Seven Strategic Holiday Contest & Sweepstakes Ideas
Insider Tips from our Experience & Promotions
With the holidays in view, many brands are planning their strategies for capturing consumer attention in the midst of a merry marketing season.
One proven way to cut through the advertising clutter and meet strategic goals? Sweepstakes and contests. The chance to win an exciting prize stands out among other marketing messages, generating engagement, loyalty, and even sales in the midst of a noisy advertising environment.
From custom-design promotions to quick-turn sweepstakes, contests and instant-win games — we’ve seen (and done) it all. Here are seven creative ways to use promotions to meet your strategic objectives this holiday season:
Goal: Drive Sales
Consumer holiday spending soared to $886.7 billion in 2021 — a new record, according to the National Retail Federation. Instant win games, powered by on-product codes or receipt validation, are an engaging way to encourage shoppers to buy your product while rewarding them with prize opportunities.
Brands can offer a variety of prizes — from coupon codes to free products, cash, and more — but the real driver is the opportunity to play again (and again!) with each new purchase.
With enough time to plan and print the design, our clients often choose to build the campaign around codes that are printed directly on the product. With this strategy, the product itself generates awareness for the promotion and guarantees an eager audience:
Not enough time to reformulate your packaging? No problem. A quick-launch alternative is to build an instant win game utilizing receipt validation. Users simply take a photo of their receipt and upload it to the promotion microsite for a chance to play. Our technology can automatically verify receipts from designated major retailers, and we can work with clients to include a manual review process for winners who purchased the product from a different business to ensure independent stores are included, too.
For another layer of awareness and engagement, many clients choose to offer consumers an additional chance to play if they share the promotion with friends on social media.
Goal: Activate Partnerships and Sponsorships
Use the holidays to spotlight your favorite sponsors or partners with a must-have prize strategy.
One national client partnered with several small brand sponsors in a holiday sweepstakes offering a $50,000 grand prize. The promotion ran for nearly two months, layered with an instant win game to offer participants an additional prize opportunity and proved to be an effective way to feature partners or new products during a peak sales period.
Sponsors were prominently featured on the entry page so consumers could easily click into each brand’s website:
Goal: Engage Consumers & Drive Awareness
Because a contest requires users to take several steps to participate, it creates deeper layers of engagement and is a perfect way to invest in your most loyal audience — and boost awareness for your own loyalty program. Shoppers consider loyalty programs to be especially important during the holiday season, according to Deloitte, and last year 61% of consumers joined a program just to receive discounts.
The personal nature of contest entries — a photo, video or recipe share, for example — prompts many brands to host them on social media, where they are already building direct connections with fans and working to stay top-of-mind during the holidays.
Goal: Boost Loyalty & Media with a Compelling Story
Several phone carriers offer compelling discounts and packages during the holiday season — but our client chose to stand out by advertising video calls with Santa instead.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we built a custom giveaway platform offering families the chance to “have yourself a merry little video chat,” building brand loyalty and goodwill (and featuring their video calling service) in the midst of a uniquely challenging holiday season. The story and excitement took off, including a feature on Good Morning America.
To support this unique giveaway, our team managed several custom functions to ensure consumers had a smooth, North Pole-worthy experience. Once an appointment slot was claimed, we integrated with Zoom’s API to immediately create an appointment room, sending the link directly to the parent and Santa and dynamically removing appointments from the site when claimed. Our team also built a custom admin tool to automatically provide Santa with the personalized information submitted for each child.
The holiday season is all about making dreams come true — for consumers and clients.
Bonus: Show Real Wins to Build Excitement
We all love a chance to win, and nothing fuels the drive to participate like seeing other people actually winning. No matter what type of holiday promotion you run, it’s easy to maximize your results by mentioning weekly winners on social media or featuring a real-time leaderboard of winners on the promotion page itself:
Everyone wants a magical holiday season — brands and consumers alike. We’re here to help make that happen. From concept to completion, Realtime Media can support your marketing goals with nimble, full-service sweepstakes and contest management. Reach out to us today to plan the holiday campaign that’s right for you.