Generate Leads and Sales by Running an Online Contest

  • Contests

Contests are a fantastic way to explode your brand awareness, especially when you are first starting out on your business journey. Contests typically accomplishes 5 key goals:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Building good faith with your audience
  • Lead generation
  • Building a large social media following
  • …and finally, generate sales

If you want to have the best chance of running a successful contest, to build massive brand awareness, capture more leads, and make more sales, follow the contest methodology we share with you below.

General Contest Methodology to Generate Leads

Lead generation contests run for a certain length of time. We recommend that you run your contest for 30 days. In the end of that 30 days, people will have opted in, received all the emails, and they may or may not have bought (a lot of them will not have bought).

You want to make sure that you set up your contest to have 3-4 winners per week. Having just one winner per week (or one winner period will make winning feel too far away from reality. You want to make your contest attainable for the masses. If you’re selling something that is more expensive than normal, you can reduce the number of weekly winners.

No matter what, you want to have no less than one winner per week.

You’ll want to broadcast messages about the winners both on social media and email broadcasts. You want to give your winners a chance to respond to you to claim their prize.

Now you have your contestants on your email list so you can nurture them after the contest. You now have a valuable list of people to work with that you didn‘t have before.

The Tools We Use For Our Contests

1. Landing Page Builder

ClickFunnels is the tool we use to increases the opt in rate for the contests we run.

In fact, we jumped opt ins from averaging 35-45% to getting around 65-75%, even up to 80%, using this methodology targeting audiences that are interested in the type of product being promoted. This is not a guarantee you will get these same results. Your results will vary based on your offer, your funnel, your audience, how well you target your audience, and so on.

The reason we went with this methodology is it’s easy to build a simple landing page using ClickFunnels that gets the point across effectively, compelling people to opt in to the contest.

However, where ClickFunnels really shines for building a contest campaign is through an A/B split testing solution built right in. Typically this feature could cost you upwards of $300-$600, but ClickFunnels lets you pocket all of that money so you can use it to promote your contest.

2.  Viral Contest App

Viral Contest Tool

Our tool of choice to both run contests, and to expand the reach of our contests, is

Gleam has so many useful tools and features to use, which is why it is our tool of choice. One of the most important features (and why it is our tool of choice) is how many options you have for virally sharing your contest and rewarding contestants for sharing your contest.

Most other tools do a decent job, but they are severely limited on back-end functionality. Many other tools also give you a simple landing page template to mess around with, but the problem is that you’re handcuffed to that template in one form or another. Customizing options on other options we tried were bare bones at best.

Worse still, most of them will only let you share on Facebook and Twitter. They don’t have all the other different social media apps (such as Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) that Gleam does.

THis methodology bridges the best of both worlds: a fully customizable template that talks about the contest in the way our clients want to talk about it, and a platform where you can share that contest with the maximum number of people on an untold number of social media platforms.

3.  Email Series


We use a dedicated series of 6 emails that are designed from the ground up to help the new lead get to know, like, & trust the brand. This series has the end goal of eventually converting the lead into a paid customer.

The most effective way to use your email series ios to focus on a single primary offer. That primary offer is almost always the item the contest is focusing on.

So if someone’s giving away hair care vitamins, then we would focus on selling the hair growth vitamins throughout the entire sequence of emails. These emails start off with a soft, subtle sell, then amps up the sales message toward the end of the email sequence.

4.  Advanced Email Sequence #1

This is above and beyond the original 6 email series we just covered. What we’re covering now is a 3 Email Series in a “flash sale” format. This is done to expand the exposure, and also to kickstart some sales.

This email series will take place in the middle of a contest. The purpose of this sequence is to get people to take an action that will help spread the social reach of the contest and/or increase sales.

For example, you may want to run a double bonus-point weekend promotion for people who are going to be sharing the contest on social media. If they share the contest during that particular weekend, then the bonus points are doubled that weekend.

You can use this if either you see your contest start to run out of steam or you want to kick it up a notch and get more people excited. You may or may not choose to sell something during that flash sale. You could either do that or simply use this flash sale format to share your contest socially and get more exposure.

You will want to make the benefits for your registrants huge in order for them to care enough to take action.

5.  Advanced Email Sequence #2

This is also a 3 email series, and this one is done th the completion of the the contest (day 30, to be precise). This sequence is also done in a flash sale format.

This email series is specifically designed to pitch the best offer possible to sell the main offer.

At the end of 30 days, some people opt in at the last part of that 30 days, and then they still get that original 6 email sequence, which lasts for about 7-8 days. This sequence will end about 7 days after the contest, which we’ll call day 37.

On around day 45 (15 days after the contest ends) and about a week after they received their final email for the original sequence, you will want to do another flash sale.

