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So you’ve planned and executed the perfect competition, now what?

OK, OK, so it may not have been perfect, but it’s over and you now have a list of excited followers/likers/subscribers all waiting to be announced as the lucky winner of your amazing prize. Here’s what to do with your entries, step by step, once your competition closes – from drawing and announcing your winner to celebrating your unsubscribes. Confused? Don’t be, it’ll all make sense when you read on…

First things first – choose and notify your winner.

As soon as your competition closes, your priority should be to choose your winner and let them know the exciting news that they’ve won.

If you’re running your competition above board and to state and territory licensing and permit requirements, then you should have pre-determined and stated your winner draw date in your terms and conditions. This is the date and time you must pick your winner.

Send them an offer they can’t refuse…

If you’ve collected emails as part of your entry, the next step once your competition closes, is to send your entrants an offer they can’t refuse in order to drive as many conversions to paying customer whilst they’re engaged with your brand and your products or services are top of mind.

After all, if they’ve entered to win what you sell, there’s a high chance if you make them the right offer, that they’ll take you up on it.

To get maximum traction on your offer:

  1. Pick your winner as per the date and time stated in your T&Cs.
  2. Contact your winner privately to let them know they’ve won and check they’re happy to accept the prize.
  3. Announce your winner by email to your list of entrants and include an offer in this email. Your winner announcement email will have very high open and engagement rates as people are hoping to open the email and see their name listed as the lucky winner.
  4. Finally, announce your winner publicly.

Remember: your offer doesn’t have to be a discount, it can be a value-add, for example buy one get one half price, gift with purchase, free upgrade, complimentary personalisation etc.

Just make sure whatever you offer, it needs to be exclusive, relevant, compelling and most of all, easy to redeem.

Analyse your results.

Once you’ve chosen and notified your winner and made a compelling offer to your entrants, it’s time to delve into your competition analytics.

If you’ve followed our advice and started your competition with a goal in mind, this is the part where we work out if you achieved your goal or not and what else you achieved and learnt by running a competition for your business.

Here are a few prompts to get you thinking about – and celebrating – your competition results…


Look back at the goal you set out to achieve by running a competition and compare it to the results you achieved during your competition.

  • Did you achieve your goal?
  • If so, did you knock it out of the park or just about scraped in by the skin of your teeth?
  • If not, do you know why? (This post may help)
  • What do you think contributed to your success/hindered you?
  • Can you pinpoint one promotion tactic or activity that worked better than the rest?
  • Can you apply these lessons to your business outside of competitions?


What else did you achieve by running a competition, besides your main goal?

  • Did you find that asking people to like your Facebook page also increased engagement?
  • Did you find that by emailing your entrants regularly throughout your competition dramatically increased your average open rate?
  • Did you generate any sales during your competition?
  • What observations did you make about your customers’ behaviour that you can use for your next competition/marketing campaign?


Every business has unique trends, stats and metrics when it comes to their users and customers’ behaviour – what trends did you observe before, during and after your competition?

  • Were there tactics that worked better than others? For example, increased engagement when you posted competition promotion posts on a Monday morning at 8am as opposed to a Friday afternoon at 4.30pm?
  • What does google analytics tell you about your traffic and entrants?
  • Can you take these learnings into other areas of your business?
Google Analytics is a goldmine of data to help you understand you competition trends. Thanks to Lukas Blazek on Unsplash for the image.


Again, if you follow our process for running competitions, you should have had a clear idea of who you wanted to enter your competition before you even launched it.

Now that your competition is over, it’s time to look at who you thought would enter your competition vs the people that actually did enter your competition.

  • So who were your entrants?
  • How do they compare to who you thought would enter? Perhaps you have a bigger male contingent to your customer base than you initially thought? Your competition analytics might show that your competition entrants were older or younger than you anticipated?
  • Can you use these insights to sell more products to smaller sub-demographics?
  • Do you need to create a new buyer persona or tweak your existing one?


Competitions can teach us so many things about our goals, marketing styles, audience, social media trends and sales tactics. Analysing your results is a great opportunity to pull out other valuable lessons that your competition has to teach you.

