People would consider you a marketing hero!
I’m all about using systems to replicate successful marketing campaign launches. I pride myself on the countless hours and nights it took to build this system that I’m giving to you.
I’ve used this system to help run sweepstakes that receive close to ten-thousand entries in under two weeks and result in over $400,000 in sales.
The best part: I can set this up in less than a week.
The picture examples I include are of two sweepstakes I ran at the same time, syncing with a Kickstarter campaign and an Indiegogo campaign. In total, they raised over $700,000.
No time to read this article now? Download the PDF version for future reference!
Before I show you the exact steps, you need to understand the why to Facebook sweepstakes and the critical pieces that make all the difference.
- More free-trial users for your software
- Collect leads with Facebook information (Facebook ID, name, email, age, gender, location)
- Referral process adds virality
- Increase email subscribers
- Increase social media followers (Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc.)
- Increase social media exposure (more repins, more retweets of your message, etc.)
- Increase sales
- Generate brand loyalty by delighting existing customers with a chance to win prizes.
Laying Down the Laws
Before you get too excited, it’s crucial you obey the sweepstakes laws of your state or country, and also the Facebook guidelines. I don’t want you blaming me if you get caught breaking the rules! You need to link to a Terms and Conditions document on your sweepstakes entry page. Here’s a starting point:
Make sure you customize these terms and conditions for your location and unique procedures. Also, you’re required to have the words “No Purchase Necessary” visible to every entrant.
Those are some of the basics. Now it’s time to check out Facebook’s guidelines here:
Now that we’ve got the not-so-fun-stuff out of the way, let’s dive into the goods. The first question you need to ask yourself is:
What Software Should I Use?
There are over twenty options of software that enable you to hold a Facebook sweepstakes. However, I only use one. I’ve analyzed all of them and tried out ones such as Rafflecopter and Woobox, and they’re great, but I need a tool that can give me huge numbers in leads and sales.
So, I use the software 22Social. There’s a steeper learning curve than some of the other tools, but it packs a punch. I get access to pre-made templates, the ability to duplicate my sweepstakes for future clients, a countdown timer, visitor faces, an Instagram hashtag gallery, Facebook pixeling, autoresponder syncing, and Facebook live Hangouts.
That’s a lot of features, and I use all of them in almost every sweepstakes.
I’ll show how it looks in just a bit.
The Little Things
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when holding sweepstakes is to refer to it as a sweepstake.
The word “giveaway” gets 27% more conversions than “sweepstakes” and 50% more than the word “promotion”. Perception is everything.
Another mistake is not having a good call-to-action. The CTA “Enter in seconds” saw a 33% increase in conversion rates over “Enter.”
To take the conversion level on your entry page up several notches, consider including these features: a social validation logo (featured here image strip), the company’s logo, good pictures of company employees, a countdown timer, and excellent images of the prizes.
That’s a lot of content on your entry page, right?
To combat this problem, I recommend a promo video because it can include your company’s employees, prize images, and logo. Moreover, a high-quality video on autoplay will convert much better.
Your promotion gets an early boost if you launch your sweepstakes at the right time and on the right day. If you can sync with a holiday such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, it can give you a wave of momentum.
Allow yourself two weeks before the sweepstakes to promote, prepare, and automate. Anything less and chances are you’ll run into some problems. Remember, you need to set up email templates, plan all your posts, and set up your Facebook Ad campaigns.
And don’t fill up your schedule during the sweepstakes. Set some time aside each week to make fixes.
Who Takes Part?
Before you set up your sweepstakes, understand your audience. According to Forrester’s Social Technographics, there are several different audiences who will engage with your sweepstakes: Spectators, Joiners, and Creators.
Spectators will see a shared link and click through to your sweepstakes, but their interaction will end there. For spectators, ensure you have a great entry video, excellent copy, and an inviting interface.
Joiners like to participate in low-barrier sweepstakes and may engage further through referrals, commenting and sharing.
