How to Run an Effective Sweepstakes with
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How to Run an Effective Sweepstakes with SimpleTexting

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Everyone loves getting something for nothing.

That’s why sweepstakes and giveaways have long been one of the most powerful ways for businesses and organizations to engage with their audience. Now, with the help of SimpleTexting’s technology, running an attention-getting sweepstakes is simpler than ever.

With SimpleTexting, a giveaway can do more than create a short-term buzz around your business: It’s also one of the best ways to gain subscribers and keep your customers coming back.

The Basics

Okay, so a giveaway is a great promotion. But how does an SMS sweepstakes work?

Let’s say Joe wants to attract attention to his new pizzeria and bring in more customers.

He can do so by running an SMS-based giveaway. Not only will it generate public awareness and engagement, but Joe will also collect valuable mobile contacts he can use to keep his business thriving.

So, Joe sets up a keyword with SimpleTexting and advertises his sweepstakes in his window, on his menus, and on every table:

“Text PIZZA to 555888 for a chance to win a FREE iPad and get cool pizza deals sent right to your phone!”

Jane walks by Joe’s Pizzeria and the large “FREE iPad!” sign captures her attention. Impulsively, she texts the word PIZZA (known as the keyword) to 555888 (the short code). Instantly she receives an automated confirmation message thanking her for entering the sweepstakes.

That’s it! In a matter of seconds she’s entered the sweepstakes, submitted her contact information, and begun a meaningful engagement with Joe’s Pizzeria.

Now, not only is Jane excited about Joe’s giveaway, but by sending a text message she’s made a memorable, significant, and even somewhat intimate contact with the new business. Perhaps she walks in for a slice, where she would have otherwise walked on by.

Even if she keeps walking, Joe has successfully gathered her contact information and can send her promotional messages with coupons, specials, and other enticing offers, ensuring that Jane becomes a regular in no time.

Why Are You Giving Something Away?

A sweepstakes offers much more than the immediate effect of generating interest in your business.

By collecting a large number of SMS subscribers, the long-term effects of a well-run sweepstakes are even more valuable. Long after the winner has been drawn, you retain a large pool of potential customers who are only a text message away.

By sending contest entrants regular messages about discounts, upcoming events, or new products, you’re able to connect to your audience through an immediate, intimate, and inviting medium, keeping your business busy months after the conclusion of your contest. 

Choosing a Prize

First things first. What are you giving away?

Whatever you prize you decide, it should be something that your audience will be excited about winning. Generally, it’ll fall into one of two categories:

  • A product from your business/organization:
    • Text CINEMA to 555888 for a chance to win 10 FREE MOVIE TICKETS
  • An exciting item unrelated to your business:
    • Text BOWLING to 555888 for a chance to win a FREE MOTORCYCLE!

There are pros and cons of each prize to consider. With the first, you’re getting people excited about your own product. An unrelated prize, however, may bring in more subscribers: Winning a free motorcycle is a lot more exciting than a free game of bowling.

Another important element to consider is the price of your prize—a more expensive prize will generate more entrants to your SMS campaign. The more subscribers you collect, the greater the dividends your giveaway will pay down the road.

Setting Up Your Sweepstakes with SimpleTexting

Running a sweepstakes through SimpleTexting’s sleek interface is simple!

Step 1: Log in to

Step 2: If you haven’t already, set up a keyword by clicking “Add a Keyword” under the “Keywords” tab.

Step 3: Write a short automated response for subscribers to receive upon entering your sweepstakes.

Step 4: Once you’ve randomly selected a winner, notify them easily from the Messaging tab.

Step 5: After your contest is over, use the subscriber list you’ve built to grow your business by sending out regular reminders, coupons, and other promotions.

Advertising Your Sweepstakes

When entering is as easy as firing off a quick text, your sweepstakes can attract a lot of excitement and participation. Of course, people have to see your promotion before they can decide to enter.

So, to put it simply, you want to advertise your giveaway wherever you can!

Your promotional sweepstakes is already incredibly easy to enter. Now make it easy to see and easy to read. Here are just a few ideas about where you can advertise your giveaway:

  • Restaurant? Advertise your sweepstakes on takeout menus, table stands, even on receipts!
  • Rock band? Let fans know about your giveaway on your MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, at concerts, even on your mixtapes!
  • Religious organization? Notify your congregants of your contest in your newsletters and emails!

Remember, these are just a few ideas. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box.

The public already wants to enter your sweepstakes: All you have to do is give them a chance.

How Much Should You Advertise Your Sweepstakes?

The short answer is as much as possible!

The longer answer is that it depends on the size of your prize. If you’re giving away free pizza, you probably don’t need to advertise the sweepstakes outside your store. If, on the other hand, you’re giving away an expensive motorcycle, you’ll want to pay more for advertisements to ensure a good return on your investment.

Though a larger, well-promoted sweepstakes may initially cost more than a small-scale giveaway, the returns it offers are far greater. A substantial prize combined with a far-reaching ad campaign will yield more entrants, more subscribers, and thus more profit.


Word to the wise: Be sure to keep the following in mind before putting your sweepstakes into action:

  • To comply with the MMA Best Practices, you should inform entrants that by entering your contest they agree to receive promotional messages. This need not scare people away: It can be as simple as mentioning the benefits of this service, e.g., “for a chance to win an iPad and to get exclusive discounts!”
  • You must note that regular messaging and data rates may apply.
  • All sweepstakes must, by law, feature:
    • Official Rules
    • Abbreviated official rules
    • Access to rules
    • A free Alternative Means of Entry (AMOE)
    • In some locations: state filings, insurance bonds, and winner affidavits.

Consult legal counsel to ensure that your sweepstakes comply with all federal, state, and local laws.

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