  • Did you learn anything new about your product/service? For example, if you asked entrants to vote for their favourite product, did they choose pink over purple? Should you develop more pink products? Did they vote for you to offer same-day delivery? Should you start looking into a partnership with a same-day delivery service?
  • What about things you can learn from their entries? For example, if you asked them to comment on a social post but most people chose to like the post instead, it could tell you that they’re not really chatty, but still willing to engage in other ways. In another example, you could have asked them to purchase to enter, but found that many people entered their email address and didn’t complete their purchase – prompting you to investigate whether it was technical difficulties that prevent them from purchase, price point that put them off or simply that it wasn’t clearly explained what they needed to do in order to get an entry.

All of these wins and challenges of running a competition teach you so much about your audience, your business and what works and doesn’t work for your brand when running a competition.


We’ve covered return on competition investment at length in our post ‘How to calculate return on investment (ROI) from your competition.’ so we won’t detail that here, except to say that it’s a worthwhile step to understanding how well competitions work for your business.

By tallying up how much the competition cost you to run and what you made in return from sales or gained in audience insights or leads; you can determine how competitions stack up against your other marketing tactics in terms of costs and rewards/benefits.

Segment your audience.

Once your competition is over, don’t just chuck your entrants into your existing mailing list – or worse – put them through your generic welcome funnel without making an effort to segment them and treat them as a sub-group of your main list.

No one likes to receive a ‘thanks for subscribing!’ email when they never subscribed to your list. The same goes for competition entrants. They didn’t subscribe to your list, they entered your competition, so clone your welcome funnel and change your messaging so it makes sense for your entrants, otherwise you’re going to get a heck of a lot of spam complaints.

Your entrants joined your list as a result of entering a competition and wanting to win the prize you have on offer – so don’t just lump them in to the rest of your email list and offer products and services that aren’t relevant to them or they didn’t sign up to.

Even Mailchimp (a free email platform) has segmenting and tagging, so either create a separate competition list that receives separate offers or tag your entrants as they join your mailing list by entering and send a separate email to those tagged ‘competition’.

Not only will your unsubscribes, spam complaints and bounce rates stay safe, but you’ll find you convert a lot more entrants into customers with very simple segmentation and customisation.

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Tell them what to do next.

Once you’ve drawn your winner, notified them, sent your entrants an offer, analysed your competition results and segmented your entrants from the rest of your list; it’s time to tell them exactly what to do next.

It sounds obvious doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how many people forget to tell their entrants to make a purchase.

The same way we need street signs to tell us where we are and where to go, so does our audience. Tell them exactly who you are, what you do and why. Let them know why they would need/want to purchase from you and how they can browse your products or services or get in touch with you if they have questions.

Make it as easy as possible for them to turn into paying customers. Don’t just assume that because they liked a post, followed your page or entered their email address, that they know exactly what you sell and how they can get their hands on it.

Nurture your audience by staying in touch with them and telling them what to do next.

Don’t be afraid of unsubscribes.

Finally, don’t be afraid of post-competition unsubscribes.

In fact, you should be celebrating them.

If someone entered your competition just to win your prize (it’s rare, but it does happen, we call them prize pigs in the competition industry) and unsubscribes after your competition closes – fantastic.

If someone learns more about you through your ‘here’s what to do next’ emails (see above) and decides that actually your business is not for them and they hit the unsubscribe button – excellent.

Whilst high levels of unsubscribes indicate that you perhaps reached the wrong demographic or you’re emailing them far too often or with poor quality emails; a few unsubscribes on every email is actually a really healthy indication of your email list’s quality.

When someone unsubscribes, that’s them saying ‘thanks but no thanks’ and letting you know they’re opting out because they never see themselves buying your product or service… so why the hell would you mourn their loss or keep them on your list against their will? These days, most email platforms are pay per subscriber, so the bigger your list, the more you pay – why pay to keep someone on your list who will never pay for your product or service?

Celebrate the unsubscribes and let those who aren’t your ideal client find their perfect product or service elsewhere.

The work doesn’t stop the date your competition closes. There’s winners to draw, offers to make, results to analyse and new potential customers to woo. Follow these simple steps once your competition closes and in no time you’ll be generating sales and celebrating those unsubscribes.

If your competition has closed and you’re totally confused about what to do next (and you’ve read this post already) – get in touch with us via our contact page or book in a free strategy session and we’ll let you know what steps to take now your competition is over.