50 Proven Ways to Promote Your Sweepstakes or Contest to Attract Participants & Go Viral

sweepsify 50 proven ways to promote your sweepstakes or contest
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The key to promote your sweepstakes or contest to make it go viral is detailed planning.

Sweepstakes marketing is highly effective for attracting participants to your promotion.

Here are our best 50 proven strategies to help you attract thousands of participants and skyrocket your sweepstakes or contest ROI.

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50 Proven Ways to Promote Your Sweepstakes or Contest

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  • How to promote a giveaway for free
  • How do you promote a sweepstakes, contest, or raffle?
  • How do you make a sweepstakes go viral?

Article Contents

Before we get started, let’s talk about the differences between a sweepstakes, contest, raffle, and giveaway.

🎁 What Is a Sweepstakes?

A sweepstakes is a promotion in which winners are selected in a random drawing and prizes are given away at no charge to the participants.

🎁 What Is a Contest?

A contest is a promotional event in which participants try to win by doing something better than others.

Winners in a contest are selected or judged based on criteria set forth in the contest rules.

🎁 What Is a Raffle?

A raffle is a type of contest for nonprofit companies where participants buy entries or donate in order for a chance to win a prize.

🎁 What Is a Giveaway?

A giveaway is a term that is commonly used as a catch-all term for sweepstakes, contests, and raffles.

Before you proceed with your promotion, make sure that you understand what type of promotion you are running: a sweepstakes, contest or giveaway so that you follow the rules.

How to Create a Promotion Plan for an Online Giveaway

Your sweepstakes promotion plan should include:

  • Targeting the right audience
  • Designing custom creatives for sweepstakes advertising
  • Martech tools (e.g. a sweepstakes platform), you’ll need to manage your promo
  • Follow-up plan after your sweepstakes ends
  • How you’ll track reach, engagement, followers, participants, and sales
  • How you’ll get this done as fast as possible

You can find the full steps in this detailed guide on how to create sweepstakes marketing plan.

How Do You Promote Your Sweepstakes a Sweepstakes or Contest to Go Viral?

So you want to know what are the best ways to promote a raffle, sweepstakes or contest to go viral?

Here are 50 proven ways to promote your sweepstakes or contest to make it go viral online:

1. Optimize Your Sweepstakes Entry Page

Make sure your sweepstakes or contest entry page is mobile-friendly and fully-responsive even on older devices.

Remove unnecessary clutter and elements that distract from the main purpose of the page which is to sign up.

Add logos of brands co-sponsoring your sweepstakes to increase trust factor.

Use a sweepstakes platform to track conversion rate and dwell time.

2. Optimize Your Sweepstakes Entry Form

On the sweepstakes entry form, remove any unnecessary fields.

Don’t ask too many sweepstakes survey questions.

Pre-populate form fields with the typical responses to help entrants complete it faster

(Careful: don’t skew your giveaway participant survey results with incorrect answers!)

3. Email Past Participants

Reconnect with sweepstakes participants from your past promotions to invite them to your new one.

Sending personalized emails or text messages to past sweepstakes and contest participants can get you more sweepstakes entries instantly.

Remember that after a sweepstakes ends it’s your job to stay in touch.

Don’t assume that these participants will respond instantly if you haven’t nurtured them.

Let them know about the start and end dates for your sweepstakes and how your promotion is bigger and better than last time.

4. Promote Your Sweepstakes With Social Media Cover Photos

A good social media cover image to promote your sweepstakes or contest should have the following:

  • Sweepstakes call-to-action (Example: “Enter to Win Now!”)
  • Photos of the prizes
  • Clear and conspicuous Abbreviated Rules (required per state and local sweepstakes laws)
  • Your brand’s logo
  • Sells the experience of the sweepstakes or contest
  • Website link or SMS shortcode to enter

5. Add Your Sweepstakes or Contest to Your Social Media Bios

In addition to making your sweepstakes or contest your social media profile cover photo, you should put a link to the sweepstakes entry page in your social media bios on all sites.

6. Add Your Sweepstakes to Your Email Marketing

From your email signature to your email templates, make sure that an ad with a link to the entry page for your sweepstakes or contest is included in all email marketing.

» MORE:   How to Create a Viral Sweepstakes or Contest

Once your promotion ends, forward the link to this page to a dedicated sweepstakes and contests notification sign up page.

This way you can collect potential participants for your next promotion year-round.

7. Promote Your Sweepstakes to Sweepstakes Aggregators and Contest Directories

The more places you submit your sweepstakes, contest or raffle, the more participants you can expect to receive.

Sweepstakes aggregators, contesting directories, sweepstakes forums, sweepstakes blogs, and sweepstakes Facebook groups are the best places to submit your sweepstakes or contest.

If you run weekly or monthly sweepstakes, consider the sweepstakes promotion on these sites for a steady source of participant leads.

8. Use Google Ads to Find Participants

Here’s how to control your ad spend and maximize your results to find sweepstakes participants who will become customers with Google Ads:

Refine your targeting to reach the specific age, gender, location, device and interests of the audience that you want to reach.

Use long tail keywords related to your product or service and industry.

Experiment with buyer intent keywords.

Improve your quality score with remarketing.

Avoid paying to show ads to sweepers by not targeting sweepstakes-related keywords, such as “online sweepstakes and contests,” “[PRIZE] sweepstakes,” “active sweepstakes.”

9. Promote Your Sweepstakes on Twitter

Tweet about your sweepstakes on a regular basis.

Use relevant hashtags, visuals, and videos to get more likes and ReTweets.

Get influencers with thousands of followers to share your sweepstakes or contest in their Twitter bios.

10. Promote Your Sweepstakes on Instagram

Create people centric content and be sure to use relevant hashtags for your industry.

Make sure to tag brands, locations, and followers as much as possible.

Use influencers to create Instagram Reels and Stories and your contest entry form link in their bios.

11. Promote Your Sweepstakes on TikTok

Use the Promote feature on TikTok to boost your sweepstakes marketing videos.

Use trending songs on TikTok in your videos.

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Repurpose your content in a new and interesting way.

Don’t just post the same videos from other platforms here. Original content is a must.

12. Promote Your Sweepstakes or Contest on Facebook

Run Facebook ads to target your audience.

Share your sweepstakes or contest in Facebook groups.

If you run sweepstakes and contests regularly, create a Facebook group for followers of your brand.

Create a Facebook Page for your sweepstakes or contest and make sure to mention that your promotion is not sponsored by Facebook.

13. Promote Your Sweepstakes on LinkedIn

If you are running a B2B sweepstakes or contest, it’s a must to include LinkedIn in your sweepstakes marketing strategy to find participants.

Add your sweepstakes or contest to your LinkedIn company page.

Start with your employees or customers first. You can also use LinkedIn sponsored updates to push your posts on to individual’s LinkedIn feeds.

Create your own LinkedIn group for your brand.

14. Promote Your Sweepstakes on Pinterest

Target Pinterest ads to people who have visited your website, engaged with your pins, and have engaged with similar content to your brand’s previously.

Experiment with different Pinterest pin formats (Repins, Rich Pins, Video Pins, Carousel Pins, Collections Pins, Idea Pins, Product Pins).

Submit your sweepstakes or contest pins to popular group Boards.

15. Publish Press Releases and Use Syndication

Press releases are highly effective for getting the word out about company news.

Write a press release about your sweepstakes or contest.

Then use a press release distribution service to instantly send out your press release.

The top press release syndication services will send it to thousands of reporters, journalists, blogs, and news outlets.

16. Promote Your Sweepstakes With Traditional Media (TV and Radio)

Traditional marketing is still extremely useful for helping brands go viral.

Many people instantly assigning trust to brands that advertise via traditional media.

You’ll be able to reach both online and offline customers to find sweepstakes participants.

Use print ads, TV ads, radio ads, billboards.

17. Promote Your Sweepstakes on a Podcast

Podcasts are a great way to connect with participants and customers given that the majority of customers have bought a product or service via an audio show.

Become a podcast guest on the podcasts that your target consumers already listen to.

Tell listeners why they should enter your sweepstakes and make sure to share the details of how to enter on air.

18. Promote Your Sweepstakes During a Major Industry Event

Trade-directed sweepstakes and employee sweepstakes are two types of sweepstakes that are not open to the general public by design.

If you plan to offer a sweepstakes or contest to a “members-only” group, then host your sweepstakes during a major industry event.

This gives you two advantages:

  1. It will be much easier to reach every potential participant in the group
  2. You’ll have clear avenues to demand all event attendees’ attention.

For example, you can host a sweepstakes during a conference making it only available to attendees.

Announce the sweepstakes during the opening session with key event speakers.

19. Include Packaging Inserts With Your Sweepstakes Promo

Package inserts are the first things that customers see when they open subscription box packages or shipments from your company.

Design a visually enticing, package insert using heavy-duty, high-gloss paper (for quality and trust factor) that has your sweepstakes advertising.

Place your sweepstakes package insert at the top of the box in each shipment.

Details to include on a giveaway package insert:

  • Where to find your sweepstakes or contest entry page
  • The official rules link
  • Abbreviated rules
  • Your brand’s social media usernames
  • Hashtag that you want participants to use for sweepstakes promo
  • QR code (optional)

20. Create Flyers and Signs to Promote Your Sweepstakes

In-store digital display boards are useful for displaying your sweepstakes or contest advertising periodically (and save paper).

Before you get started, make sure to check the rules regarding sweepstakes advertising in your state.

For example, the state of Arizona requires in-store sweepstakes advertising to be approved first

21. Use Influencers and Celebrities to Promote Your Sweepstakes

To get the maximum ROI possible, make sure to leverage events that these influencers and celebrities already attend and get them to promote your campaign during them.

For example, you could have YouTube influencers promote your sweepstakes or contest during an influencer awards event or concert.

22. Kick Off Your Raffle With a Celebrity Donation Match

As a another way to leverage influencers and celebrities to promote your giveaway, you can announce that a celebrity will match all of the donations collected at the end of the raffle.

This can help motivate more participants to donate to your charity during your raffle and not just enter for free.

You could also give away a meet and greet with the celebrity or influencer as a part of the raffle grand prize to encourage entries.

23. Offer All Participants Something For Free

It’s not enough to just tell participants to enter for a chance to win a free prize.

» MORE:   Sweepsify: A Brand Story Ch 2

You need to let all of your followers know that they will miss out if they don’t enter and participate.

Let participants know that you will be giving away special offers and discounts to all who enter, not just the sweepstakes winners.

This strategy helps build excitement and anticipation for your promotion and encourages sharing.

24. Cross-Promote Your Sweepstakes During Events That Match Your Target Audience Interests

You can also bring eyeballs to your sweepstakes from another popular event that’s going on during your sweepstakes.

Sports events reach millions of engaged fans and may match your target audience’s interests.

Use interruption marketing to advertise to these fans and get them to check out and enter your sweepstakes during a commercial break.

Connect with other brands in related industries to find a co-sponsor for your sweepstakes or contest.

If your co-sponsor has a large email list, then you can promote your sweepstakes or contest to their email subscribers.

This will give you access to audiences that your brand can’t reach directly because they aren’t your core customers.

To find brands, start with connections from your own social networks.

26. Make Viral Videos About Your Sweepstakes or Contest

Parody songs, funny, “watch and see what happens” are three types of videos that consistently go viral on YouTube and other video sites.

Use a catchy thumbnail (and dOn’T WRite yOur tHuMbNAiL TItLE LIKe tHIS)

Above all keep it short and sweet (Hint: Use shorts!)

Use optimized video templates that give you the right start from the beginning.

27. Turn Past Sweepstakes and Contests User-generated Content Into Shorts

Show how excited fans were about your last promotion by turning the user-generated social media content you collected into shorts for your newest promotion.

