7 Tips for Running a Successful Random Draw Sweepstakes

Posted by Danny Wood

Here at Strutta, we have a lot of experience running promotions! This post marks the beginning of our Words of Wisdom series, where we will share some of our top tips that we have learned over the course of hosting promotions for the past 10-years. In addition to our Random Draw Sweepstakes post, we will also share tips for Instant Win, Voted, and Judged promotions.

Random Draw/Sweepstakes promotions have always been the most popular type of promotion on Strutta. Easy to organize with a low barrier to entry for participants, Random Draw promotions have excellent conversion rates, (Strutta Sweepstakes promotions have an average conversion rate of 90%,) and they drive the benefit of building the foundation for improving email marketing reach by the contest organizers.

Here are our top 7 tips for promotion organizers who are planning a Random Draw Sweepstakes:

Keep Your Promotion Design Simple and your Form Short

While an elaborate promotion design can be impressive to visitors of your Sweepstakes, it can also make entering more complicated than necessary. When designing your promotion, keep in mind that you should be “on-brand” with your company’s visual standards, showcase your prize prominently, and make sure that participants can easily find the timeline of your promotion. Anything else is likely getting in the way of the participant converting!

Also remember that Random Draw entry forms should be as simple as you can make them. Consider running your promotion with just asking for the participants’ first and last names and email addresses, and only add fields that you absolutely require, such as age validation or state/province of residence. Every additional field will deter a certain number of participants - is it worth it?

Simple Sweepstakes Form This Sweepstakes Promotion entry form keeps things extremely simple - just a name, email, and request for permission to send email marketing pieces

Request Permission to Contact Participants

Always always always request permission to stay in touch with your promotion participants! Using a checkbox field to allow participants to opt-in to future email communications can be the most valuable takeaway from the promotion for your brand, and will also give you some indication of the level of comfort and trust that your audience has with you.

Keep in mind that, depending on where your participants are located, you may need to pay attention to certain rules and regulations related to subscribing people to your email marketing lists. For example, in the United States, it is permissible to require participants to opt-in to email marketing to enter in your promotion, whereas in Canada, it is not, and opt-in must be optional.

Prizes Don’t Have to be Expensive, Just Relevant

Sweepstakes organizers often think that in-order to get the most participants, it’s important to have the most expensive possible device from Apple as their prize (or prizes) - this isn’t true! People in your audience pay attention to your brand due to their shared interest in the products or services that you provide, and as such, they share common wants and needs that your promotion prize can address.

When brainstorming on a promotion prize, we like to borrow Brian Chesky of AirBnB’s Ten Star Experience way of approaching the problem. Take a moment to think about your promotion’s ideal participants and imagine what would be a “10 Star Prize” in their minds, i.e. a prize that would absolutely blow their minds, but would likely be unrealistic for you to provide. Work your way back through the Star Ratings, until you get to a “5 Star Prize”, and that’s the prize you should provide!

For example, if you are running a Random Draw for your home cleaning business:

  • A “10 Star Prize” would be to have a TV celebrity interior decorator completely redesign your home’s furniture, with all new furniture for free and free house cleaning for life on a daily basis
  • (Skipping a few,) a “7 Star Prize” would be to be able to go on an unlimited 4-hour shopping spree in a designer furniture store, and receive free weekly house cleaning for the next 10-years
  • Finally, a “5 Star Prize” would be to receive free bi-weekly cleaning services for a year as the grand prize, with a gift card to a popular Scandinavian furniture chain for runner-up prizes

Great Sweepstakes Prizes Although ASBC/SCORE did offer a cash prize as part of their Small Business Contest, winners would tell you that one of the best prizes was the one with no cash value - the services of a SCORE Mentor

Reward All Participants

Unfortunately, most promotion participants walk away from entering a Sweepstakes empty handed. Don’t let this happen to your promotion participants! Using a promotions platform such as Strutta’s DIY that allows you to customize your Thank You page contents, you have options to make sure that all of your promotion participants at least receive something.

We recommend providing a discount code or coupon on your promotion’s Thank You page, ensuring that all of your participants are winners. Providing participants with a discount or coupon code brings the added bonus of allowing you to measure how many promotion participants became active customers/clients, (outside of tracking your promotion with Google Analytics.)

Drive Participation through Viral Sharing Incentives

One of the most important tactics to deploy when running a Random Draw promotion and strategizing on how to increase your number of participants is the usage of Viral Sharing Incentives. This is where, after entering a promotion, participants are given the ability to share a unique link to your promotion either through social channels or directly by email, through which they will be rewarded up to a certain number of participant referrals from their own circles of friends.

In analyses performed of Strutta promotions that included Viral Sharing Incentives, it was common that 30% of entries were the result of participants sharing the promotion with their friends and family as a result of the incentive of receiving additional entries for providing referrals. This feature is included as part of every Strutta Sweepstakes promotion, make sure you take advantage and increase your promotion’s participation!

Deploy Advertising to “Start the Flywheel”

While Viral Sharing Incentives can be great to drive additional participants to your Random Draw promotion, they do require you to have initial participants in the first place. In order to build momentum around your promotion’s participation metrics, it may be a good idea to deploy some social advertising campaigns around the time of your promotion’s launch.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are often the best places to advertise your promotion, as users on those sites are often looking for a distraction, and entering a promotion can be the perfect thing! Make sure that advertising placement is targeted, either to an audience that consists of your current Facebook or Twitter followers, or to users with relevant interests and geography, in-order to get the maximum value for your advertising investment. Lastly, monitor your advertising closely to decide how long to run your campaigns for/how much budget to invest; is traffic from your advertising converting into participants in your promotion?

Plan for After (and During) your Sweepstakes

Running a promotion is a lot of work! It is very common for promotion organizers to become so caught-up in designing their promotion, creating advertising campaigns, choosing a prize and so-on that they forget to consider what they will do with the 100s or 1000s of new contacts they will receive as a result of their promotion.

If your promotion is running for a month, consider that for a participant that enters on the launch date of your promotion, at least a month will pass before the promotion result is announced and they know if they’ve won! Consider running an email campaign during the promotion for participants who enter and opt-in to email, with a count-down to the date of the draw, reminders of how they can refer their friends to enter and receive additional entries, and other relevant updates.

Additionally, since your email marketing list will likely grow as a result of running your Sweepstakes promotion, it will be important to take advantage of these new subscribers after your promotion closes. Consider reading up about how to kick your email marketing efforts into high-gear - we recommend resources from providers such as MailChimp.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next installment, where we’ll tackle Instant Win Promotions!

We Love Talking Random Draw Promotions! Have a further question about something we’ve laid out here that you’d like to follow-up on, or even something else that we didn’t cover? The Strutta Team love talking Social Promotions; shoot us a message with any question related to a promotion, and we’ll get back to you!