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.

South Dakota Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Safety Text to Win

South Dakota Department of Public Safety Win a Harley-Davidson Jacket Text to Win

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.

Department of Public Safety Text to Win Sweepstakes


  • 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.

To get started with your own text to win, see our features and pricing.

Ace Cider Text to Win An Ace Beach Cruiser

Text to Win

The California Cider Company, makers of Ace Cider, partnered with Sweeppea to launch their text to win sweepstakes promotion. The campaign entailed an in-store sweepstakes across multiple retailers with the goal of gaining preferential retail floor space for the product and to promote the brand’s new flavor offerings.

Ace Cider increased orders from retailers and helped those retailers sell more cases by adding a text to win promotion to be featured in endcaps and special displays (see photos below). These end caps and displays help gain attention and boost sales, while the text to win helps bring excitement to the brand and the retailer’s customers. It’s a win-win.

ACE Cider Text to Win
Retailer endcap product positioning
ACE Cider Text to Win Aisle
Ace Cider supermarket aisle placement


  • To create a fun and engaging text to win sweepstakes to promote the brand.
  • To gain preferential end-cap shelf space and product positioning with retailers.
  • Increase orders from retailers


  • Case orders increased from Safeway  and Albertson’s Supermarkets
  • Hundreds of participants entered

Prize: Thirteen (13) ACE Beachcruiser bikes. Approximate retail value (ARV) of prize(s) is $3000

To get started with your own text to win, see our features and pricing.

Want Happy Customers? Here’s Why You Should Run a Text to Win Sweepstakes

Every business wants happy customers. But how many businesses can say their customers are truly excited about their promotions? As marketers, we have that unique ability with sweepstakes. So, if you want your customers to feel like they’re on cloud nine when they think about your business, you should run a text to win sweepstakes.

Here are 4 ways a text to win makes customers happy.

1. I Won!

Everyone loves to win. It’s even better when they have your business to thank for awarding them a big prize. If you want your customers to get excited about your business, giving away awesome prizes as  part of a sweepstakes is sure to attract plenty of attention.

A sweepstakes gives you a chance to give back and helps to show your appreciation for the customers who keep you in business.

2. Come Join Us!

No other promotion says “come join us” like a free giveaway to potential customers. Running a text to win sweepstakes is not only an opportunity to engage your existing customers, you can also use it to attract new customers to your business. By advertising your text to win, you can ensure the first interaction customers have with your business is a positive one.

Who can resist getting excited when they get a free prize? Once you have their attention and have made them happy, they’ll be more open to seeing what else your business has to offer.

3. That’s Just What I Wanted!

A sweepstakes is also a great opportunity to connect with your customers. After the sweepstakes ends, you can follow up with those who expressed interest. You can also get information or ask questions to find out their likes and dislikes. This will help you offer promotions that are tailored to their interests, and more.

By engaging with your customers after the promotion, you can create a more personalized customer experience that will better meet their needs in the future.

4. Let’s Connect

No customer wants to do business with a company that treats them like they’re a walking dollar sign. A text to win can open communications in a way that goes beyond the sale. While the’re entering your sweepstakes, you can speak with them about it and connect with them on social media, in store, by email and online. It can help humanize your brand.

While prize winners will be beaming with happiness, your other customers will also be happy to know they are in the hands of a brand that shows their customers matter.

Make your customers fall in love with your business with a text to win from Sweeppea! To get started, see features and pricing.