How to Grow Your Email List With Social Media Contests

What’s the quickest way to increase your email subscribers? Surprisingly, a simple social media contest has been the top answer to that question for several years running. Why? Everyone wants a chance to win something, and contests are a great way to capture email leads.

But before you think about giving away a Fit Bit or Apple’s latest product, consider the power of making your contest as targeted as possible… to attract people who are likely to also become customers. Here are a few pointers to help make that happen:

#1: Find Your Niche and Feed It

If you have a niche business, hold on to it. Take the time to come up with a contest your fans will like. For example, let’s say your niche is owners of shar pei puppies and dogs, you could run a photo contest where fans upload their pet pictures and choose the cutest puppy picture. The voting is done by fans. The photo with the most votes wins a prize and one voter wins a prize too. This works well because the prizes are meaningful to the winner. You win by capturing their email addresses because both entrees and voters have to opt in.

#2 Offer Multiple Prizes

If you offer multiple prizes, more people are more likely to enter because they are more likely to win. Make entry easy — name, email and phone number or address (people will part with their address easier than their phone number). Make sure you brand your contest well and let the entries flow and the promotion go viral on Facebook. Asking for their email by opting in grows your email list.

#3 Offer Community Support

A local businesses can take advantage of an opportunity to offer a contest for a local event. For example, an entry into a draw for an upcoming concert or sporting event. Lots of fans will want to enter. The catch is they need to opt in and provide their email address and share the contest on Facebook — you build your email list. If you run an online business, you can still use this technique by offering something in your niche. For example, if you sell marketing tools, then offer to draw for your course.

#4: Offer Something Exclusive

Offering something that’s considered a once in a lifetime opportunity or something that’s rarely going to happen to a number of winners is going to draw a great deal of interest. For example, you might be able to arrange a special meeting with a President or special VIP package at a concert. The contest needs to be branded well and portray exclusivity or that the winner is a VIP. They enter by opting in and providing their email address and sharing it on Facebook.

There you have four excellent ways to build your email lists quickly and effectively. But how, exactly do you run a contest? There are several tools available that can help you easily create and deploy social media contests without having to write a single line of code or worry about all that much design or layout.

Here are five social contest platforms to help you quickly create and run a social media contest.


22Social is built for Facebook Fan Page marketing. Sure, you can run contest, but you can also do a whole lot more (but let’s save that for another time).

When it comes to contests, 22Social has two superpowers: First, because 22Social is fully integrated into Facebook, when people enter your contest, their contact information is automatically extracted from their Facebook account. And, second, when you run a contest through 22Social, you can incentivize participants to share the contest with their friends for additional chances to win.


Heyo is all about contests. They have a drag-and-drop contest builder so you can create your own contest app from scratch or use one of their templates. Like 22Social, Heyo’s apps are mobile responsive to leverage the huge number of people browsing social sites on their smartphones. In addition to Facebook, Heyo can run contests through Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and even LinkedIn.


Wishpond is a platform offering a full suite of products, including contests, landing pages, website pop-ups, and even e-mail marketing. Among this broad selection of services they provide an excellent selection of template options for running social contests. Their contest builder is a little more complex than other options here, but it’s also more powerful, and includes added features like A/B testing.

The benefit is that as soon as your contest is live, you can utilize Wishpond to run ads or carry out other marketing activities like driving traffic to landing pages or incorporating blog pop-ups. Wishpond is more of a full suite of marketing services and, while their contests are cornerstone of their service, Wishpond is best suited for a company that wants to benefit from their entire function set.


Shortstack is a drag-and-drop tool for building social contests and campaigns with heaps of functions like special occasion sets, group plans, and deep analytics. It’s really robust. With a wealth of available features and choices, Shortstack works especially well for bigger or more complex organizations.


AgoraPulse is a full service social marketing platform that provides social contest apps as an essential feature. They are, however, a costlier option but they also include post publishing, social media tracking, and a smart mobile app.

Whichever you pick, remember that contests have been a key to growing email lists for several year, and this strategy shows no signs of disappearing any time soon… so use this strategy for the long term.

Originally published at