Creating a Viral Lead Collection Competition

Viral lead collecting competitions also referred to as sweepstakes, viral giveaways or online contests. It’s a competition that allows people to sign up for a chance to win a prize. Depending on the type of competition, the winners can be either selected at random or with leaderboard contests, the person that refers the most friends to the competition wins.

Every time we’ve run these types of contests online for our clients, they have always proven to be extremely successful. For the one we ran with ideal flatmate for example, we managed to gather 15k emails at a cost per lead of only £0.10.

In the screenshot below from an email, we were almost halfway through the competition and decided to double the budget!





Needless to say, whatever your goal is, these lead collecting competitions are definitely worth looking into as a way to grow your business. In this guide, we’ll go over all the steps that we went through to put in place this neat little growth hack.


Step 1: Validating the experiment

Before running any kind of experiment, at the Growth Hustlers, we’ve always prefered to properly validate and justify why we should run any kind of growth experiment. Even though it is very tempting, especially in small businesses, to just cry out ”F**k it let’s do it!”, it can also end up being a huge waste of time, effort and money if not properly thought out.

The name of the game here is research and strategy. The questions you should be asking yourself are the following:


    • What is the objective? (Sales? Growing your email list? Gaining more Instagram followers?)
    • Is there data to back up the experiment? (Are there any case studies out there from companies doing viral giveaways with a similar product/industry?)
    • What are the technical requirements? (Will you need to implement code? For emails, will this be part of your marketing automation?)
    • How could it go wrong? (Is your website ready to handle a big increase in traffic? Will the competition be cheat-proof?)


Step 2: Choose a platform

Once you have carefully thought out the reasoning and strategy behind your viral lead collecting competition, you will have to choose a platform to help you set this up.

Some of you might ask: Why don’t we build this ourselves within our website?

Because it’s a big and complex task which will require a lot of developer time. It is better to use a third-party provider, a platform that is fully operational and ready to use without too much hassle.

This will allow you to prove that the viral competition works for your business and if it becomes an important part of your marketing, then it would make sense to eventually build an on-going competition on your website in-house.


Now that we’ve covered why you should use these third-party platforms, here are all the online contest platforms we have found on the world wide web:


The one we have used was Maître, because of their leaderboard option which enabled everyone who entered the competition to win by referring the most friends.





Once a user entered the competition, they were able to see their position on the leaderboard based on how many of their friends actually signed up using their unique link.

It worked amazingly well and the number one winner had referred over 700 friends, and the second and third winners came very close to that high score!

We recommend that you look into all of these platforms, schedule a demo with each one so that you can better decide which software will be the most compatible to the type of competition you want to run.


Step 3: Promotion

Once you have come up with a plan and chose the right platform for your giveaway competition, you will need to come up with ideas on how to best promote it. You’ll want to make a big splash obviously, so make sure you don’t under-do this step!

First off you will need to determine the marketing budget for the competition. This will depend on the objective you have set. Say you want to do like we did, which is collecting 15,000 email leads and the projected cost per lead is £0.10, you will need a total budget of £1500 (including the cost of the prizes of course).

Once you have your budget, you can determine how best to use it. From our experience, the two main channels that brought in the most referrals and leads were MailChimp emails to our user base and Facebook ads. But here are a few more promotion ideas we had that could be worth testing also:


  • Sharing in relevant Facebook groups
  • Email partnerships with companies or websites that have a similar audience and demographics
  • Reaching out to websites such as to get featured
  • Influencer marketing and brand ambassador program (paying them a commission for each referral)


Step 4: Execute and report

Once you’ve got your strategy, platform and promotion plan sorted, then it’s just a matter of launching your viral lead collecting competition! Simple as pie. Once your competition is live, you do need to keep a close eye on it, however, and report weekly on how it is performing.

If your goal is to increase sales, you want to make sure that you have a clear view of your analytics account. Make sure you are using UTM tracking links so that you know exactly how many sales, traffic or sign-ups are coming from your competition.

Platforms like Maître also have their own analytics. We found this very useful as we could track how many people were signing up to our competition, and from which source they came from.





So there you have it folks, the ultimate guide on how to (properly) set up a viral competition. These online competitions have proven, on several occasions, to be a huge success for many businesses’ growth. And by following our 4 simple steps, you should be able to achieve similar results.


If you need any help setting up a viral competition, contest, sweepstake or giveaway, feel free to give us a shout!