This will help past participants reconnect with your brand and get new fans excited about your upcoming promotion.

28. Post a Link to Your Sweepstakes Entry Page on Your Brand’s Website

If your brand has an established website or you have created a website specifically dedicated to the product or service you want to promote with your sweepstakes, add a link to your promotion on those websites.

Use popups, sidebar widgets, a floating menus or a welcome bar to make sure every visitor sees your promotion.

29. Optimize Your Sweepstakes or Contest for Social Sharing

Optimizing your promotion for social sharing isn’t only about adding Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook share buttons to your content.

You need to make sure that your social sharing options work properly on mobile.

Break up your content into shareable bites.

Use social sharing plugins that enable 1-click sharing.

Use only relevant sharing icons and remove the rest.

Enable social sharing from your sweepstakes or contest email marketing emails.

Turn the comments on.

30. Add a Countdown Timer to Your Sweepstakes or Contest Entry Page

A countdown timer makes visitors feel like “time is running out” and they’ll be more motivated to enter your sweepstakes or contest immediately.

It can also be used to generate curiosity and keep people coming back to your sweepstakes promotion throughout the promotion.

31. Use Native Ads to Tell Your Sweepstakes Story

Done well, native advertising can help create an immersive experience for your sweepstakes or contest by telling a story.

Craft a story for your sweepstakes or contest that matches your brand and also fits with the tone and style of the publication where your ads will appear.

Make sure to only choose publications that are natural partners for your brand.

Using a digital storytelling platform is the best way to ensure that your sweepstakes native ads content is stunning.

32. Create a Scavenger Hunt Leading Up to Your Sweepstakes or Contest

As the start date for your sweepstakes or contest promotion approaches, get potential participants to start engaging with your campaign by hinting at what’s coming with a scavenger hunt.

A scavenger hunt doesn’t have to be complex and it should offer some element of instant gratification.

Experimental tools such as augmented realty can really take this type of promo to the next level.

All of the clues should lead up to the start of your sweepstakes promotion.

This can help you to reach consumers who are not familiar with your brand but may be interested in your product or service category.

33. Promote Your Campaign With Paid Content Discovery

The great thing about content discovery networks are that the majority of the users are social media savvy so they are much more like to share what they see.

With a low cost per page view, you can almost exponentially increase the reach of your sweepstakes or contest campaign as any content shared through these networks are also shared on other social media networks as well.

Your sweepstakes ads be placed in the “Around the Web” and “Recommended Stories” sections of large digital publications and news sites.

34. Choose the Right Social Media Posting Schedule

You should create a social media posting schedule for sweepstakes promotions and always post at the maximum visibility times if you want to go viral.

It doesn’t make sense to design beautiful creatives only have your posts go unshared.

The more eyeballs your sweepstakes gets, the more participants will enter.

Here are the best times to post on social media according to research from Hootsuite:

  • Facebook: 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Instagram: 11:00 AM on Wednesdays
  • Twitter: 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays
  • LinkedIn: 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

35. Choose the Right Text Message Marketing Schedule

The best times to send marketing text messages for a text to win sweepstakes or contest are generally during periods when people need a distraction or have down time.

The best times to send SMS marketing messages are generally the late morning to midday on weekdays.

On the weekends, the most popular time to send text messages in the afternoon.

Pro tips: Don’t annoy your audience by sending text messages at the same time as your social media posts!

Make sure to only send SMS marketing text messages during business hours (8:00 AM – 9:00 PM) according the the mobile marketing laws set forth by the TCPA.

Use a text marketing platform to ensure compliance.

36. Create a QR Code With Your Sweepstakes Entry Page Link

If your business is in the cannabis industry or restaurant industry where customers are already familiar with using QR codes to obtain important information, create a QR for your sweepstakes.

The QR code should take visitors to the sweepstakes web entry page when it’s scanned. Make sure to put it on all of your sweepstakes marketing materials.

