Sweepstakes Experience? Now Almost Anyone Can Run Their Own


Giveaways aren’t just for big brands. For bloggers, influencers or brand builders, sweepstakes are an opportunity to increase audience engagement, gather followers, and increase reach.

Running a giveaway makes sense as one more way to be active in this fun and exciting online community. Take what you’ve learned from your own experience and throw the best online sweepstakes — and win big in a new way. What could be better?


Online sweepstakes can be used to build an online social media following or to collect contacts for a brand’s future marketing endeavors. This expert knowledge could mean bug success.

Avoid Big Mistakes

Hosting a sweepstakes giveaway may seem easy, but there are certain rules that need to be followed. Keep the following in mind as you get started:

  • Every giveaway needs to have a set of rules and privacy practices clearly outlined for all entrants. Services like Rafflecopter and TermsFeed can help with both.
  • While you can offer additional entries to people who make purchases, participants legally can’t be required to make a one in order to enter a sweepstakes. (Contests have different laws.) Be sure to clearly highlight that there is “No purchase necessary” somewhere in the giveaway rules.
  • Be conscious of the rules for hosting sweeps on social media. For example, Facebook requires giveaway sponsors to state that Facebook isn’t sponsoring the promotion. There are also guidelines dictating what you’re allowed to ask people to do to enter — so check the platform you intend to use and make sure you comply or risk being shut down.
  • Prizes with a high value are subject to special rules. If the winnings are valued over $600, recipients will need to sign an affidavit of eligibility. Winnings valued over $5,000 may require sweepstakes registration, depending on the laws in your state.

Finding a Giveaway Prize

Okay, rules are out of the way, phew! First things, first then — all giveaways need a really awesome prize. But how do you choose one? The motivation for hosting can greatly inform the prize. So what is your site about? An online fitness coach might give away a popular protein powder. A parenting blogger might offer a new stroller as a prize.

Or use the prize to attract the audience you want. Choose based on the audience you have if you want more of the same, or based on the audience you want if you need to diversify.

In some cases, brands may be willing to gift their product to the sweepstakes in exchange for the promotion it will provide — or for a “share and share alike” tactic that encourages entrants to gain entries for following both parties. You do the work, they get new followers, so do you and a lucky duck gets a great prize — everyone wins.

Using a Giveaway Widget

A widget can be used to handle most of the leg work and make that hosting biz a snap. Widget apps can be included directly onto your site page or blog post where the details are listed. Entries are tracked through the app and then on your cue, a winner is randomly selected. Entrants like it because it  removes all fear of inaccuracies or mistakes (or bias) they might stress over.

What is the Gain?

Sweeps can gain you a ton of new followers, even boosting you from relatively popular to influencer status. And that’s where it starts to get really fun. You do like people giving you free things, don’t you?

Sweeps can also help you know your market. If you’re trying to build a brand, there’s almost no better way than a giveaway to understand who already loves you and who is willing to engage with you. Knowing their age, sex, income level, education and most importantly: contact info is gold. Now your efforts to build that brand can be targeted and are much more likely to connect with that audience in a big way.

Contests are a whole other ball of wax with different rules but people have used them to sell their cars, houses, and to cash in on real value rather than haggling while some lucky winner gets a big prize for the effort of an essay or a song. More on these in another feature.

Hosting sweepstakes is a lot of fun and a great way to get more connected in the online community. The more often you run your own, the more you’ll see your audience grow — both in size and in eagerness. So why not put that expert knowledge to use and make sweeps work for you, and your future plans?