Why Text to Win is an Easy Way to Spark Customer Engagement

Woman looking at phone in a library

Getting your target audience (aka your existing and potential customers) to proactively engage with your business will more often than not require an incentive: a discount, a sale, a new service, etc. It’s not always possible to offer these types of goodies on a regular basis, but there’s an easy way to stir interest throughout the year without much effort on your part or theirs: text to win.

Below, learn how text to win works and how you can start running campaigns yourself with help from business texting software.

What is text to win?

You’ve seen text to win promotions out in the wild, and maybe you’ve even entered one. Text to win sweepstakes are promotions or contests run solely through text message, giving customers a simple, straightforward way to engage with your business, usually working like this:

  • Set up a text keyword, such as WIN, and tie it to a marketing campaign (a contest, promotion, etc.).
  • Advertise the text to win campaign with simple instructions, usually something like, “Text WIN to 555-55 for your chance to win.” The promotion can be advertised on your website, social media channels, in store, via email or anywhere else you communicate with your audience.
  • The customer texts the keyword to the number to instantly enter the promotion or contest.

Text to win is traditionally used by TV and radio outlets, but any type of business can run them. If you want more engagement from your audience, text to win sweepstakes might work for you.

What kind of prizes should you offer?

You don’t need to offer extravagant prizes. Something as simple as a gift card, one of your products or services, free food, a discount, a popular set of headphones – if it’s relevant to your business and you think your audience will love it, go for it.

Why host a text sweepstakes?

Contests and promotions themselves are incentive enough for customers to engage with your business because the customer could get something valuable in return. Whether the prize is a month of free coffee or a trip to Hawaii, winning prizes is fun.

When you tie the allure of a contest with the ease of entry that a text message offers, the number of entrants climbs. There’s no need to visit your website and fill out a form. No one wants to work hard – texting offers a low-effort avenue to enter a contest in the moment, without much thought. All the entrant has to do is open their texting app, tap, tap, tap and send.

Text to win has a few not-so-obvious benefits, too. It’s a great way to gather leads and an easy way to grow your text marketing list so you can keep your audience in the know about upcoming promotions. Just make sure you’re always clear about what they’re signing up for and remind them they can opt-out of receiving texts from you at any time.

We recommended reviewing best practices under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) before you get started. You can look at an overview of TCPA compliance in our free e-book here.

Set up an auto-reply message

An auto-reply message absolutely has to go to the entrant when they message the text-to-win keyword. The auto-reply can be simple, but it should do at least two things: confirm that the sender has been entered into the contest, and let them know when the winner will be announced.

This could also be a good opportunity to add a little something extra just for entering, like offering a small discount. So not only have they entered to win a prize, but they scored a discount just for texting your business.

text to win auto reply message sample

An example of offering a discount with a contest entry.

Using business texting software instead of short codes

Not only is it simple for someone to enter a text to win campaign, but it’s easier and less expensive for a business to set one up when using business texting software.

You’ve probably seen text sweepstakes where the business asks you to text a short code (usually a five or six-digit number) instead of their own phone number. While short codes are great for certain use cases, they’re not friendly to a small business’s budget and don’t allow for two-way texting.

With business texting software, you can create any keyword you want and use however ever many you want. Short codes have to be leased (and they may not be available when you need them), and it can be a lengthy process to do so. You’re essentially paying for limited texting features when you could pay a lower fee to have access to keywords along with other features that businesses need to engage with their audience, such as Templates, Scheduled Messages, Custom Fields, Signatures, MMS and Analytics.

Plus, customers can text your existing business phone number when you use texting software. Text-enabling your landline, VoIP or toll-free number is a great branding tool and lets your customers engage in conversational texting, a preferred way to communicate as we highlight in our 2019 State of Texting report.

Two-way texting also allows a much easier way for your business to get in touch with the winner of your text to win campaign; just text them.

Opportunities to use a text sweepstakes

How and when you use text to win campaigns will depend on your business and your audience, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Radio. Have listeners tune in to your show during a specific time and listen for a keyword. Have them text that keyword to your radio station’s number and select a winner at random.
  • Television. Have viewers text in a keyword during your broadcast for entry into a contest that’s tied to the featured segment.
  • Retail. If you have a popular product or service, offer it as a prize.
  • Food/Drink. You could run a monthly contest by putting a keyword at the end of a receipt. Winners would be randomly selected monthly for a gift card to your establishment.
  • Sports. During a game, give attendees a keyword to text in to win tickets to an upcoming game, related event, team gear or season tickets.
  • Fitness. Offer a month of free membership, branded gear, a free personal training session or one-on-one fitness assessment.

Learn more about all the different ways to text your customers along with lots of tips about how to do it right with our free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers.

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