Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

Contests, Giveaways, and Promotions

📄 Contents

  1. Sweepstakes and Contests
  2. Giveaways
  • Print
  • + Share This
You've probably heard the expression "You've got to give something to get something." This push-pull method of increasing traffic and sales is practiced on the Net by many businesses - because it works. In this article, Frank Fiore provides an overview of your options for giving something away in order to get something (business) from potential customers.
This article was adapted from Frank Fiore's book, TechTV's Starting an Online Business. Frank is a regular contributor to InformIT.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Your marketing bag of tricks needs to include more than just an advertising campaign. There are other ways to promote your e-business and spend your marketing dollars. The key to your e-business success is being able to generate a steady flow of new qualified prospects to whom you can promote your product or service. Contests, giveaways, and shopper services are some of the best ways to do this.

There are basically two things you can accomplish with these types of promotions. You can draw attention to your product or service offer, and you can generate a database of prospects that you can market to later. Either way, these promotional elements should be seriously considered when creating a marketing plan for your e-business.

So, let's start with contests.

Sweepstakes and Contests

Sweepstakes and contests are one of the most popular promotion gimmicks on the Net today. Do a search on Yahoo! for sweepstakes and you'll come up with hundreds of sites listing tens of thousands of sweepstakes in which consumers can participate.

Sweepstakes and contests can increase awareness of your product or service offer and drive traffic to your web store. In addition, sweepstakes are a great marketing tool.

You can announce your sweepstakes to newsgroups, online sweepstakes groups, and search engines. You can add a feedback form on the sweepstakes page asking for comments on your web store, product, or service. If you have a new product, consider making that your sweepstakes prize. By using your own products or services as a prize, this will target people who are interested in those products or services.

Another marketing trick is to build a list of potential customers by asking them to check a box if they would be interested in receiving email, newsletters, updates, or possibly catalogs of your products. And don't forget to contact all participants via email when you announce a winner of your ongoing sweepstakes.

Ongoing? Right! You can run a sweepstakes monthly, weekly—even daily. Announcing winners to all participants is a great way to keep your web store and its offerings in front of potential customers.

Great promotion tool, right? So what's the downside?

How about hefty fines—and even jail time.

Keep in mind that although sweepstakes and contests can be an effective marketing tool, you must structure them properly to ensure compliance with federal and state laws. But we'll get into this a little later.

Starting Your Sweepstakes

For now, how do you begin? As with any good marketing promotion, you need to plan the event carefully. To have a successful sweepstakes promotion, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Determine your promotion goals.
  2. Determine your target audience.
  3. Design the structure.
  4. Promote your sweepstakes.

Determining Your Promotion Goals

First step—determine your goals. That's easy. You want to drive traffic to your site. But after potential customers are there, you can use your sweepstakes for any number of things, such as gathering feedback on your web site and product offering, or building a mailing list of prospects (always ask if they want to be included in future mailings).

Determining Your Target Audience

Next, you need to target your sweepstakes to make the most of your promotion. Match your promotion to the goals you're trying to achieve and the audience you're trying to attract. Are you after a general audience? Offer a general prize such as cash, a CD player, VCR, or TV. Provide something almost everyone can use. If you want to target your offer to those consumers who use your particular product or service, make the prize either your product or service, or a similar one. The prize in this case qualifies the player for you. Although you'll attract fewer entrants, the ones who do enter will be more likely to purchase your product or service in the future.

Finally, give some thought to your prize. You don't have to offer a large expensive prize, such as a trip around the world or a new Porsche, to get a good response. But don't skimp on your prize, either. If you offer prizes such as coffee mugs, mouse pads, or T-shirts, your sweepstakes will get lost in the thousands of contests on the Net today.

Structuring Your Sweepstakes

After you've determined your target market, prize, and goals, it's time to actually structure the sweepstakes.

First up are the rules. Listing the rules on your site is very important in conducting a sweepstakes. At the bare minimum you should do the following:

  • Include the number of entries allowed (one per entrant or as many times as they like).

  • Mention whether the sweepstakes is run daily, weekly, monthly, or just one time.

  • Mention any restrictions or limits, such as age limits, if open to U.S. residents only or international.

  • Tell entrants when the sweepstakes ends and when the prize will be awarded.

  • Detail any and all information required for entry, such as name, address, zip, phone, email address, and so on.

Next, give some thought to the entry method. Will contestants email their entry to you in response to your advertisement or posting, or are they required to go to your web site and fill out a form? The latter is preferred if you want to ask some questions or get some feedback from the entrants or find whether they want to receive more information, a free email newsletter, or a free catalog.

In addition, make sure that the following information is included on your sweepstakes page:

  • Information about your company, or at least a link to your "About Us" page on your site.

  • Full description of the prize you're offering. Let entrants know exactly what they might win. For example, if they win a cruise or a weeklong stay in Disney World, is the airfare included?

  • A way to contact you in case an entrant has questions about your sweepstakes.

  • The official rules that address in detail the elements that make up the structure of your sweepstakes. Every legitimate sweepstakes must have a set of official rules. The official rules should state exactly how the sweepstakes is structured, as well as any restrictions or limitations about your promotion.

Promoting Your Sweepstakes

The final thing to consider is how to promote your sweepstakes across the Net. There are a number of web sites where you can post your sweepstakes and announce it to the world, such as Sweepstakes Online and FreeStuff 2000's Games & Giveaways page .

Keeping It Legal

Adhering to the law is extremely important with sweepstakes and contests. And it goes without saying that before you run an online sweepstakes to promote your e-business, you should seek good legal counsel first. The key point to remember is that a sweepstakes is not a lottery. If your online sweepstakes is considered by legal officials to be a lottery, you're breaking the law!

So what's the difference between a sweepstakes and a lottery? A sweepstakes invites eligible participants to register for a chance to win a prize. A drawing at the conclusion of the sweepstakes usually awards prizes. A lottery consists of a prize, chance, and consideration. It's the consideration part that makes lotteries illegal in most states. Although the definition of a consideration differs from state to state (you need that lawyer again), generally, consideration means that a willing participant is required to purchase something or pay for access to be eligible to enter the contest. Another example of consideration might be the requirement of the participant providing detailed consumer information to be eligible.

Finally, you must offer an alternative method of entry (AMOE). Allowing participants to enter offline via mail or fax is a form of AMOE. Why should you do this? Including an AMOE for your online sweepstakes might decrease the risk that a regulator will view a sweepstakes promotion as an illegal lottery.

In addition to the risk of legal action, if you run your sweepstakes improperly, or if the participants feel that it was run unfairly, you risk a public relations nightmare that will be hard to overcome. Just because you're a small business, don't think that you're safe by flying below the radar screen of state and federal regulators. Don't be lulled into a false sense of safety in numbers. Seek legal advice and run your sweepstakes properly.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020