social media campaigns 2017

Referral Sweepstakes: How to Generate a Massive Email List for Your E-commerce Business

Creating referral sweepstakes social media campaigns can go leaps and bounds towards expanding your consumer base. If you want to build your email list or followers online, and you’re just starting out, or are already established and want to grow, this is the way to go. You may recognize contests and sweepstakes as an old-time marketing strategy. The good news is, it has taken on a new life with the booming of social media and other technology. Your target audience is just a social post away. In conjunction with your other 2018 campaign efforts, referral sweepstakes are an effective way to get attention and give prospects and customers something to look forward to that’s related to your e-commerce products.

Referral sweepstakes simply works. Whether you’re starting out from zero subscribers on your email list or Facebook Fan Page, or probably you already have 10,000 names on your list, it doesn’t matter. This referral strategy is a proven method to increase that number. By adopting a lower-barrier-to-entry way of promoting your e-commerce site, you’re opening more opportunities for the online crowd to join your campaigns.

One big benefit of starting a referral sweepstakes using your e-commerce brand is, you get to learn more about your consumers. When you ask them questions like, how they heard about your sweepstakes, what do they like the most about your industry, which of your products is their favorite, or if they haven’t heard of you yet, what products do they look for, this gives your e-commerce business the chance to hear from them first hand. All this data that you gather is truly valuable information for your business. A great deal happens through all the conversations that you get to engage in with your audience. That’s why it’s good that you keep your campaign simple and easy to join.

What Referral Sweepstakes Is All About

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Referral sweepstakes is about prize giveaways where the winners are chosen by chance. Your customers and website visitors are invited to enter to win a sizable prize. Upon submitting their contact information, they will be sent to a Thank You Page that will suggest for them to share the sweepstakes promotion with their friends. The page gives a unique referral link, that for every new entrant who joins the campaign, the referrer earns 10 bonus entries in the sweepstakes. The more entries, the more chances of winning. You can use software that tracks all referrals and related activities, and also, let it automatically pick the winner for you. Prizes can range from coffee mugs and branded bags, to t-shirts, cars, houses and big cash wins. Take note, prizes and chance are central to the excitement created by sweepstakes promotions where the winners are drawn at random.

You already know that your existing customers are your best source of referrals, so you can encourage them further by sending them a bonus code via email. Let this code unlock five additional sweepstakes entries when they sign up. It’s also good that you post new bonus codes every once in a while to all of your social media feeds. This way, people tend to expect your promotions and engage with you on social media.

Five Steps to Succeed in Your Own Referral Sweepstakes

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If you want to succeed in running referral sweepstakes social media campaigns before 2017 is over, follow our 5-step guide that will teach you everything that you need to know from getting started, to what to prepare and, how and where to promote your social campaigns.

1) Come up with an exciting grand prize idea. It helps when you add second and third place prizes too.

To make your referral sweepstakes campaign a success, it’s most important that you provide a compelling reward for your winners and an attractive incentive for your brand advocates to participate. Don’t waste time inviting others to join when your giveaways and rewards aren’t effective at drawing in new prospects. If this is taken care of, the rest are just technical details.

We recommend that you use your best first-time offer. Maybe you’ve done this before, and you have an archive of emails and social campaigns. Look back, and find out what worked best when it comes to bringing in new customers. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to test different rewards and prizes, and see which one generates the most participants. Make your job easy by using software that can test different offers automatically.

To help you get started, here are some ideas. As an e-commerce store, you can offer a gift card and percentage-off coupon to your own online store. Through this gift card, give discounted prizes or small gifts to your customers for sharing information, which in return may attract more people to your site. It’s great for your business because they only cost you a fraction of the face value of the card. Issuing a gift card makes the most sense for programs that trigger after the sale, because they will generally lead to an additional sale down the road. You can then expect your customers to come back and order again, and more often than not, at a higher amount than the face value of the gift card you awarded them, so the profit from that sale can help cover your cost for the gift card.

