When we hear sweepstakes and contests, our heads turn in the same direction. Free? Prizes? Win? But there is a significant difference between the two.

What is the difference between sweepstakes and contests? 

Let’s start with sweepstakes.

Consider sweepstakes the luck of the draw. How? The form you choose to include on your sweepstakes can capture user’s general information, such as name, email and phone number, in case they win. The form may also ask if they would like to opt-in for emails or text messages and there are people who check that designated box off before submitting their information. This is a huge email marketing lead for your company.

Not only are you building your email marketing list, but you are increasing brand awareness. The consumer gets excited about winning a prize or getaway and shares the opportunity with friends, creating buzz about your brand’s sweepstakes. They may visit your website, feeding your marketing sales funnel, giving you a higher ROI.

What makes contests different than sweepstakes?

Contests have official rules that outline a clear set of skill-based criteria for judging or can be a contest of most public votes.

What marketing goal can contests drive for your company? 

Contests engage consumers with your product or service. Most contests require consumers to create content and share it, with an objective to win a prize. The opportunity to win a great prize drives users to share the contest, creating organic social buzz that produces more entries.

Popular contests that we see in the promotions space are UGC contests where users share photos by upload or hashtag. Contests generally follow a set of rules created by a company specializing in promotions, like Realtime Media. These rules, if created by a trusted legal team, will allow you to use the content curated from the contest for future marketing efforts.

Contests are a great opportunity to connect with your consumers and draw them to engage with your content, website, or products. Contests can help create brand loyalty, keeping consumers coming back. The goal of running a contest is to build a deeper relationship and nourish existing ones.

Sweepstakes and contests are great promotional tools to generate email marketing leads, brand awareness and build a relationship with consumers. Deciding on whether to use a sweepstake or contest can be difficult. You need to establish your primary objective for running the promotion, then choose a tactic to strategically reach your goal.

It’s not always an easy task, that’s why Realtime Media specializes in running sweepstakes, contests and digital promotions for thousands of companies worldwide. If you need help running your ideal sweepstakes or contest, contact us.