Creators are the people who are the target audience for any user-generated content sweepstakes. The percentage of online content creators is far higher now than it was a few years ago. But as the content is now easier to create, expectations have increased, too.
This audience is perfect for syncing with the Instagram hashtag gallery feature, where people who use a specific hashtag will have their Instagram picture show up on the “Thank You for Entering” page. It helps create a stronger community around a brand and increases social followers.
This is the software that puts the entire sweepstakes together.
With bitly, you can create a unique link to measure traction from links in promo emails, social posts, and offers on your referral page.
Design your “featured here” logos into a strip on your Google Slide, and then download it as a PNG. Now, do the same thing with images of prizes.
To get the right size, you can go to File, and then Page Setup and adjust the pixels, or you can screenshot the strip with a Chrome extension such as Lightshot or Nimbus Screenshot.
Screenflow, Camtasia (optional)
These tools can be used for editing the video used for social media posts, the “Enter to Win” page, and the “Thank You for Entering” page. If you’re on a budget, then consider the mobile apps iMovie and ReelDirector for editing.
YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia
These sites offer hosting for the videos you create. If you’re running a top-notch sweepstakes with video, skip YouTube and choose Vimeo or Wistia. The quality makes a huge difference.
Phone Stand, Remote
These are for filming your videos. You don’t need any fancy equipment when your iPhone quality is great.
This is to run Facebook Ads like a pro without emptying your pockets. It’s a small investment that makes an enormous difference.
“Enter to Win” Video:
I always run my sweepstakes with video because the conversions are so much better. The science behind a top-notch “Enter to Win” video begins with the vital first ten seconds. You need to start off with a bang! Otherwise, you’ll lose your viewers. Make sure to keep the video length under five minutes or your bounce rate will jump.
Ensure you include your call-to-action within the first two minutes and repeat it in the last minute, too. Make sure it’s time sensitive – saying “Enter to win” is not as effective as “Enter to win now.”
The magical piece: relating the sweepstakes to your bigger vision.
Starting with the “why” is essential
This doesn’t mean getting leads, making sales, and growing your business. It’s about helping people. A great example is a fitness product sweepstakes. You can say something like this:
“This is real. You can make a real difference. Not only will this help promote awareness of health, but we can help people live more fulfilling lives and spend more quality time with their family.”
When you can get people to see your overall vision, they’re much more likely to promote your sweepstakes. Next, show how incredible your prizes are. If you don’t have a PNG strip of your prizes under your video, then include this section before you show your bigger vision.
I want to stress this point of showing your prizes and bigger vision and NOT just telling them.
People want to see how you’re actually helping, and see the product in action; they won’t just take your word for it.
Here’s where it gets cool. To decrease your barrier to entry, give something away for free for just entering the sweepstakes. Ideally, you want this to be a digital download delivered in an email autoresponder. A simple PDF that solves a customer’s pain point will work fine. If you want to take it to an expert level, email them a link to a video that includes the promised content with an offer for a product that complements your prizes.
After you tell them about the free gift, mention when you’ll be announcing winners (this may be through the campaign) and when the sweepstakes is ending. Then, touch on sharing the referral link that they’ll see once they enter.
And the last part: run the script and final version of the video by several people who don’t know what you’re making and ask them to explain it back to you.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, then check out these Kickstarter videos:
Coolest Cooler – Raised $13 million
Emberlight – Raised $300K
“Thank You for Entering” Video:
The “Thank You for Entering” video can have a significant impact on the number of sales you make, so you should include an offer on this page to a product that complements your prizes. Since the entrants are beginning to enjoy the experience of your brand, it’s easier to sell to them.
Best yet, if they buy a complementing product and they don’t win, then they’re more likely to purchase the prize.
An excellent example is selling a hat that goes perfectly with your prizes of t-shirts and sweatshirts.
Before you begin selling, you need to thank them for entering. Next, you want reiterate the bigger vision, the prizes, when you’re announcing winners, and then emphasize that they can use their referral link to get more entries and, therefore, gain a higher chance to win prizes. Now you can end with your sales pitch for the product that complements your prizes.
