Contests and sweepstakes are marketing tactics brands use to spark interest and conversation, gather leads, and ultimately increase sales. Contests generally incentivize the consumer to engage in some activity to enter and winners are chosen based on merit or skill. Sweepstakes, on the other hand, represent another category of promotion in which winning entries are chosen at random. In both scenarios, the company sponsoring the promotion typically determines or draws a winner. The restrictions governing both categories of promotions vary from brand to brand, covering stipulations like the required age of participants or the number of times they’re permitted to enter.
Contests and sweepstakes work extremely well in marketing because they help companies engage with their existing audience and grow their fan base, as many are set up to offer extra “entries” for sharing or referring. In addition, those entry forms can be data-rich, allowing businesses to gain not only email addresses or other contact information but also insight into their customers’ preferences and experiences with the brand. Prizes can be as small as a free item or as large as a free vacation—no matter what it is, it’s bound to generate chatter on social channels and beyond.
Brands that embrace contests and sweepstakes can enjoy substantial traction out of those efforts—generating pre-contest buzz, engaging in conversation around the promotion while it’s occurring, and publicly congratulating the winner once chosen are all opportunities to reinforce the company’s product, service, or persona. It’s also an opportunity to increase traffic for both websites and brick and mortar locations, building brand awareness in the process.
While these strategies aren’t new by any means, the exponential growth of social media in recent years has made them even more accessible and attractive to businesses of all sizes, from small to mid-size (SMB) companies to enterprise corporations.
We have assembled a list of social gaming solutions on the IMA Martec Showcase to help you manage your next contest or sweepstake program.