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Part 1: How to Set up an Ecommerce Sweepstakes

November 20, 2019 Published by

Sweepstakes can help to increase email signups, website traffic, social media engagement and sales for ecommerce websites. Sweepstakes are compelling because no purchase is needed to enter and the winners are selected entirely randomly. Ultimately, it’s easy for users to enter without investing time or resources to do so.

However, as easy as they are for participants, sweepstakes can be intimidating for the brands putting them on. In fact, many ecommerce sites don’t run sweepstakes because they’re not sure how to properly do so. Here are some basics of how to set up an ecommerce sweepstakes:

Planning: Start with the basic what, where and when

  • What will your sweepstakes prize be? It should be something desirable and of value, but still profitable for you. Will the buzz, engagement, lead-generation, and traffic you drive be worth more than the prize? Is the prize something your target audiences want and would be willing to enter to win, as well as to share with people they know? If your products are low cost, consider bundling a few together into an “exclusive prize pack” to make the sweepstakes prize appealing. Also, depending on what you give away, you may want to include multiple ecommerce sweepstakes winners; in this scenario participants’ odds of winning increase and so they might be more enthusiastic about entering. Once you know what you want to give away, you can determine what to call your sweepstakes and what kinds of images and design direction you will need to promote it. For a sweepstakes to succeed, the prize, name and promotion should be eye-catching and tailored to your target audience.
  • Where will you promote the sweepstakes? If your goal is to increase prospecting with the sweepstakes, then you’ll want to advertise it on your social media channels based on audience selects and targeting. If you want to increase lifetime value of existing customers and drive more brand loyalty (offering a sweepstakes prize pack including all your newest products, for example) then you will want to use email marketing, calls to action on your website, and organic social media posts to your existing audience. If your sweepstakes is for existing and new customers both, then you can use a combination of all of these to promote it.
  • When will you run the sweepstakes? This depends on your goals. Will it be seasonal and tied to a holiday or is it going to be run during a slow time of your sales’ year to drum up interest and engagement? In addition to time of year, you should also consider for how long you will run the sweepstakes (about one month is common; but you may want to experiment with that works for you and your audience). Finally, depending on the value of the prize, you could run ecommerce sweepstakes regularly (small prizes) or only once or twice per year (for larger grand prizes).

Set Up Your Ecommerce Sweepstakes: Design great creative to inspire action

Here is what you’ll need:

  • A creative sweepstakes name
  • Sweepstakes landing page/microsite (Be sure to make entry as easy as possible–don’t require more information than you need to enter the participant and to market to them in the future)
  • Great images of your the prizes to use on social media and as calls to action throughout your website and to drive awareness and traffic for the sweepstakes
  • Email marketing creative focused on the sweepstakes
  • “Last chance” or “countdown” creative to inspire action as your sweepstakes nears its end

Rules and Regulations:

Laws about giveaways differ from state to state. It’s very important that your sweepstakes rules are complete and thorough and that your sweepstakes adheres to any applicable laws. We recommend you consult with your legal team or counsel when setting up your rules. The rules should be linked to and readily present in all your sweepstakes materials. A few sweepstakes rules you should be aware of when setting up an ecommerce sweepstakes are:

  • Beginning and end dates
  • Value of prize(s) and odds of winning
  • Restrictions for entrants (geographies, employee restrictions, etc.)
  • How you will use contact information in the future (for marketing purposes) and if it will be shared with any other parties
  • And more–so be sure to consult with your legal counsel

To protect your business, your legal counsel should review all your rules and the parameters of your sweepstakes before you get started. Now that you’ve learned how to set up an ecommerce sweepstakes, come back next week for Part 2 for social media specific considerations.