It’s not easy to host a giveaway with 8+ brand partners, keep them happy, grow their Instagram account, and maintain the entire email list.
This case study is going to take you through exactly how to do this.
Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water, an alkaline water company from Hawaii, was able to generate over 60k emails in a short 4 weeks period.
Here’s a sneak peak of some of the results generated from this campaign. You will notice that each Vyper campaign is different due to the flexibility of the platform. In this case, the contest campaign was optimized for email leads and Instagram followers.
The contest had a reach of 251,247 pageviews
Collectively the contest generated 124,493 new Instagram followers
The contest landing page converted at 24%
This contest generated 62,354 new email leads
Keep reading to see more results and how they were achieved them!
It’s important to set solid goals before you plan your marketing campaigns. This sets a benchmark and determines how much work you will need to put in to achieve the desired outcome.
The goal was to host a giveaway to attract people in the brand’s target market: those who are interested in creating a healthier lifestyle and who are aware of the benefits of alkaline water.
In previous contests, Waiakea had generated around 20k leads after giving away a trip for two to Hawaii.
With each contest, there are new challenges and Waiakea’s team has learned to implement new strategies and refine old strategies…
While continuing to set higher and higher goals!
Not only that, but Waiakea was also looking to partner up with a bunch of complementary brands to increase the reach and results of their giveaway.
Stay tuned… we will be sharing more on that later in this post!
About the brand
Viral contests and giveaway campaigns can be run for a range of companies. It’s important for us to know the background story of a brand before we get started.
Waiakea is a top shelf alkaline water company. Even though they sell water, digital marketing has been a huge part of their growth strategy as they sell in stores and via their website.
Their mission is to create a transformation within the bottled water, beverage, and greater CPG industry.
Moving away from singular profit and towards a triple bottom line model that emphasizes people and planet.
Waiakea’s Target Audience
Includes men and women who are interested in living a healthy lifestyle and who values sustainable and ethical brands and products.
Marketing tactics they employ
- Running partner giveaways using VYPER.
- Producing massive amounts of content – mainly Instagram posts which can be used in advertising campaigns.
- Using brand ambassadors in Hawaii to exchange product for social content.
Influencer Marketing Tip
Sending influencers free content in exchange for content (images and videos) is a good trade-off. Make sure that you get the influencers posting the content to social and sending you the original files for advertising material.
Another way to get user-generated content is to include it as a bonus action in your giveaway.
- Upload a video of you using our product for 100 points.
- Upload an image of you doing XXX for 100 points.
- Post a photo to Instagram of you doing XXX for 100 points.
- Etc. Etc. This can work for any type of content or channel.
Waiakea Fact Sheet
Industry: Hydration & Lifestyle
Campaign Type: Hosted Partner Giveaway
This is their first VYPER campaign as they have just switched over from Gleam.
A few stand out facts that make this eCom store successful. You can take some of these points and apply them to your store.
- Created good content
- Implemented a subscription model
- Invested in offering a great prize
- They continue to run giveaways to grow their brand
- Responsive to social conversations
How to host a giveaway
Using partners is a great way to leverage giveaways and contests. It’s a good starting point if you do not have your own audience.
Planning out the giveaway was a super important part of this marketing strategy.
The idea to host a joint partner giveaway was a crucial part of collecting over 60k+ emails and over 14k+ new instagram followers for Waiakea (the 124,493 Instagram followers were all partners combined, more on that later).
When it comes to finding partners there are a few things you will want to do.
Use Your Network
Tap into your current network. Do you have any connections that have products or services that would fit your brand and giveaway? Join groups to connect with others.
Choose Good Partners
Hosting a successful giveaway can be a disaster if you do not choose the correct partners. Don’t work with competitors or brands not willing to share the giveaway with their audience.
The Pitch Email
Craft your pitch email. You are going to want to highlight all the benefits of partaking. You will also want to follow up 2-3 times via email.
