How to Set Up a Text-to-Win Contest with SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing
SMS Marketing

Text to Win Contest – This is one of the leading SMS Marketing strategies to build a list of potential prospects, engage your audiences and generate more sales. It is no secret that the ROI on SMS marketing campaigns can be huge. Many of today’s major marketers use text messaging to collect leads from their audiences deliver coupons that drive sales and engage their prospects to become customers. In this guide, we will outline step by step the way to “rock it” on your first contest. Soon you will be able to build a mobile list faster than a speeding freight train.


SMS is one of the quickest ways to reach mass groups at once, is relatively inexpensive, requires less technical know-how and is proven to be successful in increasing sales. In fact, Juniper Research has reported that 97% of text messages are read by the phone owner, and 90% of those phone owners read the text within the first six minutes of receiving it.

What is Text-to-Win Contest?

Text-to-Win Contes
Text-to-Win Contes

Text-to-win contests are one of the best ways to integrate your social media campaign with an SMS marketing campaign. With a text-to-win contest, you’ll put a keyword, as well as a shortcode (the number that users will text), directly on your social media page, be it a Facebook page, Twitter page, or other social media platform. When users see the shortcode and keyword, they’ll send the keyword message to the short code number. For example, “Text ABCDEFGHIJ to 123456 Now!” Those who send the keyword to the specified shortcode will be entered into a contest.

Few Examples of How Major Brands Are Using Text To Win Campaigns

Text to Win – Miller Brewing 
Text to Win – Miller Brewing 
Text to Win – Miller Brewing

Miller Brewing Company did a campaign where they asked consumers to “Text MGD to 55022” for a chance to attend a private BON JOVI sound check during their sold-out US 2008 Tour. The Campaign includes Radio, Web, and in-store displays.  The Text to Win systems allows Miller to measure response by market, account and media type giving the brewer real-time response measurement detail. No other type of sweepstakes or promotion offers this level of measurement.

Text SKWIN to 55022 – Smoothie King 
Text SKWIN to 55022 – Smoothie King 
Text SKWIN to 55022 – Smoothie King

Smoothie King did a promotion campaign in over 500 stores. Consumers have a chance to win one of 20 Swimsuit Getaways by texting “skwin” to 55022. Consumers can opt-in to receive ongoing Smoothie King Specials. SMS messages contained a link to coupons that increased traffic at their retail locations.

Nivea Text to Win Campaign 
Nivea Text to Win Campaign 
Nivea Text to Win Campaign

To support its new Aqua Cool Spray for Men, Nivea had a text to win competition targeting movies fans. The game also included a free product sample distribution in 101 cinemas. Mobile phones owners were invited to send the word AQUACOOL to a special number in order to win a 7-day skiing trip for four people.

Text to Win on the Scoreboard 
Text to Win on the Scoreboard 
Text to Win on the Scoreboard

Fans attending Chicago Bears games at Soldier Field responded to scoreboard prompts to text to a short code to win 6 Free Wings at Chicago Area Buffalo Wild Wings locations. The text message included a mobile website with store locations and promotion info. Big venues are a fantastic place for launching scoreboard text message promotions to extend sponsorships. Add a 3rd dimension to in-arena promotions using SMS and the mobile web. If you have a billboard in any arena it is a perfect place to reach a captive audience with a text promotion to drive post game or in-game retail traffic. You also have the opportunity to deliver ongoing product messaging to consumers who opt-in for your offer.

Text & Win with Rexona for Men 
Text & Win with Rexona for Men 
Text & Win with Rexona for Men

My Alert Marketing created a mobile marketing campaign for Rexona for Men. Their initiative was promoted using on-pack messages. Users text the word “Rexona” with their sex, age and postal code to a special number. Prizes were awarded immediately.

Chase Text to Win – US Open 
Chase Text to Win
Chase Text to Win

Chase initiated a promotion campaign in CT, NJ, and NY where consumers TEXT the word “WIN” to 24273 and the return text will notify the customer if they have won something. The message directs people to their website to redeem their prize.

Washington DC-Text to Win 
Washington DC-Text to Win 
Washington DC-Text to Win

The Washington DC Lottery launched Text-2-Win Campaign to giving away $100 gas cards. This campaign was supported with print advertising, outdoor and in-arena promotions with the Washington Wizards and Capitals.  Consumers text “4gas” to a short code number a for a chance to win prizes.  The Text promotion has links to a mobile website where consumers can get information on the Corvette Giveaway at the Washington DC Auto Show.

McDonald’s: an “incredible” promotion 
Text-to-Win Contest
Text-to-Win Contest

Following the success of last year’s campaign connected to the movie “Finding Nemo”, McDonald’s decided to repeat their “Text to Win” initiative with “The Incredibles”. Everyone buying a soft drink at McDonald’s received a code to text to a short code, together with the brand and model of their mobile phone.   Prizes ranged from logos and ringtones to mobile games and qty 50 Nokia phones.

How To Create A Text-To-Win SMS Contest

Text-To-Win SMS Contes
Text-To-Win SMS Contes

From the above-given case studies, you will be able to determine the success of Text-to-Win SMS Contest! If you’re looking to run your own text-to-win SMS marketing campaign, continue reading! In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to easily create a text-to-join SMS contest without any technical know-how in less than 10 minutes or less.