At this time, you want to use the most compelling offer your brand can possibly stomach. Here we want to see who we can hook in with this methodology to become your customer. They will see your absolute best deal they will likely ever see. Make sure you let them know it’s a limited time offer (you can use coupon codes where they can be dynamically inserted into the email or just a coupon code that expires) and stand by that time that you decide to end the offer. This particular part of the email sequence is designed to push people across the finish line. If they opted in to an offer that is congruent to what the brand is selling, then hopefully they’ll be interested in your offer.

In other words, this is the hail mary final resort play to get the last sales you can from the contest. This is where you pull out ALL the stops. Here is where you give the sweetest deal that your company can stomach, and let them know that this deal that will never be done again.

After this you go back to normal email marketing nurturing.

6.  Facebook Ads

Now we will be going into the front-end methods of marketing your contest, for which we primarily use Facebook Ads. Specifically, we use Page Post Engagement Ads.

Page Post Engagement Ads are designed to get people to engage with the ad, to tag their friends, to share with their friends, to comment, and so on.

We’re not going to directly tell people to do all of these things on the ad at once. The more steps we give people to follow, the fewer people that will actually follow through with those actions. With this in mind, you want to keep the desired actions as simple as possible, such as:

“Comment below and click this link to enter the contest.”

The commenting below signifies to their Facebook friends that they commented on something, and frequently they might tag one of their friends.

We can switch up the call to action in the ad, where it might say “Comment below and tag a friend” (though the “tag a friend” request usually gets less engagement) to test out and increase your exposure.

Regardless of which calls to action you use, asking to comment should almost always be one of them, and here’s why:

  1. When they comment below, some of their Facebook friends will see that they’re commenting on this particular post.
  2. From here we can build custom audiences made up of people who have engaged with your ad, or just engaged with the brand for retargeting purposes later.
  3. It gets people actively involved in the contest when they comment about the contest. They come that much closer to entering it, much closer to being excited about the offer.

7.  Facebook Messenger Bot

We can connect a bot to Facebook using a program called ManyChat.

Because of the format of the engagement-type ad, we can connect a Facebook Messenger bot to that particular post and ad. Every time somebody comments on it, it will trigger the bot. You can even have people comment a specific word, like “Type ‘Hair’ below” in the FB Ad, so the bot only responds to people who use that specific word.

The ManyChat bot can have a similar approach to the email sequence (though maybe not as many messages) to send out invitations to check out the contest to go enter it.

You can also do a small announcement series through here, but you don’t want to send out an entire email series; that would be too much at once. What you could announce would be a one-message announcement of, for example, the bonus-point weekend.

The response rates on Facebook are insanely high so you only really need one message (instead of 3 like in the email sequences) to get the job done, so you won’t need to spam them.

At the end, you can (and should) announce a flash sale via Messenger, like you would in your email sequences but with only one message.

Facebook Messenger bots like ManyChat is a spectacular way to take your contest to the next level.

8.  Compliance with Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations

You need to make sure that you are follow all rules and regulations regarding contests and  online marketing in general. That means you need to follow Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, as well as applicable state and federal laws. You also need to be spam compliant, and you must be aware of any GDPR issues, especially if you plan to actively promote anywhere within the EU.

You need to make sure you have links going to the Terms and Conditions, Disclaimers, and Privacy Policy at the footer of all of your contest pages just to be Facebook compliant.

Putting It All Together

In summary, here is the methodology we use to run our contests:

  • Run your contest for 30 days (test if you want; it can be between 14-60 days depending on what you’re promoting)
  • Have 3-4 winners per week (if you can afford it; 1 per week at minimum)
  • Broadcast your winners across email and social media

…and, these are the tools and strategies we use to build and share our contests:

  1. We use ClickFunnels to boost opt ins.
  2. We use Gleam to build out the contest and virally expand its reach.
  3. We follow up with a series of 6 emails that convert people into a customer.
  4. About halfway through the contest we’ll do a flash sale sequence to really expand the exposure, but also use it to kickstart some sales. This offer should NOT be better than the offer at the end.
  5. At the 45 day mark we send out another flash sale designed to boost last-minute sales after the contest has ended. This is the hail mary play where you put as much in the offer as your budget can handle. This is where you put a deal that is so grand that you will never offer it again. After that, you go back to the business of nurturing your much larger email list with normal email marketing methods
  6. We bring these contestants in initially through Facebook ads.
  7. We also connect our ad campaign with a Facebook Messenger bot with ManyChat, in order to increase the reach and the open rates.
  8. We ensure we are compliant every step of the entire campaign.

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June 13th, 2018|Lead Generation|0 Comments

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