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How to Grow Your Leads Using a Sweepstakes or Contest

Offering a contest to consumers can be an effective way for businesses to generate leads while also collecting valuable first-party data about their customers and prospective customers.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved: consumers have a chance at winning a great prize in exchange for sharing their email address and answering a couple of survey questions. Businesses get a list of prospective customers who may need their products or services as well as valuable insights about those consumers.

To do this effectively, a business should use a contesting platform that allows for such data collection. Running a contest on Facebook, for example, can be valuable at increasing your social media engagement and following, but you don’t get the benefit of direct leads or first-party data. (Running a contest on social media can be a great marketing tactic, but the goals are different).

Working with a marketing agency that regularly runs contests makes the process of setting up and executing your contest easy. Federated Digital Solutions partners with a company called Second Street for contests that include data collection, and we create custom marketing plans to promote each contest to a business’s unique target audience.

You can also seek out other contesting platforms and vendors, as long as you make sure that the platform allows for data collection and gives you access to the data.

How To Set Up A Contest

The first thing you want to do is to determine your overall goal for this campaign. Let’s say you run a home remodeling company and your goal is to grow leads so that you can book six kitchen or bathroom remodeling jobs in the next six months.

Next, you want to choose the prize. Typically, you want to offer a prize that is valuable enough to a consumer to entice them to enter to win and give you good information. Not all prizes need to be related to your business, but they should be something sought by your target audience and they do need to be worth winning.

The home remodeling company in our example wants to make sure the people who enter their contest own their own home. Giving away a $500 Visa gift card is a valuable prize, but it’s so broad that anyone would want to win it. Instead, the company may consider giving away a set amount of money toward a home remodel with your company. They could also give away a home security system or a new refrigerator — a valuable prize that typically only a homeowner would be interested in winning.

Next, you want to choose the type of contest you want to run.

The easiest and most popular contest is a random drawing sweepstakes. All entrants have to do is fill out a form and a winner will be chosen at random.

You can also ask that entrants submit a photo or video to enter the contest, such as for a Cutest Puppy Contest or Ugliest Kitchen Contest. In these contests, you can still choose a winner at random or you can have people vote for a winner. Keep in mind that the more complicated your contest is, the higher value prize you will need to offer for entrants to feel it is worth their time.

Sticking with our home remodeling company example, let’s say this company is giving away a $5,000 gift card toward the remodeling of their kitchen or bathroom at random to one lucky winner. You can still come up with a clever or unique name to market the contest that fits your company’s branding.

Once you have established the goal and what type of contest you are doing, the next thing is to lay out the registration portion of the campaign. Registration forms are your opportunity to collect valuable first-party data about your entrants.

Your registration form should include the following:

  • Entrants must have a valid email address to enter the contest.
  • Key demographic information about the person: name, birthdate, zip code, and gender.
  • An option to opt-in to receive more information from your business so you can add them to your regular e-mail list and or CRM.
  • Survey questions to help you qualify your leads and gain insights about the entrants. Limit these to 2-3 questions to keep the entry form simple. (In our example, we’re going to ask “Which room in your house do you plan to remodel?” and “How soon do you plan to remodel this room?”
  • If you can, provide opportunities for entrants to earn bonus entries by completing additional asks, such as visiting your website, visiting your social media pages, watching a video, or answering additional survey questions.

Once you have created the sweepstakes, you also want to set up an automatic bounce back email that people will receive after they successfully finish registering for your contest. In this email, you can confirm their entry and remind them about bonus entry opportunities. You can also include additional incentives to visit your website or brick-and-mortar store to make a purchase, if applicable.

And last but certainly not least, you need to have a plan to distribute the contest to your target audience. If content is king, then distribution is certainly queen! If nobody knows that you have a sweepstakes and they can win a big prize, what is the point of the campaign?

You can maximize your entrants and leads by distributing your contest through a wide variety of channels used by your target audience, including:

  • Social media posts on your business’s pages
  • Social media targeted advertising, especially on Facebook and Instagram
  • Email pushes to your established email database
  • Text pushes to your established text club or to the text club of a media company you partner with
  • Display ad campaigns to a targeted audience

As third-party cookies are phased out, having more first-party data on your customers and prospective customers is going to be invaluable to businesses. Running contests with online entry forms is a great way to gather first-party data while also collecting leads and nurturing them into becoming paid customers.

If you’re interested in running a contest to collect data and gather leads but aren’t sure how to start, Federated Digital Solutions can help. Contact us today so we can discuss your marketing goals and create a custom contest and distribution plan that fits your business’s needs.

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Shannon Allen

Written by Shannon Allen

Shannon Allen is the Chief Revenue Officer for Federated Digital Solutions. She has over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing and over 15 years more specifically working in the digital world. Her passion for digital marketing is what drives her to find the best digital solutions for clients as well as for FDS. Shannon believes that true marketing starts after the sale with strategic campaigns and detailed reporting to help all FDS clients with an ROI, so they see the value in digital marketing.

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