EmailEmail Marketing Best PracticesA Sweepstakes Campaign That Hit the Jackpot

A Sweepstakes Campaign That Hit the Jackpot

Online sweepstakes and lotteries: They're fun for users, but do sites really benefit from offering them? Here's the story of one site that certainly did -- and got more than it expected.

I’m an avid player of online sweepstakes and lotteries. (In my mind the saying that “a lottery is a tax on those who can’t do math” doesn’t really apply when it’s free to enter; it’s now a running joke among my friends about how much money I’ve won.) But I’ve never really taken a deep look at what goes on behind the scenes. Do companies really benefit from giving away free trips and other goodies?

Apparently so. Here’s one case where a company used email marketing to enhance its sweepstakes promotion. Not only did the campaign increase the site’s house list, it also provided a nice boost to sales.

London — and Paris — Calling

MuseumShop.com, an online “museum retail collaborative,” offers gifts such as jewelry, sculpture, and prints from more than 40 museum partners. It had a small house list of members and had never run a major email marketing campaign. Knowing that most of a business’s sales come from loyal customers, it decided to run a sweepstakes to entice more visitors to register with the site and to reward those who already had.

The main prize was a trip to London and Paris, with smaller prizes — his-and-hers watches from Ashford.com and prints from the MuseumShop.com’s Poster and Print Gallery — offered as additional incentives. In mid-November the company launched the sweepstakes via promotions on its home page, ad banners on cosponsor sites such as Travelocity.com, and use of a few rented lists. Plus MuseumShop.com asked email marketing solutions provider Digital Impact to send out email notification to the existing (opt-in, of course) house file. Those who entered the sweepstakes also opted in to the company’s mailing list.

But MuseumShop.com also wanted to drive traffic to a new portion of its site. With Rich FX, the company built a three-dimensional gallery on the site where visitors can browse posters and prints. MuseumShop.com wanted to issue an additional entry for those who clicked on a link taking them to the new virtual gallery.

Encouraging Site Travel

So it teamed up with iQ.COM, an online marketing company that features a suite of products called iQOffers designed to capture loyal customers. A week after the launch of the sweepstakes, MuseumShop.com sent out another email to registered entrants, encouraging them to enter the sweepstakes again — they could enter up to once per day — and notifying them that they would get an additional entry when they explored the virtual gallery. iQ.com made this easy through its iQSweepstakes product, which prepopulated the user’s data into the second sweepstakes entry field.

Here’s how it worked. Users would enter the main sweepstakes page, submit their entries, and see a thank-you pop-up window. Within that thank-you window, they would also see a link taking them to the Print Gallery and a message stating that going there would give them another chance to win the trip and enter them for that week’s print giveaway.

Once they entered the print gallery, they would see a window that contained the button for entering the sweepstakes again; clicking on it would take them to a prepopulated entry form. After entering, users would receive another thank-you window that directed them back to the Print Gallery.

An Added Bonus

MuseumShop.com met its initial goal: The house list increased about 30 percent. But even more important in terms of direct sales is the fact that an estimated five percent or so (MuseumShop.com is still calculating this) of those who visited the Print Gallery via the sweepstakes entry forms converted into buyers.

Not bad for a first step into professional email marketing.

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