Giveaway Emails – Prize-Winning Examples & Best Practices

11 min

Email marketing is an effective and engaging communication channel that offers numerous ways to give a boost to your business.

The giveaway email is one of the options that deserve your attention. They can play along with your business goals and help you:

  • create awareness for your brand and products,
  • encourage people to try your products,
  • entertain your community
  • get more traffic to the website,
  • gather new subscribers,
  • grow leads,
  • increase sales,
  • and many others.

How do giveaway emails work? They offer free products, gifts, or services for marketing purposes. The prize (giveaway) is given to a person (or a few participants) chosen from a pool of entries. Conducting a giveaway, you can be as creative as you like setting rules for participants. Emails can help you inform people about the progress of your contest and engage them.

Why are giveaway emails so effective? Let’s face the truth, we all like the idea of winning something for free (remember how popular the lottery is). As a result, contests have a conversion rate of almost 34%, which is higher than other content types.

However, keeping participants engaged throughout the contest is no easy task. Here comes the need to craft a powerful giveaway email campaign to fuel the audience’s interest. Let’s dive into the simple ways to boost the performance of your giveaway emails!

For more inspiration for tips on how to run effective email marketing campaigns consider reading these resources:

1. Email marketing 101 guide

2. Email marketing best practices for 2023

3. 30 best email marketing campaigns

10 best practices on how to craft effective giveaway emails

In this section, we’ll discuss the very first steps you should take before developing a giveaway email marketing campaign. First, you need to choose an email marketing service to collect email addresses, build your email templates, and send out giveaway messages. Second, it’s a good idea to create a nicely designed, GDPR friendly landing page where you can collect participants’ emails via pop-ups and sign-up forms.

After that, it’s time to unlock the giveaway newsletter’s power by creating giveaway emails according to the best practices. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Editor’s note: If you’d like to learn how to use contests to build your email list on social media, read this guide on how to do a giveaway on Instagram.

1. Proper Segmentation

Defining your target audience carefully plays a crucial role in giveaway email campaigns since it ensures the success of your contests. Without proper segmentation, your email list will be full of unqualified leads. Moreover, poor segmentation will lead to high unsubscribe rates and a high number of spam reports. Considering that, choose the right audience by gender, age, purchase history, location, etc.

2. Personalization

You’ve heard this a million times. Giveaway emails you send should be personal. Create a personalized email based on the contact’s preferences or purchasing history, appeal to your target audience by name, and show how a giveaway can benefit them. Personalized emails generate higher transaction rates and revenue compared to emails that were not personalized.

3. Choose the right gift

Your contest audience and the gift should be in sync if you want to grow your subscription list. What’s more, it’s also a good idea to choose the gift that appeals to newcomers if there’s a need to extend this market. In other words, the gift should be worth winning.

No matter how genius your giveaway email template is, if the gift doesn’t motivate people to participate, your giveaway will fail. The greater the value of the gift, the more likely your contest is to go viral. But keep in mind that big cash prizes can draw the attention of people outside your target market. They’ll never be your customers when the contest is over. Considering that, it’s much better to choose a targeted gift that appeals to people you want to attract.

The great news is it’s not necessary to break the bank to offer a good gift. Instead, grab any of the following affordable and targeted prize ideas:

Find partnered product

You can reach out to a brand that is relevant to your target audience and partner with this brand. That will double contest entries, promotion efforts, and the value of the prize. Also, you can partner up with charity organizations. For instance, AfterShokz recognizes the essential workers and healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Their email announces a giveaway to highlight heroes everywhere. The essential worker (MVP) winner received a prize package full of athletic apparel, tech gadgets, and wellness products.

Giveaway email example from Aftershokz. Tribute to real MVPs giving their all on the frontline of the pandemic.
Giveaway email example from Aftershokz. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

There’s one more example. nTask helps those who have been affected by COVID-19:

Giveaway email marketing campaign from nTask.
Giveaway email marketing campaign from nTask.

Offer bestseller product set

A product kit composed of your best sellers will give participants the chance to win desired products for free.

Giveaway announcement email from Apto Skincare.
Giveaway announcement email from Apto Skincare. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

Give exclusive access to free samples of new products

Before launching new products, offer them to the winners exclusively to make them feel like a part of your brand.  A unique prize will gain more attention than a big cash gift. What’s more, that will allow you to gain more media coverage as well.

Consider bonus gifts

Offer a number of smaller bonus gifts for participants who have not won. This will motivate people to be engaged in the hope that they can win some of the bonus prizes. For instance, Chanty, a team chat, moves beyond a single gift and offers five sweet custom-made avatars for their users:

Giveaway email from Chanty.
Giveaway email from Chanty.

Gift cards

Amazon or eBay gift cards are always a great idea. These small, yet useful incentives help you increase a response rate. There’s an example by Brosix:

Email offering an Amazon gift card.
Email offering an Amazon gift card.

4. Create a set of fair and clear rules

When you’ve chosen the gift, it’s time to set fair rules to win it. Consider every exclusion, exceptional circumstances, and essential details as:

  • start and end dates,
  • age and/or location requirements,
  • how to enter to win,
  • how to get extra bonuses,
  • how the winner will be chosen.

And make sure to describe all these rules in your giveaway announcement email and on your landing page.

5. Choose the best time for your giveaway

Time matters. How to choose the best time to conduct your giveaways? It depends on the type of your business, the type of your prize, and the target audience. For instance, if you sell jewelry, then obviously the best time is the week before Valentine’s Day.

Is it a good idea to promote your contest during Black Friday, Christmas, Easter, or other popular holidays? It’s hard to answer this question. But anyway, keep in mind that it is quite difficult to get through the crowded inbox during those days.

One of the reasons to run a giveaway is a company anniversary. Take a look at the email Qatar Airways has sent out celebrating 20 years together with Heathrow Airport.

