How to Use a Giveaway to Grow Your Email List

With a little thought and preparation, it is possible to find and engage with your ideal reader through a giveaway.

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Over the last couple of years, I’ve written a lot about growing your email list if you are building any kind of online presence.  Some list building strategies can feel manipulative or self-promoting and rub roughly against our faith-based sensibilities.

But giveaways are right up our alley.  We value giving over receiving and when we give to our audience, they respond with loyalty.

Using a giveaway to grow your email list can be a little tricky.  It is exciting, seeing the new subscribers come rolling in for a chance at your amazing prize, but then discouraging to see them start leaking away as they unsubscribe.

With a little thought and preparation, it is possible to find and engage with your ideal reader through a giveaway.  Here is what I’ve learned through running and participating in several giveaways.

1. Offer the right prize

It may sound obvious, but offering a prize pinpoint-focused on your audience is the most important thing to get right.  Your prize should be something highly desirable by your target audience, directly related to your niche or main message.  It creates an immediate connection between you and the people entering your giveaway … they know you care about the same things they care about.

Everyone loves cash, a big Amazon gift card or PayPal transfer, and you may get more entries to your giveaway, but if there is no connection to you and your message, these new subscribers will quickly unsubscribe, Or even worse, you’ll be flooded with “giveaway junkies” who enter every giveaway they can find as a hobby and have no intention of ever forming a relationship with you. (#BeenThereDoneThat)

So if you blog about marriage, try giving away your favorite marriage book and a gift card to a date night spot.  If your target audience is young moms, offer a collection of your favorite rainy day toys and games. Creating this kind of connection between your prize and your target audience ensures you are growing your email list with quality subscribers.

2.  Bigger is better

The biggest prize you can offer is going to draw more people, of course.  But it does not have to cost you an arm and a leg to offer something amazing.  Collaborate with other bloggers who have a similar target audience and pool your resources.  I recently did a giveaway of my Boss Your Time Around workshop, which helps you connect your calendar and your to-do list to create a weekly plan focused on your most important priorities.  Teaming up with one friend who offered an amazing planner and another friend who has a faith-based goals course brought the total value of the giveaway to almost $500!

Don’t be afraid to ask a sponsor to donate a product for your giveaway.  It can be powerful advertising for them to promote their product to your audience. Online entrepreneurs who have products and courses, authors with new books to promote and small businesses with unique services are usually are willing to participate if you will include links to their products in your giveaway promotions.

3.  Collaborate for maximum reach

Another benefit of collaborating with other bloggers is that your giveaway will be shared with more people.  If you try to do a giveaway by yourself, only the people you have access to will know about the giveaway and your awesome prize.   The new people added to your email list will be minimal.

But if you get together with several others with complementary audiences, you can reach tons more new people. And by working with you, your collaborators have shown their stamp of approval of you to their audience, helping you quickly gain their trust.

How to Run Your Giveaway

Running a giveaway is easy!  There are several software platforms …. some free, some paid … that can help you manage the giveaway.

Facebook Apps – This article from Wishpond covers some of the most popular platforms for running your giveaway on Facebook.  If Facebook is where your target audience hangs out, they make it super easy to run the giveaway right on your Facebook page.  However, with the recent changes in Facebook algorithms for Pages, running a giveaway on Facebook may not be the best place to reach a lot of new readers.

Rafflecopter – If you want easy easy easy, Rafflecopter is your best friend!  This powerful platform offers many ways for readers to enter your giveaway and earn entries.  The free version allows you to create a basic giveaway, including a one-click Facebook entry option.

King Sumo Giveaways – This is my favorite giveaway platform.  Their Lucky URL sets the standard for viral “refer a friend” entries for sharing.  This feature can increase entries by 10 – 30% with a higher proportion of new readers.  This platform runs as a plugin from your self-hosted WordPress site and requires a bit of time to work through the settings.  It is also a bit pricey – $228 for a lifetime single site license – but you can usually grab it on sale through AppSumo for only $49!

Follow Up

Once your giveaway is complete, be sure to have a plan for following up with your new subscribers.

If your giveaway is related to your own product, email your non-winners and offer them a discount on your product for a limited time.  They’ve already shown they are interested in your product by entering the giveaway, so they may be willing to invest at a reduced price.

Also, be prepared with a welcome series for your new subscribers.  Integrating them into your community and leading them to know, like and trust you, will make them less likely to unsubscribe.

No matter what you do, your unsubscribe rate will probably increase some after a giveaway. It is not uncommon to lose up to 25% of your new subscribers with the first couple of months.   Following the best practices outlined here will help you hang on to more of them and build goodwill with your existing subscribers.

Have you tried a using a giveaway to build your email list?  Share how you did it and what you learned!

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2 thoughts on “How to Use a Giveaway to Grow Your Email List”

  1. Hi Christa,
    Thank you for these great suggestions! You mentioned Rafflecopter. I’ve hosted a couple of successful giveaways using this site. They’re very user-friendly.


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