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How to Create an Online Sweepstakes

If your looking for a way to grow your audience, engage your users and drive powerful actions then there might not be anything you can do which will be as effective as running an online sweepstakes.

Online sweepstakes are one of the most efficient and effective tactics you can use to grow your brand or business, and with Gleam's powerful Competitions app running one has never been easier. To help you get started we're going to take you through exactly how you can use Gleam to create and run a sweepstakes campaign that will drive relevant, engaging actions and grow your business.

In this guide we'll cover:

What is an Online Sweepstakes?

An online sweepstakes is a type of online prize promotion where winners are chosen at random from a pool of entrants who have completed a designated task or tasks. Entrants are generally able to gain multiple entries for completing multiple actions.

Take a look at this demo sweepstakes we've put together to get an idea of what your own campaign could look like with Gleam.

   Use this Template

Learn More About Sweepstakes

Find out what an online sweepstakes is and what rules and laws apply to them.

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Why You Should Run an Online Sweepstakes

Running an online sweepstakes is an outstanding way to grow your audience and drive a host of relevant actions that can help you achieve just about any goal or objective. Running an online sweepstakes with Gleam is such a powerful promotional strategy for a few key reasons:

  • With Gleam's extensive range of entry methods you can use a sweepstakes to drive just about any action and reach any objective.
  • Gleam features numerous social or sharing actions which will amplify the reach of your sweepstake and expose you to new audiences.
  • Entry into a sweepstakes is typically quick and easy which encourages entry and increases participation.
  • The random nature of winner selection paired with the ability to earn more entries by completing more actions makes sweepstakes perfect for driving an array of actions from your users.
  • Any campaign which gives away a prize is going to be fun and attention grabbing. This makes sweepstakes ideal for both engaging your existing following and generating awareness from new audiences.
  • With Gleam you can contain your entire sweepstakes in a sleek, compact widget which makes it a lot easier for you to share your campaign, and a lot easier for users to enter it.
  • Gleam makes setting up a sweepstakes, tracking entries and drawing winners a breeze so you don't have spend your time on the minutia of the campaign.

Choosing a Prize

When you run a sweepstakes, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is what you want to give away as a prize. This is one of the most important decisions you will have to make, as your prize is what will ultimately draw in your audience and incentivise entry.

When you choose your prize there are multiple factors you will need to consider. You want to pick a prize that is valuable enough to encourage mass entry, but still specifically tailored to your target audience so you aren't attracting entries from users who have no real interest in your brand or products.

The ultimate aim of your sweepstakes is to grow your audience and drive relevant actions which will help your business grow. This means you want to be directing the campaign towards your target audience, and your prize selection plays a major role in achieving this. If you offer a generic prize such as an Amazon gift card you will entice entry from users who want to win the prize, but have no real interest in your brand or offerings. These users are highly unlikely to become loyal followers or customers and they won't contribute towards any of your desired business outcomes, so it's best to avoid them by offering a prize that appeals primarily to your target market.

If you have your own product or products which you can give away they make for the ideal prize. By giving away your own products you can all but guarantee that your entrants have a genuine interest in your business, and you'll also be able to wring a lot of free product promotion out of the sweepstakes. If you want to add an extra layer of value to your prize try adding some exclusivity in the form of a limited or special edition product.

If you don't have a product of your own to giveaway you should offer a prize that is relevant to whatever it is you do, and highly appealing to your audience. For example, if you're a style blogger you could give away a beauty package, or if you're a gaming streamer you could offer up a new console or some of your favourite video games.

A great way to increase the value of your prize pool (and net yourself a lot of extra promotion) is by partnering up with complementary brands and offering a product bundle as a prize. This is a tactic which has been used to great effect by our customers Flyte Socks and Greenbelly.

Choosing Entry Actions

Once you've decided on your prize you'll be ready to set up your campaign and decide how users can enter your sweepstakes.

When you run a sweepstakes with Gleam, you'll have a huge list of possible entry actions to choose from. Your decision should come down to what you are trying to achieve with your sweepstakes, and which actions will help you reach those objectives.

To help you decide on what actions you want to drive, we're going to take you through some of the most effective entry actions for achieving an array of goals.

Social Media Actions

No matter what type of business you run or what industry you operate in, maintaining a strong social media presence is crucial. Social media can provide you with a perfect platform for captivating your audience, promoting your offering and ultimately driving desired actions in an authentic, engaging and social manner.

However, in order to really make the most of social media marketing you will need to accrue an online following and draw attention to your social activity. Gleam has a host of actions across across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more which are all fantastic for garnering online attention and bolstering your following.

