Last-Minute Sweepstakes Marketing Strategies to Boost Participation

Here are the best last minute sweepstakes marketing strategies to boost participation. Learn about the two types of sweepstakes marketing -- seasonal and last minute.

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Need last-minute sweepstakes marketing to boost participation fast and increase your followers? Your sweepstakes is coming up and you are concerned that you won’t get enough participation to meet your goals.

This is one of the most worrisome parts of sweepstakes marketing for marketers new to sweepstakes. If your giveaway doesn’t meet your goals, especially if your budget is small, you’ll end up losing money on your marketing campaign.


Proven to Work Last-Minute Sweepstakes Tips to Boost Participation

Don’t worry! Fortunately, you are reading this article in advance so that you can ramp up your promotional strategy for your sweepstakes. There’s still time yet to attract more participants and new customers.

However, instead of long-term strategies like email marketing or using UGC to promote your sweepstakes, you’ll have to choose short-term, last-minute sweepstakes marketing strategy to get the job done.

Here are the best last-minute sweepstakes marketing strategies to boost participation that are proven to work.


  • How do you advertise a sweepstakes last minute?
  • How can I promote a sweepstakes quickly?
  • What are the fastest giveaway promotion strategies?


Last-Minute Sweepstakes Marketing to Boost Participation vs Seasonal Marketing: Here Are the Differences

Last-minute marketing strategies to boost participation for your sweepstakes can help you in critical holiday times when attracting more participants can mean a significant boost in sales on those high-volume shopping days. These strategies can also help pull those participants who do not buy something to come check out your brand again when the holidays are over through retargeting.


How Does Seasonal Marketing Work for Sweepstakes?

Don’t confuse last-minute marketing with seasonal marketing. Many sweepstakes are run during the holidays, but these sweepstakes are often planned by sweepstakes companies months in advance. On the other hand, last-minute sweepstakes marketing task advantage of ways to increase participation just before the giveaway goes life.

Seasonal marketing for sweepstakes involves running sweepstakes based on the time of the year. The sweepstakes may be marketed for specific holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day). Sweepstakes may also be run for the seasons of the year – summer, spring, fall, and winter.

Celebrate Retail Holidays With Sweepstakes

It doesn’t even have to be a real holiday. Many brands celebrate corporate holidays and retail holidays. Or you can even create your own seasonal sweepstakes for your brand that you promote annually.

To ensure that your sweepstakes is legally compliant, it’s always recommended that you work with a sweepstakes company and plan well in advance. Furthermore, given that you will have to dedicate your a significant part of your budget towards sweepstakes promotion, you should make sure that it’s used effectively.


Strategy #1: Add Countdown Timers to Increase Urgency and Boost Participation

If participants are spending too much time browsing your sweepstakes entry page, then you need to do something to get them to act quickly and convert immediately.

Your visitors may not be aware of the fact that your sweepstakes entry period will only last a few days. By including a countdown timer on your sweepstakes web entry form, you’ll be able to attract more participants.

» MORE:   How to Score a Win for the Best Sweepstakes of 2022

You can also use countdown times to signal exactly when your sweepstakes will begin. For example, if your sweepstakes goes live in 7 days 22 hours and 13 minutes, then potential participants make a mental note of the date they can enter your sweepstakes and will be more likely to participate.


Strategy #2: Boost Participation With Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads and Sweepstakes Leads

Sometimes, organic methods of attracting sweepstakes participants simply aren’t enough to ensure that you are attracting the right audience. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads have the potential to generate many sweepstakes leads within short timeframe.

You can create PPC ads that are highly targeted to your audience by integrating your sweepstakes entry form with email marketing and analytics tools. All you have to do is create a compelling sweepstakes advertising and set a daily budget.

You can also try generic PPC keywords to yield visitors that are near your retail locations and likely shop there often, by targeting keywords like “Things to do in Miami, FL” to find new customers out and about nearby or “[BRAND/PRODUCT] freebies and coupons” to target people who are looking for free stuff online.

You can also filter by device type and location to target visitors only in the states or provinces where residents are eligible to participate. Make sure to utilize other filtering options such as hour of the day to drive last-minute sweepstakes participants. Focus on the results, not the costs as more participation in your sweepstakes means more new customers and greater reach.