As for the discount coupons, make sure it’s unique and not something like your regular discount offers. Doing it this way will make your customers feel privileged in becoming a advocate of your brand.

Another reward idea is a gift card to a favorite store, shop or cafe. People typically become motivated to take action because they know that they can use the gift card in their daily activities and would be able to save money. And if they can’t use it personally, it still delights them to know that they can give it as a gift.

If these reward ideas appeal to you and you’ve got low-priced items in your online store, just remember to specify a minimum amount of purchase that your customer’s friends must reach before they can receive the gift card.

2) Write your sweepstakes rules.

You need to create the rules for your sweepstakes program. You can do this inexpensively by looking out for another sweepstakes program that’s being run by a big company. Check the rules that they implement and use them as a guide as you come up with your own. Once your rules are ready, ask a business attorney to review them. You can use a prepaid legal service to save money. You can find services that charge only about $25 a month, which will review up to 10 pages of a document. And it’s more than what you need.

3) Create your sweepstakes microsite.

By running a referral sweepstakes program, you’ll have to ask your customers to read the program rules, sign up, agree and get their unique links. You’ll have to give all other information necessary as you equip them to be your brand advocates through the campaign. You’ll be able to do this by building a webpage where you can publish all this information. Don’t worry, it’s actually quicker and simpler to do than you think. There are software providers that offer turn-key systems which can be up and running immediately with a program site that matches the look and feel of your brand and handles the tracking of all of your referrals. Some even have advanced features, like Sociamonials, which automatically issue the rewards and block suspicious activities. There’s nothing more for you to do than to wait for a notification email about the highlights of your campaign.

4) Launch your program.

Once you mark off your list the three steps mentioned above, you’re all set to launch. You can start announcing about your referral sweepstakes program. You can fill your social media campaigns with messages that mention your grand prize rewards, how easy and fun it is to join, the dates of your campaign and the url of your microsite. Give your social network followers tidbits of information to entice them to to visit your website. Tell everyone about it however you can, whenever you can.

5) Include your referral sweepstakes in all of your online marketing campaigns. Make broadcasts about it in the following places:

→ Email

Why not email your entire list and invite them to enter the sweepstakes. Give them the link to the sweepstakes microsite and make them feel special as a “valued customer” by giving away a bonus code.

Store page banner

Show your referral sweepstakes program on your virtual office by adding a banner on your home page. Make the banner direct your visitors to the sweepstakes microsite. This will help add anonymous store browsers to your proprietary database.

Facebook page tab

Create a tab on your Facebook page, and add your sweepstakes microsite. This way, your Facebook friends and followers can enter the sweepstakes without leaving Facebook. Take the power of the number one social media site to your advantage, by asking your own Facebook community to share.

Social media news feeds

Make sure that you routinely post a link to the sweepstakes microsite on all of your social media feeds, especially during the sweepstakes period. Reward those who interact with you in every social media channel by including a bonus code that unlocks additional sweepstakes entries. When you do this, they’re likely to check you out every now and then.

Promoted Social Campaigns

Use promoted social campaigns in Facebook, Twitter and other social sites to boost your social posts. It’s more effective if you promote social posts from the step above versus creating all new ads. Target your desired audience for higher clickthroughs and conversion rates. Test which social post give you the best results, and focus on promoting that particular post.

More Entrants = More People On Your List

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Simply follow these five steps, and your referral sweepstakes will absolutely work out. It’s an effective way to increase the size of your email list and energizing the existing members of your email list. Joining is very straightforward, and yet it gives your customers a chance to win a substantial prize, so it will surprise you how many participate. If your objective is to reach a new audience, launch a referral sweepstakes, it’s the best strategy there is for this purpose.  You can easily place Facebook and Twitter ads for the sweepstakes and capture emails cost-effectively. Your social media campaigns are well suited to promoting this type of program, as it makes people stirred up to take action.

If you liked this blog post, and want to learn more, we have six other ideas that can help your e-commerce site generate more referrals before 2017 is over. Spread the word around while you still have time. Find out exactly how, when you get a copy of our latest whitepaper.

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