Contest and Sweepstakes Services

Creating experiences unique as your customers.

Contest and Sweepstakes Services

Whether it’s to generate more traffic, establish a web presence, or analyze your website performance, RAVEN5 has a wide array services that cater to your marketing needs.

Contests vs. Sweepstakes


When thinking about online promotions, the first thing that comes to of mind is a sweepstakes or contest. However, these terms can easily get confused with one another, especially across the borders. Learn more

Customized


North American Brands and Agencies are often looking for something special, something out of the box. RAVEN5 is a supplier of large scale, national and international programs that we build to order. Learn more

Strategy


Contests are a tried and true way of building brand exposure and gaining precious eyeballs in today's attention-scarce world. However, there are so many businesses that need to work on their strategy before execution. With a proper strategy developed for your contest or sweepstakes you can ensure that it will run according to plan. Learn more

Administration


Many brands do not realize the amount of administration that goes into running a successful sweepstakes or contest. There's a lot of background work that must occur during planning, when the contest is live and in following up. We've worked with brands of all sizes and have the expertise to ensure there won't be any unpleasant surprises. Learn more

Fulfillment


With professional prize fulfillment services, your business has one less thing to worry about when running a contest or sweepstakes. No need to worry about arranging for pickup of the prize(s), coordiating the delivery of a vehicle or booking a trip for your contest or sweepstakes winners. Learn more

Prizing


Prizing is a critical step. Ensuring you have a product that is valuable to your email list and social following is a must. First you must identify your overall goal of running the contest. Then you must ensure that your prizing is something of value to the consumers. Learn more

Customized Contests & Sweepstakes

North American Brands and Agencies are often looking for something special, something out of the box. RAVEN5 is a supplier of large scale, national and international programs that we build to order.

Our team will outline the program, provide the architecture, wireframes and user flows to ensure that our customers get exactly what they want when they want it.

Naturally, these programs take a touch more time and cost a touch more money; I’m sure you expected that. We use only the freshest cuts of code and enhance it with the spiciest of design to ensure our programs are as unique as your customers.

 

Why create a custom contest or sweepstakes?

There are many reasons to run a custom contest, they enable you to engage your existing audience while enticing newcomers and in turn providing a rich source of data. A contest empowers consumers to do your marketing for you while you gather email addresses and specific data regarding your product or services. They engage and develop social channels while providing your prospects and clients with favourable brand impressions and awareness.

Uniqueness

Other brands go custom because let’s face it, their brand is unique and no templates or platforms out there fit the bill. They need it to be fully customized, it needs to look just like their website or match a specific campaign. Provide us with the creative and we’ll develop it so that it looks as intended, otherwise leave it up to us and we’ll fully design and develop your custom contest.

Closed contest

Maybe your brand requires a “closed contest”, one that’s only open to a specific set of people. Do you need users to meet specific requirements so that they can enter? Will you only advertise on specific channels, maybe even skipping social media? No matter your need, we can help.

Features

The number one reason for going with a custom contest is because of the features. We have many “modular” features that can be included in any build (i.e. pin code rewards, instant win, account management, etc.) and scaled to look or perform a certain way. But we’ve found that sometimes the best ideas come from you, the client. Allow us to build it the way you want it to work by providing us what you had in mind, and we’ll make it work.

If your idea includes a Customized Contest or Sweepstakes Platform or program we can help. Some elements we have cooked up are listed below:


 

Example Site Flow

This is the ultimate in customization, any of the steps can be subbed in and out and if they don’t exist yet, they can be created based on your ideas and requirements. The following is an example.

Driver

Typical drivers are email and social media but can be driven through typical ad channels.

Account Login / Registration

An account management system and dashboard can be included to allow user registration with a login/password.

Opt-In

Standard inputs are name, email, year of birth, gender and postal/zip code. A checkbox for agreement with the rules and privacy is also included.

Survey

Include a one time survey or multiple ongoing surveys. Can also include custom text inputs, multiple choice and dynamic questions.

Share

Our social sharing technology allows the contest to be easily shared via one click to any social media networks or via email address.

Email Auto-Responder

An email auto-responder will deploy upon sign up and can include any additional information and links as required. It can also be deployed when utilizing a pin code process.

