Skip to main content

There are a myriad of different competition entry methods these days, from the classic ‘like us on Facebook to win’ to asking your customers to complete a survey in exchange for an entry. One of our favourite types of competitions is an enter your email to win style competition where the entrant must enter their name and (you guessed it) their email to go in the draw to win the prize.

We wanted some insights from email marketing pros, so we asked the small business experts Helen and Jacqui over at Two Girls and a Laptop to weigh in on why collecting emails is better than collecting likes.

Why is email important when it comes to competitions?

Even though social media is popular in the small business world, many business owners view email as their most valuable audience (we’ll come back to why) and they strategically use competitions to grow their email list. Because competitions are also a brilliant way to reward, delight and engage your existing email list with the chance to win a product or service they are already familiar with – the upside of enter your email to win style competitions is twofold… grow your list and reward and drive engagement from your existing subscribers.

How does collecting emails supercharge your competition and grow your business?

To come back our earlier point about email lists being the most ‘valuable’ audience, there are a number of factors that feed into this:


People are choosy about who they hand their valuable email address over to, so you’re likely to get more engagement from email because they actually WANT to hear from you.


Whilst the average open rate for marketing emails is 21.09% (across all industries) according to small business email giant Mailchimp, many smaller senders enjoy open rates of well above 30-40% so even if you have a smaller subscriber base, you are still able to achieve great reach to your subscribers, for free. If you’d like to see how email compares with social when it comes to audience reach you can geek out on some stats here.


Optimonster sites that users who made a purchase as the result of a marketing message from Email is 66% vs Facebook at 20% and Twitter at 6%.


According to UK based company, The DMA the return on investment for email marketing is £32 for every £1 spent.

… So should I forget social media competitions altogether then?

Definitely not! Social media plays a part in this story too. Social media content (organic) and social advertising (paid) can be leveraged by using the competition as a ‘lead magnet’ to grow your email list; i.e. enter your email address to win. There are even specific ad types available in Facebook Ads Manager for this specific purpose. 

Last year, for example, we ran an ‘enter your email to win’ style competition over a 3 week period with a prize that was relevant to our ‘ideal customer profile‘ (this part is important). We shared the competition to our existing audience via Facebook, Instagram and Email in addition to advertising it to a mixture of cold and warm audiences via social media advertising.

Not only did we drive engagement in all of these digital channels but we were able to grow our email list by 27%. In addition, we were also able to minimise post competition ‘unsubscribes’ by offering the unsuccessful entrants a discount on our services (thanks Suki for this tip!) and by welcoming them to our tribe.

Enjoying our special guest post?

There’s a lot more where that came from! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for competition tips, tricks and how tos.

Can you give us some examples of the types of emails that can be used for competitions?

Throughout the competition period, you are dealing with two types of subscribers and it’s important to differentiate:

Firstly, there are your existing subscribers who are learning about the competition as part of your usual communication/newsletter or a series of specific emails you may have scheduled to drive traffic to the competition (which we would recommend). 

Then there are those who have become part of your email list because they have entered the competition. It’s important not to bundle these guys into the same bucket as your existing subscribers right away. We recommend you set up a welcome series of emails to these folks to not only welcome them to your tribe, but also so they can get to know you better and see what value they are going to get by sticking around.

Other types of emails that can send to all entrants are:

  • A thank you email. It’s important to thank people for their entry, it’s nice manners and sets a great tone.
  • A ‘share the love with your friends/family’ email to encourage them to share the competition with others.
  • A post competition discount offering to all entrants to offer them something special even though they didn’t win.

Everyone knows emails are an important tool for small businesses, not just to communicate with an educate your audience but also to drive traffic to your site and convert sales. Competitions are no different, when used effectively, enter your email to win style competitions can increase your reach, engagement, conversion and even give you a positive return on your investment. So the next time you’re tempted to run a like our page to win or follow us to win style competition, consider switching to an email collection competition and see the results for yourself!

Have questions about using emails effectively for your small business or how to run an enter your email to win style competition? Pop your questions in the comments below and Jacqui, Helen and Suki will get back to you!