Margarine, potatoes, artificial intelligence, Femat’s Last Theorem, steam tractors, canned goods. The common link? Sweepstakes.
Dating from the 15th century, sweepstakes have been used to motivate the masses — incentivized, of course, by a handsome prize.
The aforementioned inventions were the result of governments, companies and individuals calling on the public to solve major problems of the times, resulting in solutions that endure today. Advertisers in the 1950s paved the way for the present day model, ultimately focused on brand loyalty.
The digital age has again transformed this age-old practice, lowering barriers to entry and infinitely magnifying potential impact. Leveraging mobile to run sweepstakes is not a new idea; however, most strategies are not maximizing the potential of this channel.
Text messaging is the most ubiquitous mobile behavior and dominates activity on devices across user demographics. In fact, 96% of 18-50 year olds send text messages, making it an excellent way to opt-in participants to a sweepstakes campaign. Participation is straightforward and requires very little effort from users to get the ball rolling. Yet, most brands don’t consider messaging as a way to run a sweepstakes from start to finish.
Technologies like Rich Media Messaging allow marketers to host all facets of a sweepstakes campaign on one integrated platform and provide excellent benefits to both marketers and participants.
Optimize The Opt-In
Sweepstakes are designed to generate buzz and excitement, but the very start of most mobile campaigns is often the most boring part. At opt-in, Sweepstakes organizers are required to send a comprehensive set of legal disclaimers on top of the basic features and instructions for the program. This often takes the form of a simple, text-based message reply with a link directing participants to an external site for all of this information. And that’s it.
Why not send rich content at opt-in, including an engaging video or image to build excitement around the campaign, long text to give an immediate sense for the program, a link to take care of the rules and regulations, as well as a link to share the content?
Capture More Content
Focusing on content creates a fun, engaging environment for users and provides enduring value for brands long after a sweepstakes ends. Messaging is a natural way for users to submit content, and the image or video can be easily submitted via text and captured by the messaging platform and integrated with the brand’s customer relationship management (CRM) system.
For example, a sweepstakes for a shopping spree could request submissions for a participant’s best New Year’s Eve style in photo form. Subscribers could use their mobile devices from start to finish — they could opt-in, receive confirmation, take the photo, send the photo, and even share the photo — all via messaging.
This way, the brand can not only collect this information but have it available for future use on social sites, blogs and web.
Amplify The Reach
Many sweepstakes are run via social media channels for obvious reasons: incremental impressions due to sharing, familiarity and ease of use for participants. And they are the ideal medium to support engaging content — both brand and customer generated.
Messaging-based sweepstakes are not excluded from the reach and benefits of social and actually eliminate additional steps leading to social integration. With one-click social sharing, a feature included with Rich Media Messaging, users can share content directly from text messages to their personal social sites, and brands can benefit by gaining exposure to a larger network of users.
Brands can encourage shares and reward accordingly; and with messaging, they have the ability to campaign participation across multiple social sharing networks.
Generate Lasting Brand Benefits
Most sweepstakes have a finite start and end point. Brands generate excitement and engagement; but once the winner is confirmed, the conversation ends. Messaging provides a bridge that links the sweepstakes event to a longstanding relationship with the customer.
The messaging flow provides a natural opportunity for brands to continue the conversation by eliciting opt-ins for future campaigns, promotions or contest notifications, thereby securing another touchpoint for brand-initiated conversation.
Sweepstakes today may not be solving global issues, but they remain a powerful means of effecting mass participation, excitement and buzz for brands worldwide.
Messaging is a way for marketers to capitalize on this sentiment and secure opportunities for future return on investment. Messaging platforms with robust features such as RMM allow sweepstakes to represent future successes in the form of brand engagement and long-term value to the customer.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.