Thinking about running a holiday sweepstakes? Read this first


Stockings hung with care on the fireplace mantel…

Gingerbread towels added to your kitchen decor….

Holiday trimmings added right down to Christmas pillows…

The holiday season has a lot of unforeseen expenses. That’s why so many people during this time of year are open to opportunities to offset some costs or, at the very least, for a few free goodies. There is a definite reason why Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are so popular. It’s also the reason why so many companies choose to run sweepstakes (otherwise known as giveaways) this time of year.

As a sweepstakes management company, we like to consider ourselves optimists. If you’re thinking about conducting a sweepstakes this season, we urge you to go for it. However, it is really important that you take the time to carefully consider all of the possible pitfalls to conduct a smart giveaway that will have a positive, lasting impact on your business.

Here are 8 tips to keep in mind if your company is considering running a holiday sweepstakes:

#1. It’s important to establish your goals.
Holiday Sweepstakes can be great for your business, particularly in a year that has been challenging for many businesses to stay afloat. If you do it right, sweepstakes can help to: a) increase social media following and website traffic, b) raise brand awareness, c) deepen your relationship with existing customers and d) build the hype for new products. However, in order to accomplish any of these goals, it is critical that you outline the results that you want to see out of your giveaway before you begin.

Remember, since this giveaway will be happening in a limited time frame during the holidays, you need to be extra smart about setting your goals so you can achieve them by the end of the season. A great way to set smart goals? Use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym and set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. For more information on this tool, refer to this article.

#2. Have a plan to stand out from the competition.
This means investing in stellar graphics, engaging videos and solid copywriting. Also, have a plan to garner engagement, both paid and organic, right off the bat. If there is one tip we can offer in standing out, it’s this: be authentic. People relate to authenticity. Whether you’re funny or more sentimental, always make sure it is in line with your brand, both as it is now and where you would like it to be post-sweepstakes.

#3. Establish your audience.
If you’re a business that is just starting out or you’re a business on the verge of pivoting due to this pandemic, politics or any 2020-related shenanigans, ensure that you take the time to map out your ideal audience for this giveaway. Keep in mind that while you can have multiple target audiences for your company, that doesn’t mean that you need to have multiple targeted audiences for your giveaway. For example, while your product may appeal to both young moms looking for gifts for their 4-6 year olds and 80+ grandparents looking for gifts for their teenage grandchildren, you will have wildly different advertising approaches for both. You may not have the resources to develop campaigns appealing to both, so it’s critical that you tailor your marketing to one or the other. Once you’ve set your audience(s), make sure you figure out their pain points and talk directly to them through your marketing outreach.

#4. Consider if a sweepstakes is right for you or if a contest is a better option.
It’s important to know the difference between sweepstakes and contests. As a refresher, in contests, winners are not chosen at random but are chosen based on skill. Entry can be free or require purchase (in most states). This can be a great way to deepen a relationship with an already existing audience that uses your products or services to further a skill. For example, if you are a company that sells high-end art supplies, your audience may be more drawn to an opportunity to share their work and compete for potential prizes and public recognition.

In sweepstakes, winners are random and purchase cannot be required for entry (purchase can be monetary or non-monetary). A caveat to this is that you can have an option for purchase for entry if, and only if, you also provide a free Alternative Means of Entry (AMOE). Sweepstakes are great for promoting a brand or products unrelated to skill. It is also a great option for the holidays considering that people may be limited on their free time for competitions and some entrants might be attempting to transfer a potential prize as a gift.

#5. Choose the right marketing platform for your business.
Do research to find out where your audience hangs out. 18-22 year old college students? You better be on TikTok. 40 year olds with a mortgage and 2 kids? Facebook might be a better route for you. Wherever they are is where you should be. Also, since this is a holiday promotion, make sure you are sensitive to the holidays that they celebrate.

