Sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways are often used by bloggers and marketers as ways to bolster mailing lists, boost user engagement, and increase exposure through social shares. Making sure that these campaigns are easy for you to manage and simple for participants to understand and enter will ensure that they run smoothly and achieve their purpose.
Let’s review a few tips and tool recommendations to help you effectively run a sweepstakes on your WordPress website, positioning you to reap the benefits and make the most out of your contest.
Running a sweepstakes has its perks
Using your site as a platform to run sweepstakes can increase the number of people that you typically reach. This is particularly true if your readership growth is a bit stagnant. Sweepstakes and contests can attract more eyeballs to your content, giving you the chance to reward a few of your readers for the time they spend exploring your site and sharing your posts. Since sweepstakes usually involve sharing a post on social media, your readers will be doing most of the sweepstakes marketing for you. Plus, if you’re giving away a product that you make and sell as the sweepstakes prize, your exposure will be even greater, as the winner might post and share photos of themselves using your product.
Don’t think that the benefits of sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways are fleeting. If your content remains relevant, it’s likely that participants will still follow your blog (or your social media accounts) even after your promotion ends.
Sweepstakes best practices
If this is your first time conducting this kind of promotion, here are a few tips that can help you run it smoothly.
1. Highlight your sweepstakes with its own page
If you’re a frequent blogger and you announce a sweepstakes within a regular post, it may get buried among your other posts. Instead, create a separate page with the pertinent contest details.
You can display your sweepstakes promotion within a widget. Use Widget Visibility to control which pages display your sweepstakes listing, and to hide other widgets that might distract from it. This should make your sweepstakes more visible to casual site visitors who stumble upon your page. Add it to your site’s primary navigation menu, display a message on the sidebar of your blog’s content page, or add a call-to-action button below your latest posts asking readers to enter your sweepstakes. This can save time that you might spend promoting and explaining the sweepstakes rules, and will make it easier for participants to navigate to, bookmark, and share your sweepstakes listing.
2. Be forthcoming
This rule applies to both your entry process and your intentions for running a sweepstakes on your WordPress website. If you make participants jump through too many hoops, you will likely end up with fewer entrants, which limits your promotion’s potential reach.
If you’re asking participants to submit personal information (like their names and email addresses to validate their entries), inform them about how you will be using their data. For example, if you’re conducting a sweepstakes to collect email addresses for your next newsletter marketing campaign, tell participants that they will be added to your list of email subscribers (and that they can opt out at any time). This is also applicable if you’re using Contact Forms to collect sweepstakes information.
3. Practice with a dry run
From contest rules to the entry process, any small hiccup could stall your sweepstakes’ success. Get ahead of these issues by testing your landing page with a small group of people before going live. You might reach out to willing participants on social media or ask a small group within your family-and-friends network to test your initial entry form.
Ask your testers how you might improve the wording of your sweepstakes rules, how long the process took them to complete, and how they felt as they were submitting their entries. Request that they submit any feedback using a contact form placed on your site, or through one of your social media channels. Take their feedback to heart when revising your sweepstakes entry form before sharing it with the general public.
With Jetpack’s suite of promotional features, most of your bases are already covered; these include Social Media Icons that complement any sharing components of your sweepstakes, Publicize to automate your contest-related posts, and the Milestone Widget to create a countdown for the number of days remaining until the winner is announced. Combine these with a plugin like Pick Giveaway Winner, Contests by Rewards Fuel, or Social Polls to complete your contest toolkit.
A small sweepstakes can create a big buzz
Running sweepstakes on your website can introduce your content to new readers, increase your site traffic, and boost engagement. With a bit of promotion and the tips and tools mentioned above, you can mobilize your followers to do the marketing for you.