What makes a good sweepstakes when marketing to women? MarketingSherpa visited several different sweepstakes sites targeting women to determine what works and what doesn't. Here are the six most common traits of successfully developed and executed sweepstakes programs.
1. GOAL SETTING Obviously, you're not running a sweepstakes for altruistic reasons. There's got to be a purpose here. First, determine that purpose and/or desired end results of your sweepstakes. Will a sweepstakes (a.) increase sales, (b.) acquire new customers, (c.) introduce a product or service, (d.) build site traffic or online awareness or (e.) reward loyal visitors? The majority of e-commerce sites running sweepstakes have determined that they are the "preferred method for customer acquisition," according to DoubleClick, Inc.
Second, remember that your purpose will drive your creation of sweepstakes rules, too. If you are interested in repeat visitors, you probably won't put a cap on the number of entries by the same woman. If you are trying to gather market research on female buying habits, multiple entries could skew your results.
2. FUN TARGETED PRIZES Forget tee shirts, coffee mugs, key chains and mousepads and other over-used tchotchkes!
Tailor prizes to your unique female audience. Domestic goddesses still favor household goodies, like appliances, furniture or free groceries for a year. Professional working women may prefer productivity tools, like palm computers. Many married women like prizes that can be shared with family members (vacations, TVs, and automobiles) or can be used for both personal and professional purposes (digital cameras). Single women may go for event tickets or cutting-edge gadgets like MP3 players. Teen girls may like cool software or autographed photos of their favorite boy band.
You don't have to offer expensive prizes, but do remember that good research into lifestyle habits will go far in offering the right prize to the right visitors.
3. SIMPLICITY Women used to enjoy with separating and licking multiple stickers and stamps in order to enter publisher's sweepstakes. However, today's woman has far less time and patience. Some sweepstakes make entrants click through too many times, frustrating female users before they finish the registration process.
Online entry forms can be very helpful in gathering demographic information, which is important, but there's got to be a good reason for women to answer all these questions. (For example, you don’t need city and state if you already have a zip code.) Remember that too many will cause her to browse elsewhere before she completes that entry.
The sweepstakes has to be simple -- simple to understand and simple to enter. Entry-by-email, automated entry into subsequent sweepstakes, and pop-up entry form windows are becoming more popular.
4. TESTING Before you announce your sweepstakes program, test it in select online niches geared toward women. Many of the smaller female-oriented sites would be a good choice for you. This will allow you to gather the market research you need to work out the kinks before rolling your program out to more women online on a grander and more expensive scale.
5. INTEGRATED PROMOTION Integrate offline and online marketing for the most visibility. Just because you're running your sweepstakes online doesn't mean you have to limit promotion to the Web. More than once, we've heard about a sweepstakes on television and followed it to the Web. For example, the iVillage sweeps promotion on TV show “Providence.”
6. RETENTION Keep her coming back. Offer good content, community, coupons, samples and other incentives to maintain her interest. And do this without further obligation on her part.
At the very least, send each visitor a short thank you, just to let her know that you value her time in stopping by and entering your sweepstakes.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles of this website are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect in any way the views of MarketingSherpa, its affiliates, or its employees.