37. Advertise Your Sweepstakes on Your 404 Page

Surprise your website visitors with a chance to win a free prize instead of a ‘Page Not Found – 404 error.’

To make it fun and to avoid confusion, make it into a joke that they found your sweepstakes instead of the wrong page.

This also helps you redirect buyer traffic (customers) to your sweepstakes or contest that may have otherwise just left your site.

38. Do Interviews About Your Sweepstakes

Interview with a popular influencer and pitch your sweepstakes.

» MORE:   Why Sweepstakes Are a Powerful Marketing Tool to Generate Leads and Sales

Make sure to:

  • Answer questions about your sweepstakes official rules
  • Talk about how awesome the sweepstakes prizes are
  • Tell people when, where, and how to enter
  • Say why your sweepstakes or contest is worth entering
  • Ask for a link to the sweepstakes entry page in the video and video description

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39. Offer Incentives for Social Media Followers

Before your sweepstakes starts, offer incentives for followers to share your content.

This will help to train them to share your content so that they will continue to do so once your sweepstakes or contest is live.

Note: Most social media platforms do not permit you to incentivize likes and shares in exchange for sweepstakes entries.

That is why we are saying to do this method with other types of content before your campaign starts.

40. Create a Behind the Scenes Look at Your Company

Create a story around what goes on behind the scenes at your company or what it took to launch your sweepstakes.

This can help attract people who want to genuinely engage with your brand.

Then as they get to know about your company, you can invite them to enter your sweepstakes.

This is a strategy that attracts people who actually want to engage with your brand and creates a positive, trustworthy impression from the start.

41. Create Countdown Mini Campaigns for Each Prize

If your sweepstakes features multiples prizes and multiple winners, create mini sweepstakes marketing campaigns around the giveaway of each prize.

Show winners enjoying each prize individually using various scenarios.

This can help to reset your participants’ anticipation during the sweepstakes to get them excited over and over again as each prize and the winners are announced.

42. Give Non-winners a “Sample Version” of the Prize

Don’t shaft your participants by letting them leave your sweepstakes or contest empty handed if they don’t win.

In addition to coupons and discounts, give non-winners a voucher to redeem a “sample version” of the prize.

This tactic is especially useful for CPG brands because they can do a giveaway of sample size of their main product to all sweepstakes participants.

For example, a cereal brand might give away $10,000 cash as the grand prize for a sweepstakes but give non-winners a coupon for a free sample box of a new cereal.

43. Use Multiple Entry Sweepstakes to Give Bonus Entries

The benefits of accepting multiple entries vs one entry for your sweepstakes or contest is that you can incentivize any actions you want participants to take in exchange for bonus sweepstakes entries.

Sweepstakes participants all have the same chances of winning, however having many participants putting in daily entries will help your sweepstakes go viral much faster.

44. Create a Sweepstakes FAQ Page

If you expect to have thousands of participants for your sweepstakes or contest, you should create a sweepstakes FAQ that answers key questions most participants have regarding:

  1. Official rules (as defined by a sweepstakes administrator)
  2. Eligibility
  3. Start and end dates

Adding this additional content to your sweepstakes website can help it to rank higher in the search engines.

It also helps cut down any objections potential customers have about entering your sweepstakes or contest (so they don’t leave the page to contact your customer support).

S is for Sweepsify

This is something that will only work for the largest brands.

Create a “sweepstakes version” of your brand logo that is only to be used for this specific promotion.

Your fans will be intrigued and want to know why your logo has changed.

Use this interest to direct them to your sweepstakes or contest entry page.

46. “Surprise” Your Biggest Brand Influencers With a Part in Your Sweepstakes Story

After your fans have been made aware you that you are running a sweepstakes or contest, surprise (planned of course with them) your biggest brand influencers with mystery packages to unbox live that are related to your sweepstakes.

They will engage their followers and then direct them to your brand’s website for more information.

You could also use this strategy as part of a scavenger hunt.

#sweepstakes #contest #raffle #giveaway

47. Hijack a Hashtag

Take over a hashtag that is not normally known for marketing promotions.

