How To Build an Email List Using Contests or Giveaways

Why You Need To Build an Email List

If you're reading this, it means you probably already understand the power of having your own email list for your business. 

But I wanted to cover really quickly just a few of the reasons why  it's probably the most important asset you can add or grow inside of your own business.

 Realistically, building an email list is one of the few things that allows you to add an asset to your business that you control completely.

This means you have more control over your sales and you're not at the whim of somebody like or Facebook to bring traffic.

More importantly, it's a great way to build trust and long-term relationships with your customers and Prospects. 

Even in 2020, email is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal and it allows you to create intimate and personal relationships with everyone on your list.

 You may have heard this example by now, but having an email list  is kind of like the photograph you see every time Apple launches a new iPhone.


 It's a line of people ready to buy your newest product, read your newest content, or simply let their friends know what's going on with you and your brand.

One of the simplest and most powerful ways to start growing this list, is by using the power of giveaways or contests. 

How To Start Building Your Email List With a Contest

Getting started with your product giveaway to build your email list is actually a lot less complex than what people think. 

What People Think You Need To Do

If you ask most people what you need to start building an email list, even if you're using contest, they'll probably give you a list of things like:

  •  you need to build a full website
  •  you need to hire somebody to run ads
  •  and you're going to need more hours in the day to monitor everything is going on

 Thankfully this is not the case, it’s actually significantly easier than you think.

What You Actually Need to Do:

Realistically, all you need to do to start building your email list with a contest or giveaway is follow a simple two-step process.

Step #1: Find Something Cool

The first thing we're going to need to do is find something cool.

 When I say cool, I don't mean the newest, fanciest Gadget( although that might be something that's interesting to your audience), what I mean is a product or service that is going to be interesting to your audience.

Step #2: Show it To People 

Once we find something cool, we need to put it in front of people. 

This can be as simple as posting it on her Facebook page or as complex as running a bunch of ads.

We're going to be covering both of these steps in detail below,  so even if you've never run a contest or giveaway before and have no idea where to start, you'll be able to follow along and do the process in your own business.

How To Get Started With Your Giveaway or Contest (Finding Something Cool)

Before we can get started, we have to execute on step one which is finding something cool that will interest our audience enough to give us their email address during the Giveaway.

 There's two different ways that work really well to do this.

Single Product Giveaway

The first method is the single product giveaway.

 Just like the name implies, if we're doing a single product giveaway, we're looking for a single product that would be interesting to our Market.

For example, if we are in the ice cream space, meaning we're teaching people how to make ice cream in hundreds of delicious ways or we're selling ice cream scoop, we may want to look at something like an ice cream maker for our single product for a giveaway.

This method can work very well, if there are attractive products in your Market that have a value of $150 or more. 

A Word of Warning

The biggest issue with this style of giveaway is that we're giving away a single product.

Meaning if we don't pick the perfect product  for our audience, there is a smaller chance that any individual person in our audience is going to be interested enough in the giveaway to give us their email address in exchange for a chance to win.

Additionally, there's a larger likelihood that we pick a prize that has too broad of an appeal, for example an iPad and we attract a ton of interest in our giveaway but from people outside of the market that we're targeting.

Product Bundle Giveaways:

In place of a single product giveaway, you can use the product bundle method. 

 Unlike  Single product giveaways, these are typically much easier to create in a targeted way, meaning we don't have to worry about the product appealing to too many or too few people, because we can appeal to different interests of different people with different products,  all within our Market.

Additionally if we're selling our own products in the market, we can include a few of them to raise the overall value,  without costing us the full retail price of the prizes.

There are two types of product bundle giveaways that I would suggest taking a look at for your Market.

Starter Kit:

The first type of bundle you may want to take a look at is the” starter pack”  bundle. 

This type of bundle is ideal for entry-level audiences, meaning people who are just joining a niche.

For example, if we were trying to target people who are new cooks, maybe they're people who want to start cooking for the first time or they're trying to lose weight so they're going to begin cooking at home, we could put together a bundle of products including:

  • A Basic Set of Knives
  • A Basic Set Of Measuring Cups and Bowls
  • A Few Utensils 
  • A Basic Set Of Pots and Pans

Basically, we're giving them everything that they would need to get started.

This type of bundle is extremely attractive, because they don't need to think about the products that they would need to get started on their journey of cooking at home. 

Ultimate Bundle:

Unlike the starter kit, the other type of bundle that you could create for your giveaway is the “ ultimate kit”.

