Email Engagement Tips to Keep People Hooked on Your Contest

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Putting together a contest can involve a ton of resources.

Time, money, and effort.

After all that you have invested, you only want the best outcomes.

More referrals, more leads, and more sales flowing in.

But as much as you want people to stick around, unfortunately, not everyone does.

Often, people enter a contest or giveaway campaign but don’t stick until the end.

They feel excited at the thought of getting the prize. However, that excitement doesn’t last that long.

The fact that there are too many distractions can keep them from engaging with your business.

What can you do to fuel their competitive spirit until the last day of your giveaway? Keep reading to find out.

Bonus Material: UpViral’s Email Automation Sequences>>

6 Email Engagement Strategies

Better emails are key to ensuring positive outcomes in your contest and beyond. In each stage of your campaign, you need to make sure that they open your emails and take action.

Maybe you want them to:

  • Take part in a short survey in the middle of the contest
  • Share the campaign to more friends
  • Earn more contest points by performing other actions

Start by sending emails that delight and persuade them.

Check out these email engagement tips.

1. Talk about the value of your prize.

Do you talk about your incentive only on the contest landing page? Because this is what a lot of business owners do. And it’s not enough.

Let me share something that might interest you.

During the 1930s, the movie industry made an important discovery. For people to watch the movies, they should be able to hear and see marketing messages at least 7 times.

This is where the rule of 7 was born. The rule states that you need to show yourself to people several times to create a connection.

They’re more likely to remember the contest they joined.

You can leverage the rule of 7 by not limiting your marketing on the landing page. Persuade them about the benefits of the prize in your email.

Talk about:

The problems that your incentive solves.

How much the prize would normally cost them if it was for sale. 

How your prize satisfied your audience. (Tip: Include a testimonial in the email or link to a case study if you have it!)

2. Write a catchy email subject line.

Fact:

No matter what your email contains, people judge it by its subject line.

Remember that your email is also competing with other emails in their inbox. To stand out, make the subject line your starting point. Doing this will increase your open rates.

Spend extra time to create your subject lines. Use these tips:

2.1. Keep it short and conversational.

 A lot of people open their emails using mobile devices. So, if you write a long subject line, it would get cut off.

But don’t just shorten your subject lines – be conversational as well. How would you email a friend or colleague?

Here are some examples:

  • “Get it before they do”
  • “Here’s how close you are to winning”
  • “[Name], quick question…”
  • “You don’t want to miss this”

2.2. Test your email subject lines. 

 Try putting yourself in the shoes of your contest participants. Does your subject line compel you to click?

If you need more validation, feel free to test your subject lines. I would recommend CoSchedule’s email subject line tester.

All you need to do is enter your subject line and click the blue button. The tool will reveal your subject line score and other insights like:

  • Words that increase or decrease open rates
  • Character count and word count
3. Tell them how many days they have until the winner announcement date.

Imagine this:

You’ll be announcing the winner in a few days but…

Only a few participants have shared your contest.

You need more referrals to increase your email sign-ups.

What should you do?

There is a way to increase conversions, and that’s to harness the power of urgency. In your email copy, let your audience know that the last day of the contest is fast approaching.

Deadlines effectively push people to act. Be sure to emphasize the actual winner announcement date.

If possible, add a countdown timer inside your email. (Check if your autoresponder allows this.)

One of our UpViral users, David, used this strategy. Here’s a screenshot of the email he sent out to his participants:

Notice that he doesn’t only mention the announcement date. He also offers everyone a chance to get more points ASAP.

Read David’s case study right here.

4. Encourage people to reply to your emails.

Here’s a super simple way to increase email engagement (that only a few marketers do)…

Giving your contest audience permission to reply.

Here are the reasons why it works:

You stand out from your competitors. Be one of the very few who encourages one-on-one conversations.

It creates the impression that you’re friendly. You don’t want people to believe that you’re only after their email address, correct? You want them to know that they can approach you and ask any questions about your contest, prize, or business.

It proves that you’re a real person. Allowing replies lets people know that you’re genuine and not here to send spam messages.

Understand your contest participants better. By engaging in a two-way conversation, you’re able to get insights into their interests. You can use these insights to improve your current or future contest.

5. Offer a thank you gift that’s tied to the main prize.

Yes, you have a prize. But wouldn’t it be great to offer a little something extra?

Like a complimentary treat.

It makes people feel like VIPs. 😎

Max Rhymes, a children’s book company and UpViral user, did this:

They gave all their contest participants a free PDF download of their activity book. This was a strategic move because:

It enticed people to join the contest.

It gave participants a good reason to open their email (so they can download the free gift).

But most importantly, the free gift itself was related to the main prize. It would be impossible to read the PDF without wanting to win the prize – which was bigger and tangible.

And because people will want the main prize (thanks to the free gift), they’ll engage until the end of the contest.

Read Max Rhymes’s case study.

6. Add a dose of social proof.

Social proof can be your ticket to fostering long-term engagement with your audience.

Unfortunately, marketers running contests rarely add social proof to their emails. Examples of social proof include:

  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Case studies
  • Influencer recommendations
  • Social share counts

If you have any of them, why not show them to your audience?

As an email engagement strategy, social proof increases your authority and influence. Social proof can turn contest participants into potential customers.

The screenshot below is a great email that landed in my inbox. It’s from Sam Ovens. In that email, he shows the results that his clients got by using his service.

This email is definitely not part of a giveaway campaign. Regardless, I used it as an example because it shows how you can leverage your social proof.

Bonus Material: UpViral’s Email Automation Sequences>>

Final Thoughts

Ready to increase your open rates and email engagement throughout your contest? What happens “in-between” your campaign can determine its end result.

Don’t leave results to chance. Start using these tips. If you gained value from today’s post, leave a comment below.