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Sweeping New Customers Under the Rug: The Trouble with Sweepstakes and Contests

Sweeping New Customers Under the Rug: The Trouble with Sweepstakes and Contests

The lure of sweepstakes and contests is strong. Not only are they shareable, meaning customers and potential customers spread the word about your brand, they also allow you to capture email addresses for future promotions. Pair the raw potential of sweepstakes and contests with the increasing ease with which you can run them with tools like OfferPop and it’s easy to see why companies large and small alike regularly run such promotions. However, there are a few issues with using sweepstakes and contests.

Downsides to Sweepstakes & Contests

SailThru recently released some unsettling statistics regarding these types of promotions:

  • Newsletter subscribers who have been acquired via a contest have a 52% higher 30-day opt-out rate compared to those who signed up via other paid channels. Thus, you’re not going to reach as many new customers as you thought you would with your post-sweepstakes promotions.
  • Contest entrants are also 63% less likely to make a purchase – which is ultimately the end goal of any contest.
  • The value of an email acquired via a contest is only 37% the value of an email from other channels ($1.14 vs $3.07).

Contest Best Practices

This is not to say that you should never run a contest, but there are a few guidelines you should stick to if you do decide that to use this tactic:

  • Clearly Define Your Goals: If your main goals are to drive immediate sales and build a list of lasting customers, a contest is probably not the best route. However, if you’re trying to build awareness, either of your brand as a whole or a specific product/line, sweepstakes and contests can be great options.
  • Ask for the Share: Getting your customers to share the contest on social media is key. This allows your brand to get in front of as many fresh eyes as possible. There are even some tools that allow you to provide extra entries per share, increasing the likelihood that entrants will do so.
  • Give Them a Reason To Stay: Once the contest is over, you’ll likely see a great deal of drop off on your newsletter list. However, there are steps you can take to retain these subscribers. Consider sending an email as soon as a sweepstakes subscriber signs up, thanking them and giving them a brief into to your company, spotlighting your unique selling proposition. A week or two later, send out an exclusive email deal. When they make a connection to your company and see that they can get value from your emails they will be more likely to stick around!

The Bottom Line

Many business owners set themselves up for failure with contests and sweepstakes, getting their hopes up at the possibilities they offer and inevitably feeling the disappointment that follows. However, if you go in with realistic goals and expectations, contests can be a viable part of your marketing strategy. You can’t expect everyone who enters to become a customer, or even to remain a subscriber, but increasing awareness and retaining a subset of entrants is an attainable goal!

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office