Before you get far in your plans for a contest or sweepstakes, check with local authorities to get up to speed on the local rules governing them in your home market. Typically, your secretary of state or the State Department of Commerce can help you (names vary by states). If you think you've got an idea that will really attract some attention, give your attorney a call. A little time and money spent up-front can save you an enourmous amount of expense and emarrassment if things go wrong.

Excerpted from Knock-Out Marketing: Powerful Strategies to Punch Up Your Sales