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This is hands down one of my favourite parts of running a competition – the part where you get to tell the world who has won.

So what’s the deal? Why does announcing a competition winner need an entire blog post dedicated to it? Don’t you just say ‘Congrats, John’ on social media and be done with it? Not quite. Believe it or not, there’s a very specific process OrigamiGlobe follows to give the winner announcement the attention it deserves and ensure it packs a punch when it comes to post-competition conversion too.

This is the exact process I use with my clients to announce competition winners…

A quick recap: why it’s important to announce your competition winner.

Before you go shouting names from rooftops, let’s backtrack a second to understand why you should bother announcing your winner at all.

There are a number of reasons you should announce your competition winner. Firstly because it’s a legal requirement in most states, territories and countries around the world, but also because it has a number of benefits for your brand.

Announcing a winner can boost your reputation, show your audience that your competition is legitimate (and you didn’t just give the prize to a mate) as well as result in higher conversion to sales once a competition is closed.

You can find out more about why it’s important to announce competition winners in this dedicated blog post:

Step 1 – Contact your winner privately.

Assuming you’ve already drawn your winner, the next step is to confirm with the winner privately that they’re happy to accept the prize, before you go pasting their name across your competition landing page and social media channels.

If they entered via social media, then send them a private message or DM to let them know they’re the lucky winner of the competition. If you have their email address, send them an email to share the good news.

Here’s what to include in your message or email to let them know they’ve won:

  • Remind them which competition they entered by repeating your brand name and the competition name
  • Tell them clearly and concisely that they have been chosen as the winner of the competition
  • Remind them of the prize they have won by listing the inclusions
  • Let them know what to do next – e.g. send us your address so we can post your prize to you, reply to confirm which date you’d like to come and redeem your spa day etc.

TIP: think carefully about the subject line of your email. A subject line like “Congratulations, you’re the winner of our competition!” looks like a spam competition email. Keep trigger words like competition, giveaway, congratulations and winner to a minimum. Try something like ‘A special announcement about our [competition name]’.

Step 2 – Wait for your winner to reply.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you will want to wait for confirmation that your winner is happy (and eligible) to accept the prize before you go public with your winner announcement.

When contacting your winner by email (as in Step 1 above), sometimes the email can wind up in the junk email folder. That’s why we would usually send up to two follow-up emails reminding them they have won and how to redeem the prize.

Sending follow-up emails serves two purposes – we usually find by the second follow-up email that the winner replies saying something like ‘I’m so sorry, I’ve only just seen this, I’d love to accept!’ and voilà you have your happy winner.

Laptop photo showing gmail loading screen thanks to Solen Feyissa via Unsplash.

The other purpose for follow-up emails is to lay down the competition law. If you have a proper set of competition terms and conditions, you should have a clause in there that addresses redraws in the event that a winner doesn’t redeem a prize. These follow-up emails are the perfect place to let them know how long they have to reply and the date you’ll be conducting your redraw and awarding the prize to someone else.

Step 3 – Announce your winner to your entrants only.

If you want the best possible chance of converting your entrants to customers post-competition, you’ll want to announce the winner of your competition to your entrants only, before you go announcing the winner publicly.

This is one of OrigamiGlobe’s secret weapons when it comes to generating killer ROI from competitions.

Before you send your email or DM your entrants, create a special offer that’s available only to those who have entered your competition. It could be an exclusive discount code for a dollar or percentage amount off your products or services, or a value add whereby your entrants can receive an extra product or service for free or at a reduced cost when purchasing from you.

Here’s the formula we normally use for these winner announcement emails to our entrants:

  • Choose a subject line that lets people know the winner of the competition will be announced inside the email – e.g. ‘And the winner is…’
  • Let them know the competition is closed and the winner has been chosen
  • Announce the winner’s name – e.g. ‘Congratulations to Lisa B from Sydney!’
  • Transition into announcing your exclusive entrant-only offer – e.g. ‘Don’t worry if you’re not our lucky winner this time, we still want to offer you a very special thank you for entering… [details of offer].’
  • Include a clear call to action to redeem the offer such as a link, button or discount code.

Why bother to go to all this effort to announce your winner? Because combining your winner announcement with an offer, guarantees you a higher open rate (because people want to know if they’ve won) and consequently a higher click through or conversion rate (because your offer is too good to miss and too easy to redeem thanks to your expertly crafted email).

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Step 4 – Wait at least 24 hours.

More waiting? Yep.

Wait for at least 24 hours to allow people to see and open your offer plus announcement email or message. After 24 hours you may wish to resend to those who didn’t open the first time around (a common tactic in email marketing), but this step is optional.

The first 24 hours or so following your announcement and offer email is when people are most likely to convert, so once you’ve given your email a day or so to work its magic, you can announce your competition winner publicly…

Step 5 – Announce your winner publicly.

A post or video on social media announcing the competition winner is a great way to show your audience that you did in fact award your prize to a real, live person. 

If you have any quotes or pictures of your winner, or you want to repost their entry if you’re running a game of skill, this can also be fun to include in your winner announcement.

Australian Animal Poisons Helpline winner announcement example on social media.

So there you have it, the exact steps we use to ensure you milk your winner announcement for maximum engagement and conversion. The most important part is to ensure you deliver your entrant-only, exclusive offer before you announce your winner publicly. Not only will this ensure high open rates for your winner announcement email, but it should also result in higher conversion for your offer too.

If you need help crafting the perfect competition, or the above sounds like too much effort and you want the pros to do it for you, book in a free strategy session to discuss your competition idea, or contact OrigamiGlobe here.