How to do a Giveaway to Grow Your Subscriber List

How to do a giveaway

Table of Contents

A robust email list is a marketer’s best weapon. You could have the best branding, outstanding products, and incredible content — but if you don’t have anyone to send it to, you might as well be shouting into a black hole.

Growing your email list can be a long and slow-moving process, but there are a few tactics to give your subscriber count a near-instant boost. One of the best ways to increase subscriber numbers for online stores is to host a giveaway.

Keep reading to learn how to do a giveaway to grow your audience (and your revenue).


Why You Should Consider a Giveaway

Before we get into the “how,” let’s first discuss the “why.” First off, the value of an email subscriber far outweighs the cost of giving away a free item — especially when you consider the lifetime value of a customer.

You can do the math yourself by calculating your email subscriber value:

Monthly revenue earned from email list / how many subscribers that month = revenue per subscriber

Let’s put in some hypothetical numbers:

Let’s say you earn $50,000 from email marketing each month, and you have 10,000 email subscribers. With these numbers, that means that your email subscriber value is $50,000/10,000 = $5. This means that every subscriber is worth $5 PER MONTH.

Of course, this formula isn’t perfect (since it doesn’t include things like customer acquisition cost and marketing costs), but it gives you a general idea of how much a new subscriber is worth.

Now, let’s factor in a giveaway. 

Let’s say you do a generous giveaway and send one person a $100 gift card every month (we’ll ignore the fact that a $100 gift card actually only costs your store about $67 if you have a 50% markup). If your email subscriber value is $5, that means your giveaway would only need to generate 20 subscribers a month to be worth $100 and break even.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

In addition to generating more potential revenue, giveaways are a great way to increase engagement on social media platforms — especially if your giveaway encourages people to like, comment and subscribe to your social channels.

And when you increase engagement and follower count, you increase brand awareness because more people will be exposed to your social channels. I don’t think we need to explain why increased brand awareness helps drive sales…

How to do a giveaway to grow your email list.

Steps for How to do a Giveaway

We hope by now you understand the benefits of hosting a giveaway, so let’s jump into the “how” with a step-by-step guide.

Define Your Giveaway Goal(s)

We’re big fans of goal setting at Quantum. After all, how can you know if something is successful if you haven’t defined success?

A few common giveaway goals to consider:

  • Gain email subscribers
  • Gain SMS subscribers
  • Increase website traffic
  • Increase social media following
  • Increase sales

Once you have a clear goal set, you can start to implement steps to reach that goal.

Pick What You Want to Give Away

Next up, you should decide what you’ll actually be giving away. We personally think the bigger, the better — as long as the reward outweighs the cost. A bigger giveaway is more likely to draw more attention and get you closer to your goals.

We also suggest that your giveaway item is closely related to your brand. Since we’re talking specifically about ecommerce giveaways, that means it should be one of your items! Don’t give away an iPad if you already sell beautiful rugs (for example).

You might also choose to give away items that you are trying to get rid of. For example, maybe you are releasing a new line of products, and you need to free up some storage space.

Finally, you should consider if you want to give away a physical or digital product. Digital products, like gift cards, are great because they are much cheaper to send to winners. Physical products, on the other hand, require a little bit more effort (and cost).

Pick Which Type of Giveaway You Want to Do

Now that you know why you want to do a giveaway and what you want to give away, it’s time to pick how you want to do it. The type of giveaway you choose will largely depend on your goal. 

Here are a few basic giveaway types to choose from.

  • Social media sweepstakes. A social media sweepstakes usually prompt some sort of engagement (like, follow, comment, tag a friend) in exchange for a chance to win. This type of giveaway is a great way to boost your follower count.
  • Purchase required draw. If your goal is to increase sales, you could host a purchase required draw. This is a type of raffle where participants need to purchase a product or spend a certain amount of money to be entered to win. To have a successful giveaway of this type, you’ll need to give away a really high-quality item.
  • User-generated content. This type of giveaway involves users sharing a piece of content (usually something like a photo) on their personal Instagram feed and tagging your company or using a specified hashtag to be entered to win. Contests like this are great because they can create a stockpile of content for your business to use down the road.
  • Sign-up for a raffle. The simplest and most common type of giveaway for online stores is a raffle sign-up. Here’s how it works: someone signs up for your email or SMS list, and they’re automatically entered to win.

