Many building material companies use sweepstakes and giveaways to promote their products. Sweepstakes are a kind of sales promotion, but they’re not the only one. There are a number of types of sales promotion and each of them can help you achieve different goals, including:
- Trade Deals
- Price Offs (Sale)
- Sweepstakes and Giveaways
- Cause-Related Promotions
These programs can be used individually or in combinations to achieve your objectives.
A Sales Promotion Program Can:
- Reward current customers
- Attract new customers
- Increase attention to your message
- Give your sales a short-term boost
- Improve (or harm) your brand image
- And more
My issue with many companies is that they try to grow their sales by picking an idea without considering alternatives that might serve them better.
This article is about sweepstakes. In future articles, I will cover the strengths and weaknesses of each of the techniques listed above to help you choose the right one to help you achieve your goals.
What Is a Sweepstakes?
A sweepstakes is when you award a prize or prizes through a drawing in which all participants have an equal chance of winning.
The Advantages of a Sweepstakes
- Attract attention to your message or event, such as a trade show booth
- Enhance the image of your product by associating it with a desirable prize
The Disadvantages of a Sweepstakes
- They won’t produce a big jump in sales – your product still has to sell itself!
- They attract customers who have no interest in your product. You may end up with a large number of unqualified leads that have to be separated from the good ones.
- People who work for your largest customers may not be allowed to accept a prize.
- You can not require a purchase to participate.
If you have a strong sales message, a sweepstakes can help spread the word faster to a wider group of people. If you don’t have a strong sales message, a sweepstakes won’t make things better.
The Best Prizes
The best sweepstakes prizes are those that are desirable to your type of customer but that they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves.
Every architect wants an Eames Chair but most of them won’t buy it for themselves. This is from a booth at the AIA show.
A contractor might like to have a Yeti cooler but they probably wouldn’t buy it for themselves.
If you’re going to give away something like a Yeti cooler. Make sure you don’t give away a knockoff like the example below. Give away the real thing. If you giveaway a knockoff, it hurts your brand. It makes your product look like a lower cost knock off instead the real deal.
If you are sourcing your prizes through your premium and incentive supplier, they will frequently bring you a knock off that they can buy at a discount and markup. They don’t know how to mark up a product they have to buy at retail. If you’re going to give something away, do it right. Your customers can tell the difference
Behr Paint could have given away lower cost headphones. Their association with Bose makes the prize more desirable and enhances their brand.
If you have a larger budget, give away a sports car rather than something practical. If you give away a truck to contractors make it a one of kind truck like Atlas did at the IRE show.
You can’t compete with the size of lottery prizes today. Giving away $10,000, $100,000 or even $1,000,000 no longer sounds impressive. You have to make your prize interesting, desirable, and unique.
Do not give away money or a prize where you promote the dollar value. If someone desires a prize, when you tell them the cost you put a cap on the value and make it seem less special.
Many of your best customers can afford any vacation they want, what they don’t have is the time to take a vacation. They can afford to buy themselves anything you can offer them, what they are looking for is something unique and special.
A weekend trip on a private jet is more desirable than a week in Hawaii. They can go to Hawaii whenever they want. They would never think of a trip on a private jet where for once in their life, they get to act like a rock star.
If you are going to give away prizes that are worth more than $600, you should work with a sweepstakes expert to make sure you don’t break any of the many different state laws governing sweepstakes. They can also write the rules to keep you out of trouble.
If you offer a high-value prize, like a sports car, the majority of winners will take the cash value instead of the car to pay the taxes, if you give them that option.
Are Sweepstakes for You?
Before you decide to hold a sweepstakes, think about what it can and cannot do. If it’s right for you, offer a prize that your customers really want and elevates your image.