Planning an Interactive Marketing Campaign

Want to ensure your next contest, quiz, giveaway or UGC campaign is a success?

We’ve got two words of advice: plan ahead.

This guide will outline what you need to consider before you start building.

Build and publish campaigns faster than ever
Step 1

Establish Goals and Objectives

Begin by establishing goals and objectives for your campaign. The subsequent decisions you make will be based on them. Consider the following:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase social media followers
  • Increase engagement
  • Grow an email list
  • Gather useful data about buyers
  • Collect user-generated content
  • Convert prospects to customers
Giveaway Example
Step 2

Plan Your Campaign

Select a Specific Campaign Type

Consider the various campaign options and which ones will best help you meet your goals and objectives. ShortStack campaigns generally fall into the following categories:


  • Pro: Contests allow for customer engagement through entry and voting. Plus, word-of-mouth marketing occurs when folks share their entries to help drum up votes.
  • Make it more effective: Always require folks to submit their email address in order to vote so you’re able to collect leads.


  • Pro: Ease of entry allows you to build your email marketing lists quickly.
  • Make it more effective: Enable autoresponders and other email marketing features so you can interact with entrants during the course of your campaign.


  • Pro: Promote customer engagement and word-of-mouth marketing through sharing of outcomes.
    Make it more effective: Collect an email address before you reveal quiz results.

User-generated content:

  • Pro: Promote engagement through the creation of UGC (photos, videos, stories).
  • Make it more effective: Obtain rights to use the UGC for marketing.

Data collection and lead nurturing:

  • Pro: Build segmented lists based on your special offers and events.
  • Make it more effective: Interact with your customers after the campaign by sending emails with relevant content.

Product display:

  • Pro: Increase top-of-mind awareness of your products by making them front and center on your campaign.
  • Make it more effective: Include a link on each product to drive traffic back to your website.

Some combination of the above: Combine features to increase the power of a single campaign. For example:

  • Combine a quiz with a giveaway by requiring folks to submit their name and email address in order to learn their results and have a chance to win your prize.
  • Use a giveaway to collect leads, then nurture those leads using email automation.
  • On a product display campaign, include a form for visitors to fill out in order to receive product emails and discounts via a lead-nurturing email campaign later on.

Consider Customization Options

You can customize your campaigns in many ways. As you create your plan, ask yourself which of the following options should be enabled or included:

  • Photo and video submissions: Do you want people to submit photos or videos as contest entries?
  • Photo and video galleries: Do you want to moderate entries before they appear in a gallery?
  • Text submissions: Do you want people to submit a caption, recipe, story, etc.
  • Referral points/extra entries: Do you want to reward entrants with referral points if they share a unique referral URL, which someone else clicks and submits an entry of their own?
  • Contact forms: What information do you want to collect from participants?
  • Navigation: Do you have multiple sections with unique content you want people to access?
  • Voting: Do you want to encourage visitors to vote on UGC entries (such as photos, videos, stories, etc) submitted by contest entrants, or ask them to vote on content you provide?
  • Multi-day giveaways: Do you want to allow people to submit an entry on one day to be eligible to win on each of the subsequent days, or must they visit the campaign each day to win that day’s prize?
  • Hashtag feeds: Do you want to pull in submitted entries simply by posting to Instagram or Twitter using a specific hashtag in the post?
  • Downloadable content (e.g., ebooks, white papers, etc.)
  • Discounts and coupons
  • Reservation forms
  • Newsletter signups
  • Event or entry countdowns
  • Surveys and polls
  • Testimonials
We offer several templates to help you meet your campaign goals.

Determine where you want the campaign to “live”

Three options exist for publishing your campaign. These options are:

Standalone Landing Page

Overall, we encourage either using the standalone landing page or website embed options. Why? You open up entry to everyone rather than just people who use Facebook; Facebook has control over who sees your posts on Timelines and in ads.

