How Do I Run a Text to Win Sweepstakes?
A text to win sweepstakes provides your customers with a quick, easy way to enter a sweepstakes from a mobile phone. A text to win can be set up in days instead of weeks. This type of promotions is fast to enter. And it provides a way to collect minimal private, personal information if your brand is privacy focused. Here are 6 best practices to consider when running a text to win sweepstakes.
1. Obtain a Shortcode
A shortcode is a short, abbreviated phone number used by mobile messaging providers. You can obtain a dedicated shortcode directly from a cellular carrier, or work with a mobile shortcode vendor who lets you use their shortcode already in place. Most short term text to win promotions are set up so the sponsor pays for just the use of a keyword on an established shortcode through a vendor.
2. Reserve Your Keyword
Keywords should be unique or meaningful to your promotion. If you are running a sweepstakes to give away a trip on a cruise you might want to reserve the keyword CRUISE, for example. Or if you want to promote your brand you can reserve a keyword that identifies your brand, like CHOBANI or GATORADE. One sweepstakes may offer a new keyword each week if prizes change, or if the entrant gets to choose the prize. Multiple keywords can also be used to segregate your audience or brands (e.g. DALLAS, HOUSTON, AUSTIN could be used to divvy up what prize pool the user is a part of in a Texas sweepstakes). Keep in mind, though, that each keyword will usually come at additional cost, unless you own your own shortcode.
Your text to win sweepstakes will need a set of official rules which govern the promotion. These rules are the guidelines for the promotion and without them you have no legal recourse should something go wrong. Rules should define the required entry process, dates, eligibility, and prizes. For more about drafting official rules see our blog post about why you need official rules.
4. Data Collection
Most text to win sweepstakes only ask people to text the keyword to the short code, and they then get a confirmation text saying the entry is complete. Some brands, however, want more. For instance, if you want to use the mobile numbers collected from entrants for future marketing, you would need to obtain explicit permission from the user. Brands can get this explicit opt-in by asking entrants to respond to their entry confirmation text – something like “Text Y to sign up for marketing text messages.” There are also some brands that want more than just a mobile phone number and explicit mobile opt-in from their entrants; they may want name or email address or physical address, etc. In order to achieve that, you could direct entrants in that initial text message to click a link and go to a web page to complete their entry. A web site could then capture all of the required data you want from your entrants. You may be asking, why not just give people a web site link to enter and skip the whole text to win piece altogether? Most brands that go this route may want to make the entry process easy at point of sale. Asking someone to text NEWCAR to a short code from a sign or a billboard or a point of sale poster to get an entry started is easier than asking people to write down a web site URL and then come back to enter later.
Since everyone has to pay to use a mobile device, if you run a text to win sweepstakes you will need to develop an alternate means of entry (AMOE) for people to use that do not have a cell phone. State laws prohibit any sweepstakes that requires a purchase of any item or service in order to enter. An AMOE could be a mail in method or a web site method.
6. Other things to consider:
Regulated industries and Marketing to Children
Some regulated industries or any marketing that might be geared towards children will require an age-gate to prevent those underage from entering. This can be a challenge for a text to win, but there are ways to accomplish incorporating an age-gate with a text to win.
Shortcodes outside of the US
If you are planning a text to win in countries outside of the United States you would need to purchase shortcodes in each country, plus ensure your sweepstakes rules meet all local country laws.
If you need help with setting up a text to win sweepstakes, we have the shortcode and the experience to get your promotion going! Contact us for a quote.
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