Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Increasing Sales Through Events

When I was in the cable ad sales business, I helped small businesses plan promotions (sweepstakes or contests) to drive customers into their stores.  One in particular stands out to me.  It was called “Mountain of Coke®” and a local grocery store chain in Lansing, MI.  We worked with the local distributor to provide a tall display of Coca-Cola® in the front of the store in a shape of a mountain with a motorized car on the top.  People would register to win the car on a given day. This activity along with the store’s agreement to special pricing, sold more product that month then the store had ever sold. So promotions do work if planned out carefully.

Sweepstakes Vs. Contest

What is a sweepstakes versus a contest promotion? The former has the winner chosen purely by chance – their name is drawn from a list of people who registered and no purchase required. The later has the winner chosen by demonstrating some sort of skill like writing an essay on how the person would use the car and purchase could be required to win.

Why Use a Sweepstake?

Sweepstakes pull in a larger number of registrations due to the simplicity of being able to win. According to Manufacturers Coupon Control Center, sweepstakes attract more than ten times the number of entrants than contests.  Sweepstakes are best used to attract a large audience to your business or product whereas contests are used to appeal to a more targeted audience (hence the skill element).

Either tactic can create excitement around your business, event or product and provide a burst of short term sales.  It could also help undecided buyers purchase the product or shop your business for the first time. Also the business’s image can be reinforced to current customers as the place to purchase solutions to their needs or wants.

As a small business owner, it is not advised to go out and start running your own sweepstakes or contests.  There are legal factors that need to be addressed on the federal, state and sometimes local levels.  By partnering with your local media salesperson to plan such an event, you can get them to help in this area or contact your own attorney to get legal advice. 

My grocery client was very happy with the results. His goal of having a burst in sales over a specific time period was achieved and exceeded his expectations. All small business owners should be encouraged to try this marketing tactic to drive sales and extend brand awareness.  If interested, feel free to contact me at 573-243-3581 or email me at  

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