Pin Code / Instant Win Notification

A pin code and instant win process can be included utilizing custom made pin codes either supplied or created to specific sizes and combinations.

Pin Code / Redemption

Upon notification of the eligibility of an instant win the user can complete an online form and submit in a single step to have their winnings processed.

Thank You

The thank you or exit page can drive traffic to a website, landing page or social media. If any coupons are chosen, there will be an option to print.

 

Ready to go?

Once you’ve made the decision to run a custom contest and ironed out the budget with us, there are just a few steps to follow to get the ball rolling. Let’s review planning, designing, executing and wrapping up of a customized contest marketing program.

 


 

Planning

First things first, start by determining who you are trying to attract. Who is your target market? This will assist with the next steps.

  • Target – Who are you building the campaign to attract? It should be targeted to actual prospects that you intend to sell your product or service to in the end. (i.e. Females interested in sewing machines, 35-45, 60K HHI, North America excluding Quebec.)
  • Prizing – What incentive will you give your target in exchange for their personal information? Keep in mind that the more specific to your brand, the more relevant the responses will be. (I.e. If you own a sewing machine business and give away a generic prize like an iPad, you’ll get many opt-ins that are off target versus a more relevant prize like an actual sewing machine.) Another thing to note is that multiple prizes that have weekly or monthly drawings will add fuel to the fire and will drive ongoing engagement.

Will your contest run within your state/province? Is it national or international? This will depend on your target and will impact legal and rules.

  • Legal – Legal review will ensure your rules are written correctly and you’re covered. Certain states also require applications and bonds to be filed. As well, you’ll need to complete final reports post-campaign for the IRS and/or local states depending on your campaign.
  • Rules – You need clear, concise rules that state everything about your contest, including start and end dates, drawing dates and actual prizing spelled out with dollar amounts. You also need to include information about how you intend to draw the prize winners and how you will handle prizes that go unclaimed.
  • Language – Depending on your target you might want to consider localization for Spanish or French. You’ll need a translator to review and provide language for all elements of your campaign as well as a review of rules.

 


 

Designing

The creative needs to reflect the brand to ensure your fans know who’s running the contest. At the same time offer something fresh and enticing to engage both existing customers and prospects. Cleverly show the prizing and use as much live text to discuss the fine details.

  • User Experience – Your contest needs to function seamlessly on tablets and mobile phones in addition to desktops. Pre-populating entry forms can speed up the process for entrants and produce more entries. Use callouts, arrows, colors or simple instructions to ensure the user can easily figure out what to do next. After entering your contest, an excited entrant should be able to share with friends, so make sure they can. Remember to keep the rules and privacy policies easily accessible.
  • Opt-In – Ensure you have the correct wording and details about what a user is providing as well as receiving in return. It’s important for future communications that the wording is clear to avoid unnecessary issues with CASL (Canada) and CAN-SPAM (USA).

 


 

Executing

Ensure you have a server or multiple servers that can keep up with the demand of your contest. Depending on how wide the breadth of your contest, you might consider running multiple servers to handle the traffic. Your database should be secure from anyone looking to try to mass enter the contest via bots and scripts in addition to keeping hackers away from private information (i.e. user opt-ins, credit card information). It is highly recommended and wise to utilize an SSL certificate for any contest that handles private information like credit card numbers and transactions.

  • Development – Testing on multiple platforms is a must, not just different web browsers, test on different devices from tablets to mobile phones and even touch screen computers (where a user may opt to use both touch and mouse/keyboard combinations). Determine if your contest is easily accessible for those with disabilities.
  • Monitoring – In case something goes wrong with the platform, server or website, there should be an uptime monitor running in the background as well as a contact person who can quickly make adjustments or fixes as necessary.

 


 

Legal

It is important to hire or have a legal team available that is familiar with running contests. Specific provinces and states require multiple documents to be filed before and after the contest. Insurance may also be required, as well as bonds, depending on the value of the prize(s).

