Q: "What exactly are the marketing benefits of running my own sweepstakes or contest online?"
A: It seems like you can’t cruise any social media channel without running into four or five corporate sponsored sweepstakes. Everyone is doing them, so of course there are benefits. If you need to justify giving away some of your products or services, here is what you can expect in return:
Larger Fan Base
Perhaps the most obvious benefit to hosting a sweepstakes is increasing your number of social media followers. If you’re struggling, or just starting out with social media marketing, a sweepstakes can be a great way to bolster your following. Additionally, you get the benefits of all the free marketing as a result of these users reposting or linking to your contest.
With the incentive of a prize, users are more willing to tell you about themselves. Since the users are coming to you, a sweepstakes can be a great lead generation tool that doesn’t require much heavy lifting on your end. To increase the quality of these leads, make the prize one of your products instead of cash or the ever-prevalent “free iPad.” You may get fewer entries, but the users who want to win one of your products are more likely to buy them in the future.
Many companies take a minimal approach to sweepstakes marketing. They simply launch the sweepstakes, collect the leads and end the contest. What these companies don’t realize is that you can use the elements of a sweepstakes to engage with your users.
Requiring user-generated content (e.g. photos, videos, or short essays) to enter or incorporating a survey can help you learn more about your customers and what kind of influence your brand has in their lives. You can also learn a lot by watching the conversation and comments that take place around your contest.
These are just a few of the benefits of launching your own contest.