October 16, 2017

5 Tips for Using a Giveaway to Expand Your Email Rolls

by Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.

Once you’ve started developing a web and social media presence for your small business and have decided which tasks you and your staff can handle on your own and which you might want to outsource, you’re most likely at a point where you want to grow your email subscription list.

With holiday season approaching and certain bearded fellows making lists and checking them twice, a prize giveaway is the perfect choice for rewarding the subscribers on your current mailing list. And by picking the right prize as a giveaway, you could well be giving yourself a gift for the new year: Attracting and adding new subscribers to your email rolls.

What sort of prize should you give, and how will that prize pique the interest not only of your current subscriber/customers but attract even more? Here are five tips to consider for launching a successful giveaway, which you can promote both through your current email subscription list and your social media channels:

  1. Pick a Prize That’s Alluring—and the Right Fit for Your Business or Specialty

Such prizes as iPads and Amazon Echos are prevalent choices for giveaways across the web, but if you’re a winery and giving away an iPad, how do you ensure that the winner or other entrants in the giveaways will remain as visitors to your site if you don’t sell electronics?

Instead, a giveaway that features four bottles of wine—one per each of the four blends you produce, perhaps—is a more sure-fire way to attract entrants, especially if your website features content about how you produce your wines.

Better yet, tell your prospective entrants that they’ll receive a free catalog or e-book about your wines if they sign up or like your contest post on Facebook.

  1. Don’t Be Cheap: Offer Multiple Prizes

Giving away four first prizes, say, four of those four-blend wine packages, and 10 second prizes, perhaps one bottle of wine with the winners choosing their preferred blend, will lure potential subscribers into thinking they’ll have greater chances of winning—and they do. If the potential subscriber sees that your business already has 1,200 followers on Twitter, the offering of multiple prizes becomes even more important because of the greater winning chances.

When it introduced a new lollipop flavor a couple of years ago, Tootsie Roll sponsored a contest in which it sought “taste testers” of the new pop.

In three days, the candy maker secured a succulent result of 43,292 entries, and it decided to up the number of taste testers from an original goal of 100 to 400. Each eager tongue was mailed a Tootsie Roll Pops sample pack that included a printed insert with a Quick Response (QR) Code. That code sent testers to a survey that presented 10 feedback questions about the new pop flavor.

  1. Grab a Partner for Help, or Do It on Your Own?

Outsourcing and working with a local marketing agency can be a key to success in your campaign, as can working with a like-minded brand—the earlier mentioned winery, for example, could partner with a liquor store that’s the biggest seller of its wines.

“You’ll share the contest with your subscribers and followers and your partners will do the same,” says email marketer MailChimp in its blog. “This gets the word out beyond those who already know you, and if you’re a smaller, growing business, you can enjoy the benefits of the expanded reach and reputation of other brands—particularly if they’re larger and more established.”

However, if you have experience in giveaways and want to save time and money and wield more control, you also can sponsor quick campaigns on your own.

“Your reach may be limited, but you can focus on increasing engagement with those who already know you,” MailChimp says.

“For example, allow contest entry for following you on different social media channels or signing up to your email list (for those who only follow you on social). You can make it a true contest by asking followers to post a photo that tags or mentions your brand, and then choose the best photo as the winner.”

  1. Work With Others in Your Community

Perhaps your business is located in a mid-sized community where a minor-league baseball or hockey team is located. Buy business sponsorship tickets from the team, which surely offers them, and feature the tickets as monthly or other periodic prizes throughout the team’s season.

You can run such contests and promote them on your Facebook fan page timeline, for example. Just ponder and decide on a catchy post for your giveaway, and more “likes” and “follow”s are sure to head your way.

  1. Be Fair in Selecting Your Giveaway Winner

Using a random-number service, such as, will help you pick a winner for your giveaway. While you’re promoting your giveaway, you can mention that you’re using such a service so prospective entrants will know that your giveaway is fair and legit.

“In reality, most random numbers used in computer programs are pseudo-random, which means they are generated in a predictable fashion using a mathematical formula,” says

“ offers true random numbers to anyone on the Internet. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs.”

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