How to run an awesome contest for your ecommerce store

Running a contest for your ecommerce business is an easy way to keep subscribers engaged and acquire new customers at a low cost. It’s a no-brainer— people like free stuff. In this post, I’ll go over the planning and logistics for setting up a contest as well as what to do after folks enter. Buckle up, this is going to be a fun one.

Pick a goal for your contest

Before we dive into the tactical mechanics of setting up a contest, you should decide what it is you’re looking to achieve. This will help determine how you plan, promote, and communicate your contest.

Here are a few goals you may want to consider when planning:

  • Increase your list size
  • Reengage current subscribers
  • Build buzz around a new product or line
  • Collect additional data from customers (like a survey)
  • Generate reviews
  • Collect user generated content

You should also determine what success looks like for your contest. For example, if you’re looking to increase your list size, how many new subscribers would make it worth the cost and time invested?

Determine prize(s)

This one could seem like stating the obvious, but your prize should be in-line with the goal you picked for your contest.

If your goal is to build buzz around a new product or line of products, you might decide to have several winners or have a contest that offers a daily winner. This way entrants feel like they have a higher chance to win and may be more likely to enter and hand over their information. This tactic is also a good idea so that winners can share that they’ve won and influence their connections to also enter.

You might up the ante for a contest with your current subscribers by offering a high ticket item or by segmenting for an item that a customer has already purchased (think consumables) and promoting just to that audience.

Campaign strategy & contest calendar

For a bigger contest, with a high-value item or multiple winners, you should do a multi-touch campaign. Before announcing your contest map out the timeline for contest communications and check to make sure you’re not over communicating with customers based on your other campaigns and autoresponders.

Beyond sending a single email here are a few tactics to promote your contest:

  • Banner or CTA on homepage
  • Social media
  • Promote contest in every email you send out during the promotion period
  • Make a promotional video

It’s also important to pick a reasonable timeframe for holding a contest — two days and you might miss a lot of folks. Two months will likely cause the audience’s interest to wane. They’ll either lose interest or forget.

If you’re serious about adding contests to your marketing artillery, create a calendar for promotions. This way you won’t have to scramble to think of new contest ideas and you can prepare well in advance. The added benefit of planning a contest calendar is that by building a regular schedule or frequency for contest your customers will be one the lookout for them and they just might be more likely to open.

Build a dedicated landing page

Your contest needs a home, and an easy way to find and a share link. All of your contest promotions across email and social should all point to one landing page. In addition to copy and an entry form, adding a custom field to let people subscribe to your mailing list (for new subscribers or another list for current subscribers) is a must. Of course, you’ll want a double-opt in to fire off if you go this route.

If there are any specific rules and regulations, such as a one entry limit or employees not being eligible to enter, include this on the landing page as well.

How to hold a contest in Klaviyo

If you’re already using Klaviyo to send out your emails, setting up a contest is crazy simple. Ready? Follow these steps:

Under “List & Segments” click “Create List/Segment”

Name your list something related to your contest 

Create a landing page with the signup form

Let your contest run

When your contest is complete, return to the List & Segments section in Klaviyo and click “Manage List” and then “Sample List Members”

Rename the list and pick a sample size of winners

Voilà! There’s your list of winners.

Post contest incentives

Once you have announced the winners of your contest, don’t miss the opportunity to encourage participants to purchase. Offering entries a “thanks for participating” promotion, like 20% off, can help to close more sales. It’d be smart to filter out anyone who made a purchase during the contest so they’re not getting repetitive messages.

Alicia Thomas
Alicia is a Content Marketing Manager at Klaviyo. She is fired up about helping marketers learn the best tactics and strategies to grow their businesses. Prior to Klaviyo she held positions on both agency and in-house marketing teams. When she's not writing the latest ebook or blog, Alicia can be found producing marketing videos.
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