Last updated on March 5, 2018
Note: This is a guest post from Sam, the founder of Money Nest — a personal finance blog for millennials in the U.K. to make better financial decisions.
Having followed Noah for years, I knew one thing...
If you want more customers, then email is the BEST marketing channel.
To grow my business, I wanted to get more email subscribers quickly.
I searched for tools online to grow an email list… and I found KingSumo to run viral giveaways
The end results were EPIC:
And it only cost me a total of £107.52 (aka £0.17 per subscriber).
Much cheaper than other marketing methods!
What I did with KingSumo wasn’t magic. I didn’t spend tons of money. And I didn’t have a big network to use.
Instead, I used an EXACT strategy you can copy today.
If you want to get more email subscribers which turn into customers, then viral giveaways are the best way to go.
Here’s exactly how I used KingSumo and viral giveaways to grow my email list...
No iPads here!
One of the dangers with giveaways is attracting freebie seekers who will never read another email after your giveaway is over.
My favorite strategy to reduce these freeloaders is to start with a prize that’s super tight to your niche.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money — Noah was able to get 6,411 from a recent giveaway he ran for a Seth Godin book collection that only cost him $80.
Since I run a personal finance blog targeted at 20 to 30-year-olds in the U.K., I went with personal finance books aimed at the U.K. market.
To pick the books, I thought about what I read over the past couple years, found my favorite, and reached out to the author using the tool Hunter.
Here’s an example email that I sent...
I LOVED your book. Read it a few times, my favorite part was where you shared advice on negotiating a raise.
I’m running a giveaway for my readers. Gonna promote to 1,000+ on my social and email channels.
Would be excited to give away your book + link to your site.
Sending the email worked like magic.
The author hooked me up with five free copies as long as I linked to his website and books on the giveaway page.
Plus, he added in five free copies of a friend’s book where he was recently featured.
With the 10 prizes picked, it was time to move onto setting up the giveaway.
With the books in hand, it was time for me to setup my first giveaway through KingSumo.
I didn’t have a specific new subscriber goal in mind, but I did want to grow my list faster than traditional methods. And I wanted to grow my email list to get more customers and readers to my business.
Here’s what I did:
Since KingSumo offers pre-built virality by giving people more entries to share with their friends... we’re going to exploit the hell out of this.
In the latest version of KingSumo, contestants can gain extra entries by clicking a custom link, following social media pages, or watching a YouTube video.
After you sign up for KingSumo, you can configure your bonus entries links from your giveaway setup page (under step 2).
The first thing I did was select “Click a Link”, and then head over to Share Link Generator.
Share Link Generator Social allow you to set up custom messages in URLs, so when people share you can automatically add your own copy and hashtags.
This is way better than just entering a standard Twitter profile link — instead, you get people helping share the giveaway for you.
Since I wanted to really get these social messages pumping, I used a cheeky hack for my custom messaging...
Hashtagify.me gave me trending hashtags relating to these terms, which I used in my custom messaging for Twitter and Instagram.
Then, I went back to Share Link Generator and typed out my example message, which gave me the URL I could copy into KingSumo…
Last, I went back into my KingSumo Dashboard for my giveaway, and set up the following:
Every time people shared the giveaway on social media, each post would get viral attention from users searching these popular hashtags.
Now that my giveaway was using custom link sharing and Twitter hashtags, the virality machine was primed.
I just needed a way to kick-start it.
I started with simply emailing the 360 people already on my email list — and sharing on my own social channels to several hundred people.
Then, after a few days, I exported ALL my contestants.
I looked for anyone with only one entry, aka they didn’t share on social media channels.
Next, I emailed these people individually guaranteeing a special bundle of content upgrades to help them improve their personal finances if they shared on at least two social networks.
I’d keep track if they took action on my email and shared by looking at their entries.
Here’s a sample email you can send:
Sam here, wanted to reach out personally. 🙂
Heads-up you can increase your chances to win the free personal finance book.
All you have to do is share on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. You’ll get 12 additional bonus entries if you do.
Plus, if you share on two networks, I’ll personally give you a free gift of my best material in a single PDF (value $49).
Just click this link to share on Twitter: LINK
This link to share on Instagram: LINK
And this link to share on Facebook: LINK.
Let me know when you do and I’ll send over the PDF.
Once my social media machine started going with viral sharing in the background, I wanted to increase the leverage. So I moved my attention to Facebook groups.
I’m a regular contributing member of two U.K.-based personal finance Facebook groups.
Neither had huge numbers, but were super active and closely moderated and — because I was an active member of the community — they let me post my giveaway.
