Everyone can win with a contest:
You gain emails for a list.
You will, of course, have a proper statement that you will be using their info to send periodic emails and making them check a box that they understand this, right?
You can help gain traffic or donations for a charity.
If you word it carefully, “by making a $X donation to such and such charity, you will be thanked by being entered into our raffle drawing for this LOVELY sweater!”
The charity wins, you win because you have that list that now will have additional disclaimer that the charity may also be sending them emails. This check box is OPTIONAL, or you become a forceful, extoring company. They must have the option to NOT be on your list outside this contest correspondence.
That being said, if they do enter, opt out of future emailings not related to this contest, you can use this list but include something about this contest – winners, photos of people wearing the ugly sweater, thank you’s from the charity, etc. to keep it legit.
The winners get a sweater – splurge and offer more than one prize.
Ask them to send you a photo of them with the sweater on, post it. Post a link to their site. They will share all of this with their online networks. People love to show silly photos of themselves, as we all know. You gain more traffic. On the landing page for the silly photo post, be sure to have links to your current specials, pomos, product releases.
I highly recommend something affordable, extremely tacky at one end of the contests. At the other end, depending on their industry, offer a prize of their favorite software, service, consulting, restaurants, national/online brands. You want it to entice them all to SHARE the link with people that resemble your target audience. It doesn’t do any good to offer yoga mats to micro-train enthusiasts. Know your ideal customer, their interests, their passions. Then, find a prize or five that they would fight over. Appeal to their wallets, their egos, their typical sense of humor.
In January, I’m having an event for my non-profit, Binky Patrol. We are gathering approximately 100 people to make blankets for a day at a church. These are students, scouts, mothers, people with community service requirements, quilters and people concerned about the well-being of children and teens in need. That’s my audience. They are kind, generous and love goodies and prizes. I’ll be asking for donations and accepting them through my Square on my phone that will go right into the Binky Patrol account. As a THANK YOU for any donation over $20, I’ll be giving them a Binky Patrol tote bag (cost to me: $6.75 each).Everyone wins.
The totes are VERY prized because of the logo and all of the pockets. They are also limited edition. I’ll let you know how it goes MLK Weekend.