Practical Ecommerce

Creating a Facebook Sweepstakes for Ecommerce Shoppers

Contest marketing is a powerful tool for engaging customers and prospects, collecting valuable preference data, and boosting ecommerce sales. What’s more, thanks to easy-to-use applications, creating an online sweepstakes takes just minutes.

When it comes to how they spend time online or even to how they interact with businesses, shoppers have many choices. Many feel like they are inundated with marketing messages. With this oft-cited information overload in mind, it is important for ecommerce marketers to create easily distributable, relevant content so that potential customers want to view, read, and engage.

Creating an online sweepstakes a subset of content marketing that encourages your audience to interact with your business in exchange for an intrinsic reward. Drilling down even further, online sweepstakes conducted on Facebook, can attract many new likes, collect important data about shoppers, and even lead directly to sales.

There are many good tools to help business owners and marketers create Facebook sweepstakes. One of these tools is Woobox. Here is how you can quickly and easily create a Woobox-powered sweepstakes.

Woobox is one of several applications that can help you manage Facebook sweepstakes.

Woobox is one of several applications that can help you manage Facebook sweepstakes.

Step 1: Prepare Your Offer

This may seem obvious, but begin by knowing what your sweepstakes will offer and when you will run it.

Create two graphics, each 810 pixels wide, and no more than 1,200 pixels high and 400KB in size. The first of these graphics will appear on the sweepstakes’ landing page. It should help to explain the sweepstakes offer and encourage visitors to enter. The second graphic will show up after someone has entered the sweepstakes. It should serve to confirm that the entry was successful, and, perhaps, thank the viewer for participating.

At this step, you will also want to know what your sweepstakes terms and conditions will be.

Step 2: Create a New Sweepstakes Offer

Assuming that you have already created a Woobox account, for which you are probably paying $29.00 or $49.00 a month, you should head to the Woobox dashboard. In the upper right corner of the dashboard, you’ll find a relatively large, green button that reads, “Create a New Offer.” Clicking this button opens a drop-down menu of possible promotions, including sweepstakes. Click the sweepstakes link to open the general settings form.

Look for the new offer button in the upper right corner of the Woobox dashboard.

Look for the new offer button in the upper right corner of the Woobox dashboard.

The sweepstakes’ general settings form has six sections to help you both describe and configure your offer. Many of the fields, like title and description are fairly obvious, a few are less so.

The general settings section is a basic form with six sections.

The general settings section is a basic form with six sections.

The fan-gate option can be used to increase Facebook likes. When turned on, anyone who wants to enter the sweepstakes, must like your Facebook page. Shoppers who have already liked your Facebook won’t see the fan-gate, but anyone who has not yet committed to your business on Facebook will. The fan-gate can also be set to “optional” so that shoppers may like your business’ Facebook page, but are not required to do so.

It is worth mentioning that Facebook has recently changed its policy about fan-gates and requiring or even incentivizing page likes. Thus after November 5, 2014, fan-gates may not longer be required, so that “optional” will soon be your only fan-gate option.

The entry section allows for additional configuration.

The entry section allows for additional configuration.

Under the Entry Settings section, you will specify the sweepstakes’ start and end date, and you have a couple of additional configuration options.

The second option allows you to give a user one or more bonus entries for encouraging Facebook friends to enter or sharing links to the contest.

Another interesting option is to automatically post about the entry on the user’s Facebook timeline. For this to work, the user will need to authorize the Woobox app, which may deter some folks from entering. However, having the contest show up on the user’s timeline could dramatically broaden the sweepstakes’ reach.

Click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page to save your work.

Step 3: Customize the Sweepstakes

With the sweepstakes form open, look for the “Customize” link in the page’s left side navigation. This will open a new section of the sweepstakes form.

Woobox allows for basic image uploads and the option to use your own CSS and JavaScript.

Woobox allows for basic image uploads and the option to use your own CSS and JavaScript.

At a minimum, you will want to upload the entry page image and the post-entry page image that you created in step one. You should also enter your sweepstakes’ terms and conditions in the rules section.

Optionally, you could upload a custom fan-gate image. Be sure to save your changes. The save button is at the bottom of the section.

Deeper in the customize section, you can also add your own cascading style sheet and JavaScript to the sweepstakes form. Or, under the “Form Fields” section, you could ask for additional customer information.

Although there is more that you could do, you don’t have to. Your Woobox-powered, Facebook sweepstakes is ready to go.

