Website traffic isn’t just about the numbers.

The true purpose of boosting visitors is to increase the number of people engaging in a brand experience that builds awareness and loyalty. That’s how you turn a website visitor into a repeat shopper and a passerby into a fan. And that’s one reason why sweepstakes and contests can be such powerful tools for meeting your marketing goals.

Let’s say you want to drive a lot of attention — and, ultimately, sales — for a new product or service. You’ll start by reaching your key consumers through email and social media, inviting them to your website to engage with that product launch.

With a sweepstakes or contest, you can incentivize people to visit a dedicated landing page or new microsite — which Realtime Media fully enables with your remarketing and Google Analytics tags — that immerses them in the product and gives them a chance to win a prize. This one activation enables you to build awareness, earn engagement and generate enthusiasm for your brand and product.

Now let’s get down to the details. There’s a difference between a contest and sweepstakes — which one is right for your goals?


Sweepstakes are games of chance, while contests are about skill. Both promotions can be effective for a variety of marketing goals, but clients often select a sweepstakes when their priority is to drive traffic to a specific brand experience.

The landing page for a contest typically emphasizes the contest itself as the brand experience. For example, there might be a gallery of user-generated content, call-outs from celebrities and social media influencers, opportunities to vote and a list of requirements for entry.

A sweepstakes typically garners more registrants, due to the lower barrier to entry, and its straightforward nature allows for more of viewer’s attention to be spent engaging with the brand’s prioritized content.

For all of these reasons, if your brand is new to using promotions as a marketing tool, we typically recommend starting with a sweepstakes.


How do you keep a promotion fresh or keep users coming back for deeper, repeat engagement? A great place to start is by creating multiple opportunities to win.

An instant win game is one way to invite users back, as they can play every day or week.

Another common strategy is to draw sweepstakes winners each week, rotating prizes for continued incentives.

With each chance to win, you gain another opportunity to communicate with your audience. As you unveil the week’s prizes or remind them to come back and play, you can feature another aspect of your brand or product within the same message.

To engage two different audiences, you could bundle a contest and sweepstakes within the same promotion. The first phase might be a contest for your loyal email subscribers, while the second phase invites a wider audience to vote on submissions for a sweepstakes entry.

After users have entered, you can provide them an opportunity to share on social media from the entry confirmation page. One functionality we often add is to offer extra entries if users who share their unique link to the promotion on a social media platform and drive referrals who then register themselves..

While a social media giveaway where users post, tweet, or comment to enter won’t directly contribute to your goal to drive website traffic, adding a complimentary social sharing strategy can play an important role in attracting new visitors and increasing your audience’s reach.


The winner experience is an important part of the brand experience, too. Sweepstakes legal administration and prize fulfillment can be complex, but you’ll want to start by identifying when and how you’ll communicate with winners and deliver their prizes.

For example, in an instant win game or regular sweepstakes drawing, you can choose whether to ship all prizes at the close of the promotion or as winners are drawn.

As a sweepstakes management company, one of the services we offer at Realtime Media is the ability to identify and communicate with winners on an ongoing basis, preparing and shipping prizes on any schedule. Alternatively, you could consider digital prizes that are programmed to land in the winner’s inbox as soon as they are selected.

From a legal perspective, it’s important to look into contest and sweepstakes laws by state. In certain U.S. states, your promotion will need to be registered and bonded if the prize pool is more than $5,000.

The opportunity to win a prize is a tried-and-true way to build positive brand sentiment among your target audience, and it can help meet your other marketing goals, too. With the right strategy, your contest or sweepstakes can deliver and highly-engaging brand experience to your consumers, driving web traffic for the purpose of boosting sales, loyalty and engagement.