Be careful to not just jump in and blast out links — build a reputation over time. Here’s an example of one the posts I made:
If you have to be careful on Facebook, posting a link on Reddit is like walking on a tightrope.
Much of Reddit’s user base came from Digg in response to Digg introducing ads — so it’s no surprise there’s a natural hatred for all things that seem like advertisements.
However, by being a regular contributing member of a few subreddits, I managed to drive 89 contestants via Reddit.
Part of this was due to the prize being well respected and often mentioned within Reddit. Here’s the strategy in a nutshell:
Here’s an example of one of the posts I made:
Although this can be a route to attract career “compers” aka people who enter giveaways all day (yes, this is seriously a thing), I thought it was worth a try.
Here’s the CRAZY part…
Some of the places I thought would bring the worst subscribers actually helped.
I asked a friend to post within a popular competition forum thread on my behalf. And it resulted in 92 contestants.
I still advise you to limit posting on giveaway websites, but when used sparingly it can work.
I’d run a small ad in my first giveaway that drove 12 entries, so I knew the potential Facebook ads offered.
I ran a split test ad campaign with two simple creatives targeting…
This was the audience that typically came onto my blog (you can check out your Google Analytics Demographic Reporting to figure this out as well).
Here’s what my creative looked like:
According to Facebook’s conversion settings, I spent £45.12 to generate 509 link clicks resulting in 14 new contestants. Money well spent!
After leveraging my own platforms and direct connections, it was time to venture into bigger platforms. Using the power of others with large followings, I was able to get my giveaway in more places. Here’s how I did it.
If you want to grow your giveaway, there’s a TON of value in reaching out to higher-trafficked websites.
Most people are afraid to ask… but it’s not as difficult (or scary) as you think.
I began by searching Google for popular U.K. personal finance blogs. Then, I copied and pasted the top 20 URLs into a bulk domain authority checker, which I then sorted by the highest domain authorities in Google Sheets.
Higher domain authority means better ranking on Google, which gives me the chance to appear on higher-trafficked pages.
After I sorted by domain authority, I reached out to each blogger asking them to share with their audience. In return, I offered to promote their content on my social channels.
Here’s an example email I sent:
LOVE your site.
Recently read your post about side hustling and it really made me think. Found it especially interesting how many millennials are freelancing nowadays.
I’m giving away 10 personal finance books.
Would love to explore putting this in a small place on your site. 🙂
Happy to promote your content on my social channels in return.
Once I emailed, I kept a note in a Google Sheet of everyone I’d emailed (and whether I’d sent a follow up message or not).
If they said yes, I’d pass along a link to my giveaway they could post on their site.
And if I didn’t hear back right away, I sent two follow-ups:
This is a Robert Cialdini hack since smaller favors are much more likely to be accepted after an initial bigger favor.
I reached out to 37 blogs and ended up netting a feature on three blogs (plus they shared heavily on social) — and a feature in a large blogs newsletter.
In other words, 10% of the people I reached out to featured me!
This was HUGE… normally most cold emails don’t even get a 10% reply rate.
Combined, the 10 books had finance tips and advice from 50 different experts.
Some of these experts boasted their own audiences, so I searched for their contact details using Google and Hunter.
Then, I reached out telling these people I’d enjoyed reading their advice (I did actually read the book!), explaining the giveaway, and asking if they’d share it on social. And I pre-built sharing links using Share Link Generator again.
Of the 50 authors, I managed to get in touch with 25.
From these 25, I got four social shares. That’s a success rate of 16%!
Here’s a screenshot of one of my exact outreach emails:
I’m a big fan of podcasts, so after emailing the authors...
I emailed a total of 13 people, which got me three social shares (including one influencer with 319k followers) and a guest post opportunity.
Here’s an exact screenshot of an email I sent to podcast hosts:
This may seem a bit cliché but staying ahead organizationally was the single biggest win for me during this giveaway.
By lining up as much as possible ahead of time, and creating a checklist, I was able to get significantly more done.
I estimated the time it would take, noted the order of what I felt were the biggest wins, and marked completed or not.
After following the strategy above, what happened for my business?
First of all, running a successful giveaway wasn’t easy.
I hand-cranked over 350 emails, failed a bunch, and spent lots of time getting everything organized.
But the results were worth it.
When I closed the giveaway just seven days later, here were the final results…
If you want to grow your business and get more customers, starting with building your email list is the best way to go — and KingSumo viral giveaways makes it easy.
Now go do the same for your business!
Sam Jefferies blogs at Money Nest, a personal finance blog on a mission to help 20-30yr old's in the UK make better financial decisions.