Once you have a list together containing your top choice partners, it will be time to contact them.
You can use an email marketing software or simply send them out manually (manually is usually easier if you have under 30 contacts).
In this case, Waiakea sent out all the email manually.
It makes it a little more personal and you get a much better response rate especially if you connect with them on multiple networks.
For example, connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook, then send them your pitch email to join your hosted giveaway.
Keep reading to find out the exact email you need to send to your partners.
Partners will want to see what’s in it for them and why they should give up their products and time for your contest?
It’s a good idea to mention the following when you reach out to them.
1. The estimated number of impressions they will be exposed to.
2. Who else is partaking (if they see other good brands partaking, they will as well).
3. That they will get a bonus action (learn more) in the giveaway for people to follow their Instagram.
4. That they will be featured in the giveaway engagement and follow up emails.
5. That your brand will be covering media spend and marketing budget.
Here’s an example of the email you can send someone.
We’re setting up a contest and I think <<PARTNER>> would be a great partner.
<<OTHER PARTNERS>> are in the final stages of signing up so I think the campaign is going to do really well.
If you’re interested in participating, we’re looking for contributions of <<WHAT YOU WANT TO ADD TO YOUR PRIZE>> to participate.
Why should you participate?
- We will push the contest out to 100’s of thousands of people in your target demo (email, followers, ads etc).
- Your brand will get a lot of exposure to all these new potential customers.
- We are partnering with 4-6 eCom complimenting companies to all share the impressions from the giveaway.
- Your company & chosen offer will be promoted to everyone who enters.
I’m the founder of <<YOUR WEBSITE>> and we <<WHAT YOU DO>>!
Let me know if you’re interested or if you want to jump on a call to discuss further.
Look forward to hearing from you.
- Follow up 2-3 times when emailing partners as most people will need to think about this or get approval from someone else.
- When you host a giveaway it’s common for brand partners ask for the email list, it’s a good idea to offer them a bonus action like, “follow this brands Instagram account” instead. Sharing the email list is not good for the end user.
- Keeping the email list to yourself also keeps your new leads happy. Getting a sales email from every giveaway partner as soon as the contest ends is super annoying. It does not start the new relationship off well.
- You will have a much smaller chance of converting a lead if you have broken their trust and shared their personal information, given fake scarcity or tricked them. Be honest and genuine.
- Keep a Google sheet to manage partners log how many times you followed up, what their response was, their prize contribution, if they emailed their list and if they delivered the prize to the winner.
So get networking and make a list of potential partners to use in your next hosted contest!
As you can see from this case study, it’s well worth the effort and will pay off big time in terms of campaign reach and results.
Building the giveaway
One of the most consistent reasons for success in using VYPER is the amount of effort that was put into creating and marketing the campaign.
It’s worth spending a bit of time creating a giveaway that looks good, fits your brands, and optimized for conversion.
In this example, Waiakea decided to use the hosted giveaway option in VYPER.
This meant that they designed their own landing page then embedded the VYPER giveaway sign up fields on that page.
You can see that they did a few things really well to help get them a 24% conversion rate.
They included a breakdown of what you can win and showed the prize value and images of all the products they were going to receive if they won the contest.
Below are 4 key conversion aspects of the contest building process you need to focus on to get the best possible results from your hosted partner giveaway.
Check them out!
Make sure you pick a prize that is unique and has a high perceived value to your target audience. This will improve the quality of your leads. Give out your product, experiences, trips, other brand products, etc.
Use multiple rewards to keep everyone engaged and motivated. Placement rewards (1st place) help competitiveness, milestone rewards (100 points unlock X) help progress and random winner rewards keep all entrants hopeful.
The VYPER landing page is the easiest way to run your giveaway, but the widget will help convert more website traffic while the embed option gives you a huge amount of customization.
The design of your giveaway will help get people excited, include images and video on the landing page to increase conversion rate. Clearly show what people can win!
