Everything You Need to Know About Code Redemption Marketing Campaigns + 3 Ideas

This content explains the concept of code redemption campaigns and provides examples of how they can be used in marketing.

By Rina Bottom ・4 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy

Did you try to grab those Taylor Swift Era’s Tour concert tix without an American Express credit card before the release date? Good luck. You either have a special access code, or you don’t, and you have to hope there are tickets left for the main sale. (Spoiler alert- there weren’t any left 😭 ) This is an example of a code redemption campaign.

Code redemption or secret code campaigns are contests, giveaways and websites that require a special code word, phrase or link to access content or successfully submit a form. 

Why create a code redemption campaign? 

Celebrate customers with an exclusive contest. 

Marketers tend to focus on new leads, but nurturing existing connections is even more critical. Use a secret code contest to give your existing customers some love and ensure that only people in the ‘inner circle’ can access exclusive rewards. 

Learn more about your subscriber lists.

Use secret codes to learn which type of customer engages with your contest. By creating different codes for each customer type and tracking the number of entries from each code group, you can better understand which kind of customer engages with your campaigns. Leveraging this information, you can focus more energy and resources on marketing to that specific customer group or create targeted campaigns and offers tailored to each customer type.

Reward and engage live event attendees

Increase engagement at your trade show or event with a secret code campaign. Display or announce the secret code at the event, then use a QR code so patrons can easily enter your giveaway on their mobile devices. Make the giveaway exclusive to event attendees, and they will be excited to engage with your brand.

Engage your viewers and boost viewership

Engage viewers or listeners by releasing a secret code during your broadcast, commercial, podcast, or YouTube video. At the start of your show or video, plug your secret code contest and mention that the code will be revealed during the show. Then, announce the secret code at some point during your performance.

Examples of code redemption contests

Secret code campaigns are effective for a wide variety of marketing goals, from capturing new leads to nurturing your current customer list to spreading brand awareness. Below are three ideas to help inspire your next campaign. 

Live Event Campaign


Promote your booth or station with posters featuring a QR code and a secret code listed on the poster and your booth location. Encourage people to scan the QR code to sign up for your email list and enter to win an instant prize that they need to visit your booth to pick up.

Radio Show Audience Boost

Have you been listening to the radio on your lunch break and heard “Today’s special code is Hamburger! Text Hamburger to 123-456-9898, and you could win $1,000!” This is another example of a secret code contest. In order to be “in” on the secret code, you must listen in at a specific time. 

Example of a radio show giveaway. 

Grow your audience during your station’s slow periods with a secret code campaign. However, instead of texting, consider asking listeners to visit a website to enter. This allows you to ask for a bit more information, like an email address, demographics, etc, to be used later to nurture leads. This type of campaign isn’t just for radio stations, TV stations, news shows, and other regularly scheduled programs will also have great success with this campaign.

Email Nurturing

Tired of always giving 10% off to your first-time customers? Looking to boost sales for repeat customers? Or are you just wanted to celebrate your fan base? Nurture you previously collected leads with a secret code contest. There are two benefits to a subscriber-only campaign:

  1. Let your customers know that you care about their continued support. 
  2. Learn more about your customers by using different codes for different segments, such as one-time buyers vs frequent customers. 

Looking to use more than one code for this campaign? You could upload a list of unique codes, one for each person. Alternatively, ShortStack gives you the ability to use a short list of different codes. Participants must enter one of the codes you provide in the list to enter. This works perfectly if you’re looking to A/B test offers or segment your list to learn more about response rates from different customer groups.


Utilizing secret codes as a way to gate your giveaways and marketing campaigns can prove extremely beneficial. You can learn a lot about who wants to have a higher level of interaction with your brand and who you might need to work on with continued lead nurturing. Code redemption campaigns are also a great way to engage with fans and grab their attention. 

If you need help setting up your first code redemption campaign, please contact your customer success agent or email our support team at

About the author

By Rina Bottom ・4 min read

Rina spends her days fearlessly helping users on the “frontlines” with the Support Team. She loves assisting users in creating seamless campaigns through support and best practices.

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