5 Affordable Prizes that Generated Mega List Growth

Discover how the emotions a contest evokes can have a bigger impact than the value of the prize. Examples included.

By Dana Kilroy ・4 min read
Best Practices
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Everyone knows a prize can make or break a contest. But have you ever wondered about the kinds of prizes that will help you generate the most list growth? We looked at some of the most popular contests and giveaways ShortStack users built and discovered something kind of interesting: It's not necessarily the value of the prize that motivates people to enter.Bear with me for a minute. You know that commercial for the ASPCA, the one with Sarah MacLachlan singing "Angel" while the camera pans across desperate-looking dogs and cats. Love it or hate it, it's an ad that either brings you to tears or forces you to open your wallet and make a donation -- or both!There's a reason that commercial has been on air since 2007: It's effective. Why? Because it plays to our emotions. (The commercial raised more than $30 million dollars in donations in just two years!)

One factor the most popular contests had in common: They make people feel something: pride, joy, humor, excitement.

We were even more surprised to realize a prize wasn't necessarily a driving factor in a contest's success. It's true: Whether the prize was a relatively inexpensive $50 gift certificate or a valuable two-year paid modeling contract, the common thread was that the campaign made people feel pride or joy or love or .... something more than "I want to win that prize." (Of course choosing the right prize is essential, especially if one of your goals is collecting qualified leads.) Most of these contests also allowed people to show off a bit, sharing selfies they knew their friends and family, and perhaps even some strangers, would love.Here's a look at what brands large and small did to encourage participation and help the business that created them growth their lists.Between them, these contests had more than 40 million views.

Mother-Daughter Look Alike Contest

KCLA's Mother's Day Giveaway, built with ShortStack's UGC + Vote Contest template View and Create Your OwnThis Mother’s Day contest, hosted by a small midwestern radio station, got so much attention you’d think they were Los Angeles-based and giving away a meet-and-greet with Taylor Swift. Instead KCLD-104.7, based in St. Cloud, Minnesota (population 67,641), was giving away a spa day for a mother-daughter duo. A nice prize, for sure, but the results were way beyond what they imagined: During the 30 days the contest ran, the “Win a Mother/Daughter Spa Day” contest had 24 million views and more than 200,000 entries.

They received over 200,000 entries, with the top vote-getter at 30,000 votesEveryone loves to celebrate mom and this contest captured that feeling beautifully.

Chubbies Man Model UGC Contest

During the three weeks the contest was live, Chubbies had 1.1 million contest views and 334,000 votes. Chubbies also collected more than 6,600 piece of user-generated photos, which the in-house team narrowed down to 20 finalists. From there, Chubbies allowed the public to vote on their favorites, ultimately choosing 11 winners. Chubbies has a vibrant social media audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and they also used their email newsletter and website to promote the campaign.

How Chubbies Got One Million Views

Chubbies Man Model UGC Contest had 1.1 million contest views and 334,000 votesChubbies hosted the contest on a micro-site on their website and in order to cast a vote, people had to visit the landing page, follow the brand on Instagram and provide an email address. Chubbies added 37,000 new emails to their list.You can read more about Chubbies Man Model contest here.

AdoramaPix Wedding Week "Weekly Photo Challenge"

AdoramaPix is an online printing company. They recently hosted a contest where they asked people to upload their wedding photo in exchange for a $50 credit with AdormaPix. All people had to do to enter was submit a photo and then they were asked to share it with friends. Who wouldn't want to share a photo of them and their beloved on such a happy day? AdormaPix encouraged people to share their entries with friends,AdormaPix Wedding Week contest got more 637K views. AdormaPix was smart by using all of ShortStack's email automation features. First they sent an entry confirmation autoresponder, following by an email reminding people to vote. Once the contest had ended they send a final email, offering people a discount on their next AdormaPix order.

AdoramaPix Wedding Week "Weekly Photo Challenge"

AdoramaPix Wedding Week "Weekly Photo Challenge" had 637,000 views

Mission Foods's New Year, Better Choices Sweepstakes

Mission Foods's Sweepstakes, built with ShortStack's Giveaway + Thank You Template View and Create Your OwnMission Foods is a purveyor of authentic Mexican products. During January 2019, they sponsored a campaign aimed at helping people meet their fitness goals in the new year. For the campaign, they gave away workout gear, specifically 11 fitness tracker wristbands, ten pairs of wireless headphones and ten insulated water bottles. To enter, folks just filled out a form with the name and email address.Over the month-long contest, they received 109,246 entries and 369,773 views. Of the almost 370,000 views, 42%(155,609) were unique views. That's a lot of bang for the buck!

Tootsie Roll's Pick Your Prize Giveaway

Built with ShortStack's Pick Your Prize templateView and Create Your OwnTootsie Roll is a classic brand with a loyal group of fans. During the 2018 holiday season, they gave away 60 prize packs (20 Mystery Boxes and 10 each from six different Tootsie Roll favorites:Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Dots, and Blow Pops). The boxes contained a package of candy and some swag (i.e. branded socks, coffee mugs and keychains). The campaign had 68,743 views over the 9-day entry period and 39,518 entries were submitted -- that's an average of 4,390 entries per day!

What's the Take Away?

You can run successful lead-generation campaigns without a huge prize. Offering a prize like the Mother-Daughter Lookalike Contest draws on people's emotions, while the Tootsie Roll contest encourages participation from die-hard fans. Either way, a lot of leads were collected with each campaign.Looking for some inspiration for your next big campaign? Our blog is jam-packed with ideas. If you aren't sure where to get started, just shoot us an email: Our team is ready to help you out.

About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・4 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

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