How to create more targeted promotions with location-gated sweepstakes

By: Jack Winston

In our last blog post, we discussed the structure of the tried and trusted sweepstakes promotion.  In particular, we covered the different options for “gating” your sweepstakes promotion in order to better target a specific group of customers.

One of the challenges that all promotional marketing must deal with is how to focus incentives on a specific population.  Paying for a direct mail campaign that delivers coupons to 1) people who are never going to buy your product or 2) people that would have bought your product at full price is a classic promotional marketing problem.  Sweepstakes and contest-based promotions face similar challenges when they offer a chance to win valuable prizes to anyone who enters.  Easy-to-enter, online sweepstakes, that are open to anyone surfing through can be a great tool for building your contact list and driving attention, but marketers need to be realistic about the return of such contests.

Broad sweepstakes may have a place in the marketing mix of large brands, but they hold little utility for location-based marketers looking to engage customers on site.  Furthermore, open sweepstakes are typically not appropriate for a local business that draws customers from a specific neighborhood or region.  Location-gating your promotion can create a much more targeted sweepstakes campaign.

The “text-to-win” sweepstakes evolved, in part, as a way to tie promotions to a particular location.  On-location signage will prompt customers to text in SMS short codes for a chance to win prizes.  By promoting the codes on site, marketers can limit entrants to the on-location population.

Sweepstakes designed for GPS-enabled smart phones can location-gate a promotion by creating eligibility criteria based on being physically in the vicinity of a place of business.  Setting up this kind of eligibility criteria can be made easier by leveraging the location networks incorporated in Facebook, Foursquare, or Google Places.  If you open up your Bozuko app and go to the “Nearby” tab, you will see a list of local businesses sorted based on how far they are from your current location.  This list of businesses is sourced from Facebook’s list of claimed businesses as well as user generated places.

There are a few ways to create the actual location gate.  You could choose to only make games visible to individuals in the vicinity.  Or you could require players to “check-in” on a social network in order to declare their presence at your business.  Bozuko enables a few options, including combining a location gate with “Fan-gating” – that is requiring individuals in the vicinity to “Like” the business on Facebook in order to enter.

Another approach to location gating is to leverage a QR code displayed on in-store signage or other displays.  Customers scanning the code with a QR code reader are directed to a mobile web page where they can play the game.  GPS and other geo-location technology can be used to help further tune the location requirements or even change the game depending on region.  Bozuko has begun incorporating QR code gates into our Facebook-linked, instant-win sweepstakes promotions.  To try out our demo (sorry, no real prizes), scan the QR code here with your Android or iPhone.  We have some exciting plans for mobile web that we will be talking about soon.

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