Stephen Boland, Co-founder & COO of Loffles wants to make online sweepstakes easy and fun for consumers while providing brands the ability to create powerful impressions that engage consumers and influence purchasing behaviors.
The process is simple. To enter a Loffles sweepstakes, a user first selects a contest. A video advertisement related to the contest and provided by the sponsoring brand then displays. At the conclusion of the advertisement, quiz questions provided by the sponsor are presented: e.g. “What is the tagline of Company X?” or “Who manufactures Y?” So entry follows a simple click, watch, answer, and win format. But in the process of entering, consumers engage with brand imagery, videos, and questions. It’s a lean-forward mechanism that maximizes engagement and builds excitement around a brand’s offerings.
MO: Tell us about why creating sweepstakes through Loffles creates a better return for companies and a better user experience?
Stephen: Current online contests and sweepstakes use unbranded entry systems. Most companies provide a link on their homepage or advertisement to a micro site where the contest lives and consequently dies when the contest is over. Companies invest tons of time and money building and promoting these micro sites where users fill out a static form with demographic information and provide an email address. Once the users hit submit, they are told “thank you” and the engagement is over.
Loffles is designed to capitalize on the opportunity brands have to engage with consumers who have already expressed an interest in the brand. Instead of filling out a static form, Loffles users pick the prize from the brand, watch an associated video about the brand, and validate their interaction by answering a few questions. After a user successfully enters, he or she is not sent on their way, but instead given the opportunity to reengage with the brand multiple times. The Loffles platform offers brands full contest management, creative, and legal services, making the ramp up time to produce a contest weeks rather than months.
MO: You already have 9k users who average 17 minutes on the site. That is amazing! How did you gain such great traction so early on in the business?
Stephen: Thank you! We are obviously excited about our early adoption, and even more excited about our future growth prospects. To date, we have relied heavily on social media and PR to spread the Loffles brand. We recently launched a College Brand Ambassador program hiring campus representatives at 50 universities across the country. The college reps aim to spread Loffles brand awareness by passing out flyers, Loffles gear, holding campus events, and recruiting fellow friends and students through various social media channels.
MO: Can you tell us about added features you are adding that will make the site more socially interactive?
Stephen: We actually just released our community raffles feature, which allows our users to join contests with their friends and win together. Each individual’s entry process is virtually the same in a community raffle, but users must join groups to enter for prizes like 2 iPads (Groups of 2) or a vacation for 4 (Groups of 4). Users can invite their friends to join them through Facebook, Twitter, or email. Once the required number of group members is met, an entry becomes activated. We’ve already given away a SkyAuction.com Resort Pass redeemable all over the world to four childhood friends from South Jersey, and we are currently running a community raffle for 2 iPad 2’s (Groups of 2).
MO: What have you found as an effective way to approach brands to partner with?
Stephen: We approach brands as a low cost, effective, and easy to deploy sweepstakes solution. We have found that nearly all brands are interested in running online contests but upfront costs often act as a restrictive barrier to execution. Loffles reduces the time and cost associated with creating and conducting an online sweepstakes. Plus, we provide access to a built in audience interested in new brand offerings and our community giveaways provide a great social opportunity.
MO: What do you think is the best sweepstakes you have offered through Loffles?
Stephen: I think the best sweepstakes we’ve offered have been our high-end jewelry and electronics. We have given away big screen TV’s, a Macbook Air, iPad 2’s, and diamond watches.
MO: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since starting Loffles?
Stephen: I think the biggest challenge I have faced is trying to remain patient. I try to remind myself of the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Our team has such high aspirations for the company that at times its difficult to remember we are only three months old.
MO: What is the most common myth about owning your own business?
Stephen: I think the biggest myth is that owning your own business is glamorous. Owning your own business certainly has some of its advantages, but at the end of the day, all of the responsibility and corresponding stress falls on you. It keeps the job exciting but certainly not glamorous.
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