This will surprise people with an exciting promotion that they never expected to appear where it did.

Use a popular hashtag site and social listening to find a hashtag that has the potential to trend easily.

48. Turn Off the Comments

Don’t leave the comments on on every page that promotes your sweepstakes.

You want to make sure that participants focus on one action: enter your sweepstakes or contest.

By telling potential participants to review your contest FAQ section, you should eliminate the majority of questions they have.

Comments on how awesome your sweepstakes or contest is should be placed on your brand’s social media profiles so that you reap the benefits fully with more followers, likes, and shares.

49. Use Your Co-sponsor’s Participants

Don’t forget to find out if your co-sponsor previously ran sweepstakes and contests.

Tap into their list of past sweepstakes participants to boost the number of initial entries.

50. Use Social Proof

For the final tip, make sure that there is social proof on every page promoting your sweepstakes.

This is to give participants a sense of how much activity is happening.

If dozens of people are signing up every hour, let your audience know.

Seeing that your sweepstakes or contest is getting many entries will show participants that your sweepstakes is legit.

Just make sure that you follow through and deliver a seamless customer experience to build permanent trust and loyalty for your brand.

Best Practices for Creating Viral Sweepstakes and Contests

Optimizing your sweepstakes promotion plan to these best practices virtually guarantees that your sweepstakes or contest will go viral.

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Before you go, here the best practices for creating a viral sweepstakes or contest.

These are the traits that all high ROI sweepstakes and contest marketing promotions have in common:

Capture Potential Sweepstakes Participants’ Attention Fast

Potential sweepstakes participants see tons of content every day online.

If you are trying to get people to pay attention to your sweepstakes or contest promotion instead of scrolling past your posts, you need to use immediate attention-grabbers.

Use visuals that entice visitors to check out your promo including video and gifs.

Wowing your target audience with engaging messaging immediately translates to likes, shares, and giveaway entries.

Additionally, you need to meet your audience where they spend time the most using the latest media formats.

Be bold, transformative, hilarious, forward-thinking, weird or whatever you like. Stand out!

This is how you get attention fast when you’re trying to connect with your target audience.

A pet photo contest is always a winning promotion

Appeal to Sweepstakes Participants’ Emotions

Sweepstakes participation is heavily driven by how participants view your brand and the quality of the promotion.

When you create a viral sweepstakes campaign that strongly appeals to participants’ emotions they are much more likely to engage.

Viral sweeps make people insanely happy and motivated to win.

Make your audience feel like they have to enter right now and there’s no other option to more attract sweepstakes entries.

Ask Participants to Enter Your Sweepstakes or Contest

Remember this time-tested sales success adage:

Always ask for the sale. In this case, ask participants to enter your sweepstakes or contest.

Why is a sweepstakes call to action important?

Your sweepstakes or contest needs to make it clear to potential participants that they need to take action now.

Your call to action needs to deliver a sense of urgency and direct users to one action: complete the contest or sweepstakes entry form.

While you can use multiple calls to action to attract sweepstakes and contest participants, focus only on telling users to “Enter to Win Now.”

How Sweepstakes and Contests Get Massive Traffic Spikes

Focus on making your sweepstakes or contest uniquely awesome and unexpected.

A sweepstakes or contest that is unlike something people have ever seen before drives participation.

The most successful viral sweepstakes and contest campaigns have these features:

  • Visuals-driven
  • Valuable prize (rare, unique or high value prize)
  • Unique concept for the campaign
  • Messaging that has a high share rate

The real work and sources of success for your sweepstakes or contest may vary. If you want to make going viral as efficient and cost-effective as possible, you need the right tools.

Looking for a sweepstakes marketing company to help you with your next promotion? Sweepsify helps you find top sweepstakes companies in seconds. Create your free Premium account now to get started.

Sweepsify provides access to sweepstakes company and contest administration services offered by a network of provider sweepstakes management firms. Neither Sweepsify nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed sweepstakes lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is accepted in good faith, however, Sweepsify makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.