads to ensure compliance. If space is a concern, use short links that will redirect visitors to a web page where they can view the official rules and disclaimers in their entirety.

4. Hiding the Fine Print

You may think hiding the fine print will encourage more entrants to your sweepstakes, but this is something you should never do. In fact, hiding the rules can open you up to legal liability if your customers have to jump through hoops to locate them. The same is true for mobile disclaimers and terms. Your official rules can only protect you if your entrants consent to them when they opt-in to your sweepstakes.

So make sure that you make them as easily accessible as possible by include a link to them in ads and sign up forms. For mobile, you must also include: “Message and data rates may apply.” This notifies consumers that their mobile provider may charge fees, depending on their mobile plan.

5. Ignoring State Regulations for Sweepstakes

In certain states, you must register and bond your sweepstakes with the state at least 30 days before it is set to begin. For example, the state of New York requires registration and bonding if the sweepstakes prize is valued at $5,000 or more. Don’t ignore state and local regulations for your sweepstakes or you may be faced with fines and severe penalties.

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How to Enter a Text to Win Sweepstakes

Did you know that while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or enjoying a beer at a bar, you could be entering to win prizes on your phone?

Text to win sweepstakes offer a fast and easy way to win cool prizes. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What Are Text to Win Sweepstakes?

A text to win, or SMS sweepstakes, allows you to use your smartphone to enter a sweepstakes from just about anywhere. If you’re out and about and you see a giveaway from a company and you’d like to enter it, all you have to do is send a text and you’re entered to win.

With some sweepstakes, you might even win instantly. As long as you have a phone that can send text messages (and a mobile plan that includes text messaging), you can sign up.

How Does a Text to Win Work?

Text to wins are sweepstakes that work through the text messaging system. They’re convenient to enter while in store or at an event and can be an easy way to win. When you enter, your entry is recorded with your cell phone number. Once the sweepstakes is over, the company randomly draws a winner and sends a text message congratulating them.

How Do I Enter a Text to Win?

To enter a text to win sweepstakes, you need to send a text message to a 5- or 6-digit phone number called a short code.  In the text message, you simply send a word or phrase, called a sweepkey or keyword. The sweepstakes’ instructions will give you the short code and sweepkey to use.

Then you just follow the instructions and send a text message as you would to a friend.

Here, 65047 is the short code and HIPPEAS is the sweepkey.

Hippeas snack brand uses text to win

How to Enter: Step-by-Step

Smartphones may vary, but in general, the steps are as follows:

  1. Open a blank text message on your smartphone.
  2. In the “To” or “Recipient” field, type the short code (65047 in our example above).
  3. In the “Message” field, type the keyword or sweepkey (HIPPEAS in our example). The sweepkey can be upper or lower case.
  4. Tap “Send” or press the arrow button to send your message.
  5. You will get an automatic confirmation text in return. It may include a link you should click to finish your entry on a form. Follow the directions as instructed.

How Will I Find Out If I’ve Won?

Since this type of sweepstakes focuses on SMS or text messaging, you will always receive a text message if you’re drawn as a winner. If you’ve also provided an email, you may be notified by email as well.

Are There Any Fees?

No purchase is necessary to enter a sweepstakes, but text message or data rates may apply when you send a text. This depends on the plan you have with your mobile carrier and whether or not text messaging is included.

How Will the Company Use My Cell Number?

Reputable text to win companies will not sell or share your mobile number. They’re regulated by the FCC and the telecommunications industry and can be heavily fined, not to mention blocked by AT&T and other carriers, if they don’t follow the rules.

You may receive marketing text messages from the sponsor during the sweepstakes or a message if you win, but this will be disclosed when you enter. Look for wording like, “You consent to receive text messages from the sponsor – 4 messages/month max.”

Can I Unsubscribe or Stop Texts?

Yes, you can unsubscribe at any time by sending the word STOP to the phone number or short code. Keep in mind, this may also make you ineligible to win the sweepstakes.  The Official Rules will note if you must stay subscribed until the end date for a chance to win.

How Do I Get Help or Contact the Company?

Text the word HELP for help or tech support. To contact the sponsor or the company awarding the prize, consult the Official Rules for contact information.

How to Work With Influencers to Promote Your Sweepstakes

Have you considered partnering with social media influencers to promote your sweepstakes?

Working with influencers increases brand awareness and the number of entrants for your sweepstakes. Here are some tips on how to successfully promote a sweepstakes by partnering with influencers.

Find Potential Influencers to Promote Your Sweepstakes

There are plenty of ways to find influencers to partner with. The first step is to identify the influencers in your industry or niche. You can use social media marketing tools to search for trending content or ask your customers to recommend their favorite influencers. There are also agencies that specialize in matching brands with influencers.

When choosing, ask yourself: is the influencer’s audience a good match for your target market?

Reach Out to Influencers

Once you’ve identified the influencers you would like to partner with, you’ll need to pitch your sweepstakes concept. Have they worked with brands before? Do they have good photo or video skills to carry out a good promotion? What do they charge for sponsored posts? Expect to pay a fee while providing free product. See also if they’ve worked with any of your competitors previously before you get started.

Draft an Agreement for Sweepstakes Promotion

To sign on influencers, you’ll need to draft a contract which specifies how many posts you expect them to create, the primary messages to convey, as well as the dates for their paid promotion. They will know what will appeal to their audience, so it’s OK to give them the creative freedom to express your message within certain guidelines. Make sure to also cover your post-giveaway expectations and deliverables.

Most importantly, make sure they follow FTC guidelines to disclose that the post is sponsored. There are also guidelines regarding online contests and sweepstakes.

Let Influencers Run Their Own Sweepstakes

Another option is to give influencers free product so they can run their own giveaways to their fans only. However, there are pros and cons to this approach. On the downside, your company will have less control and will have to run a few of these to reach a bigger potential audience.

You’ll also have to take extra steps to ensure they use official rules and follow the other legal requirements for running a sweepstakes. Despite the drawbacks, allowing influencers to run their own giveaways can be extremely beneficial, especially for new product launches.

Influencer Marketing for a Sweepstakes in Action

Now that you know the basics of working with influencers, let’s take a look at an example.

M&Ms’ Flavor Vote Race

M&Ms recently recently announced new international flavors with a sweepstakes and got a little help from a few Instagram influencers.

Here’s the sweeps on its site… 

Image copyright by Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC.

@Pinkonthecheek, a San Francisco blogger partnered with the brand for this promotion…


@Justinreedofficial, a health and family influencer, also promoted the sweeps…


Here’s a post by @Hyuntxo, a lifestyle and fashion blogger…


As you can see, each influencer promoted the sweepstakes in their own way creatively, while still conveying the M&Ms message. Each post also included hashtags to increase visibility for the post and to follow FTC guidelines, as well as, a call to action to encourage their followers to enter.

Out of all of the ways for influencers to partner with brands, a sweepstakes is one of the most effective. Once you have popular influencers on board and ready to promote your brand, all it takes are a few quick posts on social media to dramatically increase awareness about your sweepstakes and your brand.

Promote your brand with a text to win from Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.