Contests remain one of the best ways to grab your customers’ attention and to encourage them to sign up for your email newsletter. But it’s also true that a poorly run contest can leave a sour taste in the customer’s mouth, resulting in lost opportunities. So how do you create an email contest that will build your subscriber list and create happy customers at the same time?

Plan Your Contest Well in Advance

Decide not only what contestants will have to do, but also what the rules will be. It’s a good idea to consult your legal department at this stage to make sure the contest is fair. If you ask for email addresses, make sure entrants understand that they will be signing up for your newsletter when they hand it over; otherwise, you may end up with disgruntled subscribers.

Determine Success Metrics

Many businesses leave out this step, but it’s vital to know how you will determine whether your contest was a success or not so that you’ll be able to decide knowledgeably whether it’s worth trying again in the future. Is your goal to build your subscriber list by a particular percentage? To increase clicks on your website among current subscribers? To gain new followers on Facebook or Twitter? If you don’t accomplish your goals this time around, evaluate what you can do differently next time for better success.

Excellent Design

In addition to the accepted rules of email newsletter creation (make it worth your subscriber’s time, don’t look like spam, offer something of value), the email announcing your contest will need to have a design that truly stands out and captures the reader’s attention right from the outset. Consider including a picture of the prize, and keep copy concise and to the point to increase the likelihood that subscribers will read all the vital information.

End Well

How many times have you entered a contest and never heard another word from the company? It’s happened to all of us, and most of us never give the company a second thought after the fact. Don’t let those new contacts slip through your fingers. Instead, send a follow-up newsletter after the contest is over highlighting the winners, and offer a special discount or other incentive to all entrants to keep them engaged with your business.

As you design your next email contest, make sure you plan the entire process through from start to finish before you ever enter the promotional stage. When you’re ready to design that first promotional email, eConnect Email can help you create a custom email template. We can also assist you in designing your campaign, managing your subscriber list, and ensuring that the entire process achieves your desired results.

About James Trumbly:
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail