5 Lessons We Learn from a Social Sweepstakes Success Story

“Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if we won that $500 gift basket of goodies from the county store?”

“I need to win those sideline tickets to the game.”

They’re on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram. You’re almost guaranteed to see at least one every day somewhere on social media: a giveaway, social contest, or Social Sweepstakes. How many have you entered this year, hoping you’d win that magical trip to Disneyland or ultimate sport adventure?

Social contests have a way of pulling everyone “in” by pulling at the heart strings, and most of the time, it only requires a small action for entry. They are also a great way to engage fans, create excitement around your brand, and build word-of-mouth buzz online.

Most SMB owners don’t think about running social contests because they are busy focusing on pressing issues, such as hiring a new contractor or figuring out a payroll dilemma; however, Sweepstakes can play a huge role in your small business marketing game if you take the right steps to make it a success, like this resort did.

A Sweepstakes Smash Success

Harpole’s Heartland Lodge & Resort is an establishment located in a rural area of southwest Illinois. Between the rolling country hills, this beautiful resort is the destination for people around the country for hunting trips, weekend getaways, and corporate retreats. Experiencing a lull in traffic, Harpole’s Heartland Lodge wanted to increase website visitors, jump start fall bookings, and gather customer leads for email marketing. So they teamed up with the digital marketing experts at OrangeSoda to run a Social Sweepstakes on their Social Marketing Platform PromoJam.

The promotion ran for 25 days and garnered a mind-blowing social response including a 335% increase in website traffic while reaching more than 6,231,952 people on Facebook.

Not only did it reach millions, but the resort also got tons of engagement across social media:

  • Gained 20,209 new Facebook Likes
  • Collected over 22,000 new customer emails
  • Attracted over 162,000 customers to their website (a 335% website traffic increase due to the Social Sweepstakes)
  • Participants shared 37,103 messages about the resort to their friends on Facebook gushing about the promotion and how much they would love to win the giveaway.

Results like these are possible when you execute a promotion strategically, like this business. Here are 5 lessons we learned from this Social Sweepstakes success.

1. Using Sweepstakes Tackles Goals

Running a Sweepstakes is a great marketing initiative because it can target one or many goals at once, as seen with Harpole’s Heartland Lodge.

Every company is different, and you can outline your objectives while planning the campaign to maximize potential and ensure you get desired results. Sweepstakes can help you:

  • Gain exposure
  • Grow social following
  • Grow email lists
  • Get a fresh batch of leads
  • Engage your customers
  • Increase sales
  • Generate word-of-mouth buzz
  • And the list goes on!


2. Use the Right Technology

The technology you use to run Sweepstakes can make all the difference throughout the course of the campaign. A robust technology can help you run the promotion from start to finish, from design to launch to picking the winner. Technology is also important because this is the tool that will help you obtain information about your participants and collect data about engagement.

One of the things that made this Sweepstakes truly remarkable was all the metrics tracked during the course of the promotion. OrangeSoda’s high-tech social promotions builder platform, called PromoJam, creates mobile-responsive promotions that can be hosted on a website, microsite, custom URL, or Facebook Page. Not only does the technology create the promotion, but once the campaign launches, it tracks all the actions: engagements, submissions, reach, and more through it’s sophisticated real-time analytics platform. By the end of the campaign, the promotion collected tens of thousands of emails along with other valuable customer information.

You will also want to keep in mind that many states have legal limitations surrounding giveaways and contests. A Sweepstakes technology that has the legal stuff figured out for you is helpful and will be a major time saver. OrangeSoda’s Sweepstakes product handles all the heavy lifting, including the legal sweepstakes rules and regulations so you can get to market fast.

3. Use the Right Platform to Host the Contest

Harpole’s Heartland Lodge chose to host the Sweepstakes on their website, but promoted it weekly on Facebook, and created other advertising campaigns to direct qualified users to enter. This created several opportunities for engagement.

The participant learned about the promotion from the Facebook post and was directed to the website to enter. This drove traffic to Harpole’s website and allowed the participant to explore the website and engage in further brand discovery. Before the entry was completed, the participant was encouraged to share the message on Facebook with friends. This furthered the reach of the campaign – so much so, that over 6,231,952 users were reached by the campaign. Meanwhile, OrangeSoda strategically ran Facebook Ads to drive even more people to take the same actions. This promotion was largely successful because it created viral traffic to several different platforms.

4. Give the Promotion Enough Time

You want to give the promotion enough time to gain momentum, but not have it run so long that people forget about it or it loses steam. You also will want to keep in mind the required task. The easier the task, the less time a participant will need to complete it. A recommended timeframe is 2 to 3 weeks. The best time for your sweeps might depend on a timeliness factor, like an event or special occasion, or an industry standard. Give users a reason to visit the promotion many times throughout the duration of the campaign, by promoting it frequently throughout the course of the promotion.

5. Use the Newly Collected Information

Perhaps the most important thing you should figure out before you run a contest is what you are going to do with the newly collected information also known as your new leads. With names, emails, and sometimes zip codes and survey answers, you now hold treasured material about your potential clients and at least some form of contact information. It’s only valuable if you use it properly. Emails can be re-purposed for an email marketing campaign and addresses can be used for mailed coupons or flyers – just make sure that users have opted in to receive further communications from you.

You, too, can have success through Social Sweepstakes! Using these 5 lessons will help you build a contest that will give you information you can use to power your marketing strategy going forward. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a friendly digital marketing expert at OrangeSoda. We’re here to help!