  • Prize management – Awarding prizes needs to be done with care, from facilitating random drawings and reaching out to eligible winners with the correct forms. In some cases, potential winners need to be re-drawn and contacted multiple times as there may be no response from the initial drawing. Keep in mind that in both Canada and the US, specific forms may need to be filled out post campaign reporting the winners and including the prize values for taxation purposes.
  • Reporting – Final reports from drivers such as email and social media as well as the contest platform and Google Analytics are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of a contest marketing campaign. At a glance, review web traffic from Google Analytics, engagements via social, opens and clicks from email and new vs. existing opt-ins, submissions and shares via your contest platform.

Our approach to working with you

As a customized contests & sweepstakes provider we have experience working with brands and agencies of all sizes. The following are typical steps taken after initial discussions and proposals are approved:

  1. After requirements and direction are received, comprehensive layouts of the required collateral are produced to establish campaign flavour.
  2. Once layouts are approved, a user flow or schedule is produced that includes comps of the individual posts, designs, layouts, contest steps, etc. including copy.
  3. Upon approval, development and thorough testing of emails or website or contest begins.
  4. After final approval, the program is scheduled and everything is made active.
  5. Upon completion, a campaign report is provided, including winner(s) and notification for contests.

*Note: Legal review, Régie filings (Quebec), Rules writing and Fulfillment are available options when running a contest.

RAVEN5 is the leader in customized contests and sweepstakes, we are “The World’s First Contest Marketing Agency” & “The World’s First Sweepstakes Marketing Agency” according to Google, Bing and Yahoo. Our experience with contests, sweepstakes, promotions, email marketing, social media marketing, Google Adwords as well as customized landing page and website design have helped make RAVEN5 the leader in digital and online contests and sweepstakes.

If you have an idea, we can assist you with the concept, design, development, testing. We can also assist with the marketing tactics that ensure that your Contest or Sweepstakes is everything you envision. Call us now for a discussion about next steps and an estimate, we’ll see what we can cook up for you.

Legal and Administration for Contests and Sweepstakes

Many brands do not realize the amount of administration that goes into running a successful sweepstakes or contest. There’s a lot of background work that must occur during planning, when the contest is live and in following up. We’ve worked with brands of all sizes and have the expertise to ensure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.

Planning stages 

There are so many items to look at while planning to run a contest or sweeptakes. With creative, prizes and duration aside it’s important to decide on what states, provinces or even country you’ll be running the contest in. Therein lies the rub as you may be required to register and bond with multiple entities depending on the total value (ARV) of your prizes. You’ll need to have full and mini rules drafted and approved and in some cases you’ll have to submit those rules to specific states or provinces for review before your contest begins.

During the campaign

Once your contest is underway, you’ll need to make sure that you adhere to the official rules and pull eligible winners on the agreed upon dates. Once they’ve been pulled, they’ll need to be verified, tax and legal forms signed and completed and only then can the prize(s) be awarded. There is a specific process to drawing names depending on the type of capturing that is being used. Of course an online contest or sweepstakes that captured opt-ins via a form would be preferred over paper ballots (as the process for manual entry of the paper ballots into a computer can be quite tedious).

Wrap up

After the contest or sweeptakes concludes and depending on the states or provinces it is run in, legal and tax forms will need to be filed as required by local laws. It’s also important to download and backup the full list of opt-ins and create final reports.

Additional services

Developing a strategy for a contest or sweepstakes

Contests are a tried and true way of building brand exposure and gaining precious eyeballs in today’s attention-scarce world. They’ve been around for ages, yet there are so many businesses that need to work on their strategy before execution. With a proper strategy developed for your contest or sweepstakes you can ensure that it will run according to plan.

Contest length

Based on our experience, contests between one to three months appear to be the sweet spot. Any longer than six to twelve months and you have a chance of losing interest. We often suggest that you accompany your contest or sweepstakes with additional social ads and/or email marketing to keep the ball rolling. The largest spikes in traffic occur at the beginning due to overall excitement and near the end as consumers opt-in for a last chance opportunity.

What kind of prize?

The general idea here is to give away something that is valuable enough for most people in your market to stand up and take notice. For some markets this might be an item in the $150-$200 range, and for others it might be as small as $30.

The second part of the equation is to give away something that a large percentage of your market will want. Don’t make it something obscure. You want the item to be inherently valuable and also broadly desired, to maximize the reach of your contest.​

Promoting the contest

Now your contest is all set up and you’re ready to take entries, where do you begin?

