How to Create Your Own Elf on the Shelf Contest This Holiday Season

How to create your own Elf on the Shelf contest

You might have seen (and entered) our holiday contest to find Jack the mischievous elf on various pages of our website. We called it “Jack on the Stack,” which is our own version of Elf on the Shelf. Contests where your entrants are required to explore your website can be both fun AND informative.

In this post, we’ll tell you which ShortStack features we used and explain how you can set up something similar on your website.

Essential ShortStack features for an Elf on the Shelf contest

We used three ShortStack building blocks to run a multi-day giveaway offering instant rewards on our website: the Giveaway Calendar template, the Instant Win feature and the embedded campaign option.

The Giveaway Calendar template unlocks new content each day. The days can open sequentially or you can skip dates. Visitors click on open days to see a popup. In the popups, you can display a form or text.

Built with ShortStack’s Giveaway Calendar template

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Our Instant Win feature randomly selects winners and notifies them immediately upon form submission. You choose the prizes, the number of winners and the time period during which entries will be awarded. ShortStack will automatically distribute the prizes and flag the winners within your Entries Manager.

Built using ShortStack’s Instant Win feature

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Embedded campaigns allow you to add landing pages and contests to your website. We provide the embed code when you publish a campaign, and you paste the embed code on your website. We also provide an option for embedding your campaign as a popup, which is what we did for the Elf on the Shelf contest. This displays the contest in a popup once a link on the website is clicked.

How it’s done

We used the Multi-day Giveaway template as the hub for our contest. One clue was released each week during the four-week contest period. The clues directed our customers to pages on our website that contained features we wanted them to discover. The Multi-Day Giveaway Calendar template made this easy. Using the template’s wizard, we simply chose which days we wanted to unlock clues, then added the clue text to the appropriate day. We also added some share buttons so visitors could share the contest with their friends.

Built using ShortStack’s Popup Embed feature

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Next, we created four separate landing pages with entry forms — one for each hidden elf on our website. We enabled our instant win feature on these forms and entries were collected into individual lists. Each week, we set the form to reward 10 instant winners over a seven-day period. Our time-based visibility settings automatically started and stopped showing each week’s form at the appropriate time. Messages were also set up to display when a form wasn’t active to send people back to the contest landing page.

Each week a new clue is revealed

Then we embedded these campaigns on the pages of our website where an elf was hiding. We used elf images as the “link” people clicked to display the form in a popup. If someone stumbled upon an elf too early, a message directed them back to the contest landing page where they could find that week’s clue instead. Otherwise, if they found the correct week’s elf, then they could click on it to submit an entry.

At the end of the contest entry period, we combined the four entry forms to choose a grand prize winner. If folks entered each week, then they had four chances to win. We used our random entry selector to choose a winner. After we let our winner know they were selected, we sent an email announcing the winner to the non-winners using our scheduled email tool.

Ready to give it a try?

Great! Now, be sure to give yourself some time to set this up. There are a lot of working pieces, and you’ll want to be sure to test everything before publishing your contest. However, the time it takes to set up this truly unique contest will be worth the effort. Not only will you witness a boost in engagement and leads, but you’ll also have the opportunity to show off the products or services your brand offers by encouraging people to explore your website.

Want some other ideas on how to utilize this contest concept? Try it during other seasons or even year-round to help draw attention to what you want to promote or sell. For example, you could run a similar contest by hiding Easter eggs on your website during the spring. Or, you could play “hide and seek” by hiding different items on your website during the summer months.

Questions on how you might get started? Reach out to our sales team or shoot us an email:

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