Run a SMS Contest

Well hello there, YAC Nation! Let’s talk about contests! As usual, I’m going to paint you a mental image and then we’ll tie it all in. Here we go:

Arnold has a hotdog business. Now, since Arnold is a product of my imagination, he’s going to make hotdogs the way I love them. Arnold serves hotdogs with chili sauce, mustard, ketchup, coleslaw, and sweet relish. Yes sir! That’s mighty good eating right there! Alright, so Arnold is a YAC customer, and his hotdogs are sooo good, he thinks everyone should be able to sample his genius. He runs his specials, and he sends out his newsletters, and he’s sent VIP messages regularly, so his existing customers know he’s the Grand Master and throwing dogs in buns. But Arnold, being the courageous Hotdog Entrepreneur that he is, is convinced he can up his customers. He just needs something to sweeten the deal.

Ladies and Gentlemen...the answer is – Running a Contest. If Arnold runs a contest, not only can he entice new customers to sign up for his VIPs, he can reward all of his existing customers with the sweet taste of victory in a hotdog. You can too! I’ll show you how.

The SMS Contest module is one dynamic little tool. However, most folks take one look at it and think they have it all figured out. Now if you’re a YAC customer, by default, you’re already smarter than the average bear, however, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you prepare to run a contest. For starters, you should know that using the module itself is the last step. That’s right! Most of the time we start a task in the module, but in this case, it’s the last step. Here’s what you should do.

Promote! Promote! Promote! - You’re going to use your newsletters, VIP messages and your social channels to blast the news that there is going to be a contest. Make it a point to pave the way so that you can capture a large demographic and get your existing customers ready for the approaching contest, and entice new customers to sign up. Give your customers all the details, the start and end dates, and remind on a semi-regular basis throughout the days leading up to the end date.

VIP has to mean something – Your Very Important People should feel like they are in the elite group that gets offers, updates and specials that the others don’t get. If you put the emphasis on this Mobile Contest, this prompts folks to join! With the aid of your social channels, you’ll be able to offer entry into the contest for customers or new customers that currently aren’t signed up for your SMS.


Last Step! SMS Contest Module – On the day the contest ends, you’ll head over to your dashboard, and click on SMS Messaging. Next, click on SMS Contest. You should see steps 1 – 5 in the module. Here’s a screenshot:


Choose your winner from your Keyword list. Our example is HOTDOGS.

Choose the start date that you promoted.

Choose the END date that you promoted.

Write your congratulatory text in the cell phone image...

Click Choose a Winner

The system will choose a winner from your list, and then give you the option to send your message to that customer.

Another cool feature is that you can actually see your past winners so the same person doesn’t win again and again. The system chooses at random, but if you run contests fairly regularly, it is possible to pick the same person. You can change the winner by clicking Choose a Winner again.

Now, more than likely, your name isn’t Arnold, and you don’t make the hotdogs that I do so dearly love. That’s okay. We can still be friends. Additionally, creating contests creates an element of fun for your customers and could increase your customers. But, what do you do if you don’t see an increase in your Mobile customers?

Ha! I’m glad you asked. Change your strategy. For instance: “Chance to WIN dinner for two when you and a friend sign up for our Dinner4Two contest!” Uh huh...see what I did there? ;) You get two for one by the power of suggestion. Now, before anyone starts having delusions of grandeur, let’s examine why this might be successful.

We capitalized WIN. That’s one of the first things that draw customers in. Because THEY could WIN! (We all want to be winners, right!?)

It’s a contest! How fun! Customers love fun!

Dinner for Two...two of you have to sign up for your chance to win. You’ve made that suggestion, so a customer is going to nudge their spouse, friend, coworker, relative, or bestie so they can take advantage of this.

Let’s do another one:

“Enter to win a FREE oil change at Grease Monkeys! Mobile VIP Users Only!”

Here’s why it works:

Customers think, “Well...I’m not going to be excluded from a free oil change! I’m signing up!”

FREE is capitalized. Free is good.

All your Email Marketing customers are starting to realize that perhaps they should sign up for mobile too. Hmmm...

So there you have it, Friends! Be creative with your campaign and start running Contests.

Oh! And if any of you specialize in the hotdogs that I described, keep me in mind around Christmas time! I’ll even pay for the overnight shipping charge!!!

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