Some of the most powerful social media actions you can drive with Gleam include:

Facebook Page Visits:

Instagram Profile Visits:

Twitter Follows:

There plenty more powerful social media actions you can incorporate into your campaign, including a few we want to draw particularly close attention to.

Tweets & Retweets

In addition to attracting visitors to your social media channels and growing your audience, with Gleam you can use a sweepstakes to encourage users to become much more actively involved in your social marketing with Tweets and Retweets.

You can ask users to Retweet one of your own Tweets...

Or send out a Tweet of their own which promotes your brand, or even the sweepstakes itself.

Both of these actions are terrific ways to gain exposure from a new audience and promote your offering or sweepstakes in an engaging and authentic manner which people are highly likely to take notice of.

Viral Sharing

If you can increase the number of people who enter your contest you will increase the number of powerful actions you drive. So it should go without saying that the more entrants you attract the better.

A terrific way to expose your competition to hordes of new entrants is by using Gleam Competition's Viral Share feature which generates unique sharing links and awards additional entries for users who successfully refer your campaign to their friends.

This action is incredibly powerful. It can help you create a viral loop effect and gain massive amounts of exposure. This is particularly useful for pre-launch or newly launched brands that are trying to generate as much awareness as possible.

Viral Share links can be shared across, email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Facebook and more, and users can earn additional entries for each successful referral across any platform.

A successful referral means the referred user has also entered the competition. They must have at least completed your mandatory actions for the original entrant to receive additional entries.

Online Platform Integrations

Gleam has integrations with a multitude of different platforms. So if you operate on a particular online platform there's a good chance you can use your Gleam sweepstakes to drive interaction and engagement.

We have actions set up for:

Subscribe to a Mailing List

Email marketing is one of the most powerful promotional tools you have at your disposal. Sending your email subscribers updates about your business and targeted calls to action are outstanding ways to maintain interest and drive action.

The main caveat of email marketing is that in order for you to maximise its efficiency and effectiveness you will need to develop a sizeable mailing list, and one of the best ways to do this is by using your sweepstakes to incentivise email subscriptions.

Visit a Webpage

If you have a website, a blog, or any other online destination you want to drive traffic towards then you can use the Visit action to send users in it's direction. If you don't want users to simply visit the site and immediately leave you can ask a question to validate entries and ensure that users are properly checking out the page. Try it here:

Submit Photos

A great way to engage your audience and get your hands on some free marketing material is by using your sweepstakes to collect some authentic and relatable user-generated content.

With Gleam, you can run a sweepstakes which awards entries to users who submit hashtag restricted images with our Select actions for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or you can use the Media Submit action to gather images from any of these sources with one easy action.

This is a great way to collect photos or videos of users enjoying your product or taking part in some sort of entertaining challenge.

If you want the collection of User-Generated Content to be the backbone of your entire campaign you can restrict entry actions to media submissions and select a winner based on creative merit.

Learn More About Photo Contests

Find out everything you need to know about setting up your own engaging photo contest and displaying submissions in a stylish gallery.

Learn More

Ask a Question

A sweepstakes can provide you with an outstanding opportunity to generate some user feedback. You can use our Question actions to ask users for product feedback, suggestions for improvement, personal preferences or anything else you would like. This is a great way to gain some useful insight into your customers and figure out how you can potentially improve your offering.

App Downloads

If you have an app that you're trying to promote you can drive downloads by awarding entries to users who successfully download your app.

This action works best for free to download apps, as if you ask users to buy an app in exchange for entries into a sweepstakes you will likely be in violation of no purchase necessary laws.

Coupon Codes

With our Coupon action you can offer discount codes from within your giveaway. This is a great way to offer participants a discount code to redeem at your store which is a great way to help drive sales.

You can use the actions required setting to lock your discount until users have already completed a certain number of actions. This allows you to use your discount code to both drive sales and incentivise the completion of more actions which help maximise the effectiveness of your campaign.

Bonus Actions

When you run an online sweepstakes you will probably include an assortment of different entry actions. The more of these actions you can get users to complete, the more you will get out of your sweepstakes. It's because of this that you should be looking for ways to get users to complete as many actions as you can.

A great way to do this is by using Gleam's Bonus Actions to offer extra entries to users who complete every action in your sweepstakes.

Run Your Own Sweepstakes

Check out our documentation on setting up your own Sweepstakes or get started right away!

Get Started

Sweepstakes Duration

As you go about setting up your sweepstakes, another important decision you will have to make is how long you want your campaign to last for.

Generally speaking, the longer you keep your sweepstakes active for the more people you will be able to reach and the more actions you will be able to drive. However, it's important that you don't drag your campaign on for too long. You don't want people to lose interest in your campaign or decide not to enter because the end date is too far away.

