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There’s tried and true strategies to attract new leads that almost every industry uses- sweepstakes, raffles, or giveaways. These games give the player a lucky shot- a safe chance to play for a prize without the risk of gambling. With social media channels exploding in the past five years, it’s safe to say sweepstakes are here to stay. Contest legal hoops are intimidating to most organizations, so we’ve thrown together a few simple steps to keep your contest kosher.

Determine the Giveaway Goal

Why does your organization want to throw a contest? The opportunity to bring brand awareness and gather new leads is endless once you hit the launch button, so it’s essential to establish your goal to make your campaign a success. Is it to help fill your prospect pipeline, promote a new product before a formal launch or boost your social following?

Gain more email leads

Contest research shows one-third of contest entrants sign up to receive email updates from brands and partners. This volume of interest provides companies an easy way to gain leads for a relatively low cost. When you’re setting your contest goals, determine the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per lead and calculate your budget along with your entrant goal. If your organization baseline data on cost-per-lead (CPL) is hard to uncover, HubSpot has provided average CPL costs based on industry.

Cost per lead= total campaign budget/ number of contest applicants

Promote new products

What better way to preview a product launch than putting it in the hands of the people? Contests are a great way for your existing audience to experience new products and create excitement before going to market. Boost the number of entrants by increasing the odds of winning, include more prizes. Be sure to include the product cost and cost of delivery to winners when determining your contest campaign budget.

Gain more social followers

According to Kontest, social media contents increase an organization’s followers by 34%, on average. Set your entry guidelines so they increase viral sharing. Encourage contestants to boost their chances of winning by tagging a friend or sharing the contest on their social pages. Social contest platforms make the tracking of this type of viral entry easy.

Keep It Simple

Make sure the juice is worth the squeeze. Contestants that are not familiar with your organization may not feel comfortable sharing limitless contact and personal information for a t-shirt or water bottle. You’ll want to be sure that the length and depth of your entry form match the value of the prize. The most popular prize categories on social include travel, entertainment, music, and technology. You’ll want to keep your sweepstakes running for 25-60 days for optimal conversion.

Optimize for mobile

Running a contest on mobile increases the number of entrants by eight times (Kontest). To optimize your contestant conversions, be sure your digital channels are optimized for mobile. We recommend running a few tests on the entry form, digital ad displays, and the landing page layout on several mobile devices before kicking-off the contest. You’ll want the user-flow to be intuitive and easy.

Don’t make contestants jump through hoops

If you’re finding that your current platforms cause more contest trouble than excitement, see if you can allocate a small portion of your budget to purchasing a sweepstakes manager. ViralSweep, Woobox, Gleam, and Shortstack all offer very affordable options to host all aspects of a contest and have help staff to manage any technical challenges you may run into.

Partner Up

Want to boost your reach without additional costs? Explore collaborating with companies like yours to expand your contest to new audiences. Going in 50-50 can increase the number of contestants and reduce costs. You can also reach out to high-profile endorsers or social media influencers who may be willing to promote your contest to their network at a low cost.

Play by the Rules

Before diving into some of the basics around rule-making, we highly recommend having your legal team review all terms & conditions of your contest before beginning the creative process. It will save you time and last-minute changes once the guidelines are finalized. That being said, here are a few subjects to include when writing the fine print.

  • Eligibility: Giveaways usually stick to those who are 18 or older. This is because different countries, regions, and states have their own specific laws regarding contests and giveaways. It’s always smart to include the all-encompassing “void where prohibited” phrase too.
  • Open & End Dates: Within the opening of the Contest Rules, provide the date and time with time zone for when the giveaway opens and closes. This helps establish transparency and avoid confusion around when entrants can participate.
  • Winner Selection: Whatever way you decide to select the winner, ensure that it is included in the rules and that it is random and fair.
  • Privacy: Are you sharing contestant data with partners or planning to sell to a third-party vendor? Will their emails be included in future marketing campaigns? Your privacy policy should be laid out clearly.
  • Prize Value: This can get tricky and bring in tax complications. You’ll want to be sure that the monetary value of your prize doesn’t exceed a certain value to where it becomes taxable. This is where lawyers come in handy.
  • Delivery: Probably the most anticipated question from every entrant is “when will the prize arrive?!” Be sure that you include a delivery timeline. For example, establishing that prize delivery will occur within 90 days of selection.

Celebrate the Winner

Lastly, the most exciting part of a contest is celebrating the winner! Would Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes be as popular if they didn’t show up to the winner’s door with candid cameras and a giant check? It shows the validity of your giveaway and encourages individuals to participate in the future. If you’ve offered a travel excursion, ask the winner to share photos from the location to feature on your social accounts or even have them take over your Instagram account for a day.


If you need a little help getting started, reach out to our MOSAIC team at or 301.927.3800, and we’ll be happy to share our expert advice to help launch your organization’s next giveaway!

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