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How Three Utilities used Sweepstakes to Boost Program Results

By Crystal Leaver on

Congrats winner

With flooded email inboxes, multi-tasking, and other distractions, utilities can struggle to hold customer attention. There are a whole host of tactics that utilities use to engage customers: email, social media, text messages, direct mail, and more. One of the most effective tactics we’ve seen at Uplight to get customers’ attention is sweepstakes. 

Most of us have participated in some form of contest from the lottery to Publisher’s Clearinghouse to a school raffle. Everyone loves taking a chance and the potential to get something free! Here are a few examples on how Uplight customers have used sweepstakes to reach their goals and some best practices on launching a successful campaign.

Newfoundland Energy

In November, 2019 takeCHARGE, Newfoundland Power’s energy efficiency program, ran a four-week sweepstakes to increase customer engagement. There were four $100 weekly prizes and a $500 grand prize. One winner was selected each week, and then a grand-prize winner was selected at the end for customers that completed challenges in each of the four weeks. takeCHARGE advertised the sweepstakes at the beginning of the cycle and then via weekly challenge emails. The sweepstakes weekly challenge emails saw an 2x increase in click-through rates over regular weekly challenge emails.

New Jersey Natural Gas

New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) set out to increase customer engagement in the energy-saving portal to provide great accuracy and relevancy of the energy-saving tips — for a more customized experience. To motivate customers, NJNG launched a sweepstakes. Once a customer completed their online profile, they were automatically entered for a chance to be one of 10 lucky customers to win $500. NJNG promoted the sweepstakes by placing an insert in each of the Home Energy Reports, and added a pop-up to the login page of the portal. In just three months, NJNG doubled the number of completed online customer profiles.

Southeastern Utility

A Southeastern utility wanted to improve enrollments in their energy portal which displays current bill and comparison to average home, energy savings tips, personalized recommendations, breakdown of how home uses energy, and energy challenges. With Uplight, the utility launched two sweepstakes in 2019 for a chance to win $500 once a customer enrolled in the portal. 

The utility advertised the sweepstakes on their Home Energy Reports and through email marketing campaigns. The utility nearly doubled their portal enrollment, proving that sweepstakes are highly effective at increasing program enrollment. Uplight found that customers who enrolled in the sweepstakes were just as engaged as standard portal users. 

To be the most effective, here are a list of best practices that our utility customers have found:

  • Sweepstakes should get consistent promotion across all customer-facing channels. It may take several touchpoints for a customer to sign up!
  • The prize needs to be significant in value. For example, $500 or an iPad will yield better results than ten $5 gift cards–even though you are investing the same amount.
  • Advertising needs to be done both inside and outside Home Energy Reports. Most customers will open an email from their utility….
  • Especially if the email has “sweepstakes” or “win” in the title!

Best of luck on your next sweepstakes campaign!

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