An article I read in The Wall Street Journal talks about how businesses are “resorting to a high-risk strategy: costly giveaways and promotions to lure the reluctant consumer.”
What this article falls to talk about is the HUGE potential giveaways, promotions and sweepstakes have to introduce potential customers to new products and services they may not have ever known about any other way.
In my article about supplementing your income with prize winnings, I talk about how many times I have been introduced to a new product or service through a sweepstakes and because of that introduction I became a loyal customer. The brand of vacuum cleaner, television, computer, and vehicle we drive has now become our favorite all because we won a prize.
I want companies large and small to find this article and hopefully change their opinion of “sweepers”. Too many times they see us as money-grubbing, free-loading, never-pay-for-anything-unless-it-is-free people who never would buy their product. And, while there are those who might think that way, they do not represent the vast majority of people who call sweepstakes a hobby. Companies don’t want us entering their sweepstakes, contests, or other giveaways because they ONLY want potential customers.
News Flash – WE ARE POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS!
By entering a sweepstakes, it introduced me to a new website, company, product, blog, or service that I would not have known about otherwise. I want to give you some very specific instances in my personal life of prizes that turned us into loyal customers.
In Connecticut we have a furniture chain called Bob’s Discount furniture. I HATED Bob’s commercials from the start and refused to buy anything from his stores because I thought his approach was too “in your face” and his furniture MUST be cheap. When the commercials would come on I would quickly change the channel.
In September of 2002 we won a gift certificate to the Bob’s Discount Furniture stores. We picked out a great loveseat that we still have today. It has been in our house, to our son’s house, then to my daughter-in-law’s mother’s house and now back to our house again. That is one of the best couches we ever had and it is so comfortable. It is still in mint condition after all of these years. Can you say that I am now hooked on Bob’s Discount furniture stores? Yes ma’am I am!
If I hadn’t won that gift certificate I would have never step foot in that store. Now I tell my friends how much I like the store and furniture.
I’ve gone from a HATER to a LOVER all because I won a prize and you can bet that I will consider more furniture purchases in the future from Bob’s Discount Furniture.
Computers and Web hosting
My oldest son won a Dell laptop back in 2003 and now every computer in our house is a Dell brand computer. I was so impressed by this laptop that I decided to purchase our next 3 computers from Dell. And, I remain a loyal customer to this day. Now, how’s that for using a sweepstakes to gain loyal customers?
When I ran a computer consulting business I would go to individual client homes to fix their computers, set up computers, troubleshoot computers, and teach them how to use their computers. I also taught classes in the local area on how to use computers. What brand of computer do you think I recommended to my clients? You got it – DELL! I ran this business for 10 years and I know I created many more loyal Dell customers and it was ALL from that initial laptop prize win.
I also did web design work for 11+ years and because I won a year of web hosting from YourSite I would also suggest their web hosting packages to my clients. I sent many customers to them over the years. It appears they have changed their format and are now only selling eCommerce setups but still I think they are a solid company to work with if you are in the market.
Internet Provider and Software
Another example, waaay back in 1997 I won a year of AOL Internet services. At the time it was for a dial-up connection. After that year was over we stayed with AOL and only canceled our subscription LAST YEAR! Can you believe that? We kept the AOL service for 11 years all because we won the initial year from a sweepstakes.
I have so many stories like this. I could even be a spokesperson to go into companies and teach them how to use sweepstakes to build their brand and create loyal customers. Hey, if you want me to come into your company and tell my story, just holler, email, or fill out the contact form.
After I won that year of AOL I won my first piece of software from an AOL contest that was held through their service. I won Microsoft Works 4.0. I learned that piece of software inside and out and that was the basis on which I started my computer consulting business. From there I learned every piece of Microsoft software available and have been a loyal Microsoft customer every since.
Here are some less extreme examples from sweepstakes prizes we have won.
I never heard of Green Mountain coffee until I won a year’s supply in 2002.
I didn’t know what a Dirt Devil was until I won a vacuum cleaner back in 2004.
We didn’t shop at Shaws grocery stores until I won a $1,000 in gift cards in 2007.
One year we won a year of Netflix movie rentals and once the year was up we stayed with Netflix and payed for a full subscription for the next 3 years. I was so impressed by their service they won me over. I would probably have never tried if it I hadn’t won it.
A company’s focus should be on branding your product or service and getting your product in the hands of that winner. You CAN build your bottom line by sponsoring a giveaway and create loyal customers in the process and I have just proven it to be true!
Back to the Wall Street Journal article. They do go on to show the potential of sponsoring a giveaway.
The Zazu company:
….dropped the ads and, as part of a new promotional effort, launched a blog. Periodically, Zazu posts a giveaway on the blog — say, jewelry, scented candles or a stationery item. Anyone who leaves a comment on the blog is entered in the contest.Each giveaway costs the company between $10 and $30.
But shoppers are drawn to the featured item of the week and the buzz generates more sales, Mr. Haddad says. The blog and the promotions have boosted online sales, he adds, emphasizing that nonwinners are buying the giveaway item as well as other things.
While the article seems to indicate that running an expensive promotion or sweepstakes can be a mistake for some companies, I know that there are plenty of ways of drawing consumers through these types of promotions without breaking the bank.
Giveaways Are An Affordable Marketing Tool
If a company wants to run a giveaway they can do it themselves by setting up a blog, using Twitter to run a Twitaway (Twitter Contest), setting up a Facebook giveaway, or even one on Pinterest or Instagram to have new potential customers share photos.
Of course, once you run the giveaway and get people to Like your Facebook page, fan you on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, or visit your website, it is up to you to retain those new potential customers. The giveaway is just your means to introduce yourself to new people or retain loyal customers who will share their love of your company and your products.
What I know about business is that you have to be creative. You can’t do what you have always done before and expect new results. As times and people change, and as technology evolves you have to change as well. I am a business owner so I know all about change and having to keep up with the changing world we live in.
My motto: Adapt or be left behind!
Businesses do not have to go under because they are spending a ton to market their product or service. Why not run a giveaway or sweepstakes and see how it can build a loyal customer base. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Promote Your Giveaways for Free on Sweeties Sweeps
Sweeties Sweeps promote sweepstakes, blog giveaways, and just about any other type of contest, sweepstakes, or giveaway you can think of FOR FREE!
Just email me or fill out the contact form. If you would like to have your giveaway featured on our homepage, in our newsletter, on our Facebook page, Twitter page, or through an ad on our sidebar, email Greg to discuss what we can offer your company.
Photo credits: Bob’s Discount Furniture, AOL, Netflix, Dell