The most important thing to understand about running a sweepstakes for your brand is that sales should not be the primary focus.
However, sweepstakes present brands with a fantastic opportunity to build and develop a strong relationships with people who can turn into loyal and knowledgeable future customers.
Here are actionable steps that you can take to boost sales in the long run using sweepstakes:
Step 1: Segment your sweepstakes leads
You’re going to want to segment your new leads into an entirely separate list to begin your customer development.
I recommend using an email service that allows you to split your email list into segments—we use Mailchimp.
You should not be combining your new sweepstakes leads with your current email list right off the bat; otherwise, you’re going to end up with a ton of unsubscribers and potential spam complaints.
Your new leads need to be nurtured and treated with care. These people entered your giveaway to win a prize from you, so don’t hit them with an unrelated marketing email to kick things off.
The first email that you send out to your new leads should be related to the sweepstakes they’ve entered.
What do you include in this first email?
- List who the winners are
- Provide some fun or interesting details about the sweepstakes
- Possibly include some information about future sweepstakes that you plan to hold.
This type of email will help you establish a relationship with your new leads. They will remember who your company is and what it is that they entered to win.
Step 2: Offer a discount or coupon to boost sales
Your email announcing the winner shouldn’t be a dead end for your new subscribers. This is a chance to re-engage with them and kindle a relationship.
The last thing you want to happen is to have someone unsubscribe from your list once they find out they didn’t win. To help keep subscribers and steer them back to your website, you can offer a discount or coupon for the item you were giving away in the sweepstakes.
For example, if you were giving away a jewelry set, offer them 25% off the set for a limited time.
If you were giving away a gift certificate to your store, offer new customers a percentage or dollar amount off their entire order, and maybe even free shipping.
Here is a template that you can use when emailing your list for the first time:
Thanks for entering the [sweepstakes title here], we received over [number of entries]!
Congratulations to: [winner names], for being our lucky winners.
You weren’t one of the lucky winners this time around, but don’t worry… we’ll be running many more giveaways soon, and we’ll notify you via email the moment they start.
We don’t want to leave you empty-handed, so as a token of our appreciation, we have a special gift just for you!
[insert coupon or discount code, linking to a landing page where they can use it]
[insert image of a gift, linking to a landing page with a coupon]
Your gift will expire in 72 hours, so be sure to open it!
Until next time,
Step 3: Make it feel exclusive
You want to keep your new leads engaged with your brand, so you want to make them feel like members of an exclusive club.
Send your segmented list emails with promotions or offers tailored to them based on the giveaway they entered. Mention in your emails that these are exclusive offers just for them.
Additionally, you can invite them to test out brand-new features or give them special access to unreleased products, subscriber areas, etc. Providing these users with the benefit of exclusivity will help turn them into loyal customers.
Step 4: Provide an exclusive offer during the sweepstakes
Be creative with this one!
Let’s say your sweepstakes ends in a few days, and you want to try and snag a few sales before it ends.
Gather your list of entrants and shoot off an email providing them with an exclusive offer to purchase the prize or a similar product before the sweepstakes ends. Mention that if they end up winning the giveaway, their purchase will be fully refunded.
Remember, the more creative you are with this, and the more exclusive you make it, the better the response will be.
Here is another scenario you can use: let’s say you’re giving away a set of hair care products valued at $85 and there will be 2 winners.
Email all the entrants to say that you’re running a special sale on the giveaway prize. For 24 hours only, they can get the hair care set for $50. If they purchase, they also get free shipping. If they end up winning the sweepstakes, they’ll win $125 in credit for themselves and a friend.
Play around with it and come up with different scenarios that will work for your business and your ideal customer.
Step 5: Provide a coupon right on the giveaway page
There’s no better way to generate sales than to provide a coupon or discount right on the actual sweepstakes page. Once a user enters, you can provide them with a discount code to use on your website.
With ViralSweep, you can do this easily by entering the discount code and the URL that you want them to visit.
Step 6: Tighten your sales funnel
If you’re looking to boost sales with sweepstakes, you should focus your sales funnel around whatever it is that you are selling.
Instead of directing people to your homepage to make a purchase, send them to the exact product page or set up a landing page for the product.
The more clear your message and call to action are (i.e.: “get this product now for 40% off!”), the easier it will be for you to increase your sales.
Don’t send them to your homepage and force them to find what it is they want to purchase; make it easy for them to buy, and you’ll generate more happy customers.
Things to avoid, or what not to do
If you’re planning to boost your sales with a sweepstakes, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid.
Requiring a purchase to enter
When you require someone to make a purchase in order to enter your sweepstakes, you are riding a fine line with the sweepstakes laws.
You may immediately think that requiring a purchase will skyrocket your sales, but in reality, requiring a purchase will turn your sweepstakes into a lottery, and you can run into a bunch of legal issues.
There are ways around it, but we suggest you consult with your legal team before considering running a promotion that requires a purchase to enter.
Spamming your new leads
You just doubled the size of your email list, thanks to your sweepstakes. Great! Toss them in with your current subscribers and start sending them marketing emails, right?
They entered your sweepstakes; of course, they want to learn more about our business.
The last thing you want to do is start spamming your new leads with your general marketing messages. You need to segment your list and send emails that are relevant to the topic of your sweepstakes.
Slowly but surely, you will be able to introduce them to new content once they earn your trust. You want to provide value to your customers before asking for a sale.
While getting sales from your sweepstakes should not be your number one goal, there are definitely steps you can take to generate sales during and after your giveaway.
- Segment your leads and introduce them to your marketing slowly
- Make the experience feel exclusive for your new potential customers
- Provide value via discounts, coupons, or content
- Tighten your sales funnel by guiding sweepstakes traffic to a specific location
If done right, you can maximize the sales potential of your sweepstakes. Remember: measure your key metrics to discover where there is room for improvement on your next sweepstakes.