Part III

Pre-Launch Strategy

Do I need a pre-launch strategy?

Having a pre-launch strategy for your sweepstakes is extremely important so that you can quickly get the ball rolling and start seeing some results. Without a pre-launch strategy in place, you’ll be left with your wheels spinning in the mud.

Pre-launch tactics

Some marketing tactics for your sweepstakes need to be put into place ahead of time so that when you launch, everything is kicked into motion.

It’s important to handle these tasks beforehand because they require coordinating with other people and finding time to assemble certain assets. Planning ahead will allow you to focus purely on executing the sweepstakes perfectly when the 'switch' is flipped.

Let's begin


1. Blogger outreach

No one runs more giveaways than bloggers. You can leverage this opportunity by partnering with the bloggers who write passionately about your niche. There are millions of bloggers on the Internet—I can guarantee you there are a surprising number in your particular niche.

Compile a list of 10 or 20 bloggers in your niche, and reach out to each of them with a personalized email about the sweepstakes you're launching. Mention how you think it would be a great fit for their audience if they would be willing to promote it for you. Remember, these outreach emails need to be super targeted so that the bloggers you contact feel comfortable sharing your sweepstakes with their audience.

If you want to take a different approach, you can ask bloggers if they would like to receive your product or service for free in exchange for a review and blog post announcing the giveaway. Many of the bloggers you reach out to will be more than willing to write a review and share the giveaway with their audience. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

You should start your blogger outreach at least 3-4 weeks before you are planning to launch your sweepstakes. It takes time for people to respond and get their posts written, so plan accordingly.

Funnel them

Give them a free product in exchange for a review and blog post announcing the giveaway.


2. Blogger funneling

Unfortunately, most companies leave the giveaway administration up to the bloggers, instead of using it as an opportunity to produce massive lead generation for their business. Most sweepstakes services will allow you to provide a small snippet of code to each blogger you partner with so they can place your giveaway on their blog—effectively funneling all of the traffic and entries into your one promotion.

Funnel leads into a central source that is in your control.

With ViralSweep you can build one giveaway, then distribute the code for the giveaway to your entire network of bloggers. The giveaway can be placed on as many sites as you want, and all of the data that is collected will go right into your ViralSweep dashboard.

If you don't want to have the bloggers run the giveaway on their blog, you can just generate tracking links to hand off to each blogger, and those tracking links will point to the giveaway hosted on your own website. You can then track the performance of each blogger.

If you’re looking for a quick way to attract bloggers, you can use a service called Tomoson, which is a marketplace for brands and influencers to connect.

Email them


3. Email your list

Send a teaser email to your current email list letting them know that a sweepstakes is coming up very soon. Drop a few hints as to what the prize will be, and mention that as soon as it goes live you will notify them via email. Be sure to provide the exact date it will be going live, as they will be more likely to check their email that day.

Blog it up


4. Write a blog post

Writing a blog post announcing your sweepstakes is a great way to inform people that they can win something. Schedule the post to go out on the day the sweepstakes launches, and use a service like Buffer to coordinate your tweets and social posts with the launch.

Provide a direct link in your post to where people can enter the sweepstakes. Don’t make people search for a link either; use a big attention grabbing image, or some large text so that people know what to click on.


5. Buy ads

If you have a budget for your sweepstakes and you’re going to be buying display ads, set this up weeks in advance.

If you’re buying ads on niche blogs or websites, it will take some back and forth before everything is finalized and approved. Make sure that you arrange it so that the ads go live on the day that the sweepstakes goes live. You can use a service like BuySellAds to find websites in your niche that offer advertising opportunities.

Write a press release

press release

6. Press releases

The press release is typically seen as a thing of the past, but they can still bring traffic and backlinks to your sweepstakes, which can attract more entries. Draft up a press release using PRweb, PitchEngine, or PRNewswire and schedule it to be sent out on the day the promotion goes live.

If you want to be creative with your press release, try to use targeted keywords that people might be searching for on search engines. Your press release will most likely show up on page 1 of Google for your keyword under Google’s news section.

For example, if you’re giving away a diamond engagement ring, be sure to optimize your press release for the keyword ‘diamond engagement ring’.

Press releases are most effective for sweepstakes based on an event or specific time of the year. In fact, most of the initial traffic to our tongue-in-cheek Doomsday Giveaway came as a result of the press release we published. Turns out the Mayan apocalypse never happened, but it was a fun way to demonstrate ViralSweep.

Image preparations

Press releases can be useful for new brands or seasonal campaigns.

Run your own giveaway.

We encourage you to follow along and build your giveaway as you read this guide. It takes just minutes to set up your first promotion!

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7. Prepared images

It is important to have eye-catching images prepared to post on your website, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page, etc. to help boost entries when your sweepstakes starts. Have the images made ahead of time so that when your giveaway goes live, you can easily start placing images in all the appropriate areas.

Tent Social was kind enough to make an "exhaustive" social media style guide so you know what size each of your images should be.

Facebook image sizes

facebook image sizes


  • Cover Photo

    820 × 312 pixels
  • Profile Photo

    180 × 180 pixels
  • Shared Images

    1200 × 630 pixels
  • Twitter images
twitter image sizes


  • Header Image

    1500 × 500 pixels
  • Profile Picture

    400× 400 pixels
  • In-Stream Photo

    440 × 221 pixels
  • Instagram images
twitter image sizes


  • Photo Size

    1080 × 1080 pixels
  • Profile Picture

    110 × 110 pixels
  • Photo Thumbnail

    161 × 161 pixels
  • Social teasing
sneak peek

8. Sneak peeks

One or two days before your giveaway is set to go live, provide your social audiences with a teaser that gets them curious, interested, and eager for your giveaway.

Video can be utilized really well when presenting a teaser, especially if you shoot a short clip using Vine, Instagram, or YouTube Capture. Be sure to use hashtags like #sweepstakes and #giveaway when uploading your video, so people can easily search for it.

You can use video services like Vine, YouTube, and Instagram

The video could be simple, like a quick shot of the prizes.

Let your audience know that they will have a chance to win something very soon. Share the clip on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and wherever else you have an audience.

Find an endorsement


9. Get endorsed

Having someone famous or well known promote your giveaway can be well worth the effort. Even if it's just through a single tweet, they can be a huge factor in getting your promotion off to a great start.

Before your giveaway is set to launch, reach out to people in your industry that are known influencers and ask if they would be willing to share the giveaway with their audience when it goes live. For those who respond, be sure to follow up with them on or right before launch day and provide them with a link. Provide an example of what you want them to say; odds are they'll use what you provide. Make it easy for them to help you.

If you're having trouble figuring out who the influencers in your sapace are, you can use services like BuzzSumo or Followerwonk to search your niche and pinpoint the most responsive figures. A great way to start the conversation is by helping them with something and providing value up front—do your research!

Partner up

Reach out to influencers who you know will like your sweepstakes.

10. Find a partner

Reach out to businesses that are in your niche, but that are not necessarily a direct competitor. You can pool your resources together to improve the value proposition of the sweepstakes and broaden your distribution.

Partnering up to run a giveaway is a great opportunity to forge long-term partnerships.

For example: if you sell mattresses and you’re giving one away, you could reach out to a business that sells bed sheets and pillows and see if they would be interested in contributing a prize for the giveaway. With the two of you working together, the giveaway will get promoted to an entirely new audience, bringing in more traffic and entries.

The big day is here.

You've formed partnerships, created marketing materials, and gathered a small network of people to help distribute your giveaway. Now it's time to flip the switch!

Let's launch this thing!

Go to Part IV

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