Why Having Alternate Winners Can Save Your Sweepstakes

Marian Jubany
Marian Jubany
If you frequently organize sweepstakes as part of your marketing strategy for dynamizing your social networks and increasing your community of followers, you have probably found yourself, upon occasion, with the problem of not being able to contact one of the winners, or with the need to replace a winner at the last minute after finding out that he or she is not eligible for the prize. It’s in these sorts of situations that alternates come into play. An alternate is a participant you can keep in reserve in case you have to make a substitution when awarding your prize/s. In this post we will look at some situations in which it might be useful to have alternate winners for your sweepstakes.

Your promotion has come to an end and it’s time to finalize the sweepstakes and select the winners. Once you have a list of the lucky winners, the next step is to contact them and arrange the delivery of the prizes as soon as possible.

This step – contacting the winners of a sweepstakes – is usually one of the tasks that requires the most time. Depending on which type of sweepstakes you’ve organized, you will have certain specific tools at your disposal for carrying out this task quickly and effectively.

Of course, during the process of rewarding the winners, some situations may arise which make it hard to deliver the prizes efficiently. For example, what if the winner does not get in touch within the stipulated time limit? Or what if one of the winners doesn’t comply with the rules of the contest and you need to carry out a change?

To offer you a solution to these types of situations, here are some important tips to bear in mind before launching your promotion.

1. Select alternate winners on the sweepstakes

Always act with foresight to ensure you’ll be able to find solutions to any problems you may run into during the process of contacting and managing the winners. Before conducting the sweepstakes, make sure that the sweepstakes tool will provide you with a list of alternate winners; in other words, a list of users who you can keep in reserve in case you need to replace any of the prizewinners. 

2. Write the terms and conditions

It’s just as important to clearly indicate in the terms and conditions the number of winners and alternates that are to be selected in the final sweepstakes. Here are a few other details that you should also consider including in the terms and conditions:

  • Explain that the contest organizer reserves the right to check the participation of each user and verify the identity of the winner before awarding the prize.
  • Explain that changes will be implemented, with winners replaced by alternates, in any situation in which the winner may not be awarded the prize (for example, if the winner does not contact the Page within the stipulated time limit, or if he or she is ineligible for the prize.)

It’s important to address each of these points within the terms and conditions, in order to avoid any complaints being made by participants.

Below, we discuss the most frequent situations in which having alternate winners could save your sweepstakes:

The winner hasn’t made contact within the stipulated time

In all sweepstakes it is important to indicate the key dates: the closing date for participation, the day of the sweepstakes itself, as well as the closing date for winners to get in touch with the organizer and claim their prize.

It’s also important to include this point within the terms and conditions, so that if one of your winners doesn’t contact you in time, you can follow the rules as stipulated in your terms and conditions. This ensures that the right decision is made and that you avoid opening yourself up to complaints from your participants.

The winner lives in another city

Have you held a segmented promotion only for users in your city or region? In sweepstakes targeted at people in a specific geographic area, prizes are normally delivered in the store or establishment, meaning that winners must be informed that they have to pick up the prize themselves. You can also decide to send the prize by mail.

For these types of region-specific sweepstakes, we suggest you indicate in the terms and conditions that the sweepstakes is only open to residents of a particular area. This will limit participation by ineligible users and make the process of awarding prizes much easier.

For greater control over the origin of your participants, we also suggest you ask for all the necessary details in the registration form. These will enable you to verify the place of residence of the participants: for example, their city, post code or state.

Despite all these measures to narrow the target audience of your sweepstakes, it is always possible that a user from outside your city participates in your promotion. If this occurs, it will be useful for you to have alternate winners in reserve. You will then be able to award the prize to a user who lives in your region and who can easily travel to pick up the prize.

The winner doesn’t meet the requirements of the sweepstake’s terms and conditions

Have you organized a sweepstakes among all your registered users and now realize that the profile of the winning user doesn’t exist or is not available? Have you organized a photo contest but the image uploaded by the winner is not appropriate for the contest? Perhaps the details provided by the winner are incorrect or cannot be verified?

In any of the situations above, having a list of alternate winners at your disposal will be key to successfully awarding your prizes and concluding the sweepstakes.

In short, be proactive and always ask for alternate winners in your sweepstakes. Be sure to explain clearly to your users how you are going to select the winners and manage the awarding of prizes. This will ensure that you always have the solution in hand should you find yourself in one of the above situations.

Do you want to see how to replace winners with alternates on your sweepstakes?

In this tutorial you can learn how to manage winners and alternates on your Facebook and Twitter sweepstakes.