How Can Viral Giveaways Explode Your Email List?

viral-giveaways-explode-email-listThe money is in the email list, right? This gives you direct access to people who love what you do, and listen to you on a regular basis.

But growing this list is not always an easy thing.

You might have put opt-in forms on your

  • side-bar
  • the bottom of blog posts
  • or even your about page.

Good job!

You might have even tried one of the best tactics I have used lately, Exit Popups (to multiply your email subscribers like rabbits).

It works. And I certainly get a lot more emails these days. And it keeps growing.

But how can you really explode your email list?

One technique I am currently truing is using the viral giveaway technique with KingSumo Giveaways.

What is a Viral Giveaway?

The idea is simple. Instead of people having less chances to win, you give them more chances if they share your giveaway and others signup with their “special” URL.

So let’s say I give you one chance if you sign up.

But I give you three more if you get more people to sign up.

Would you share it as much as you could to increase your chances of winning?

The idea is sound, but the proof will be in the pudding as they say!

My experience so far has been mixed, but let’s wait until for the results in a couple of weeks to see how this one pans out.

Do Viral Giveaways Work?

Like anything in the mysterious world of marketing, there are no guarantees. That is a given.

And “viral” is only a sure thing during Winter when you get a cold :>

We are trying a giveaway right now and can’t share the results with you yet. But here are some results people have had with this plugin recently:

So it seems to be a bit of hit and miss. Not that two results is anything to go by.

We are yet to find out how ours will go, but here is how we (and others) have set it up in case you are interested…

The Viral Giveaway Setup

Here I am going to break down the steps you need to take, and the things you need to be aware of when running a viral giveaway.

I will also give you real examples of what I have done to set up our giveaway.

Choosing the Prize

This is perhaps the first and most important step in a viral giveaway like this. You do not want to giveaway a trip to the Bahamas to a group of marketers.

Sure some would love it, but you are not appealing to a targeted audience here. You are appealing to everyone, more or less (I know, I can’t believe some people hate the Bahamas!)

So choose something that appeals to your audience and preferably something that they could not or would not pay for themselves.

In our giveaway we managed to get serious sponsorship ($6500+) so have a range of prizes such as:

  • 1 year of SEMRush (keyword/competition research) and 3x Long Tail Pro (keyword research tool) – SEO Audience
  • 3 x 1 year hosting from Siteground – could appeal to many people who need a website
  • 3 different packages or Hashtagify & MavSocial social media software – Social Media Audience
  • 3 different Courses (LinkedIn for Business, Building a Blog Community, Video for Marketing and Business) – SM, Blogging, Marketing
  • 2 Paperli Pro Licenses for the content marketing crowd
  • 1 copy of KingSumo (used for this viral giveaway)

So lots of crazy prizes set to appeal to our main audience – Online Marketers, Entrepreneurs, Social Media and Blogging people etc.

Tip: Choose a prize that appeals to your specific audience. No point getting unrelated people on your list.

Preparing the Infrastructure (Web Hosting and Email)

1. I approached Siteground to help me with some temporary hosting for the potential traffic boost during this giveaway.

The site I was hosting it on (Entice Online Marketing, my marketing partnership business) is not one that gets mega traffic, so the hosting is not big.

2. You also need to be prepared to accept all the emails. Putting them all into your current list could be a mistake for many reasons:

  • over spamming of your list might flag your account
  • more emails costs more money (yes you have to spend to earn, but why not avoid it)

One of the tricks here is that KingSumo will save the emails in your WordPress database, and you can export them after the giveaway is over. So, as long as your email service accepts imported lists, this is a good option. Watch out for double opt-ins though. Importing a list and then forcing a double opt-in will probably decimate it!

This is how I am doing it: I plan to move all the entrants to MailChimp afterwards as there is not double opt-in.

Tip: Have a serious think about your hosting (can it handle a spike in traffic) and your emails (where will you put them, will you import them later?)

Setting Up The Giveaway Plugin (KingSumo)

This was quite straight forward, except I perhaps stupidly hand-coded a lot of my giveaway page (so being able to code is not a good thing here, I wasted too much time).

But in reality, for most of you, it is a simple page with some text, a few images, a start and end date, value of prizes etc.

KingSumo is pretty straight forward to set up. But if you want more info on how to do it you can refer to the post I mentioned earlier for more details.

The plugin gives you are separate page for the giveaway ( and that is the URL you can use in your links.

I also created a small and sexy link for mine:

Which is easy to do as long as the URL is not take on bitly. (be a little creative and you will find one)

The Biggest Part – Promotion

Like anything you do online with marketing, the money is in the promotion. And a giveaway is certainly the same.

So what have we been doing to promote this giveaway so far:

  • social media with nice Canva generated images
  • lots of social media from our sponsors
  • emailed our list
  • got onto some big bloggers lists
  • currently trying some giveaway websites

There are of course an infinite number of ways to promote such a campaign, and a lot of it is up to creativity and flair.

We have leveraged social media as much as we can using relevant hashtags, images, including sponsors and so forth.

Final Words

The jury is still out on my giveaway, but some people have had luck promoting theirs and inflating their email to new heights…while others have not.

It is certainly another option to put in your marketing arsenal and try out on your audience. But how much time you want to spend (and/or money) is another question for you to answer.

This has certainly been a big project for me, and taken a lot of my time (organising, coding, promoting and so on).

Let’s see if it is worth it.

About the Author Ashley Faulkes

Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).

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