1. Email your list – This should be the first thing that you do, it’s direct, effective and in most cases goes directly to your consumer’s mobile device.

2. Post on your brand’s website – Have some copy on the post, with an image and a link to the contest.

3. Post on your brand’s social networks – Schedule posts in advance to save time and cross-post across all of your networks.

4. Consider paid social ads – for greater reach and exposure outside of your current followings.

Before the contest ends

Do a “last chance” post to your social media networks and an email to your list. By doing this you get another little viral loop before the contest ends. It’s nothing like the first day or two of your contest, but it’s good for some additional entries and overall engagement.

After the contest ends

Pull the random potential winner(s) for the contest, verify that they’re able to claim the prize(s), complete any legal and tax forms and award them their prize(s). It’s always great to do a follow up email or post to your list and social networks congratulating the winners as this adds to your credibility. We often ask winners to supply us with a photo so that we can include it (oftentimes a “before” photo) showing their excitement before receiving their prize. We’ve often found that once winners receive their prize they’re a little less than excited to share a photo. Of course, the last thing to do is import all email addresses gained during the contest run into your consumer database.

Contest and sweepstakes: Registration and bonding requirements

Promotional contests and sweepstakes are an increasingly popular marketing tool – and for good reason.  They provide a cost-effective way to generate publicity and notoriety for a brand or product line.

However, when designing a sweepstakes it is important to be mindful of the total prize amount, because prizes above certain cash (or cash equivalent) thresholds may trigger specific sweepstakes registration and bonding requirements in three states: Florida, New York and Rhode Island.

There are specific requirements for operating a contest or sweepstakes in certain states and provinces when the element of chance, prizes and the sale of products or services are present. This is something that is often overlooked by companies who are not familiar with running game promotions, but government regulations and stiff penalties apply when the requirements are not met.

The purpose of registering and creating a bond for a promotion is to protect consumers against fraud or failure on a company’s part to fulfill prizing due to lack of resources or other reasons. This is why there are not only registration and bonding requirements, but in most cases a list of winners is required to be filed after awarding the prizes.

New York

If the total value of prizes (ARV) for the duration of a promotion exceeds $5,000, contest administrators are required to register and bond their contest or sweepstakes with state authorities. The Secretary of State requires contest administrators to file official rules and details outlining their promotion 30 days prior to the launch. A filing fee also applies and a trust account or surety bond must be obtained in the amount equal to the total prize value offered.

Florida 

Florida carries the same requirements as New York, however, contest administrators file to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services. The only difference is that the registration and bond must be filed at least 7 days before the start of the promotion. Like New York, a filing fee also applies and a trust account or surety bond must be obtained in the amount equal to the total prize value offered.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island statute requirements are slightly different. Contest administrators must file an application and official rules with the Secretary of State along with a filing fee. There is no trust account or surety bond requirement. Registration is only required if the game promotion is conducted in a retail establishment with prizes exceeding $500.

Arizona  

In Arizona, administrators are required to complete a registration form that outlines the contest details and submit it to the Arizona Attorney General. They must also submit a sworn statement under oath that no addition has been added to the determined purchase price for the product in affiliation with the contest. Within 10 days of awarding all prizes, the names and addresses of the winners must also be submitted.

Quebec

In Canada, those who decide to run a contest in the province of Quebec must abide by the regulatory laws of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (Régie). If the contest prize value is greater than $100, administrators are required to submit contest details to the Régie. There is a registration requirement to the Régie if the total prize value exceeds $2,000. The official rules and contest details must be filed at least 10 days before the start of a contest. A 10% fee of the total prize value is imposed when the contest is open to residents from Quebec only. This fee becomes 3% when the contest is open to contestants from Canada only including Quebec. Lastly, 0.5% is enforced when the contest is open to any group of contestants including Quebec. When the contest closes the list of winners must also be submitted and include the final total value of the prizes awarded. (This value can be a lower amount depending on the type of contest –  i.e. if some of the prizes were not actually won from an instant win contest).

Exclusions

You may notice that some game promotions exclude these states and provinces from participating. That is because many companies would rather avoid the fees and hassle that comes with it.  However, from our experience, because Quebec, New York and Florida customers are so often prohibited from playing in national promotions, customers in these areas are often the hungriest for these types of promotions, which can turn into big benefits and sales returns.