How Many Days? What about Facebook Ads?
Anything over a month is too long and packing all your promotion in less than twenty-one days will make you look like a spammer. I balance this equation by dividing every sweepstakes campaign into three parts:
1. 7-Day Pre-Launch Promotion
I prefer to launch my sweepstakes with a live call-to-action. I send out three emails over the span of a week to promote attendance on a “pre-party” live Hangout. I hold this right on the entry page, a half hour before the sweepstakes goes live.
I also post throughout the week about the live Hangout on social media. Keep in mind, there’s no registration for this Hangout. To increase attendance, I like to tease people by saying that I’m announcing a special prize or something else intriguing.
When the sweepstakes goes live, I switch out the Hangout and replace it with my sweepstakes promo video. The process takes only a couple of seconds. To avoid confusion, tell the live Hangout attendees that you’re putting the promo “Enter to Win” video in right afterwards.
Why a live Hangout?
There’s nothing better than a genuine and live call-to-action to get something free. It flat-out converts. Moreover, you’ll instantly start your sweepstakes with a community feel and a surge of entries.
2. 21-Day Sweepstakes
When your sweepstakes goes live, immediately run Facebook Ads to a custom audience made from your email lists and a specialized audience of people who’d likely enter. These ads direct people to the “Enter to Win” page. I highly suggest using AdEspresso instead of getting lost in Facebook Power Editor, as it will save you time optimizing your ads, allowing you to focus on social posting.
During the sweepstakes, run Facebook Ads to a custom audience of everyone who enters the sweepstakes. These ads are specifically for selling the product you offer in your “Thank You for Entering” video. To give you some bonus value, here’s my copy strategy when I run Facebook Ads to the complementary offer:
- Reason Why.
1. Attention is the image used. I have found that using an image of a smiling person next to the product works best.
2. Problem: I like to ask a question paralleling a frequent frustration or problem. It must be answered in their mind when they see it; it’s great for getting them to focus.
3. Command. After you ask them if they have the frequent frustration, next comes a command… “Then You Should Click Here:”
4. Reason: I find that the statement “You’ll get [benefit] that will (or so you can) [desired result] works well.
You also want to send ads to the custom audience of those who went to the “Enter to Win” page, but didn’t enter. Make sure to exclude those who did enter by exporting the entry list and uploading it as a custom audience. You will have to consistently update this exclusion list.
3. 7-Day Discount
When your sweepstakes ends, send out several emails over the period of a week to promote a special discount on the products that were being offered as prizes. Here’s where you’ll make most of your sales.
You may have 8,000 people enter a sweepstakes and twenty people who won prizes. You now have 7,980 people who are disappointed that they didn’t win. Why not cheer them up with a limited-time discount?
Don’t just use a discount, target them with Facebook Ads that send them to your sales page. This is where all the hard work finally pays off.
What Makes a Great Prize?
Browsing the internet, you’re bound to run into a company promoting a sweepstakes with the prize of an iPad or another product that everyone’s interested in winning. This is the equivalent of buying an email list. But an email list that’s interested in your company is a thousand times better than one that’s not.
You want people who would purchase what you’re selling. The only way to get these sweepstakes entrants is to have prizes relevant to your niche. I can’t stress this enough. At the same time, don’t make your prizes too specific because you’ll scare potential leads away.
I recommend choosing prizes that are non-shipping because it requires less effort to deliver the prizes, and they arrive faster. Not every business can do this, especially e-commerce apparel.
It’s important to include different prizes because some of your potential participants may own some of the prizes already.
The most important thing you can do now is ensure your prizes provide an enormous benefit to the potential purchaser. I consistently see companies that believe the price point directly parallels the benefit, and this is not always true.
A simple rule: ask your customer what they’d want to win.
Let’s Go Viral:
How do you get virality? A regular sweepstakes that awards prizes based on random-selected winners adds virality, but not enough. The big problem is people want guarantees; and this is where a tier system comes in handy.
A tier system is so effective that it helped Harry’s, a men’s grooming service, generate 100,000 leads in one week. So, how does a tier system work?
