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To design and structure a Facebook sweepstakes that actually captures high quality leads, while generating positive sentiment and customer goodwill, you’ll need to advertise to the right audience, collect sufficient data on your entry form and give away a relevant prize. There are two main things to keep in mind:

1. Be Strategic About the Prize

If you want to qualify leads, you can pretty much forget prizes such as iPads and big screen televisions. In fact, if you think the prize you’ve chosen could make the sweepstakes go viral to a mass audience, avoid it!

What’s the matter with those prizes? It’s truly the fact that everyone wants them.

Even when you diligently target your sweepstakes ads to your ideal customer, people may share the sweepstakes with their friends which can introduce a lot of random entries in the sweepstakes. Then, when the sweepstakes is over, you have names, email addresses and other data but you still don’t know who wants your specific products and services. At that point, the audience you started advertising to may be more relevant than the audience you finish with. Who doesn’t want a free iPad or television?

For example, consider a spa that hires SalesBlend to run a sweepstakes and give away an iPad. We establish with the owner that we’ll advertise exclusively on Facebook to women 18+ in the interest category “Beauty” who live within 50 miles of San Diego where the spa is located. We use a fan-gated ShortStack app to get Likes and collect all the necessary data. When the sweepstakes is over, we tally 3,000 Likes and 500 email addresses in 30 days. The spa owner says “Wow!”

The numbers look good. But what should we name the new email list of sweepstakes entrants? Perhaps, “Anyone who wants to win an iPad enough to Like the spa’s Page and give up their email address.”

Is there really any reason to prefer marketing to the entrants than the women who didn’t enter the sweepstakes?

What if this list includes some of the women who didn’t enter?

• Women who spend $500 per month on spa treatment who already have an iPad

• Women who have some type of tablet already

• Women who can easily afford an iPad but are satisfied with their iPhone and laptop

• Women with lots of money but not a lot of time for sweepstakes

• Women who were reached but didn’t really see the ads or pay enough attention to them

• Women who were possibly biased against entering sweepstakes

• Women who didn’t properly estimate the chance of winning

• Women who didn’t recognize how attractive the prize was or the impact it could make in their lives

• Women who saw the ad but got distracted before entering the sweepstakes

Now let’s say that the prize is a sea salt exfoliating spa package which includes 30 guaranteed minutes of peace where a foot massage combines with cucumber slices on each eye and rainforest music. It’s a high margin offer that people already love and recommend consistently on Facebook and Yelp. It gives the winner a chance to experience the best the spa has to offer. In general, the spa has found that people who try the sea salt exfoliating spa package return to the spa 38 percent of the time within the following month.

I’m not saying everyone valuable will enter, but can you see how the act of someone entering a sweepstakes with this prize allows for the creation of a valuable business segment? Let’s title this segment “People who want the sea salt exfoliating spa package, have the means to get to the spa and the time to enjoy it.”

2. Collect Sufficient Data with Your Sweepstakes Entry Form

What can the specific behavior–entry into the sweepstakes—tell you about the sweepstakes entrant?

When people enter a sweepstakes, they know they will need to provide accurate contact information so they can be contacted if they win the prize. Adding one or more additional fields on your entry form can provide you with information that would otherwise be expensive to collect through traditional market research. Want to send all entrants a 20 percent off coupon for the exact same spa package on their next birthday? Ask for their date of birth on the entry form now.

Entering a sweepstakes is like clicking a “WANT” button

With careful prize selection, ad targeting and form structure, after the sweepstakes is over, you’ll know who in your target market wants your product. But remember, so far they’ve only said they wanted it when you were offering it for free to a lucky winner. Now you need to figure out what everyone’s actually willing to pay for it. It’s time to get strategic with your Facebook ads, email marketing and other promotions.

Sweepstakes help qualify leads because they can let you know who wants the specific product being offered as the prize. Therefore, entry in a sweepstakes can be a buying signal. It can also suggest there may be interest in purchasing similar products or each component in the prize.

In the case of the spa, we could try offering the past sweepstakes entrants other spa packages, stand-alone foot massages and stand-alone cucumber eye treatments. Possibly, they could even see a surge of rainforest music CD sales at the counter.

Every time SalesBlend has used ShortStack’s fan-gated apps, our clients have seen significant increases in Likes, engagement, email addresses and—they’ve received the ultimate prize: behavioral information that improves lead quality.

When you host Facebook contests how do you collect leads? Anything you’d add to this list?