How Anthony Van Dort Generated 4,576 Leads without Paying a Dime for Traffic [Case Study]

One of the biggest problems with selling physical products like sporting goods, is that they seldom, if ever, need replacement. It’s critical for these businesses to have a lead generation strategy since their customers make few repeat purchases.

UpViral user Anthony Van Dort found himself in this very dilemma.

Anthony is an owner in a U.K. family-run business, Flexifoil Kites. Flexifoil sells high-quality, durable power kites, kid’s kites, camera kites, and kiting apparel. The challenge his business faced was how to generate new leads in their small, highly specialized market.

In order to attract new leads, Anthony decided to create a kiting video game featuring a fun character, Daredevil Dan. While the video game was a hit, Anthony wanted a way to drive even more app downloads. (The app is monetized through in-app purchases, so app downloads can lead directly to sales.)

Anthony realized that a great solution to get those downloads was to run a sweepstakes contest with UpViral. He thought it would be an incredible way to increase exposure to Flexifoil’s products and drive app downloads at the same time. 📈

Background to the Campaign:

Anthony’s late father and uncle began Flexifoil over 40 years ago.

In the mid-90s, kite surfing took off as a sport and Flexifoil grew rapidly due to its popularity. After Anthony’s father passed away, his mother invited him to join the family business.

About 16 or 17 months ago, Anthony decided he wanted to inspire more people, particularly those who use their mobile devices heavily, to try kiting, whether kite surfing or other kite sports, to see how much fun kiting is. 🪁

So he decided to build a mobile app, “Daredevil Dan, the Flexifoil Man” to help people experience the adrenaline rush of kiting from the safety of their own chairs. (“Dan” actually played a huge role in this campaign because one of Anthony’s custom actions was to get people to download the app.)

app banner

Despite the app being a big hit, it wasn’t enough on its own to generate enough leads to quickly bring in new business. So Anthony decided to create an UpViral campaign to attract the new leads his business needed.

How Anthony heard about UpViral

Anthony heard about UpViral through two people, his brother, and one of his mentors, Russell Brunson. Russell is the founder of ClickFunnels, and endorses UpViral as one of his favorite lead generation tools.

russel brunson

What was the problem faced by Anthony’s business that made him choose UpViral?

Most sellers of physical products count on the fact that their goods will eventually wear out and need replacing.

But Flexifoil kites are such high-quality products they seldom need to be replaced. 💎

Anthony Van Dort quotes.

What Was the Goal of Anthony’s UpViral campaign?

The goal was to attract new, very targeted leads that are interested in kiting. Anthony decided that the best way to accomplish this was to leverage Flexifoil’s existing email list.

The reason for this was that the majority of the list were Flexifoil buyers who would be happy to recommend the kites to their friends.

To prepare for the contest, Flexifold reached out to 14,000 people who had recently engaged with them in one form or another. 📨

It should also be noticed that Flexifoil decided against selling to this audience during the contest. They wanted to treat their people very gently, and not come out with ‘sales guns blazing.’ Anthony wanted their new leads to stick around for the long haul, not just for the length of the contest.

Anthony commented, “At Flexifoil, we’re in it for the long haul, not just for a quick payday.”

A Controversial Prize:

Before Anthony started his campaign, he watched every training video over a weekend. In the training, Wilco talks about the “trade-off” you need to get visitors to share your contest in order to get them to opt-in. And in this case, there was a definite trade-off.

One of the prizes Wilco advises against using as a prize is a phone or an iPad because of their generic nature. Typically, offering a phone or iPad attracts a lot of ‘freebie seekers’ unlikely to engage with your businesses after the contest closes.

But in this instance, Anthony and Flexifoil had a specific reason to offer a phone for his prize.

They decided to create a custom action to get contest participants to download our app, which made it a perfect match for a grand prize of a phone. Since Flexifoil’s “Daredevil Dan” app is designed not only to create interest in kiting but also has in-app ads for their products, it just made sense for them to encourage contest participants to download the app.

The risk Anthony took in offering a phone as a prize was a calculated one. He stated:

But unless you have a specific reason to offer a phone as a prize, Anthony advises against it.

“Otherwise you’re going to end up with hundreds and thousands of people that have got utterly no interest in your product, and all the hard work and effort that you have gone to, to produce something amazing are lost. So I’m not saying that a campaign featuring a phone or iPad wouldn’t work, but it depends on what you’re trying to sell. And in my book, I would say in most cases you shouldn’t do it.”

How Contest Points Were Awarded:

Initially, Flexifoil only asked participants to follow them on social media, or refer their friends to the contest. As Wilco recommends, they awarded five points each for following them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and twenty points for referring a friend to the contest.

Then Anthony realized they were missing out on a golden opportunity to introduce people to their app.

On Day 17, of the contest, Anthony created a custom action that awarded 500 points to anyone who downloaded our app. Later, he realized it was fortunate that this custom action wasn’t available early in the contest.