Once you have created your landing page, make sure to share it with a few coworkers and friends to see if they understand what you are trying to do and what the benefit to them (giveaway contestant) is.
It’s important that you make your contest clear as to what the benefit is to the contestant.
Once they understand the value your are offering, it is much easier to ask them to share your brand, engage with your social content, and refer their friends.
Before you launch, think: Does the effort = the value of the reward?
For example, am I going to spend 5 hours trying to win a $5 gift card? Probably not.
Add a countdown time or limited prizes. This adds scarcity and helps to increase your contest landing page conversion rate.
Add an embed video explaining what the giveaway is about, how contestants can win rewards, and all the awesome prizes. Get people excited!
Remind people on the thank you page that they must confirm their email, collect points, and refer others to win/unlock rewards.
Marketing the giveaway
When you host a giveaway with partners, a lot of the marketing is already done for you as your partners share the contest with their audiences. There are a few other tactics you can use below.
Marketing is by far the most important thing when it comes to running a successful giveaway or contest.
The main reason to host a giveaway is to leverage your partners to help you with the marketing.
By including other brands, you add a huge amount of potential reach through the partner’s email lists and social accounts.
The easiest way to kickstart a contest is through your immediate network. That’s your email list, social channels, and direct contacts.
So when you host a giveaway you multiply your potential audience size with each brand that is part of the contest. In Waiakea’s case, 11 brands meant 11 new email lists to tap into.
The best way to get your partners to email their list about your giveaway is to explain the advantage to them.
Explain that all partners will be “cross-promoting” each other by sending out emails and posting to social media about the giveaway.
This is why having a good list of partners that all complement each other and share a target market will improve the success rate of your hosted giveaway.
Here’s a list of all the marketing tactics Waiakea used for their contest
Emailed Their Own List
It’s super important to start your giveaway with a big bang. The easiest way to do that is to share it with your immediate audience. Sharing it with a your email list (people who are already familiar with Waiakea) are much more willing to share your giveaway with their friends, family, and co-workers.
Not only that but they are more than likely to hang around people similar to themselves so you are still attracting new leads and customers.
They got all partners to send out an email to their list about the giveaway
The whole point of putting in all the work and hosting the giveaway or contest is to be the one who ultimately benefits. If you can get all your partners to share the contest with their list, social channels and website visitors you will multiple your initial reach a LOT.
This is how Waiakea was able to collect such a large amount of emails and Instagram followers.
Got all partners to post to social about the giveaway
As mentioned above, leverage your partners as much as possible.
Create images and videos that they can share on their social channels, make it as easy as possible for them to get the image or video, then copy and paste a caption for their post.
It’s a good idea to make a “promotion kit” to share with all partners which has files and swipe copy.
Leverage Instagram and Facebook stories as brands are much more open to posting something that does not stay on their wall. More on that here.
They ran Facebook ads for the giveaway
If you are looking for an in depth guide on Facebook ads, check this article out but the below will give you a brief outline as giveaways + Facebook ads is a very in depth topic.
Prospecting giveaway ads:
This is a campaign that is used to introduce your brand and giveaway to new people. A good cost per lead is around $0.20 – $1.00 depending on your niche.
It’s a good idea to leverage interests and look-a-like audiences. More on that here.
Remarketing giveaway ads:
You will need to understand people are not going to buy from you or even opt-in to your campaign the first time they see it.
Re-engaging people is super important and Facebook makes it super easy to set up remarketing for your giveaway.
Create a campaign for people who visit your page, but don’t sign up. Show them ads about the giveaway.
Create a campaign for people who sign up so you can show them ads that encourage them to engage (refer others and complete bonus actions).
Focused on the share
As soon as a user entered the giveaway they were told how to collect points.
This was to refer others with their unique link and complete bonus actions. This made it clear to users what they had to do to win the prizes.
The posted about ever 3-5 days, also on Instagram
Like any other marketing campaign, you get out what you put in. If you copy some of these tactics you can also run a super successful hosted giveaway with partners.