#6. Your prize really matters.
A few factors to consider when determining your prize: target audience, budget, shipping costs, desirability and whether you want to highlight new products or reinvigorate interest in older products. One more thing: consider that this year is different from any other year due to COVID-19. In previous years, you may have offered a prize related to experiences involving contact with other people such as travel. In 2020, however, you have to be absolutely sure that you are aware of current restrictions, limitations and risks that could impact a recipient claiming their prize.

#7. Consider that this year is different from any other year.
Not only does this impact the prizes, it impacts everything from what your audience wants right now to what platform you use to host your sweepstakes. Make sure you are viewing your sweepstakes through the lens of 2020. For example, consider that TikTok is more popular than ever and, particularly if you are appealing to a younger tech-savvy crowd, you may want to consider advertising your sweepstakes on this platform.

#8. Make sure you are following the rules.
From income taxes to restrictions on alcohol giveaways to prizes above a certain value needing to be registered and bonded, there are a lot of sweepstakes guidelines that are commonly overlooked and can lead to damaging legal consequences. For an example of some of these restrictions, read our recent article here. Due to the potential liability, we always recommend that you consult a sweepstakes management company before running any giveaway.

Planning on running a sweepstakes this holiday season?

We hope these tips have helped. If you need more guidance, we’re currently offering a free, 30 minute holiday sweepstakes consultation at Votigo. Contact us to schedule yours today.


Votigo, Inc. Completes Acquisition of US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Co.

Company now offers the most comprehensive contest and sweepstakes software and administration services in the industry.

Boulder, co

November 4, 2020

Votigo, Inc., the complete social media marketing and promotions company, today announced the acquisition of US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Co., an industry leader in sweepstakes administration since 1988. Together the two companies develop and manage contests and sweepstakes for some of the most prestigious brands in the world.

US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Co. is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Votigo, Inc. and will continue to operate as a stand-alone brand.  All US Sweepstakes employees will remain onboard and customers will continue to get the same white glove service they’ve become accustomed to through the years.

US Sweepstakes offers unique interactive solutions and an in-depth knowledge of sweepstakes, contests, rebates and social media and mobile marketing laws, rules, and regulations, from start to finish. Products and services offered include sweepstakes and contest administration, build-your-own sweepstakes, rules writing, legal consulting, online creative design and development, programming and hosting, mobile marketing, prize procurement and fulfillment, loyalty programs, and rebate management.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the US Sweepstakes brand, amazing team and knowledge of the industry under the Votigo, Inc. portfolio of companies.” says Jim Risner, Co-CEO and founder of Votigo, Inc. “Their long history of working with some of the best brands and agencies in the world are a true testament to their quality of service and offerings.”

“Adding US Sweepstakes’ deep experience in promotions administration to Votigo’s robust technology platform, our combined companies offer clients world class capabilities in the promotions industry.” says Aaron Steve, President, US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Co. “The synergies between Votigo and US Sweepstakes are above and beyond anything we could have imagined.  We are so excited to see what these two companies can do together.”

About Votigo, Inc.
Votigo, Inc. is a world-class provider of B2B Marketing Software and Services.  Votigo acquires and builds software business with a focus on Customer Loyalty, Social Media Promotions, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing, and Mobile SMS Marketing.  Current brands include Votigo, Heyo and US Sweepstakes. Founded in 2006, Votigo is located in Boulder, Colorado; The San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Hyderabad, India.  Its flagship brand, Votigo, is a leading social media marketing and promotions company with a Software-as-a-Service platform that supports full-service solutions and easy-to-use self-service tools for brands and their agencies including Kraft-Heinz, Allstate, Air Canada, Walmart, Nutrisystem, A+E Network, and AARP.

About US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Co.

US Sweepstakes is one of the nation’s longest-standing sweepstakes companies, having been in business for more than 30 years. It is a one-stop shop for some of the world’s biggest brands, developing hundreds of sweepstakes, contests, and game promotions annually. It is also a leader in providing the most up-to-date legal and administration services and applications for social media.  US Sweepstakes is located in Rochester, NY.