Contests can be a great means of generating interest in a particular product, service, or cause, not to mention to solidify a subscriber list, but unfortunately pulling them off successfully isn’t always easy. And it definitely isn’t free. Here are a few of the costs associated with running a rewarding campaign, in addition to one or two other obstacles you may encounter on your way.
First thing’s first. What are the prizes, and how will they be delivered? This is the obvious part, but many people forget about the overhead required to manage a sweepstakes properly from inception to giveaway. That means registering your sweepstakes with the states in which you want it played, which can be a hurdle all by itself. Depending on how much your prizes are worth in retail value, there can be issues to handle depending on where you want the sweepstakes available.
Legally, you’ll want a lawyer to either draft a set of rules, or to make sure you aren’t going to run into any legal trouble down the road. This is primarily to avoid any frivolous lawsuits that may result from loopholes that went unseen before you launched your campaign.
You may also want to strongly consider employing any of the various organizations that specialize in data collection. Knowing your target demographics can be a great help when selecting the right prizes to offer.
You also need to be ready for the response once your sweepstakes drops. Traffic to your website may receive a quick jolt once word spreads. This is what you want, of course, but if the servers powering your website aren’t prepared for a healthy stream of traffic, then this can cause more harm than good. People get frustrated quickly, especially when they can’t get to something they want.
Before setting up a sweepstakes, take the time to figure out how many people are likely to want what you’re selling, and do some research regarding how many people are attracted to the prizes you’re offering. Then plan to make sure your website’s infrastructure can handle what’s sure to come. In addition to making sure your servers have some muscle, make sure you have the proper support for both your mailing list and the database where entries are filled out and received. Failing to do either can result in future headaches.
Obviously, knowing exactly what odds a player faces when entering your sweepstakes is impossible, especially if you’ve never managed one before. But if you have, take into account past numbers and give the player a rough estimate of their chances. How many entries were received? You’ll also want to decide on how many prizes to offer. This can be an effective way of roping more people in, as more prizes mean more opportunities to win.
Keep in mind that the longer your sweepstakes is running, the more these overhead costs will start to pile up. Determine before launch how long you want the sweepstakes to last, and when it does end make sure that prize fulfillment is expedited. It’s good for the winner, and it costs you less money to have it over and done with.
No matter how smoothly your campaign is being run, it can never be smooth enough. Laying a good foundation for your sweepstakes is absolutely critical, but it can take a lot of time and money to do properly. Be careful and do it right.