The key is to build those relationships so they are willing to help promote the giveaway.
A good idea is to start making relationships and connections with partners before asking them to participate in your promotion.
They will be more likely to return the favor at that point.
An example of this is to engage with their social channels, share their content, mention them in your content etc.
Create a similar campaign for your business
Check out VYPER for free or sign up to a live webinar to see how the tool works and all ways you can use it to build contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, leaderboards and reward programs.
Grow Your Business
Not only do contests build your email list, but you can see from this case study that it also:
Increases Social Followers
Increases Social Engagements
Incentivises Sharing + Referrals
Collects User Generated Content
Reward Options = Milestone, Placement & Random
Generates Reviews & Feedback
the giveaway Results
Now, the most exciting part, the part you have been waiting for. The results from the campaign and how they did it.
Waiakea’s hosted giveaway took off on day one since they had organized for all their partners to email their list on the first day to make the most of the contest run time.
This made sure that the launch was a success and the viral sharing mechanism kicked in from day 1.
Below are a few more results they achieved from their hosted partner giveaway.
The entrant with the highest number of referrals (156) was actually a referral themselves.
Email Open Rate
Contest engagement emails had a 50-70% open rate. 7 emails were sent throughout the campaign.
Facebook along drove 19,198 visitors and Instagram was a close second with over 17,865 visitors.
The contest generated over 124,362 website visitors from emails, referrals and social channels.
Not only did Waiakea collect a whopping 62k email leads from hosting a giveaway, but they crushed their goals for building their Instagram followers.
It was really important for them to focus on Instagram as a lot of their lifestyle persona is built on this social channel.
Focusing on your main social channel
When you create your own giveaway, make sure you focus on the top 1-2 channels your customers use the most.
This will really help you focus on building engagement on that platform.
It also keeps contestants focused on those specific bonus actions so the usability is easier on their end (they don’t have to sign in and change between a bunch of accounts).
Run multiple giveaways
If you want to focus on all your channels, host a giveaway every few months for each specific channel or rotate the bonus actions during the giveaway.
The compounding effect of running contests will help you launch to a larger and larger seed audience each time.
Give benefits to partners
They had negotiated to add each partners’ Instagram handle as a bonus action (Follow us on Instagram).
This was a huge benefit to all the partners as they also collected between 8-12k new Instagram followers each.
Waiakea came out on top with 14,532 direct Instagram followers from the giveaway, but over the period of the contest their account reported additional organic followers as well.
The increase in followers, engagement, and awareness from a giveaway will attract organic followers.
Plus if you are hosting a partner giveaway, all the partner’s social posts will also generate extra traffic and followers to your Instagram profile.
Converting your leads
Now that you have all of these new leads, how do you monetize and leverage them?
A common question we get is, “how do I monetize and convert all these new leads?” It’s a valid point as there is a lot of factors that go into nurturing a lead into a customer.
The easiest way is to add all your new giveaway leads into a lead nurture email drip.
Before you add all your leads, make sure you run the exported list through a list cleaning service, here are a few to choose from.
Here are a few tips to improve your email marketing campaigns
Keep entrants engaged the entire time during the giveaway, email every 3-4 days. This get’s them familiar with opening your emails.
Create a compelling title for the winner announcement email “The Winner of Our Contest….”. This will get better open rates!
Leads will not convert right away, make your email drips are 2-3 months long. Clean your list of non-openers every 4-8 months.
Types of Emails to Send
Your lead nurture email drip would look and include emails like the ones below. It’s important to have a variety of emails to keep people engaged. Sending them 2-4 days apart is a good rule of thumb.
- Announcement of winner & Runner up (them).
- Positive customer stories and use cases of your product.
- Answer FAQ’s about your product or service.
- Send exclusive offers for people who entered the giveaway only (sales, product announcement, bundle sells, open the box, pre-orders).