With complex buyer personas, hiring a PPC agency to assist you with managing your campaigns can help you maximize your budget. Generating ROI from PPC requires proper PPC management and targeting. Make sure that you reduce any friction to entering your sweepstakes. New participants should be able to click directly through to your advertisement.


Strategy #3: Retarget Your Sweepstakes Audience to Boost Participation

You should be directing all potential participants to your sweepstakes entry web form. When you do so, you’ll be able to use the visits to the page to initiate a conversion boosting campaign to entice them to enter with retargeting. For example, with billions of users on Facebook, you can start a Facebook retargeting strategy. Finally, retargeting also expands your marketing reach as you build a lookalike audience.

In addition to visitors who have seen your sweepstakes web entry form, you should also tap into your existing retargeting list (namely, all visitors who have previously interacted with your brand). These individuals are more likely to take a chance with your brand for a free offer (your sweepstakes), which may entice them to become first-time customers thereafter.


Strategy #4: Create Festive Advertising With In-store Sweepstakes to Boost Participation

If you haven’t already planned to do so, make sure that you have decorated your store or the display area for your sweepstakes advertising to create a festive atmosphere for shoppers. Doing this will help to catch customers attention as they shop and make it clear that there is a sweepstakes promotion happening. Make sure that the overall festive atmosphere makes it impossible for customers to ignore your promotion.

Strategy #5: Boost Participation by Previewing Sweepstakes Prizes

Up until the launch of the live sweepstakes promotion, you can gradually reveal all of the prizes for the sweepstakes in a series of promotional social media posts or videos. While your sweepstakes rules must define all prizes for the sweepstakes with the ARVs calculated, you still can highlight prizes individually in your marketing. Just make sure to follow the rules for Abbreviated Rules and include a link to the Official Rules on all advertisements.

This can help to spread the word about your sweepstakes as the prize reveals get better and better up until the first day of the sweepstakes launch. With the sweepstakes prizes all revealed at the start of your sweepstakes prize, you’ll be able to maximize the reach having attracted participants based on the individual prizes.

» MORE:   How to Use Contest Marketing to Attract More Sales

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Strategy #6: Pre-launch Event: Behind-the-scenes for Your Sweepstakes

Pre-launch events for your sweepstakes can be highly effective at attracting participants especially if you go live. Post about the pre-launch event as well to get your followers excited and ready to enter when the sweepstakes goes live.

Free Advertisement Maker with Templates

Canva lets you create eye-catching advertisements with their free ad maker. Customize your sweepstakes, contest, or raffle ads with trending images, fonts, and high quality design assets.


Why do customers choose to follow brands on social media? Well they like the brand but they also want to hear about the new products, special deals, and behind-the-scenes of the brand that others who are not followers would miss out on.


Here are a few examples of behind the scenes sweepstakes marketing content to create:

1. 👉 Meet the team. Your fans love your team if they love your brand. Show off how your sweepstakes promotion all came together. This is a great opportunity to highlight influencers and celebrities that you hired to help promote your sweepstakes.

2. 👉 Preview the sweepstakes prizes. Show how the sweepstakes winners will enjoy their sweepstakes prizes and all of the effort that went into securing them for the giveaway. This helps to promote the idea that you’ve personalized your sweepstakes just for your fans.

3. 👉 The process. If your product is unique, your fans may be interested in seeing exactly what goes into the process of making your products and getting it to consumers. Create some shareable content that discusses the process while also advertising your sweepstakes.


Strategy #7: Sweepstakes Press Release Distribution to Boost Participation

Press release can be written quickly for last minute sweepstakes marketing as well as planned press releases for PR marketing. A press release about your sweepstakes should answer all of the objections that participants might have about entering including the full sweepstakes prize details, a link to the Official Rules, Start/End dates, and eligibility requirements.

You can submit it to top established print and news channels, such as newspapers, magazines, and online news websites. Make sure to include the following:

Headline – Include the full name of sweepstakes as it appears in your Official Rules. Try to make it as catchy as possible.

