Online giveaways and discounts are all fun and games until it gets complicated. Users complaining about the transparency of your digital promotion is undoubtedly something you don’t want to deal with.
Luckily these situations can be easily avoided by placing clear terms and conditions that regulate the dynamics of your promotion. Not only that, but recordkeeping of these conditions is critical for the success of your marketing efforts.
This article will examine the key elements of proper terms and conditions and the importance of keeping them archived to avoid litigation.
Why do we need terms and conditions?
Are you legally obliged to write terms and conditions? Unfortunately, no. When you look at social media giveaways, you will often find that none link to proper rules that regulate them.
It’s smart, however, to include terms and conditions in your promotions since they set the bases to regulate user behavior. You can use these to limit your liability under a contract.
Essentially, terms and conditions are a contract between you and your customers stating what you’re offering them. In case of litigation, they serve as a way to determine the rights and obligations of each party and see whether you or the user acted within them.
By giving users terms and conditions that they can accept, you can provide clarity over how the promotion works so that users know what they’re getting and so that you can rest assured they’re aware of the conditions of the promotion.
Write your terms and conditions
First, you need to have a clear vision of what you’re writing these rules for. Stating terms and conditions for a giveaway is not the same as a BOGO offer on your website.
It’s also important to determine where you will place these terms and conditions. Terms should be visible to users. Most companies place their overall terms and conditions on their website’s footer. Still, terms should be near the announcement when it comes to promotion. For example, suppose the promotion is a discount, and you’re using a banner on your homepage to promote it. In that case, you should include where to find those terms and conditions. You can add the link to your bio in a social media giveaway and ask users to check them out before participating.
The way you write terms and conditions should be accessible to everyone, so don’t use complicated words that could entangle the understanding of your promotion.
Considering that, let’s look at some of the key elements you must include in your terms and conditions.
What to include in your terms and conditions
The first thing your users will read is the presentation of your promotion's terms and conditions, where you ask people to read them carefully. Make sure to add the effective date or the last time these terms and conditions have been updated.
In this section, you can also include your company's details or any other related companies organizing the promotion, such as name, website address, and official social media profiles applicable to the promotion. For example, if it's an Instagram giveaway, add the handle (@) of the profile where users will participate.
Since you can't control whether users have read the entirety of your terms and conditions, you can include a sentence stating that users agree to these terms and conditions by participating in the giveaway.
It would be best to establish what national or state law governs the agreement between you and the users. Most companies choose the law of their state or country or the country where users access their website.
Here's when we focus on the promotion. This section explains how the promotion works, what the requirements are to participate, and who's eligible to participate. For example, when we refer to a discount code, you should mention the code, where to apply it, how much the discount is going to be, how many times a single user can use it, and the maximum amount of money that will be subtracted if there's a limit.
You should also explain how the winners will be selected and how many there will be in case of a giveaway. If it's a social media giveaway, stating that users agree to have their social media handle and photo included in the list that undergoes the winner selection by accepting these terms and conditions. You also need to state when and how the company will contact the winners and send the prize to them or whether they have to go pick them up themselves.
Details are important here to avoid future issues with participants. Therefore, explain the whole process in as much detail as possible.
If there is a prize involved, there should be a section dedicated to describing it. There can be more than one winner, so describe all prizes differentiating between first and second place. There can also be more than one product involved, including all products, sizes, and quantities.
If the prize is a service, like a spa day, describe what this service includes and what it doesn't.
Stating prize limitations, such as whether the winner can exchange the prize for another product or not, is also very important.
It’s important to set the dates when the promotion will be valid. Include both date and time, and state that all entries or purchases made outside of those dates will not apply to the promotion.
Stating exclusions makes sure no one playing outside of the rules gets access to the prize. Define what can get a user excluded from the promotion. For example, if a social media giveaway requires mentioning friends, you can indicate that users can’t mention famous people. Or that users can’t use bots to comment for them, or that they can’t participate with false personal details. You can also state whether employees of the company can use the discount. These exclusions need to be explicit.
Personal data protection
You will be collecting users' data to process the promotion, so you should state how you will process that information and how long you will keep it and clarify that users can access that data and require deletion.
Finally, provide an email, phone number, or a way for users to contact you if they have any questions.
Archiving your terms and conditions
As we mentioned earlier, terms and conditions aren't an obligation for companies. But once you craft and publish them, are they legally enforceable? Yes, they are.
It's fundamental to have terms and conditions when running a promotion. You can rely on them if there's ever a problem with a user.
But just having these terms up on your site isn't enough. You need to keep an archive of your terms and conditions of present and past promotions because you never know when trouble will arise.
You can run a giveaway today, but the user's complaint may come in a month. So what happens if you've already taken down the terms and conditions for that promotion from your site? How can you prove consent? That is why it's important to archive your terms and conditions.
Now, to keep copies of those terms, you could manually capture the page once when it's posted, and that's it. But in this process, two things interfere:
- We’re humans. Humans forget things. And marketers that are running after a giveaway or a frenzy discount forget even more things. So manually screenshotting every promotion’s terms and conditions is a no-no.
- Terms and conditions aren’t permanent. As seen in the key elements, the effective date can change as terms are updated, so you also need to record each version of those terms.
A one-time screenshot isn’t the solution. But an automated screenshot tool like Stillio could be!
Keeping an automatic archive of terms and conditions with Stillio
With Stillio, you can automate screenshots for your terms and conditions at the interval of your liking: daily, weekly, monthly, etc. That can be adapted to each promotion, its length, and how often you consider updating those terms. Just set it once, and the captures will be automatically saved for future reference.
What's more, screenshots with Stillio are timestamped. So if you need to prove those terms were up on your site at a specific time, we've got you covered.
With automated full-length screenshots, all the necessary information to face customer trouble will be there, like the effective date of the terms and conditions, the statement of consent, the prize, and the promotion dynamics.
Stillio also allows you to set screenshots of your entire site, so if you forget to set screenshots for a specific promotion's terms, the automated captures of the website will do it for you.
Terms and conditions are a crucial step in promotion management. Now that you understand the importance of archiving and that you know how to save terms and conditions, you can go on to offer amazing giveaways and discounts without fear of litigation. So ensure all the conditions are clear, and if you need it, ask for legal help. Feel free to book a demo with us to learn more about how Stillio can help you make this process much easier.