- “Trust builder” emails such as screenshots of social proof (Facebook posts, reviews etc).
- Share you top blog posts.
- Offer something of value. A free content such as checklists, guides, or downloads.
- Offer them free shipping.
- Fun facts, stats, and knowledge about your product or industry.
- Send them more content from your blog (tips, funny, curated content they will like).
- Testimonials, publicity & social validation.
- Send buy 1 get 1 free offer.
- Debunk risk or objections that customer might have. For example, answer the question that usually stops people from buying.
- Link roundups from the top blogs or writers in your niche.
- Send discounts or give the product away for free if it has a refillable aspect to the product (For example, Waiakea gives anyone who refers 2 people a free case of water as they know they will need to buy more if they like it).
- If they have not converted by now you can start giving $ or % discounts.
- Announce that you also have a referral program.
Giveaway Follow-up Email
It’s important to provide value to your leads, then pitch for the sale after the lead feels like you have given them something and they know you a little better.
We usually suggest you include a sales pitch email ever 2-3 emails you send out.
The winner announcement email is also a good time to pitch a sale as you have got such a high open rate. You can see this in the example email we sent for one of our contests.
This action packed email should include a number of things.
- The winners list
- A free prize (content, access to something, discount)
- An reminder of what your brand does
- Preparation that they will be getting more emails from you
- An easy opt-out if they don’t want emails from you
- Request to whitelist your email (move to primary folder)
Use the short code to dynamically populate someone’s name as the “runner up” or “random winner” this makes everyone feel like a winner.
Offer those winners a $20 gift card, but have conditions that they must spend over $50 to use it.
Learning & Takeaways
This is the section that we reflect on the campaign and chat with the founder or marketing manager of the campaign to get their thoughts.
To help you run a successful giveaway campaign we have outlined the top takeaways and learnings in a Q&A style.
This is so you can understand common questions for running a similar campaign and also learn from the success of Waiakea.
We sat down with Sophia who is the marketing director at Waiakea to ask how the contest went.
If you have any additional questions you would like answered about this case study or running a giveaway yourself, just add them in the comments at the bottom of this page and we will add them to this section.
Why did you decide to run a contest?
We set some aggressive goals for both our email leads growth and Instagram following for 2019. Contests have been the most effective in growing both of these to date. We run them once every few months.
How did you get partners to join your contest?
When pitching prospective brand partners, we showcased previous contests we’d run that had received good traction, and promised both significant Instagram growth and the final email list.
Each partner was included as a bonus action “Follow On Instagram”, we linked to their website from the contest landing page, as well as within our email blasts.
How did you display/implement your contest and why (landing page, embed, widget)?
We used our own landing page and embedded VYPER’s sign up form. We did it this way so that we could have full control of the landing page and direct traffic on one of our own subdomains.
What was your most important metrics? (traffic, emails, followers, youtube views etc).
Sign ups, email opt-ins, and Instagram followers.
What contest bonus actions were the most successful?
We ran bonus actions for 24 hours where contestants could receive triple points for completing a certain bonus action, in this case follow us on Instagram or opt into our newsletter.
How did you promote your contest and what worked the best for you?
We used influencers on social media to promote the giveaway, ads and email lists.
What results did you get from the contest (traffic, leads, rev & other metrics)?
62,000+ contest sign ups, 14,000+ new Instagram followers, 248,000+ unique visits to the contest landing page
3 things that made your campaign successful?
Choosing brand partners with loyal and large followings, getting all brand partners to commit to emailing their lists about the giveaway, selecting the right influencers to promote the giveaway.
3 things you would avoid for your next contest?
Don’t overcomplicate your messaging or prize bundle – keep it simple.
Make sure if you’re using something like Sendgrid you verify your domain so that your emails don’t end up in spam.
As you can see there are a lot of takeaways from this campaign on how set up your giveaway or contest for success. The main takeaways have been noted in this case study, but there are tons more that you can find on our blog and in other case studies.