Keeping your sweepstakes open for a few months is generally a good idea, as it is long enough to reach a significant amount of entrants but condensed enough to keep it engaging. If you already have a huge following you can probably afford to run quicker campaigns, as it will take a lot less time for your sweepstakes to gain traction.

As you go about deciding the duration of sweepstakes, you should also consider when you want to run it. Hosting a sweepstakes in the lead up to a special holiday or event such as Christmas, Valentine's Day or even a sale you are hosting can be a great way to add an extra layer of engagement to your campaign.

Installing Your Sweepstakes

Once you've got your sweepstakes set up and ready to launch, you will need to find a suitable online location to install your campaign.

If you don't have your own website then you can use a Hosted Landing Page which Gleam automatically creates for all campaigns.

You have the ability to style your Hosted Landing Page in a variety of ways, so you can add a sense of personalisation and professionalism to your giveaway.

If you do have your own website then it's generally a good idea to embed your campaign within the site. All Gleam users have the ability to embed their sweepstakes in any page that accepts basic HTML. This could be a blog post, a page on your website or on a third party site/social network that allows you to insert code. Facebook for instance will allow you to run a sweepstakes within a tab on your Facebook page.

If you opt for our Business plan you will unlock several more fantastic installation options including:

  • A full-page install which will mirror the Gleam landing page on your own site.
  • The ability to run your sweepstakes in a floating tab or popup which can be triggered from your website.

Installing your sweepstakes on your website is a fantastic way to promote you campaign from within your own site and encourage entry from users who have already shown interest in your brand or product.

Gleam gives you the ability to install your sweepstakes in multiple places at once, so you aren't limited to only choosing a single installation method.

Learn More About Installation Methods

Find out everything you need to know about installing your campaign on websites, hosted landing pages and popup tabs.

Learn More

Promoting Your Sweepstakes

One of the most important factors of any sweepstakes campaign is the promotion. In order for your sweepstakes to be a success you will need to encourage entry and drive action, and this means making sure that as many people as possible know about your campaign.

When it comes to promoting a sweepstakes, the possibilities are essentially endless. We're going to take you through some of the most effective ways you can promote your sweepstakes, but if you want an in-depth look at effective promotional techniques you can read our comprehensive guide here.

Social Media Promotion

The users who are most likely to immediately enter your sweepstakes and help spread the word about it are your existing fans and advocates. The best way to reach this audience is through social media, as it's likely that they already follow your various channels.

Social media is an incredibly powerful promotional tool as it allows you to connect with a huge audience in an authentic way, and it's perfect for reaching a new audience via peer-to-peer sharing.

Email Promotion

Another highly effective way to drive action from you pre-existing audience is with email marketing. Sending out a promotional email to your mailing list is an outstanding way to encourage entry from loyal followers and get the ball rolling on your sweepstakes.

Use Your Content to Promote the Sweepstakes

If you produce any form of content on a regular basis then you should be using it to promote your sweepstakes. Blogs, YouTube videos, streams, podcasts and more can all be used for promotional purposes, so when you're promoting your sweepstakes don't forget about your content.

If you have a blog then you will be able to embed the sweepstakes directly into it, allowing you to not only promote your sweepstakes, but also drive action from the same page.

Partner Up For Some Cross-Promotion

A great way to significantly increase the promotional reach of your campaign is by teaming up with some complementary brands and running a partner giveaway. This will expose your sweepstakes (and your brand) to a huge new audience.

When looking for potential brands to partner up with, there are a few important factors to keep in mind. Firstly, you don't want to partner up with anyone selling a competing product, as this can take the focus away from you and cannibalise the impact of your campaign. Secondly, you want to make sure that you partner with complementary brands whose audiences are likely to be interested in what you do.

Reach Out to Influencers

A terrific way to gain exposure from a large and relevant audience is by reaching out to influencers in your niche and asking them to promote your sweepstakes in exchange for money, product, or even just the interesting content that your sweepstakes will provide them with.

Popular YouTubers, Instagrammers and bloggers make for great influencers, so try finding and reaching out to some within your niche.

Use Paid Ads

If you've got the budget for it, using paid ads can be an outstanding way to reach a new audience and expose a highly relevant audience to your giveaway.

Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads and Google Adwords are all excellent advertising channels for reaching and connecting with your target audience.

Use Contest Promotion Websites

Another way to generate huge amounts of traffic is by promoting your contest on an online contest directory. The advantage of using these directories is that they can put your sweepstakes in front of hordes of new users at low cost, but using these sites does have a potentially impactful downside.

