On the customer acquisition webinar, account directors Cherrill Hartman and Paul Corey discussed the importance of perfect partnerships and how a well-planned co-branded sweepstakes can greatly increase your email list size in a matter of weeks.

Customer acquisition is always a top priority for retail marketers. Not only do they battle list attrition, which is about 30% each year, they struggle to re-engage lapsed subscribers and winback former customers who haven’t purchased in 9-12 months or more. While there are lots of methods they can use to re-engage these subscribers, it is just as important to focus on list building tactics.

It’s not enough to just focus on the growth rate of your email list, though. The number of subscribers hardly matter if those subscribers have no intention of engaging with and buying from you. That’s why we talk about customer acquisition, not subscriber acquisition. You must do everything you can to find the right audience and provide value to them so they opt-in to your list.

One of the greatest – and quickest – ways to do this is by partnering with a like-minded brand that shares your values and customer personas but doesn’t offer competing products.

In the webinar, Paul shared the case study on Coyuchi and Naturopathica. You can download the full case study here. Coyuchi is dedicated to the mission of being the source for sustainable home furnishings that respect our natural surroundings and enhance the lives of every customer. Similarly, Naturopathica is dedicated to the health and well-being of skin, carefully curating every ingredient, finding inspiration in nature and drawing from traditional healing practices. Both organizations value organic materials and nature and sustainability, but one offers beauty products while the other offers home goods. Together, it is a perfect partnership. They teamed up to run an eight week sweepstakes with prizes from both organizations. You can see the results on the right.

Another successful perfect partnership was the match up of Jomashop and Jewelry.com. Jomashop offers luxury goods, such as watches, fine writing instruments, crystal and handbags while Jewelry.com curates fine jewelry collections from leading designers, focusing on necklaces, pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets. It’s easy to imagine that both companies would have a similar customer base while they don’t compete in each other’s core business. They teamed up to run a co-branded sweepstakes and had great results.

How to find the perfect partner

If you are considering adding a co-branded sweepstakes to your customer acquisition strategy – and why wouldn’t you be?? – there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Look for organizations that have a similar target market to you but are in a non-competing industry. It’s not enough to just partner with someone who has a complementary product. While it could make for an interesting contest with great prizes, if your audience demographic isn’t the same, you won’t be reaching the people with the highest probability of turning into customers.
  • It’s also important for your two companies to share values, business practices and ideas. If one company is passionate about providing organic, sustainable products and the other isn’t, it’s probably not the best match.
  • The partner company should have a list size and site traffic that is similar with yours. If your list has one million email addresses and their list has 300,000, you won’t get the same value from the co-branded sweepstakes as they will.
  • If you aren’t sure how to go about finding the right partner, talk to your Listrak account manager to see what ideas he or she has. All of our account managers are retail strategists who work with a number of retail marketers. They’ll be able to help you with ideas and make introductions.

Running the perfect co-branded sweepstakes with your perfect partner

A well-planned co-branded sweepstakes will not only grow your list – and your partner’s – but will also generate new business as the contest entrants browse your site and learn about your organization. Here are some tips on maximizing results:

  • Give away your own products – The whole point of a co-branded sweepstakes is to introduce new customers to your brand. You and your partner should both offer your products as the sweepstakes prizes. While it might be tempting to give away a trip to the Bahamas or a generic Visa gift card, the contestants won’t necessarily be interested in the products you offer. Giving away your merchandise means you’ll acquire the email addresses for people who are interested in your product offering. You should also have second and third place prizes, or weekly prizes, to make the odds of winning more enticing to contestants.
  • Only email active subscribers – The goal of a co-branded sweepstakes is to acquire the right subscribers who are interested in your offering and who are most likely to buy. You don’t want to skew results by adding a bunch of new subscribers who will quickly unsubscribe or who have no intention of engaging with you and your partner.
  • Expand your reach cross-channels – Both you and your partner should email the contest out to your entire list but don’t overlook your social, mobile, display, site and in-store touchpoints. The more promotions you run, the more sign ups you’ll have. If you have a modal lightbox acquisition point on your site, consider updating it with the sweepstakes promotion.
  • Share cookie pools - Get an even bigger boost by sharing the cookie pool of your best customers with your partner in exchange for theirs. This allows you greatly expand your marketing reach in front of the right audience.
  • Ask contestants to share with friends – Offer an additional entry to contestants who get their friends to sign up. This exponentially expands your reach and doesn’t add in any additional costs, making it a very low cost acquisition point with a potentially high return.
  • Get the timing right – Consider running a co-branded sweepstakes this summer and fall as you ramp up for the holiday season and again during the holidays when shoppers are most engaged. Also, run the sweepstakes for at least 90 days to maximize sign-ups.
  • Send a welcome series after the confirmation email – Be sure to clearly state that upon entry, contestants will receive marketing messages from both companies. Work closely with your partner to get the timing of your welcome messages in sync but do not wait to engage contestants. And be sure to
  • Get the legal stuff right – Different states have different regulations regarding contests and giveaways so be sure to follow those rules.

If you are focusing on growing your subscriber base this year, a co-branded sweepstakes can help you reach your goals. Let us know if you have any questions or if you want more details on this sure-proof acquisition tactic.

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