So by waiting later in the contest to implement the custom action, the excitement and engagement in the contest remained consistent throughout the 21 days of the campaign. 🙌

Invest in Good Quality Graphics

One of the things that makes this contest stand out from others is an investment in good-quality graphics.

The graphics that you see on the contest page came from the artist that works on the animations from our Daredevil Dan game itself. Anthony wanted the graphics to stand out because it’s a Daredevil Dan is a fun game and kiting is a really fun sport.

In Anthony’s opinion, spending money on attractive design was one of the major drivers in getting people to share the contest. The design had enough branding to be memorable, without being over the top.

Overall, the design of the entry page is quite simple. It’s very obvious that you’re entering a contest. There is a headline, a picture of the product, and then a form to enter your details. For the share buttons themselves, Anthony was careful to use icons that had the look and feel of the social platforms users were sharing the contest with their friends.

A critical element of Anthony’s contest entry form is the simple-to-understand instructions on how to enter the contest and gain extra entries. Keeping things uncomplicated made sure people were more likely to enter the contest and share it. 💡

Campaign Length & Details

The campaign ran for 21 days, and made use of UpViral’s widget instead of the UpViral squeeze page templates. (Anthony said he may try the templates in an upcoming contest.)

On Day 17 of the campaign, Anthony sent out a soft email reminder to the 5,860 contest participants to download the Daredevil Dan app for 500 points.

Maybe not so surprisingly, due to the generic nature of the prize, there were quite some bounces and unsubscribes on that date. Anthony feels this was due to people entering fake email addresses to enter the contest. Ultimately, Flexifoil ended up with 4,576 leads from the contest, after the bounces and unsubscribes were accounted for.

Looking Back, Not Paying for Facebook Leads Was the Correct Decision

While Flexifoil could have had many more leads from paid traffic Facebook for this contest, they were ecstatic to generate the 4576 leads they ended up with.

By not paying for promotion, Flexifoil leveraged their most engaged list members who are kiters. These enthusiasts then shared the contest with their friends, who were likely to be other kiters.

This decision reduced the amount of contest fraud you would normally see during a contest with a prize of a mobile phone. Bypassing paid contest traffic from Facebook meant that Flexifoil was more likely to attract people who were actually into kiting, not just in the contest for the phone.

The Lockdown Didn’t Hinder the Outcome of the Contest

Kiting is obviously an outdoor sport, and one where it’s easy to social distance because no one wants to be within 25-30 meters of your kite. So kiting is a great form of exercise in the middle of a pandemic. Similar social distancing rules were applied worldwide, so the contest had equal appeal worldwide.

It also turned out to be the perfect time to launch our contest. So many people were staying at home, and had a lot of time on their hands. Which also meant that they had time to play the Daredevil Dan game inside the app.

Anthony was surprised by how far the contest spread. He anticipated interest from the U.K. being that Flexifoil is a British brand. But there was also great interest from the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. They even received entries from India and Africa, spreading Flexifoil brand-awareness to new markets. 🚀

How Anthony Followed Up with the Leads Generated by the Contest

Anthony made a deliberate decision not to hit his new subscribers up with an immediate offer. One reason was that most of the new subscribers were now following Flexifoil on Instagram, YouTube, or other social media platforms as a result of the contest.

So Flexifoil managed to stay top of mind for the contestants even though they didn’t immediately hit their new subscribers with an offer. Still, the fact that most of the contestants were new social media followers wasn’t the only reason that Anthony held off on promoting offers to them from the get-go.

Another reason to hold off was to show appreciation for the people who referred others to the contest.

“I didn’t also want to go on a hard-selling mission or even really a selling mission at all, because so many of those people that have been referred into us were probably friends and family of the people that we were initially engaged with.”

So Anthony came upon the idea of a “buy one, get one free promotion” that new subscribers could really get behind. This gave both old and new subscribers alike an outstanding deal they were sure to appreciate. There was also no fake scarcity element urging people to take up the offer before an arbitrary deadline. Anthony’s email stated that the offer was good “as long as stock lasts,” which lacked the pushiness of the typical internet marketing campaign.

Ideas for Future Promotions

One of the things that Anthony regrets about the contest was that it would have been great to have two winners – one for a person drawn at random, and one for the person who referred them to the contest. As well as having a more “feel-good factor” than a contest with a single winner, it would encourage more people to refer their friends to future contests.

Another thing that he would do differently for future contests is award more points for actions.

Anthony would consider further gamifying the contest by adding different custom actions each week of the contest, just to make things more exciting and compelling. 👌

In Anthony’s opinion, the key to success with your campaign is not only to have a solid plan for how to run the contest and monetize it afterwards, but also to study other successful campaigns. The prize needs to be relevant to the kind of customer you want to attract as a new lead for your business, otherwise, you’ll end up with thousands of freebie seekers not remotely interested in your product or services.

The UpViral team would like to congratulate Anthony Van Dort and Flexifoil on the fantastic outcome of this campaign and look forward to hearing about their new upcoming campaigns in the future. 🎉

If you’d like to attract new leads to your business without paying for traffic like Anthony did, then be sure to check out UpViral. Get started today for only $1. 😉