The difference between a contest vs. sweepstakes

When thinking about online promotions, the first thing that comes to mind is a sweepstakes or contest. However, these terms can easily get confused with one another, especially across the borders.

What most Americans would refer to as a sweepstakes, many Canadians would simply call a contest. Take note that both of these terms do have specific definitions. But regardless of what they are called, the most typically run promotion is actually a sweepstakes.

What is a sweepstakes?

It is defined as a promotional drawing in which prizes are given out at no charge to the participants. Winners are selected at random. A sweepstakes awards winners through random draw; winners are determined based purely on chance.

What is a contest?

It’s defined as an event in which people try to win by doing something better than others. Winners will be chosen or judged based on their submission or performace. A contest rewards skill; such as running an interactive user-generated content contests: the user will upload a photo, video, audio (music) or text (essay) to the contest entry form. Winners are determined based on a judging or voting round (or both rounds combined). It may also be utilized for product testing, award shows, crowd-sourcing initiatives and other creative community based projects. In Canada, a skill-testing question is used to ensure that there is some element of skill involved so that the contest or sweepstakes is not considered an illegal lottery.

No purchase necessary

There are many contests and sweepstakes that may imply or require that you make a purchase of a product in order to enter. The problem with this is that if you do not allow anyone to enter without having to make a purchase then you are essentially running a lottery. Since lotteries have different laws that govern them and in most cases make them illegal you need to avoid this. Many brands include the No Purchase Necessary option which includes an Alernate Method of Entry, where one can either mail-in a form, write a short essay or even fill out an entirely seperate form online. By doing so, the entrant is entitled to an entry without making a purchase, and this ensures that your contest or sweepstakes does not become an illegal lottery.

Sweepstakes and Contest Prize Fulfillment

With professional prize fulfillment services, your business has one less thing to worry about when running a contest or sweepstakes.

No need to worry about arranging for winner outreach and eligibility, pickup of the prize(s), coordiating the delivery of a vehicle or booking a trip for your contest or sweepstakes winners.

With our prize fulfillment service, we do all of the heavy lifting, that is getting the prizes into the hands of the winners.

Prize Delivery

No need to purchase the prize, package it, ship it and do all of the leg work when this can all be taken care of. Awarding prizes should be the least of your concerns when you’re busy following up with new prospects picked up from a contest or sweepstakes. We work with many different couriers across the country and can procure and ship in a timely manner to ensure prizes are delivered on time and to the right destination.

Prize Coordination

Not all prizes can be delivered, like vehicles or trips, and require coordiation between multiple entities. Let RAVEN5 do the talking, we make arrangements with dealerships and travel companies to ensure that winners are properly taken care of.

Anything else?

Besides prize delivery and coordiation, we can also take care of the following services for your contest or sweepstakes:

Sweepstakes, contests, instant win games and other promotions are great ways to build awareness and bring leads to your business. It’s important to follow up with winners during and after the contest or sweepstakes wraps up to ensure prizes are fulfilled and your reputation remains.

Hole-in-one or prize indemnity insurance for your contest or sweepstakes

Running a contest can result in a very lucrative marketing opportunity for your business. People love to participate in contests and you now have the opportunity to have your fans, customers and clients WIN BIG without spending big money yourself.

Typically, an organizer needs to offer a large prize in order to attract participants. The issue/challenge occurs when the prize is won.

Prize indemnity insurance

Prize indemnity gives you the ability to offer special contests and promotions while transferring the risk to an experienced and financially bound insurer. Instead of keeping cash reserves to cover large prizes, the promoter pays a premium to an insurance company, which then reimburses the insured should a prize be given away.

Hole-in-one insurance

Hole-in-one contests and sweepstakes typically operate as part of a marketing promotion. In many instances, golf tournament hosts will offer a hole-in-one prize to promote a tournament sponsor. For example, if a tournament is being sponsored by a car dealership, the tournament might offer a new car from that dealership as the prize for hitting a hole-in-one. Hole in one insurance is a type of prize indemnification insurance which works a lot like any other kind of insurance policy, except that instead of insuring your property against damage, you are paying a premium to eliminate the risk of having to pay for a prize if someone makes the ‘hole in one’ during your event. The relationship between the tournament host and the sponsor is usually set up to provide advertising for the sponsor, prominently displaying the sponsor’s name next to the prize during the tournament.

