Everybody loves two things: winning and getting stuff for free. Companies that take advantage of this fact can drastically increase their customer base.

Contests are a great way for businesses to engage their customers. Typically, the “loss” taken on giving away a free product to a winner is overcome by an increased level of business resulting from the competition. This idea can be implemented into a text message marketing strategy.

For example, texting a trivia question to a registered user base and rewarding the first responder with a free product and service can add a little fun to customer engagement and can increase brand awareness. An article in Business 2 Community suggests that rewarding one winner with a gift that can be purchased from that company is effective because the envy factor can kick in, thus generating increased interest in the product from those who didn’t win it.

Katherine Raz, the author of the article, says that companies should be seasonal and offer what customers are looking for that time of year. In January, many people are still recovering from the holidays and are looking to have a great year. They would appreciate a prize that caters to that need.

“Use those universal post-holiday themes as the basis for an integrated digital sweepstakes that rewards your email list, social fans and text subscribers with just the thing they need to kick their new year off right,” Raz writes. “A calendar? A trip to Europe? Whatever it is, make sure it’s something your customers who don’t win the contest can buy from your website or store. Now is the time to promote those things that speak to what your customer is thinking about in the new year.”

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools companies need to orchestrate a successful competition via text message.