 What we're trying to do here is put together the best products for any given Market.

 For example if we were going after people who love to fish, we would want to put together something like:

  • The Best Fishing Rod
  • The Best Fishing Waders
  • The Best Tackle Box
  • The Best Fishing Net

This type of bundle is obviously a little bit more expensive, than the entry bundle or starter kit, but it appeals to people who are very passionate about a niche as well as beginners.

 That means, you're more likely to have more entries into your giveaway and that people are even more likely to share it with their friends who they know like fishing.

Which Type of Prize Should I Use for My Giveaway?

Personally, I always lean towards using the product bundle as a prize.

It's a lot harder to make the mistake of choosing the wrong prize, when you're giving your audience a variety of different things.

What Should The Value Of the Prize Be For My Giveaway?

Regardless of the type of bundle that you choose, we typically like to have a total prize value  between $250 and $500.

Anything less than that is not extremely appealing to your audience and anything more becomes extremely cost-prohibitive and doesn't necessarily increase the number of people that are going to enter your contest. 

How Do I Find Ideas For My Giveaway or Contest:

If you've been in your market for a while, you probably have a good idea of a few different things that you could use for your prize.

If you're new to Market however or you just don't have enough things to create your bundle, there's a few different ways that you can come up with a lot of really good ideas quickly.


 Pinterest is a great place to go to see the products that people like, because it's a completely visual Network. That means you can see pictures just as you're scrolling through the feet and Pinterest gives you a good idea of how popular individual Things Are, making it very easy to find the most popular products in your Market.

Facebook Groups:

 Facebook groups are probably the number one place to go when you're trying to do research in any market, and yes there is a Facebook group for just about everything, because it's a very easy way to find groups of people talking about everything in your Market including products.


If you know of a few popular blogs in your Market ( other than your own), take a look at some of the products that they've reviewed recently and see which ones I've gotten the most comments and the highest reviews.


 Reddit is a great place to go and functions a little bit like a mixture between Facebook groups blogs and then old school internet forum.

 There's individual groups on Reddit called subreddits, one particular that you may want to take a look at just called Shut Up And Take My Money.

 It's a subreddit where people post pictures of things that they would buy if they had the money to pay for them.


Another obvious place that you may want to look is our good old friend Google. You can run a search for your keyword plus the word giveaway (“keyword”+ Giveaway) and Google will return a list of search results of other giveaways that your Market has done.

How Do I Build a Giveaway On My Site:

The easiest way to build a giveaway on your own site, once you've picked the products that you would like to give away, is by using a giveaway software.

There are a whole bunch of different software that can help you with this, personally we prefer to use GiveawayBoost. 

It's super simple to set up, allows for people to share the giveaway across their different social networks and lets you customize all of the different rules and the number of entries that people can receive.

Additionally, if you decide to purchase GiveawayBoost it comes with a set of videos showing you step-by-step how to set everything up so that you get the most out of the program.

If you can write a compelling headline for your giveaway and find or create four or five product images, you can use this software to host a successful contest.

How Do I Find People Who Care?

After you've chosen your prize and pick up software to use for your giveaway, the biggest thing that people struggle with is actually finding the people who care. What we're really talking about here is finding your audience. 

What People Think You Need to Do:

Just like how people tend to overcomplicate how easy it is to find something cool for their giveaway, most people will tell you that attracting the right people is an extremely complex process.

That you need to learn all about pixels, click through rate, cost-per-click, cost per leads oh, and that you need to be on every advertising network from Facebook to Twitter and beyond.

 Thankfully, just like with the prize selection process it's much easier than it seems. 

What You Actually Need to Do: 

The secret to being successful, in terms of getting your giveaway in front of the right people and having them join your email list, is to pick one method ( for example Facebook ads) and being consistent with it.

How To Build and Run Ads for Your Contest or Giveaway:

We're going to quickly cover how to build and run ads for your contest on two different networks, Facebook and Instagram.

Running Facebook Ads For a Contest:

Facebook is probably the easiest platform to use to be able to find your audience, but if you've never run ads inside of Facebook before it can be extremely intimidating and looks very complex.

I'm going to walk you through the simple three-step process that you need to go through in order to find  an audience, build a winning ad, and get started with Facebook.

Build a target list:

 The first thing we need to do is identify our Target list. If you don't currently have any email list,  the best place to start is with what is called ” interest targeting”.