Other examples of prize indemnity insurance:

What kind of prize should I give away in my contest or sweepstakes? 

Prizing is a critical step. Ensuring you have a product that is valuable to your email list and social following is a must. First you must identify your overall goal of running the contest. Then you must ensure that your prizing is something of value to the consumers.

Prize = your product or service

If possible, it’s recommended that the prize is a product or service relevant to or provided by your business. If you are in the sewing machine business then offer up a sewing machine, as it will appeal to your user group and engage prospects and those interested in sewing.

Don’t be generic

If the prize is too generic in nature, while you might get opt-ins, they may be of a lesser quality as they might not care for any of the products or services you offer. Coupons should also be considered as a purchase incentive and can be used as a secondary ‘prize’ for all entrants. Focus on the end, what do you hope to accomplish? Your contest or sweepstakes can provide many incentives to drive in store traffic, sales or even a complete online sales process.

Prize sourcing

We have partnerships with many companies that routinely source prizes for competitions for TV, radio, web, print, on-pack, mobile partners, film (product placement) and interactive. If you’re a company looking to run a contest or sweepstakes and need to source a trip, a vehicle or anything else, we can help!

Prize fulfillment

Our prize fulfillment services make your life easier, and ensure satisfaction from your contests, promos, and sweepstakes. Once winners have been selected, it’s important to have a system in place to dispatch the prizes. Whether you have a single high-ticket, large scale prize or multiple smaller packages, use a professional prize fulfilment service to save you both time and money. It’s more important than ever to have order tracking in place, including the proof of dispatch and proof of receipt. We ensure all prizes are dispatched quickly and with the necessary insurance, and maintain contact with the winner to ensure they’ve received their prize. If needed, we’re able to store prizes in a secure warehouse, and we have the ability to dispatch goods to hundreds or even thousands of winners in a timely manner.

Winner management

Drawing winners for your contest, sweepstakes, or promotion may sound easy at first. However, depending on the number of winners, value of the prize, and location of the winners, this can end up being a large and time consuming task. RAVEN5 offers winner management services, including drawing, contacting, verification, providing release forms, filing appropriate tax forms, and delivery of prize(s).

Giving away a vehicle? No problem – we’ll make arrangements with the winner’s local dealership. Awarding a trip? No problem – we’ll ensure the winner(s) full booking and travel arrangements are in place for their vacation.

How to ensure your contest or sweepstakes is legal with compliant rules

Many companies of all sizes are focused on bleeding edge, digital firsts, innovative and edgy promotions that can include submission of user-generated-content (UGC), Tweets, Facebook engagement, YouTube submissions, blogging, “viral” marketing and other social networking elements.

However, the marketing professionals who are entrusted to create them are often unaware of the complex legal overlay of the digital world and the potential significant financial repercussions for their company’s failure to comply. Contests and sweepstakes are popular and effective ways for brands to engage with consumers.

Doing so presents numerous regulatory, intellectual property, privacy and other potential liability issues.

What’s required?

Each sweepstakes or contest must include a set of official rules that identify the material terms and conditions that govern the promotion, and various laws provide that they must meet certain requirements. No matter what type of contest, sweepstakes or promotion, the following requirements should be confirmed:

No Purchase Necessary 

Avoid breaking the law and creating an illegal lottery by ensuring you have a “No Purchase Necessary” option in your sweepstakes or contest. You can create an online form for entrants to fill out and submit to earn a single entry or a downloadable and fillable PDF form that can be mailed or faxed in. This does not apply to all promotions, but more specifically to those that are open to the public and allow one to earn entries by making purchases.

Boilerplate

We can provide a standard set of boilerplate rules that can accomodate just about any contest. However, should you or your legal team require something customized we can faciliate this.

Rules writing and review

  1. Writing of rules & regulations* (includes two sets of revisions to original draft).
  2. Writing of Declaration and Release Form(s)*.
  3. Review of Rules.
  4. Review of Participant / Winner Declaration and Release Form(s)
  5. Review of Creative (website, print, etc…)
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