Publishing as a standalone landing page can:

  • Increase your campaign reach, as the Campaign URL you are provided can be shared anywhere, and anyone can access the campaign (assuming your don’t have any country-based restrictions in place);
  • Allow for design freedom from any restrictions on your website or Facebook (e.g., campaign width and mobile responsiveness); and
  • Reduce the impact of social network policy changes that might affect your campaign.
Get more views on your contests, giveaways, and landing pages

Campaign Embedded on Your Website

Embedding to your website can:

  • Increase traffic to your website;
  • Display a call-to-action form on your website for lead generation purposes;
  • Increase traffic to your campaign through folks who visit your website and find the campaign organically;
  • Save you money on promotion, as promoting your campaign promotes your website and vice versa; and
  • Provide an appearance of a white-label solution, as the campaign will be located on your domain.
Publish as a Facebook App

Facebook Page Tab App

Even if you are planning to post about your campaign on Facebook, you should consider the standalone landing page or website embed options. We prefer these two options over publishing directly to Facebook as a Page Tab App, because:

  • Facebook doesn’t show Page Tab Apps on mobile devices, meaning you need to post the Campaign URL we provide you in status updates to allow mobile viewers to see it;
  • Facebook only allows Pages with at least 2,000 Likes to publish Page Tab Apps; and
  • Facebook makes unannounced and unexplained updates, so it’s much easier to publish a campaign outside of Facebook than it is to be forced to react to their updates.

You can learn more about the pros and cons of publishing to different platforms in our blog post, Facebook, Landing Page or Website? Picking the Best Platform for Your Marketing Campaigns.

Create a Campaign Schedule

Several elements will determine the date your campaign can go live, including:

  • Start and end dates
  • Key deadlines and milestones — for both planning and execution
  • Your internal approval processes
  • Content scheduling considerations, e.g., email and ad initiatives
  • Coordination with other marketing initiatives
Not sure what your schedule should look like? Try basing it on the following example timeline, which is based on a contest that would run from November 1st through November 10th:
  1. Finalize contest concept by October 23
  2. Campaign set up: October 24-26
    1. Considerations: artwork, copy, etc.
  3. Campaign testing: October 27-28
  4. Final approval by EOD on October 29
  5. Create promotion plan by EOD on October 30
    1. Write social media posts to be published during the campaign
    2. Write ads to be published during the campaign
    3. Write email messages to be shared at several points before, during and after the campaign
  6. Publish campaign by EOD on October 30
    1. Time-based visibility settings will automatically start showing content at 8:00 A.M. on November 1
    2. Send Campaign URL for published campaign for use in contest promotion — ads, emails, etc.
  7. Campaign start date/time: November 1 @ 8:00 A.M. Eastern Time
  8. Publish first posts on social media on November 1 @ 8:00 A.M. Eastern Time
  9. Send list an email announcing contest on November 1 @ 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time
  10. Analyze ad and social posting promotion efforts at least twice between November 1 and November 9. Refine as needed.
  11. Send email on November 6 @ 8:00 P.M. Eastern Time reminding people the contest entry period is coming to an end
  12. End Date/Time: November 10 @ 11:00 A.M. Eastern Time
  13. Select random winner: November 10 @ 11:30 A.M. Eastern Time
  14. Contact winner via email: November 10 @ 11:45 A.M. Eastern Time
  15. Contact non-winners via email: November 10 @ 12:00 P.M. Eastern Time
  16. Winner announced: November 10 @ 12:00 P.M. Eastern Time
Step 3

Decide on the Data You Want to Collect

ShortStack makes it easy to collect information from participants, such as an email address, name or birthday. The forms you build can also make it easy to collect user-generated content, such as photos or reviews.

When collecting data, we recommend you set up forms with a small number of fields and collect only the most essential information. Most forms request:

  • Name
  • Email
  • A checkbox for opting into an email list

However, you can add fields to request (or require) any information you want, such as a photo or someone’s age. You can also offer open-ended fields or make it easier for people to complete your form by using multiple-choice dropdown selections or radio buttons.

Below are some goals you might have, in addition to lead generation, and the form fields you should consider implementing if you have these goals:

