One question I frequently get when presenting my services to prospects is, “How can we stop ‘professional’ sweepers entering?

I hate that question, because:

  1. I do not earn my living winning. It is not my profession. I consult for a living. I enter giveaways as a hobby.
  2. Marketers don’t understand they are the ones that create the enthusiastic entrants.

Yes, marketers created the problem they wish to prevent or stop.

What?!

Yes, you created the ‘professional’ sweeper. Like a dealer, you are handing out the drug, but for some inexplicable reason are angry when people get hooked!

How?

By being great at your job!

Marketers do an amazing job of creating promotions, sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways.  Someone wins, has an amazing experience and then wonders what else they can win. They begin to enter every promotion they find.  You have just created a contestant.

Worse is the misconception of who an enthusiastic entrant is. I have been called greedy, a prize pig, and generally shamed for my hobby. As I am also a marketer I am disgusted by that behavior.

Why?

Sweepers are not greedy people out to win anything and everything. They are your customers and prospects. Yes. It bears repeating. They are your customers and prospects, who love to have fun. Winning is the most exciting way to be frugal, try new products and have new experiences.

Countless sweepers have told me they discovered a new product or service, they are now loyal to, because of a giveaway. It’s why it’s important for you to have a Back-end Marketing Plan. Be sure to:

  • Encourage entrants to buy what you are selling with special offers or coupons.
  • Stay connected via your newsletter or social channels for interesting news, tips, tricks, deals, offers and future winning opportunities.

Read my earlier post, Do You Have a Back-End Social Media Marketing Plan?

Dave Lackie is a fantastic example of a brand that has mastered the art of connecting with his followers across all channels. His specialty is beauty and he promotes the benefits of all the cosmetics lines he represents. He hosts separate giveaways on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, along with his blog and newsletter. You have to follow him everywhere to catch every winning opportunity.

In between my entries I get to learn about trends, make-up tips for my age, what’s new, etc. I love reading all he writes and recommends. Thousands of others agree. I have watched his followers grow exponentially over the years. They start following for the prizes and stay for the great advice.

Are you doing the same? Giving your followers a reason to stay and engage.

I don’t win every contest I enter.

I know?! Shocking!!

I win less than 1% of what I enter.

EXAMPLE: I submit 100-300 entries per day and I win 5-15 prizes per month. All one has to do is the math to figure out the percentage of entries vs. prizes.

100 x 30 = 3000
5 ÷ 3000 = 0.001

or

300 x 30 = 9000
15 ÷ 9000 = 0.001

Read the full blog post: Myth Busted: I Win Every Contest I Enter.

That means I am exposed to and interact with, hundreds of companies and brands every day online, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and occasionally Snapchat. Like most people, I have my favorites and I engage with those brands on a regular basis.

Who are your cheerleaders?

Who is giving you kudos and cheers across your social channels? Are you engaging with them? Are you turning them into influencers? If not, why not? It costs five times more to attract a new client than to keep an existing one.

Turning your cheerleaders into brand influencers is not only cost-effective, but ‘real people’ will have a greater impact on their followers than your ads, plus they cost far less to maintain as spokespeople. Reach out and begin to organically market your brand.

Some companies even turn cheering into a competition by incentivizing the top 1-5 cheerleaders with a prize. Always something brand-related; product, gift cards, branded swag, etc.

Qwertee is a t-shirt company that gives over 30 free t-shirts away each week. Like Dave Lackie, they give prizes away to newsletter subscribers, along with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers. They also give prizes away to their Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest followers, and host a weekly ‘You in Your Qwertee’ giveaway. Their fans are not only loyal but creative. Some of their submissions are hilarious, only encouraging more.

We are consumers!

Yes, I did state earlier that I win, on average, 5-15 prizes per month. That is only when I have time to enter on a daily basis. Currently, when I do win, it’s small prizes like movie passes, gift cards, etc. I have not won a ‘biggie’ in over a year.

Therefore, as much as I am a sweeper, I am more of a consumer. The other 99% of consumables in my life from food to furniture, from cars to clothes, etc. I have to buy them.

I have also changed my buying habits based on entering. Either great campaigns that inspired me to buy after entering or companies that conducted poor engagement discouraging me from ever doing business with them. My train of thought is, “If they can’t even run a simple marketing campaign, why would I trust their products or services?

You must treat all your giveaways with the same weight and importance as the balance of your marketing activities. You never know what will tip someone’s buying decision from a not to a yes.

Rethink your strategy.

It’s time to rethink your sweepstakes marketing strategy. Instead of wondering how to stop professional contestants from entering, start by promoting your giveaway within the sweepstakes community and watch your online reach and sales climb.

NOTE: This post was originally written for Neal Schaffer’s social media marketing blog