Anniversary competition announcement email from Qatar Airways.
Anniversary competition announcement email from Qatar Airways. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

Read more: What’s the best time to send emails? New study.

6. Craft killer giveaway announcement email

The giveaway announcement email actually announces the start of the giveaway. It includes all vital details as start and end dates, instructions on how to take part in a giveaway, rules and conditions, etc. Since we should choose one goal for each email, the ultimate goal of the giveaway announcement email is to motivate people to participate in the contest. Let’s discover how to maximize the performance of this email.

  • Make the announcement email responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • Use brand identity and bright colors.
  • Adopt the inverted pyramid principle to highlight the offer and call to action.
  • Use psychological tricks like FOMO and a sense of urgency.
Email campaign using FOMO technique to increase subscriber engagement.
Email campaign using FOMO technique to increase subscriber engagement. Source: ReallyGoodEmails
Email campaign using the FOMO technique announcing their giveaway campaign.
Email campaign using the FOMO technique announcing their giveaway campaign. Source: ReallyGoodEmails
  • Highlight the gift using various stylistic tricks. Place it on the top. Use high-quality and eye-catching images of the prize.
  • The rules of the contest (including exclusions) should be clear and transparent. The call-to-action button should be prominent and significant. Use action words to give people the motivation to enter the contest.
  • Include all the legal information in the email footer (a.k.a the Impressum).
Email footer example.
  • Use a compelling subject line to get through the crowded inbox and make recipients open the newsletter. Use emojis. Add the first name of recipients. Include words like “Win,” “Do Not Miss Out On.”, “Free,” “Gift,” “Prize,” “Last Chance”. But do not over-promise.

But don’t overdo it. Too many images, too bright colors, too many animated elements can get people confused. Highlights only what is really important.

In other words, you’ll want your email to stand out and be fun – but all your standard email design best practices still apply.

Editor’s note: If email design isn’t your thing, you can always build your email campaign using a ready-made template. Inside GetResponse Email Creator, you’ll find free mobile-responsive templates you can fully customize to your liking & your brand. Here’s an email template example you can use right away:

Email template example from GetResponse
Email template example from GetResponse

7. Promote it

Now that you’ve sent out a giveaway announcement email, it’s time to promote your contest. Your ultimate goal is to get as many participants as possible, isn’t it? We’ve put together a few promotion tricks for you to steal out:

  • Don’t forget to notify your current subscribers. It is the easiest way to reach potential participants around.
  • Place the giveaway announcement in a pop-up or scrolling header bar to grab your website visitor’s attention.
  • Keep the sign-up form simple, don’t request too much information.
  • Run a pay-per-click campaign. Having a dedicated contest landing page and budget, don’t hesitate to run Google and Bing ad campaigns searching for people who are in your target market and potentially interested in your company.
  • Promote the giveaway via social media. If you have business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., share the contest announcement on those platforms to convert followers into email subscribers. Also, you can run an ad campaign there, too.
  • Leverage influencer marketing. Let’s face the truth, the recommendations of influencers affect us. Considering that, get some influencers on board to promote your contest. Their followers (if they are similar to your target audience) will participate in your content.
  • And don’t forget to send out reminder emails. The odds are someone will miss your announcement email (or any of your but that isn’t to say they’re not interested in the giveaway.

8. Send follow-up emails

Keep in constant communication with the giveaway participants. Nurture them with some follow-up email reminders to increase engagement, encourage shares, and maintain interest. For instance, you can reach out to your target audience with an email notification that the contest is about to end. Use a countdown and phrases like “Hurry Up!” to evoke a sense of urgency.

Email reminder notifying the recipients about the contest.
Email reminder notifying the recipients about the contest. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

9. Announce winners and show your appreciation to all the contestants

Use a winner announcement email to notify the winner and all other participants that the contest is over. The crucial thing to remember here is that people do not like to lose. You should not disappoint those who have taken an active part in the giveaway but got nothing in return. Here comes the need for a strategy on how to engage and convert those who did not have luck.

If you don’t want to lose these potential customers who are obviously interested in your brand, offer an exclusive discount on the product that they have been given away. Also, you can provide them with some other shopping incentives to leave things in a good place. What’s more, you can spice up the email with a sweet video or GIF to lighten the mood and show sympathy through kind words. In other words, make them feel important and find a way to get them deeper into your brand.

Email announcing that everyone’s a winner and gets a prize. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

This will turn your winner announcement email into a powerful notorious marketing tool for nurturing new contact and turning them into paying customers.

10. Measure your results

What are the results of the contest? Did you achieve your goals? You need these insights to measure the outcome and improve your next giveaway email campaign. For instance, use tracking links on the buttons in your emails to know whether or not the giveaway produced sales.

If you’re using an email marketing tool you should be able to access all that information in your analytics dashboard. Here’s what this looks like in GetResponse:

GetResponse Email Analytics dashboard providing in-depth information on email marketing campaign performance.
GetResponse Email Analytics dashboard providing in-depth information on email marketing campaign performance.

Start your killer giveaway email campaign today

Giveaways are one of the most tried and tested conversion machines out there. But giveaways are not only about sending a single email that notifies about the contest. You need a holistic email campaign with a range of preparation steps and additional emails to keep participants engaged and pursue your business goals.

In this article, we’ve put together the best practices for such events, from what prize to choose to effective email design tricks. They will ensure the highest performance of your giveaway email campaign.

Did we miss out on any effective giveaway email best practice? Let us know in the comments below!

Julia Samoilenko
Julia Samoilenko
Julia Samoilenko is a marketing specialist who writes about digital marketing trends and strategies for Chanty blog. This powerful and free Video chat app is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Feel free to connect with Julia on LinkedIn.