So, you want to do a product giveaway/sweepstakes with an affiliate, seems easy enough right? Wrong! Did you know you are potentially wading into a minefield of laws and regulations? Don’t worry, we are here to help.

First off, I want to preface this all with I am not a lawyer so take this advice for what it is, we here at JEBCommerce are not legally responsible. With that out of the way, let’s get down to the details.

Sweepstakes/Giveaway/Contest

One of the most important things is to understand the difference between these terms legally.

A Sweepstakes/Giveaway is an opportunity for a group of people to enter for a chance to win an item that is offered up by a sponsor, where a winner will be chosen randomly. The number of entries, methods of entry, and details collected will vary.

A contest is a program that users submit content (art, photos, names, etc.) in an attempt to win a prize for having the best content. The winner is not selected at random but is selected based on a set of criteria.

Most of what you see is a Sweepstakes/Giveaway – random chance to win. If you are planning on a promotion, be sure to select the correct wording.

Criteria

This is potentially your most important portion of a sweepstakes. You need to not only know the legal rules, but also need to know nuanced rules. To be safe here are some basics:

  • Must be 18 years of age at date of entry
  • Must be legal resident of selected country (make sure to know your country’s rules regarding sweepstakes)
  • Exclude any states/regions that you do not want/can’t do business in (Alaska, Hawaii, New York, and Florida can get tricky) sometimes this is due to taxes, laws in states, or language requirements
  • In the United States make sure you consider prize value and if the winner will need to pay taxes on the prize
  • Start Date, time, time zone
  • End Date, time, time zone
  • Method of Entry (like, follow, tag, email address, etc.)
  • Number of entries (can be one per email address, one per selected action, one submission in a set time period, etc.)
  • When winner will be announced/contacted & how long they have to respond to the announcement

Make sure your rules are clearly laid out in your rules and regulations, which leads me to my next point.

Rules and Regulations

If you are hosting the sweepstakes, or an affiliate is, please be sure to have a copy of the FULL rules and regulations on hand prior to the sweepstakes launching

If you are hosting the sweepstakes, or an affiliate is, please be sure to have a copy of the FULL rules and regulations on hand prior to the sweepstakes launching. It is best to host all the rules and regulations on a site so that users are able to access them at any point. This can be on a page of their very own, or you can include them below the entry method.

As a brand you should make sure that you always have these stored somewhere safely so that you always have a reference.

“Enter for a Chance to win…”

I know this is going to sound really nit-picky, so I am sorry. Make sure any mention of entries includes “a Chance to Win”. This is because if you do not include this in the wording, it can be perceived as providing the entry item (email, like, etc.) will guarantee that the person will in fact win the prize.

Best not to even give an idea of a promise, remember sweepstakes are all about chance.

Prize

I know, surprised to see the prize this low on the list? That is because while a prize is supremely important in the operating and success of a sweepstakes, it is in fact not the most important aspect to figure out. Typically, you will already have something in mind for a prize.

One great thing to consider as you are selecting what to offer up as a prize is to consider the size of the audience you are targeting, age, and where they will interact with your brand the best. It should go without saying, but if you have a potentially large pool of entries, you will want to make sure that your prize reflects that.

If you were to go to a national merchant doing a sweepstakes and they told you to provide your email address at a website for a chance to win one $50 Gift Card, you may not find the chances of your winning to not be high enough to take the time. This will decrease the level of entries the sweepstakes receives. However, if that same scenario was presented, but with a $500 Gift Card, you may be slightly more enticed to enter.

However, would you think even more positively if you were offered up the chance to win one of the following prizes: (4) $500 Gift Cards, (8) $200 Gift Cards, (10) $75 Gift Cards? The larger the audience, the larger the prize pool.

Hashtags and Disclosures

If you are running this program on Instagram or Facebook make sure that #ad or #sponsored is included in the post.

If you are running this program on Instagram or Facebook make sure that #ad, #sponsored, or #sweepstakes is included in the post. You need to make sure that there is no question that this is something that is being promoted.

If it is a blog post, simply writing “sponsored” somewhere will do the trick.

At this point you should be armed enough to venture into a sweepstakes sponsorship. Sweepstakes are genuinely a great way to engage a targeted audience, drive sales, and increase brand awareness. Working with an affiliate allows you the opportunity to work more closely and build a valuable relationship that is mutually beneficial.

Still aren’t sure if an affiliate sweepstakes is right for you and your brand? Reach out! We would love to help.

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