Tootsie “Haunted Hunt” Giveaway
Test User Knowledge
  • Name
  • Email
  • Radio field(s) — Allow people to choose a single answer from several options
  • Dropdown field(s) — Give entrants the option to choose one or more answers from a dropdown list
  • Text field(s) — Create a free-form text box to allow a written answer
PetValu “Calendar Casting Call” Photo Contest
Learn about Customer Interests
  • Name
  • Email
  • Radio field(s) — Create a scale for people to rate your product or service
  • Dropdown field(s) — Let respondents choose from a set of answers
    Text field(s) — Create a free-form text box to allow a written answer
Choice Hotel “Hashtag Vote” Sweepstakes
Get Feedback or Reviews
  • Name
  • Email
  • Textarea field(s) — Allow for larger amounts of text to be written; good for collecting written reviews or feedback
  • Radio field(s) — Create a scale for people to rate your product or service
  • Dropdown field(s) — Let respondents choose from a set of answers
Custom Services
Collect UGC
  • Name
  • Email
  • Photo field — Collect photo submissions
  • Video URL field — Collect video submissions via links from Vimeo, YouTube or Instagram
  • Entry Description — Allows entrants to describe their entry
  • Entry Title — Asks entrants to provide a title for their entry
Contact Us Example
Provide a Contact Form
  • Name
  • Email
  • Textarea field — Allow individuals to write details, without the limits of a smaller text field.
  • Dropdown field — Require users to choose a category for their reason for contacting your team.

Email and Marketing Automation

ShortStack enables you to send participants autoresponders, follow-up emails and scheduled emails. We also offer additional marketing automation functions, like form integrations and automatic content display after form submission. As such, a part of your campaign planning should address questions such as:

Grow your list with engaged and excited followers
How will we respond instantly to entries and signups?

IDEA: Send an autoresponder after form submission that includes:

  • A link to your website or directions to your store;
  • An opt-in link for your mailing list; and
  • A coupon for your products or services, or link to a downloadable resource (e.g., white paper, style guide).
Product Gallery Example
How do we keep our audience engaged throughout the campaign?

IDEA: Use scheduled emails at various times throughout the campaign:

  • To remind entrants when voting starts;
  • To encourage people to vote for their entries and share their entry URLs; and
  • To announce a contest winner.
Refer a Friend Example
Should we create a series of subsequent emails to increase engagement?

IDEA: Implement a follow-up email series where:

  • You share information on your products and/or services;
  • You provide a coupon toward an upcoming purchase at your business to be redeemed within a certain number of days; and
  • You send a reminder email to encourage folks to redeem their coupon if they haven’t already.
Product Gallery Example
How will we use the leads we collect after our campaign concludes?

In addition to the scenarios above, you can use leads to:

  • Encourage repeat customer engagement through contest announcements;
  • Promote a new product or service; and
  • Collect feedback about your product or service.
Coupon Example
Does it make sense to integrate the data collected with other CRM and/or marketing platforms?
  • Do you use a sales-related platform to manage leads individually? If so, you could use ShortStack to collect leads, then send those leads to your CRM using our Form Integration options.
  • Do you currently have an email marketing list on another platform?
    • No: Use ShortStack to send your emails.
    • Yes: Use our Form Integrations option to send entries from your ShortStack forms to your email marketing platform. Note: Using ShortStack will save you money and allow you to keep all of your lead generation efforts in one place.

Integrations Options

You may have services and platforms already in place for marketing and social media. Many of them will work seamlessly with ShortStack because the platform is already integrated with the following:

Google Maps
Constant Contact
Google Analytics

Establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs)

Beyond form data, such as contact information, you may have additional KPIs you want to track. Be sure you know what these are before you launch your campaign so you have the appropriate tracking methods in place. Your KPIs might include:

  • Page views and unique views;
  • Landing page conversion rates;
  • Traffic-to-lead ratio;
  • Cost per lead;
  • Sales revenue; and
  • Email marketing list growth.

After establishing your KPIs, determine how you will track the information. On our Agency Plan and higher plans, you’ll have access to ShortStack’s Advanced Analytics, which include:

  • Campaign traffic, including sources, device type, and country;
  • Entry data;
  • Social-media-sharing statistics; and
  • Campaign interactions, including voting, video plays, and poll interactions.

When using ShortStack to send emails, each email you send includes email-specific analytics, such as:

  • Total number of sends;
  • Open rates;
  • Click-through rates; and
  • Unsubscribes.

If you collect information via a form, you’ll be able to view and export those entries. You can also implement Google Analytics and/or Facebook-tracking pixels, or other tracking methods to meet your tracking goals.

Step 4

Consider the Creative Details

Style Panel

Ensure your campaign reflects your brand. ShortStack allows you to customize the appearance of your campaign using our Style Panel.

  • Decide on appropriate fonts and colors for your campaign.
  • Choose appropriate images, photos and illustrations.