Define Your Contest Rules

The next step is to define your contest rules. This means documenting precisely how you are going to operate your giveaway type. There are different laws regulating giveaways, so it might be a good idea to consult with an attorney in your store.

In addition to local regulations, different social networks also have rules for giveaways. For example, Facebook’s policies dictate that:

  1. Communicating a Promotion
    • If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including: The official rules; Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).
  2. Required Content
    • Promotions on Facebook must include the following: A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.
  3. Administration of a Promotion
    • Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
  4. Assisting Promotions
    • Facebook will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

Instagram has a very similar policy:

  1. If you use Instagram to communicate or administer a promotion (example: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
    • The official rules;
    • Offer terms and eligibility requirements (example: age and residency restrictions); and
    • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (example: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
  2. You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (example: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).
  3. Promotions on Instagram must include the following:
    • A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.
    • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
  4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion and cannot advise you on whether consent is required for use of user content or on how to obtain any necessary consent.
  5. You agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

Run Your Online Contest

Once you have the foundation set, you can actually start running your online giveaway. If you are doing a sign-up raffle, you could probably do this yourself, but there are a lot of giveaway apps that integrate with Shopify, like ViralSweep, that makes setup easy.

If you’re doing it yourself, the basic steps are:

  • Set up your entry forms. If you’re doing a giveaway where people need to sign up to enter, you’ll obviously need a sign-up form on your website. Since people love giveaways so much, make sure your form is super easy to find and navigate — popups and overlays work great for this. 
  • Track your entrants. For email and SMS raffles, you can easily track your entries with your email service provider. Consider starting a new list so you can keep track of them separately.
  • Pick a winner. Depending on your rules, you’ll probably want to pick a random winner. An easy way to do this is to randomly assign a number to the entrants using the RANDBETWEEN function in Google Sheets. From there, you can use a random number generator online to pick a winner!
  • Notify your winners. After the giveaway ends, it’s time to notify your winners. How you do this will depend on your type of giveaway. If you had a social media sweepstakes or user-generated content, it can be fun to announce your winners on social media publicly.
  • Send out your prize. As we mentioned before, sending digital products or gift cards is easier, but physical products can be a little bit more fun.

Promoting Your Giveaway

Of course, a giveaway is only worth it if people actually sign up. That means you’ll need to promote your giveaway to make it worthwhile.

Once again, how you promote your giveaway will depend on your goals. For example, if you only want to grow your email list with organic website visitors, you might not want to promote your giveaway anywhere but on your website.

If your goal is to reach as many people as possible, consider these promotion tactics:

  • Paid social. Paid social is the easiest way to reach more people on social media. This can really help get your contest off the ground if you don’t have a large social media following, to begin with.
  • Organic social. If you already have a sizeable social media following, you might be able to meet your goals by simply putting up a few Instagram posts and stories.
  • Influencers. Another promising way to promote your giveaway on social media is to partner with online influencers.
  • Brand partnerships. You can also partner with other brands to increase your reach and engagement. A great way to do this is to partner with other brands who also provide a product for the giveaway — that way, you have an even better prize and can also leverage the following of your giveaway partners.
  • Email & SMS. If your giveaway is open to existing subscribers (why wouldn’t you want to reward their loyalty?), then don’t forget to promote your contest through email and SMS!

Looking for ways to reach potential customers and increase user engagement? Then consider hosting a giveaway. Not only are giveaways a great way to connect with your audience, but they can also be great for your revenue.

When you look at your email subscriber value, it’s easy to see how growing your subscriber list is a smart business choice.

If you have questions about running a giveaway for your Shopify store, contact the email and SMS marketing experts at Quantum.