Step 1: Choosing a Text to Win Software Platform

First, you need to choose a platform capable of running an SMS contest. In all honesty, there are plenty of them out there. But needless to say, when it comes to SMS platforms, choose the one who offers the best packages with unlimited customer support.

Step 2: Create a Group

To start, you’ll first need to create a group on the platform which you’ve chosen for running sweepstake contest. This group is where people will join after they text in your keyword.

Step 3: Create an Immediate Follow-up

After you create your group, you’ll be prompted to create your Follow-up message. This first message will be the autoreply message a person receives immediately after texting into your keyword and joins your group.

Step 4: Purchase Your Keyword

You will need to secure your keyword in order for people to start texting in to join. To see if your keyword is available, head over to the Keywords page.

Search For Your Keyword – Start your search by putting in a word that represents your business, organization, or reason for the keyword.

Step 5: Connect Your Keyword to Your Group

After you have purchased your keyword, you can now connect it to one of your Groups.

Step 6: Buy Credits

In order to be able to receive and send SMS text messages, you’ll need to purchase credits.

Step 7: Test Your Keyword

To test, send a text message to the phone number XXXX and the message should be your keyword. It is not case-sensitive.

How Does Text-to-Win Contest Work?

People join your contest with a simple text message. Each contest will have a keyword associated with it. When someone texts that word to your shortcode, they will be instantly entered for a chance to win. If they haven’t already joined your text marketing program, they will also opt into that as well. This makes for a great method to grow your subscriber base.

There are several configurations that you can make to your contest to have it run the way you want. So, before start running a contest, it’s advisable to provide the answers to all the questions given below:

  • Which keyword you want people to text
  • When you want the contest to start and end
  • How many winners you want to have
  • What the auto-response is for people who enter
  • What the text message to the winners will say once the contest is complete

Innovative Ideas for Text-to-Win Contests

  • Musicians can give away a backstage pass for their next concert
  • Restaurants can pick one lucky winner to get a free meal every week for a year
  • Retail stores can give away a gift certificate
  • Charities give an iPhone to one lucky donor
  • Dentist draws Free Teeth Cleanings for a year
  • Any business that can offer a giveaway prize to their customers

Benefits of SMS Text-to-Win (Sweepstakes)

  • Builds Brand Awareness
  • Builds Customer List and Loyalty
  • Provides an Easy and Instant way for customers to enter your SMS Sweepstakes campaign
  • Winner Is Picked Automatically When Contest Ends
  • Keeps all participants (winners and non-winners) engaged by sending a customized message and future offers

Tips for a Successful Text to Win Campaign

Text-To-Win SMS Contes
Text-To-Win SMS Contes

Before you run a text-to-win campaign, you need to know how things work to avoid major problems. Planning is the key to success when it comes to text-to-win campaigns. Here are 5 tips for a successful text-to-win campaign.

Don’t ask for too much information in exchange for a chance to win.

Don’t be surprised at the low number of entries for your campaign if you ask for too much information. Yes, text-to-win campaigns can offer a great opportunity to learn a bit more about your customers. However, too much data collection will drive people away, even if the prize for winning is awesome.

Determine Your Goals

Many business owners think the only measure of success for a text-to-win campaign is getting people to enter. But it’s vital you start with a goal in mind. Setting goals for your campaign, such as gaining new email leads or introducing a new product, can help you to design a campaign that is successful on many fronts.

Create a promotion plan.

Before your campaign begins, create a promotion plan that will leverage as many promotional channels as you have. You may want to promote the campaign via social media, internal email lists, via your website or by other means. Every little push will help gain more participants.

Don’t forget about subscribers after the text-to-win ends.

If you only focus on the winner once a text-to-win promotion ends, you are missing out on additional opportunities to continue marketing. Send a thank you text to everyone who entered. Offer a consolation prize or special discount. Invite them to visit your company on other platforms. You know what to do.

Take care of the legal stuff.

No one wants to have a campaign derailed by legal issues. To keep everything running smoothly, make sure your company follows TCPA text message regulations and has official rules in place for the campaign. You should also make sure all users have given consent to be included in your campaign by opting-in. The text-to-win software you use should include all required disclaimers for participants and opt-out instructions in every text message.

SMS Marketing – The Best Option for Sweepstakes Promotion

As opposed to the above strategy where users view a short code and keyword on your social media site and must text-to-win, you can also use SMS marketing to send an SMS code to the user directly on their phone, which when clicked, redirects the user to your social media site where they can enter the code to be entered into a sweepstakes, giveaway, contest, etc.

SMS: An Effective Tool When Combined with Effective Marketing Campaign

When combined with a social media campaign strategy, SMS marketing can prove to be a smart collaboration. By using SMS for text-to-win contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways, to ask for subscriptions, to direct users to links using automated replies and to share valuable information with your audience, you can attract more followers, grow your business and engage customers efficiently.

Contact BulkQ today!

Contact BulkQ today to help your marketing campaigns. Don’t forget that most of our cool and interactive features can be bundled with the text-to-win campaign to further enhance your marketing campaign.

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