How to Create a Contest That Grows Your Email List

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Contests are highly effective for growing an engaged email list. For a lot of businesses and organizations, building a customer list that consistent produces longterm loyal customers is also one of their greatest challenges.

Worse, your email list degrades over time as your contacts’ email addresses change. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that your brand is always attracting fresh leads so that you can continue to generate growth and sales.

While buying contest leads is an option (not recommended), it’s not the best way to go about this if you want to attract future customers to your brand.


In this post, you’ll uncover how to use contests to help you grow your email list and ensure that you have a large customer database that you can tap into. With a proven email marketing strategy, you can ensure that your contest participants turn into customers who will boost your business growth.


  • How do contests grow your email list faster?
  • How does list segmentation work for contests?
  • Does email marketing to contest leads work?

Contests Are the Ultimate Reward for Customer Loyalty

As a marketer for an established brand, your intuition might lead you to believe that you should always be on the lookout for new customers. However, it should not be at the expense of keeping your existing customers and email list subscribers happy.

Contests are the ultimate reward for customer loyalty and have been proven to deliver a positive customer experience that boosts your brand’s reputation.

In fact, a study found that 66% of customers start using a competitor’s business because of poor service from their original vendor. As a result, a contest will not only help you retain those loyal customers, but will also attract the loyal customers of other brands who are not doing what it takes to retain them.

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Even for brands with millions of customers, contests combined with nurturing via channels, such as email marketing can help you reach each and every one of them in a personalized manner that is memorable and unique. This is why building a contest email list is so important for brands.


What Is a Contest Email List?

A contest email list is the collection of email addresses that a Contest Sponsor collects from participants as a part of the entry processd for a contest. These are fans and existing customers that have submitted their email and opted to receive marketing message and updates about your contest via email.

Contest email lists, sometimes called subscriber lists, shrink over time after your contest ends and contest participants unsubscribe. They grow as you continue to run more contests and giveaways through contest marketing and lead generation.

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If you don’t have a email marketing strategy to manage the email leads that you get from contests or you are not working on growing your contest email list, you should create one immediately.

At Sweepsify, you’ll get access to all of the contest and sweepstakes marketing resources you need in one place.


10 Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List During a Contest

Here are some ideas to grow your email list during a contest:

  1. Encourage participants to share and forward your contest emails.
  2. Use list segmentation to separate engaged contest participants and to send emails that are personalized to their shopping preferences and interests.
  3. Reinvigorate an inactive email list by inviting subscribers to enter your contest.
  4. Encourage participants to sign up with an email address on your brand’s website for a special offer.
  5. Promote gated content that contest participants can only open with an email address to build a customer list for your contest co-Sponsor (JV partner).
  6. Promote your email newsletter on branded contest web pages that you use in your contest advertising.
  7. Use a web entry form as your AMOE or as a way to collect multiple contest entries so that participants must enter their email addresses.
  8. Ask website visitors for feedback on your contest so that you can collect their email addresses to follow up with them.
  9. Ask contest participants to subscribe to your blog in exchange for a contest entry.
  10. Guest blog about your contest and link to a contest entry web page that collects participants email addresses.
» MORE:   How to Create an Amazing Customer Experience for Your Sweepstakes

As you grow your email list during your contest with fresh opt-in prospects, implementing these additional methods to build your email marketing list can help you maximize contest participation and ROI.

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Include Email Marketing and Data Usage Terms in Your Contest Official Rules to Comply With Privacy Laws

Having a customer email list built from a contest lets you target your fans using the data that they share with you in a contest survey or on entry form submission. You’ll be able to upload to this data to martech platforms to incorporate this targeting in your campaigns.

Keep in mind that your contest Official Rules and Privacy Policy need to define how you will use this customer data after it’s collected. Also depending on your contest design, you may also be required to follow mobile marketing laws and abide by the data usage terms set for by social media platforms.

Integrate Your Contest Leads With Your CRM

You can integrate your customer relationship management (CRM) system with your contest data and email list. With an integration partner, you can also push the details of your contest participants to ecommerce and marketing automation tools.

This will allow you to make use of contest participant data in real-time so that you don’t have to manually upload contest participants, manage them, or remove them. This will automatically keep your contest leads refreshed and synced with your CRM and martech tools.


Should You Run a Contest If You Don’t Have an Email List?

If you’re starting from zero, building an email list with a contest is not the best choice. A contest helps you grow your email list but it is not the most effective way to build an email list from scratch.

By identifying your target audience and developing a loyal email subscriber base first, you will be able to fully leverage contests to attract loyal customers.


Next Steps: Optimize Your Contest Marketing for Email Signups and Sales

Contest participants need to feel connected to your contest in order for them to engage with your campaign. Here are a few ways to optimize your contest marketing for email lead generation:

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Create Personalized Contest Entry and Landing Pages

Create multiple versions of your contest pages so that you can personalize them. Every person who visits your site has a slightly different reason for why they are interested in learning more about your contest promotion.

The more the landing pages appeal to your target audience, the more contest participants, and ultimately email signups, you’ll get.

Encourage Visitors to Sign Up Immediately

You want visitors to act right away when they sign up for your contest. You can add elements to the page to promote a sense of urgency, such as a video countdown to the days left before the contest winner is announced.

Then follow up with similar urgent offers from your brand via email to get new contest participants to your website as quickly as possible. By encouraging visitors to act immediately, you can generate instant sales from a contest.

Write Great Content for Your Email List

Make sure that your branding extended to your contest marketing by creating unique and exclusive contest that isn’t already available on your website for your contest email list subscribers.

Customers need to believe that your company offers something that is special via email. Otherwise there is no point to continuing to remain subscribed. While you may only want to send offers, your customers will appreciate “just for fun” emails that stay on the theme of the contest.

You can use emails to remind contest participants of the contest timeline or about upcoming events from your brand that are related to the product or service you are promoting with a contest.

Bring in Email Subscribers From Other Channels to Your Contest

Your contest will help you to bring in email subscribers who are already subscribed to the brand on other marketing channels, such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and more. By bringing in these subscribers to your contest email list you can maximize contest participant and ROI.

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