When someone refers a certain amount of entries, they immediately receive a prize. I like to have three tiers because science proves that three is the smallest number of elements required to develop a pattern, and patterns help our memory.
In the top tier, for those who refer the highest number of people, I give away the top prize. The reason for this is that this method helps to segment every type of person who enters a giveaway.
There are those who would rather refer thirty people and get the top prize than leave everything to chance. And there are those who don’t like referring people because posting on social media and telling friends about the sweepstakes makes them uncomfortable. Correspondingly, always include a random-selected winner.
This is a deadly combination for holding an incredible giveaway.
But here’s the real secret:
Give away a prize for people who refer one person. Make this prize a digital download so you don’t go broke with production and shipping costs. This provides a huge incentive for people to begin referring. So why is this important?
Referring – just like any other action – is much easier to do once you start. It gets your participants in the mindset that they can refer people and have success with your sweepstakes.
During your sweepstakes, there will be an avalanche of potential leads checking out your company on social media. You must leave a great impression of your brand. That means being personable and genuine.
What works best is spreading out five to ten videos over your social networks, with employees introducing themselves, then ending with a call-to-action to enter the sweepstakes and refer more people.
I also suggest sharing five to ten videos of customer testimonials over your social networks. This doesn’t take too much time. Here’s an excellent script I use for getting top-quality customer testimonials:
Again, make sure to include a bitly link back to the sweepstakes with every social post.
To go above and beyond in encouraging entrants to refer more people and establish great social connections, find your sweepstakes entrants on Twitter and @ them with this simple message:
“@____ Thank you for entering our giveaway! And a big thank you for supporting our vision of [several words explaining your vision]. Keep up the good work :)”
Notice how I use giveaway instead of sweepstakes, because there’s a warmer response to the word giveaway. Even though tweeting this much does take a significant amount time, the social connection you’re establishing is invaluable.
An easy way to find entrants on Twitter is to use the SRM feature within 22Social that provides each entrant’s Facebook info, and then plug their name into Followerwonk. This software app will help you identify how much influence they have, and you don’t even need the paid feature. You can then find them on Twitter and shoot them the thank-you message.
Here’s where 22Social’s live Hangout feature comes in handy. You should hold several live Hangouts announcing winners throughout your campaign. The final live Hangout should announce the main prize(s). You also want to announce the winners on your social media channels, too.
I have people register for the final live Hangout because it allows me to get a great understanding of the level of successful of the entire sweepstakes. The goal is to get the percentage of live attendees to be considerably high compared to the number of people who entered the sweepstakes.
What’s the big deal about announcing winners through live Hangouts? Why not just through email and social media posts?
A live call-to-action always converts well and selling your complementing product to the live Hangout attendees, right after you announce the winners, converts extremely well. The best part is sending an email after the Hangout and using social posting to reiterate who the winners are. Include a link to the product that complements your prizes, too.
For the final live Hangout, I like to announce a special one-week discount at the end for the main prize(s) and have a buy button right below. This gives everyone who didn’t win a special opportunity to purchase.
Here’s the trick:
You want to create an “open loop” to keep a viewer’s attention throughout the video, so they’re still there for when you announce the discount. I highly suggest saying something like this and repeating it twice:
“Make sure to stay on this live Hangout the entire time because at the end we’re announcing a special treat for all those who didn’t win.”
Here are base email templates I use. If you decide to hold more than one live Hangout during your campaign, then adjust accordingly.
- 2 emails for promoting the upcoming giveaway launch
- 3 emails during the beginning of the giveaway
- 5 emails during sweepstakes
- 1 email to announce winners
- 3 emails for the week after the sweepstakes to promote your special discount.
No more boring lead magnets!
Sweepstakes are fun, fast and provide a thrill.
I just gave you the steps to take your sweepstakes skills from novice to expert; the question is, are you ready for a flood of leads and sales?
If so, it’s time to start implementing.
If you have any suggestions on how to improve this model, let us know in the comments.