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5 ways to use contests to build your email list

championsOnline competitions are a great way to boost your blog’s traffic, engagement as well as grow your email list. A few weeks back I posted an article about using social media to build your list.  For some reason my inbox went  a little crazy about this concept and I promised I’d post more about online contests, in particular some ideas for you to grow your email lists.

Not only are competitions a great way to build your list, they are help your list become responsive. Having a responsive email list will boost your sales. It’s a win-win for everyone involved :)

As always what sort of online contests you have, really depends on what type of business you have and who you are targeting so consider the following 5 ways inspiration to kick start your own creative brainstorm around online contests.

5 ways to use contests to build your email list

1) Boast My Business Video – Ask clients to boast about your product or service and post it on their YouTube channel. You promote the video to encourage votes in the form of likes and dislikes. You can also Tweet the videos and share them on Facebook pages to get more views, of course, you can get the embed code and then add the video to your blog.  Finding the winner is simple – the video with the most likes (not views, but the act of pushing the thumbs up button) wins :).  Remember, video is hard to fake (I’d say almost impossible) and genuine videos boasting about what you do for your customers is a powerful way of generating buzz about your business.

Remember the aim is to have people to join your email list, so promote the videos to your list and invite people to forward it to their friends. Add a little if you want to join this email list then click here link and you’re all set :)

Additional note – if you are asking your customers to take the time to create and promote a video you should have a decent prize. $10 Amazon cards just won’t cut it. Also it may be worth offering a limited time discount to all entrants so there is another powerful incentive to enter your contest.

2) Why I Should Win Video – Ask potential clients to enter a contest to win your products and services. You can see an example of this in the Prosperity’s Kitchen contest here – http://prosperityskitchen.com/contestant-app  would be entrants are asked to create a video where they say why they want to enter the competition. Again, competition entrants should promote it on their own accounts as well as you promoting the video. The most likes win.

3) Crowd sourcing some goodies.  Have a contest to create a T-Shirt / Bag or some other type of item to sell on your website. This works really well for bloggers who need to have a product to sell via their blog.The winner can get a prize and an exclusive T-Shirt / bag or whatever the item is. In addition, you’ll get an awesome promotional item to sell via your site. Crowd sourcing goodies is a great way to create ongoing word of mouth for your business or blog. Remember you also have to promote your entries to your email list and again invite people to forward it to a friend to vote for their design.

4) Simple Gifts -You can make it super simple and offer a small, physical gift for each person who signs up for your newsletter. Sure people give downloadable gifts all the time. When you physically have to post an item to someone, you are showing that you value them even more. The gist can range from sweets to pens or mouse mats This can even be an ongoing project where ever 50’th sign up wins something bigger. Again invite your new subscribers to forward your email to a friend who might like the free gift too.

The cost of acquisition for a lead can be quite small, around the $10 mark. If you pay for traffic this method is slightly more expensive depending on your keywords and having a physical address to send something is a powerful way of connecting with your subscribers.

5) Photo Contest – If your site is relevant to babies, or nature, or any genre that easily supports photography, then an online photo contest can work viral miracles for gaining traffic and email subscribers.

Winning ways include:

  • Take a picture of yourself with the book, product, or T-shirt in an interesting place
  • The photo with the most Facebook likes or shares
  • The image with the most repins on Pinterest
  • The most hearts on Instagram

The key to a photo competition being incredibly successful is the “votes” taking place on the social media network where your ideal reader hangs out. I’ve lost count of how many cute babies I’ve had to like for people and shared pics of books in weird places…

Every contest that you have should promote signing up for your email list. Due to that goal, you need to have an easy sign up form on your website where your readers can see it. Aweber makes creating sign up forms simple. You just create your form with a few clicks of the mouse, then copy and paste the code into your website or blog post.

Create a special landing page so that visitors know exactly what to do. Don’t make your visitors guess what they’re next steps are. Make it very clear that you want their email address and what they get in return for providing it. Once they sign up, your Aweber system will automatically send the pre-loaded information that you supplied about the rules and regulations for the contest and step-by-step instructions on how to participate in the contest and how you will promote the entrants – yes, you have to work too, this isn’t a lay back and think of England scenario.

Be as detailed as possible to get the maximum number of entries.

Remember to make it simple for the participants to market your contest (and your list) as well. Put share buttons in prominent spots, and tell them to share. Don’t just place the buttons, but ask them to share with their friends. It’s always better to have a contest where participants have to seek out voters because this gives you even more exposure as they market their entry to their friends, family and business partners.

Good luck with your online contests, may your traffic and list explode with active participants.

Sarah Arrow

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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007. She's been internationally recognised as a top content marketer, Forbes and MSN list her websites as top ones, and she's the author of many quick start marketing guides. You can find her books on Amazon.

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