Holding an online contest is a fun, affordable way to grow your email list and engage your followers with your brand.
There are endless ways to create contests, ranging from huge, expensive giveaways (“Win an all-expenses paid trip to Maui!”) to contests that don’t involve money at all (“Submit a photo and we’ll feature you on our website!”)
The type of contest you choose will depend on your audience, your budget, and the level of complexity you’re willing to deal with.
The fastest, easiest way to use a contest to build your email list is to start small and simple, see what kind of response you get, and use that momentum to create an even bigger, better contest for your followers.
Here are 5 easy, low-cost contests that you can create to build your email list and increase fan engagement.
1. Photo contest
Ask fans to take a picture with your product. For example, if you sell camping gear, have them submit a photo of them in the great outdoors using your tent or backpack.
If you run a service-based business, ask followers to take a photograph of themselves enjoying whatever benefits your service provides. For example, if you’re an organization expert, your fans could submit photos of while working in their perfectly organized office.
Have them submit their photo – and their email address – via your website or a capture form on Facebook.
Whoever has the most Facebook likes, the most pins on Pinterest, or the most Instagram stars wins!
2. T-shirt/Artwork/Logo creation contest
Hold a contest to create a new product for your brand, or a new logo or design. Showcase the best designs on your website and have followers vote for their favorites. Require an email opt-in for those submitting the artwork and those who are voting for their favorite designs.
3. Gifts for opting in
Just as you offer a free virtual “gift” to everyone who opts into your email list, you can offer a more substantial physical gift to the 50th, 100th, and 1000th subscriber to your email list.
You might give away coupons, free products, discount codes, or advertising space on your website. Use your email capture form to make it clear exactly what the next awesome subscriber will win!
4. Facebook contests
Facebook contests are a fantastic way to increase engagement and capture more email addresses.
You can create gated quizzes, photo contests, sweepstakes, story contests – the sky is the limits!
Make an email address required to enter the contest, and be sure to choose the “multiple vote” option. When people can vote or enter multiple times, your reach increases as they are far more likely to share the contest with their friends.
You can setup a Facebook contest in just minutes using Constant Contact’s Social Campaigns tool.
5. Video contest with YouTube
Have your fans create a video of them using your product or service and post it to YouTube or another social sharing site.
You can create a special email capture form just for the contest, or use a Facebook video contest application.
Since creating a video takes time and effort, the prize for this contest should be a rather large incentive (people are unlikely to go to the trouble of making and uploading a video for a $10 iTunes gift card – we’d suggest a $100-value minimum prize for this contest).
Be sure to make your contest easy to enter and exciting to win. While your followers should be focused on winning whatever prize you’re offering, you should be focused on getting their email address and engaging with them throughout the contest.
Have you used contests to increase your email opt-in’s?
What were the results? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!