We traditionally recommend that marketers steer clear of using sweepstakes and contests as a means to acquire customers and increase sales. While these tactics can create a spike in new users, their value is well below that of users generated through other tactics. Opt-out rates for promotionally sourced customers are 52% higher than for those from other paid channels. When it comes to purchases, these customers are 63% less likely to convert. In short, it’s a bit ugly.

But the holiday season offers up a unique opportunity to offer an effective sweepstakes to the increased volume of customers on your site; one that turns anonymous traffic into a rich source of data: Win Your Cart Sweepstakes. It’s simple, you give consumers the ability to enter for a chance to win a cart filled with everything they would buy if they could!

One lucky winner walks away with $1,000 of retail value, but you walk away with a treasure trove of data. The trick to optimizing the approach is to the timing. We recommend launching these promotions during the early stages of the holiday season – well before the Black Friday / Cyber Monday combination.

The rationale is simple:

1) You’ll be able to better understand what merchandise will be likely to move during the holidays; allowing you to make product recommendations for anonymous users

2) Email addresses will come flooding in, which will allow you to send your holiday messaging far and wide

3) You’ll gain insight into the interests of these individual consumers so that you can personalize your marketing moving forward

4) The foundation will be set for you to use omnichannel messaging to remarket to those who didn’t win originally

For more strategies for success, check out our Holiday Guide! DOWNLOAD NOW

 — Neil Capel, CEO & Founder of Sailthru