Promoting a destination isn’t for the faint of heart. Visitors have many options and are bombarded with beautiful travel photos online. So what’s a tourism marketer to do? Get a bit creative.
This is what the Borough of Seaside Heights, New Jersey did recently when they ran an SMS Sweepstakes. A sweepstakes coupled with other tactics can help a destination get the word out and build excitement.
Known for its miles of sandy beaches and lively boardwalk, Seaside Heights attracts visitors from throughout the Northeast. They were seeing less visitors on rainy days, for obvious reasons, and so wanted to promote free beach passes (or seasonal badges) during the off-season.
They did what we’d recommend for a tourism marketing-related sweepstakes:
Keep it simple and easy to enter (text or SMS is the easiest way to enter a sweepstakes).
Make the most of mobile, which appeals to most Millenials, and post it on social.
Offer a relevant prize. What could be more relevant than free beach badges for a season?
Boost your tourism marketing sweepstakes campaign even further by partnering with influencers.
While Seaside Heights didn’t include influencers in this promotion, it’s a good tactic to boost entries and exposure even further. Influencers with local and regional influence can help get the word out to their audiences. See our post on working with influencers to promote your sweepstakes.
Overall, Seaside Heights did well with their campaign, which was promoted on Facebook.
Goals: Boost rainy-day engagement and build their email and text list
Prize: Two Season Beach Badges with approximate retail value (ARV) of $120
They saw more than 500 entries within the first hour!
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.
How to Enter: Step-by-Step
Smartphones may vary, but in general, the steps are as follows:
Open a blank text message on your smartphone.
In the “To” or “Recipient” field, type the short code (65047 in our example above).
In the “Message” field, type the keyword or sweepkey (HIPPEAS in our example). The sweepkey can be upper or lower case.
Tap “Send” or press the arrow button to send your message.
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.
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…
@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.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety wanted to increase motorcycle riding safety awareness and educate motorcycle riders on the value of wearing protective gear. The South Dakota Office of Highway Safety and their advertising agency Lawrence & Schiller, leveraged the Sweeppea Text to Win sweepstakes management platform to create and manage this statewide promotion.
The campaign presented a strong and sobering message: “Beat Death. Don’t Cheat It.” It’s meant to bring home the consequences for not wearing protective safety gear in case of an accident.
To incentivize participation and drive the message home, participants entered via text message (SMS) for a chance to win a Harley-Davidson FXRG Riding Jacket.
To generate motorcycle safety awareness
To educate motorcycle riders about the importance of wearing safety gear
To make it as easy as possible to enter the sweepstakes
Hundreds of participants entered
A cost-effective and fun tactic helped get the message across to the public
Prize: One Harley-Davidson FXRG Riding Jacket. Approximate retail value was $600, with the prize donated by Black Hills Harley-Davidson.