Five Things You Can Do With Sweepstakes Entry Forms

What To Do After Your Sweepstakes Drawing

entry box for sweepstakes drawingTo promote special events such as grand openings and holiday sales, many businesses hold a prize drawing.

After the prize has been given away, business owners often wonder what they should do with all of the leftover entry forms.

Usually, they are tossed in the trash with very little thought as to what they are worth.

However, in most cases, these entry blanks can be of great value to your business. At the very least, they contain vital information about your customers and future prospects. Why not put them to use as a customer retention or prospect tool? Depending upon your company, this could be a great source of new business.

Make your entry forms useful.

The first step to making your entry forms work for you is converting the entry blanks into a database so you can easily communicate with your leads. A simple way to do this is to enter the client information into a spreadsheet or database such as Microsoft Excel.  If you are using a CRM system such as Salesforce, you could import the data from Excel or enter the information directly.

Organize the name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number and email address into separate fields. You may also want to add a memo field that indicates the information’s source, such as “Christmas Drawing 2012.” You will also want to distinguish between prospects and clients, but if your business is a restaurant or similar business, this may be immaterial.

If you give away a prize that collects the names of children, like the Giant Christmas Stocking , you will want to note if the contact is a child or adult. It’s best to collect both names and then separate them into different fields on the spreadsheet.

Don’t let the first task of database entry discourage you from moving forward. This should not be a difficult job. If your staffing resources are limited, consider hiring someone with a few extra hours to spare, like a high school or college student. This is an easy job that someone can do from home.

If you have a large number of entry blanks to enter or if you cannot find someone locally, there are a number of commercial companies that are able to handle this for you.

Be Sure You Have A Privacy Policy.

In dealing with customer data — particularly data about children– you need to clearly outline how you are going to use that data.  This can be outlined in the Sweepstakes Rules.  Most people understand that if they enter a drawing, the information they provide may be used for the business to contact them later.  I recommend that you do not sell the data you collect – unless you have clearly informed the people that are registering for your contest.  Certain states may have additional laws or regulations so you should consult your State Attorney General’s Office if you have any questions about running a sweepstakes or using the data collected.

What’s Next?

After you have completed the database, you can contact your leads. If you are dealing with a large purchase, or have salespeople that follow up on leads (such as a car dealer), you may want to contact them by telephone. Another form of communication is email. Before you email your list, you should be careful to follow some strict guidelines. Recent laws now make it somewhat difficult to send out bulk email. I’ll follow up with a post on this matter.

A very simple and incredibly effective form of communication is direct mail. With a letter or postcard, you can easily merge database information to labels or letters with just about any popular word processing program. More information on Direct Mail.

If you are sending out only a few hundred letters or postcards, you may find it just as easy to do it yourself. If your list is in the thousands, you may want to hire a firm to manage the process.

Now, It’s Time To Communicate With Your Prospects.

Here are a few suggestions on how to communicate with your mailing list. You will need to be creative, depending upon your business. Low-ticket items for a restaurant will be different than a large purchase item such as an automobile.

Thank them for registering. Everyone likes attention and knowing they are appreciated. Acknowledge they visited your business, but don’t stop there.  Invite them back into your store or business. Let them know they are welcome back and that you appreciate their business.

Make an offer. The better the offer, the more likely they will come back. This can be as simple as 10% off their next order, a free appetizer or $10 off an oil change. The offer should have a perceived value. You should also put a time limit on it, such as January 30. Use a specific date of no more than 45 days. Close with a good call to action, such as “Call right now for your appointment.”

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Encouraging your leads to spread the word about your business extends your reach through your prospects’ friends and neighbors. Simply stating, “Bring a friend to our restaurant between now and January 30 and we’ll give you both a free appetizer” is a powerful selling tool.

Direct them to your Website. Make it easy for people to find you and learn more about your business.

How often should you communicate with your customers or prospects?

Many marketing professionals say you should mail your list once a month. Clearly, you should be in contact with customers and prospects on a regular basis. Sending a mailer once a month will keep your company or organization in front of your prospect when they make a buying decision.

Need help with design, printing or mailing?

There are many marketing firms that can assist you in direct mail. You can hire a mail house, printer , direct mail company or an advertising or marketing agency to assist.

If you would like to explore professional help, feel free to contact Bagwell Marketing, a full-service advertising, marketing and public relations firm.
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For ideas on Sweepstakes and Giveaways – See These Links:

For Sweepstakes for Families With Children:

marketing ideaEaster   marketing ideaSummer / Patriotic marketing ideaBack-to-School marketing ideaHalloween marketing ideaChristmas