Making the Most of Your Sweepstakes

A good sweepstakes offer could help to collect new likes, customer data, and sales. But these things won’t necessarily happen automatically.

To get new likes, you will need to promote the sweepstakes. This could include, for example, emailing the offer to your list. Shoppers who subscribe to your emails, but who are not yet your fans, could convert. Also, consider promoting the sweepstakes with ads on Facebook or even with pay-per-click advertising. One retailer in the northwest U.S. is using Pandora to help drive traffic to an upcoming sweepstakes, as an example.

Next, data will be collected as folks enter the sweepstakes. When the contest is over, you should have a nice list of customer names and email address. What’s more, these customers will be segmented relative to your overall email list.

As an example, if you ran a sweepstakes for hiking boots, you would know that these customers are presumably interested in hiking boots. If your offer was for fly-fishing equipment, everyone who entered is probably interested in fly fishing. Assuming that you wrote your terms and conditions to include it, you should now be able to email market to these customers with offers you know will interest them.

Finally, consider sending everyone who entered the contest a coupon code for the item or product category featured in your sweepstakes. The email might begin by thanking participants for the entering, telling them who the winner was or winners were, and then making the aforementioned coupon code offer.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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  1. Younes October 25, 2014 Reply

    Hi Armando, we used woobox, wishpond, you name it, nothing works, we offered weekly products of up to $400 in value in sweepstakes, vote to win contests, nothing, zero sales, all the prizes shipped, no viral effect, no gains whatsoever, these tools are useless if there`s a meaningful targeting engine provided with them, which none of them has, it`s a tool yes, but facebook is a tool too, and so is twitter, advertising your contest doesn’t help either, they need to build an integrated targeting system in them, templates also proven to work, for well established brands it works, because you are taking thousands of existing leads already and multiplying them, for early startups, it`s a waste of money.

  2. Reed October 27, 2014 Reply

    Hi – We have tried this as well. The initial numbers look good but when you dig deeper it is a different story. When we looked at the Facebook pages of the new Likes they were mostly people that also like numerous contest pages and apparently enjoy spending time entering contests to win anything. If you are trying to accumulate a lot of likes then it works but if you want to do something that is more targeted to your specific customer base it is not very effective.

  3. axbooker October 29, 2014 Reply

    I would have to agree with the other two posters. I have started to drift away from facebook. If you look at facebook as a whole what does it do for a business that is is in the business of sales. Mark Cuban got it right I have removed the like me on facebook icon from my website and have even have stopped updating post. Contest on facebook will never drive the traffic to your site that will genearte sales.

    • Armando Roggio October 30, 2014 Reply

      Interesting points. I can attest to very good success with Facebook, contests, and Woobox. I have weekly contests scheduled from now until the end of 2015.

      As an example, I am running a contest on Woobox this week. As of this moment, it has had 6,271 views and 4,274 entries. Many of the entries came from folks already known to the store, but who, if you will, self identified as being interested in this product. Everyone who entered is also invited to a sale.

      Of those samples since reading the comments here, none seemed to be simply contest seekers.

      So I wonder what we are doing differently.

      May I ask what it was that you were measuring with Facebook relative to sales? How about contests? What are your sales goals or your goals relative to social and contests? Did you continue to market to folks who entered contests via email? Also which channels do you use?

      Thanks. I hope I can help.

  4. Tom Leonard November 2, 2014 Reply

    Woobox is great. I have used them for years. At Warner Bros. I was using them to give away all kinds of prizes. Depending on what we were giving away we could get as many as 30k – 40k entries a day and Woobox handled it. The painted XBOX was the very best prize ever for us.

    The only type of sweepstakes that didn’t work was for photo contests – we just didn’t get enough entries for some reason.

  5. Dee November 6, 2014 Reply

    It appears this article is out of date. Facebook recently stopped brands from doing fan gating in August. In addition, brands are now incredibly restricted in their ability to ask fans to share the contest and content. Woobox and the others you listed are not above Facebook. Fan gating aside, if organic traffic is virtually down to zero, how can sweepstakes help drive engagement with NEW fans and ultimately, lead to sales on dot com? Facebook has ruined what helped it become the leader in social media – sharing content from brands AND publishers and users. It’s strictly a pay to play game now and I am disenfranchised with the whole thing. That’s why I’m moving my efforts to other platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And let’s not forget email marketing is not dead and is still a tried and true way to get consumers to buy stuff on your website.