Summary – Include the full name of sweepstakes, the sweepstakes Sponsor(s), start and end dates, and a description of the grand prize.

Body – Here you should go into more details about who you are and why your brand is running a sweepstakes. Make sure to include details about the sweepstakes prizes that will entice readers to come sign up. Speak directly to your customers and let them know that they are also welcome to enter.

Boilerplate – This is the “About Us” section where you share a bit about your industry and product or service. Include any important details about your business and link back to your brand website.

If you haven’t written a press release before, you may want to consider outsourcing it a PR company or to a professional copywriter. That way you you have a much higher chance of having the story about your sweepstakes picked up by the national news media and major online publications.


Strategy #8: Repost How Amazing Your Brand’s Products Are

If you have data on your past social media marketing efforts, repost some of your all-time most shared social media posts and content. This will help to reactivate old customers who may have forgotten about your brand. It also reminds your loyal customers as to why they rely on your brand in the first place.

With social proof being a strong factor of whether a participant will enter a brand’s sweepstakes or not, getting some buzz about your best branded content and marketing UGC content can help you get the rest of those participants you need for your sweepstakes.

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To get the conversation started, ask customers about their thoughts on your brand now. This can provide further proof to new visitors that your company still delivers on its promises.


Strategy #9: Boost Participation With Popups for Your Brand Website

Overall, limit the number of times the popup appears and provide an easy way out so that participants won’t be disturbed during the sweepstakes entry step. Here are 3 ways to use popups to advertise your sweepstakes:

1. Exit-intent

Show visitors to you brand website a popup advertising your sweepstakes when they are about to leave your site. Someone may move the mouse to close the window or enter a new URL in the address bar in their browser.

This behavior is detected as exit-intent which triggers the display of a popup right before the visitor leaves your site. Product pages, checkout pages, and blog pages are some places to consider displaying exit-intent popups for your sweepstakes.

2. Time-based

You can also display a popup based on the amount of time that someone has spent on your sweepstakes entry form or been inactive on that page. This can also help you to identify converting traffic versus untargeted or bot traffic so that you can use your ad budget more effectively and block unwanted traffic sources.

3. Scroll-based

If your brand website has a lot of long-form content, you may want to consider adding a scroll-based popup to advertise your sweepstakes. For example, you can show a popup as a visitor scrolls down to read a blog post. This is a great way to catch the attention of active users on your site and bring them directly to social media to continue the conversation.

Avoid Using Entry Popups

Popups that appear immediately upon viewing your sweepstakes can hurt the user experience making it frustrating and more time-consuming for new sweepstakes participants. Visitors should find your sweepstakes marketing enticing enough to interact with it initially before you display another message.

Even if you use a time-based entry popup, having it display within the first few minutes, while the participant may be gathering information to complete the entry form, can reduce participation.

sweepsify sweepstakes marketing plan

Sweepstakes Promotion Timeline

3-4 months before your sweepstakes start date (best way to boost participants):

2 weeks before your sweepstakes start date:

  • Start posting on your sweepstakes branded hashtag
  • Post behind-the-scenes of your sweepstakes content on social media
  • Use the “last-minute” sweepstakes promotion tips here in this article

2-6 days before your sweepstakes start date:

  • Send SMS notifications, email reminders to your existing, opted-in customers
  • Promote the sweepstakes on social media
  • Use more of the “last-minute” sweepstakes marketing tips in this article

Day of your sweepstakes:

  • Post on your hashtag
  • Be active on social media
  • Turn on marketing automation campaigns (SMS / email)
  • Encourage your fans to take photos and videos and post them online
  • Engage with fans, customers, and sweepstakes participants on social media

After the sweepstakes end date:

  • Thank everyone for participating
  • Track the success of your sweepstakes
  • Work with a sweepstakes administrator for legal compliance documents, reporting, and prize fulfillment
  • Send a survey to participants to ask about the customer experience
  • Follow-up to convert participants to customers


How to Attract More Sweepstakes Participants Right Now

Are you ready to increase participation for your sweepstakes? When you utilize these last-minute sweepstakes marketing tips, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to improve reach and boost sales immediately. So implement these last-minute sweepstakes tips to attract participants to help you achieve your campaign goals.

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