By listing your sweepstakes on promotional websites you run the risk of attracting entry from users who want to win a prize without having any real interest in your brand or products, which can lead to low conversion rates.

The best way to avoid this pitfall is by choosing a prize that will primarily appeal to users who may be interested in your brand. If you offer a generic prize such as an Amazon gift card you will likely be inundated with entries from disinterested users, but if you offer up your own product or a highly another highly targeted prize you are far more likely to limit entry to those with a real interest in your brand.

If you are interested in using contest promotion websites we've created a comprehensive list of directories for you to use:

Learn More About Contest Promotion

Check out our in depth guide for all the information you need on promoting your giveaway.

Learn More

Wrapping Up Your Sweepstakes

Once your sweepstakes has ran its course it will be time for you to wrap things up.

Drawing a Winner

If you run your Sweepstakes with Gleam then we can randomly draw winners for you, all you need to do is go to the 'Winners' tab of your sweepstakes and click 'Draw Winners'.

We highly recommend that you check that your winner still qualifies for their entry, for example a user could like a page to get the entry, then unlike it later. If this is the case Gleam allows you to invalidate particular entries and redraw a new winner.

Once you’ve picked your winners you can then choose to show their names inside the embedded widget, with or without their portraits.

Announcing the Winners

Announcing your winners is a great way to let everyone know that your sweepstakes has come to a close and publicly reward your winners in an engaging and personal way. In the immediate aftermath of your contest you don't want to neglect the other entrants, so consider using your announcement as an opportunity to offer all your users a bonus reward or promote your other upcoming contests.

Following Up On Your Campaign

Once you've run your own giveaway you'll be left with a bolstered mailing list and a strong social media following. It will then be time to think about you can retain your audience and convert them into customers.

Here are some tactics you can use to drive sales and keep your customer relationships as strong as ever.

'Better Luck Next Time!' Campaign

Once your giveaway has ended it's important that you wrap up the campaign and announce the winner. If you want to get as much engagement as possible from your campaign's conclusion consider sending out a wrap-up email which includes a discount code to your store, a link to your content, or any other special offering you can provide.

This is a superb way to reward the entrants who weren't lucky enough to win and drive further action!

Be Active on Social Media

In the aftermath of your sweepstakes, interest in your brand should be at a high point. It's crucial that you capitalize on this heightened attention by continuing to engage your expanded audience across your social media channels and drive sales or other further action such as subscriptions, views, listens, or anything else you're after.

Host a Sale or Rewards Campaign

If you're an online retailer then one of the best strategies you can implement in the immediate aftermath of a sweepstakes is hosting a sale, or another form of discounted offering. You can achieve this by hosting a store-wide sale or by using Gleam's Rewards app to offer Coupon Codes to users who complete designated actions.

Learn More About Rewards

Check out our Rewards app and find out how you can use unlockable rewards to drive powerful actions.

Learn More

Run Regular Giveaways

If your contest was well-received then you know you have just earned yourself a highly engaged community of fans! Reward your customer base regularly with flash sales or giveaways. Gleam makes it so easy to set up a campaign that you may as well run them on a regular basis.

Example Sweepstakes

Now that we've shown you how to run your own sweepstakes campaign, we're going to take you through some specific examples of highly effective sweepstakes that you can model your own campaign after.

E-commerce Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn More About E-Commerce Promotion

Find out how Gleam can take your e-commerce promotion to the next level with this helpful guide.

Check It Out

User-Generated Content Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn More About Photo Contests

Find out everything you need to know about setting up your own engaging photo contest and displaying submissions in a stylish gallery.

Learn More

Partner Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn How to Run a Partner Campaign

Find out everything you need to know about using Gleam to partner up with other brands and run powerful giveaways.

Check It Out

Influencer Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Run A Gleam Campaign With Influencers

Learn more about finding the right influencer and running a partnered campaign to expand your audience and drive action.

Learn More

Retail Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn More About Retail Store Promotion

Find out how Gleam can take your retail promotion to the next level with this helpful guide.

Check It Out

Book Promotion Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn More About Promoting a Book

Find out how Gleam can take your book promotion to the next level with this helpful guide.

Check It Out

Music Promotion Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn More About Promoting Your Music

Find out how Gleam can take your music promotion to the next level with this helpful guide.

Check It Out

Live Event Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Learn More About Using Gleam at Events

Find out how you can use Gleam to maximise engagement and generate value.

Check It Out

Podcast Sweepstakes

   Use this Template

Promoting Your Podcast With Contests

Find out how you can use Gleam to find new listeners and grow your podcast.

Check It Out

Ready To Run Your Own Sweepstakes?

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