We simply need to go to the top of Facebook, where we can search, and type in a few different keywords for our Market.

 Then, we're going to want to filter to find just the pages. We can do this, by clicking on the word Pages at the top of the search results.

Then, we can start writing down the names of each other pages that show up, which will give us our initial Target list. since Facebook doesn't allow us to Target every page on Facebook we want to add at least 5 to 10 pages here to make sure that we have enough to get our initial group started.

Build an Ad:

Once we have our initial targeting list, we can start to build our ad.

Ad Creative:

In order to create an ad, we're going to need two things.


Our ad copy is the words that people will see on Facebook when our ad shows up in their feed.

When people think about creating ad copy it seems like an overwhelming process, but in reality would literally just writing a sentence or two telling people what the ad is.

For example, we typically like to simply say exactly what we're getting away like in the example below.

As you can see, it's as simple as saying here's what we're getting away click here for your chance to win.

Take a minute to write down a few different variations that you could use right now.

Image or Video:

Having an eye-catching image or video he's one of the most important pieces of creating your Facebook ad.

Since you are giving away a few different products it's very easy for you to use the product photos for something like this.

Personally, we like to use GIFs which are several photos in a row that form a short video. 

It’s a great way to let everybody know the different prizes that are in the bundle that we're giving away and it's super simple to create if you use something like

All you have to do is upload the different product photos that you have and giphy will create a video that you can use inside of your Facebook ad. 

Run The Ad:

Once you have your ad copy and your image, it's time to set up your Facebook ad. While this article is not going to walk you through every button that you need to click to do that ( because of the process that's always changing), we did want to give you a few helpful tips to get the most out of your ads.

What Type Of Facebook Ad:

 Facebook offers a huge number of different types of ads that you can run. 

When you're setting up your ad campaign Facebook will ask you what you want to optimize for. 

In the case of a giveaway you generally will want to optimize for conversions. In this case a conversion, is somebody that offers you their email address in exchange for their chance to win. 

Telling Facebook that this is what you want to optimize your ads for will bring down the amount it cost you for each individual email address, since Facebook will only show the ads to people who are likely to do so.

How Much Should You Budget:

Generally speaking, we suggest you budget at least $20 per day for the length of your giveaway. 

For example if your giveaway is going to run for 30 days that would mean you need to budget $600 ( Plus the cost of the prize).

Running Instagram Ads For a Contest:

Running ads with influencers on Instagram is another strategy that can work really well for your contest. There's a few things that you need to keep in mind that are different from running ads on other platforms, Facebook.

Build a Target List:

In order to build a Target list with Instagram, the first thing we need to do is use the search tool.

Keep in mind this is best done if you download the app for your phone. 

So start looking for influencers that may be a fit for your contest, type your keyword into the Instagram search.

Contact Your Targets:

After you have a list of profiles from your search, you can begin reaching out to them.

Open up a profile and take a look in their bio to see if they have an email address or the words ads or some other way to contact them.

Another easy way to contact them, is to click on the menu and select the direct message option. You can then send them a direct message asking if they accept advertisements on their feed. 

 Once you start to contact them, each individual influencer will let you know how much the ad placement costs and what the other logistics (like how long the ad will run and how many times they will run it are.

Build An Ad:

 This process is a little simpler than creating ads for other platforms, many influencers will have their own style that they want you to use, but it's generally something as simple as an image with the copy of your giveaway on it like the example below.

Finding People Who Care – Quick Recap

Regardless of which method you prefer to use finding people who care about your market and your giveaway is a fairly simple process. 

All we're doing is going to where we know those people are already hanging out and finding a way to put our message in front of them. 

We can do this with paid opportunities like ads or we can do it with free opportunities like in some Facebook groups Reddit threads or other places where we know our audience is hanging out.

What Do You Do Once You Have Their Emails?

The whole point of growing your email list using a giveaway or contest is that you're actually adding more new names and emails to that list.

 One of the biggest places that people struggle is that they have followed the steps in this article to create the great giveaway and they started to build an email list but they don't know where to go from there.

 It's important to keep in mind that we actually need to stay in contact with these people if we want them to turn into lifetime customers, fans, and maybe even, friends.

If you're not sure what things you should be sending to your list once people join your giveaway, you may want to check this article out here.

 What's the biggest thing you've struggled with in terms of getting new people to join your email address? Let us know in the comments section below.

As always we're here for you, we believe in you, but you have to take action.

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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