Use the questionnaire that follows as a guide for working out the details.

  • Do you have a brand style guide you’ll want to adhere to?
  • Will you add links to other marketing properties?
  • Have you seen promotions from other companies that feature elements you’d like to include?
  • Are there specific images that must be used?
  • How will you identify your company within the campaign, and where will you add your company’s logo?
  • Will you use a specific hashtag for your promotion?
  • Will you send autoresponders and/or scheduled emails?
  • Will you create a gallery of user-generated content?
Step 5

Establish the Rules of Your Campaign

Customer Services Ikea

When building a contest or giveaway for your brand, you’ll need to create a set of rules that abide by the regulations in your state/country.

If you plan to publish the campaign to Facebook and promote it on other social networks, things to consider may include:

  • Rules, terms and conditions
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Campaign start and stop dates
  • Details about prizes
  • Odds of winning
  • Winner selection and notification
  • Rights management
  • Limitations of liability
  • Privacy policy

ShortStack offers a useful shortcut for you. Here’s a template you can use as a guide for writing your campaign rules.

Step 6

Test and Publish Your Campaign

Testing a campaign before it’s published will ensure that the campaign functions and appears as expected. It’s also an opportunity to address unexpected issues.

*Tip: Our team is happy to review your campaign before it goes live; just send an email to

Get more views on your contests, giveaways, and landing pages


In most cases, you will make this decision sooner in your online campaign design process. See Determine where you want the campaign to “live” earlier in this guide.

ShortStack will host your campaign. It’s up to you to determine where you want it to display. Options include:

  • Publishing your campaign to the web as a standalone landing page
  • Embedding your campaign, either in-line or as a popup, on your website

When your campaign is ready to be published you can customize your subdomain or choose from one of five domain options offered on ShortStack’s servers.

Step 7

Develop a Promotion Plan

Learn what motivates your customers

Do you know how you’ll promote your contest, giveaway, quiz or campaign?
The launch and promotion of your campaign may include:

Online advertising
  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook ads
  • Promoted Tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook posts
  • YouTube video ads
  • Display ads on websites
  • Pinterest images
Traditional advertising
  • Print ads (flyers, handouts, magazine or newspaper)
  • Billboard ads
  • Television ads
  • Radio ads
  • Brand sponsorships
Social media
  • Post a link to your campaign in a status update on your Facebook Page
  • Include a link to your campaign in your Instagram bio
  • Update your Facebook cover photo and/or profile photo
  • Update your Twitter header image
  • Tweet a link to your campaign
  • Include a link to your campaign in the description of a YouTube video
  • Update your Twitter bio with a link to your campaign
  • Encourage folks to share your campaign to their social media profiles though the use of the Share Widget
Content marketing
  • Write a blog post to promote your campaign
  • Create a video with a CTA to visit your campaign
  • Design an infographic with a CTA to visit your campaign in the footer
Email automation
  • Send a scheduled email to your subscribers with a link to your campaign
  • Include a link to your campaign in the header or footer images of other emails you send out to your list
Use of hashtags
  • Post a link to your campaign and include popular and relevant hashtags in the post
  • Require the use of a hashtag in a post on Twitter or Instagram in order to enter

Looking for promotion ideas? Check out our post 40 Ways to Get the Word Out About Your Campaign.

Step 8

Measure Your Performance

Built with marketers in mind

As a result of running a ShortStack campaign, you’ll likely collect data and have the ability to track your promotion in real time via our analytics dashboard. We recommend:

  • Revisiting your KPIs;
  • Analyzing data you have collected with Google Analytics and/or Facebook pixels; and
  • Accessing your campaign data within our Advanced Analytics (available on the Agency Plan and higher plans).

Analyzing your campaign to see if you meet your KPIs will help you to measure the success of the campaign. It also helps to inform future campaigns. You can learn what went well with the campaign and where you can improve or update future marketing efforts to better reach your goals.

Haven’t scheduled your call with us?

This helpful Getting Started Guide will show you exactly what you need to do to set up your campaign.
Prefer videos? We’ve got those, too.

If you still aren’t sure how to get started, please get in touch with the ShortStack customer support team.
We are available seven days a week to answer your questions and facilitate the creation of your promotions.

Want Design Support?

ShortStack also offers custom services. Our team of experts can guide you every step of the way and even build your campaign for you or your client.