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Steps to a Successful – and Legal – Sweepstakes

Running a sweepstakes is a great way to increase customer engagement, customer base, and brand awareness. What elements do you need to ensure your game of chance yields the results you want – and that you stay within the established rules and regulations?

Here are a few must-have sweepstakes components:

  • Opt-in. If you want to use participants’ contact information (particularly email addresses) for remarketing and retargeting purposes, you must ask for permission. They must opt-in to receive emails, texts, mailings, or other communications. This permission must be explicit. In other words, participants don’t automatically consent to sharing their information upon entering. You can incentivize the opt-in by offering an additional entry as long as this is made clear in the rules.
  • Privacy policy. Savvy consumers are understandably wary about providing their contact information to other parties. To assuage their concern, provide a comprehensive, and easy to read, privacy policy. This assures participants that you will not misuse their data and that you will protect their privacy.
  • Rules. Establishing and disseminating rules is critical for any sweepstakes, regardless of the prize’s worth. Rules establish essential perimeters, such as the duration of the game, publicity rights, notification methods, and more. It is the document you can refer to if there are any issues or complaints by participants.
  • Alternative method of entry (AMOE). To avoid running an illegal lottery, you are barred from requiring a purchase to play or win. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create an entry mechanism involving the purchase of your product. This means that you need an alternative method of entry for folks who do not wish to buy your product/service. You must also make sure the AMOEs are treated the same as the rest of the entries when conducting the drawing. Brands need to ensure everyone has the same chance of winning.
  • Registration and bonding. This is a maybe. Depending on the states in which the sweepstakes is open to and the value of your prizes you may be required to register (i.e. file an application and pay a fee). Some states also require bonding, which means that you pay a percentage of the approximate value of the prize(s) to a surety company. If you do not award prizes, the surety uses your bond to either award prizes and/or begin legal proceedings.

Our team is well-versed in providing targeted consultation and promotion services for brands that wish to run sweepstakes. From initial creative development through fulfillment, we can guide you through every step of the process.