Back in the days when the Publisher’s Clearing House oversized envelope landed in my parents’ mailbox, my dad would open it and immediately get confused about all the stamps, cards, stickers and bucks slips that flew out of it.
It then became mom’s job to figure things out and mail our entry before the deadline. They were always hopeful that we’d win millions of dollars or maybe a new car.
Since I worked in direct marketing, in publishing, I’d found out for sure that Mom and Dad’s chances of winning a big prize were exactly the same whether they bought a magazine or not. (Fran Lebowitz once said about lotteries that she has the same chance of winning whether she buys a ticket or not.) I didn’t have the heart to tell my parents, though, and they usually subscribed to three or four magazines every year.
The PCH envelope was exciting and fun!
The envelope is gone but the sweepstakes is still fun, especially in this economy. Now PCH TV commercials urge you to enter online for a chance at “$1 million a year for life”. But, according to a recent article in Direct Marketing News, magazine subscriptions are no longer the #1 item at PCH. Merchandise, with 7,200 SKUs, is tops now.
When I was in New York recently I made an appointment at Ventura Associates. They’re the geniuses of sweepstakes. I met with CEO Marla Altberg and her team and they told me that direct response sweepstakes:
- Enhance your message and increase readership
– Encourage your prospect to respond now
– Increase sales or donations
– And on the internet they’re huge traffic (and brand) builders.
Marla showed some of her great case studies, including:
- 170% growth in Facebook fans for one client
– 800,000 new site registrations for another
– 12% call-in responses for a third!
I learned so much about sweepstakes and contests that I was eager to get back to my office in Florida to present some ideas to two of our clients. The best part of testing programs with Ventura Associates is that they help with the creative development, and take care of all that challenging:
Also, have some fun and see how creative Ventura Associates’ promotion really are: Demo Site
Let us know your thoughts, when you get a moment. Have you tested contests? Sweepstakes? How’d it work out for you?