Is Giving it Away the Key to Winning the Right Customers?

Can you truly give to get when it comes to growing your business? How do you build a contest promotion that will win more of the RIGHT kind of customers (without giving away the farm)?

A Wine Country Weekend Builds a Winning Email List

In August 2018, Willamette Valley Vineyards launched a contest giving away an Overnight Stay for Two in a Winery Suite with a goal of growing their wine club newsletter list and their social media following. The contest was delivered via a dedicated email launch to over 60,000 Portland area app users, a branded content story in our in-app news feed, a feature on our website home page content slider, and multiple social media cross-promotions.

The piece generated over 20,000 contest views and 2,895 clicks, with a total combined click through rate of over 14%! Compare this click through rate to industry averages of 1.3% and you can see that this contest yielded some truly impressive engagement!

Most importantly, the contest added over 700 new email addresses to the winery’s e-newsletter, allowing them to “own” access to a significant number of new prospective customers that they can reach out to directly with future event invites, offers and promotions, cultivating them from interested to invested in their brand.

What Worked


This contest succeeded by choosing a prize that was truly special- an experience that is rarely available in Oregon wine country and that had high perceived value to the winner but relatively modest hard cost to the winery.

Additionally, the prize served to qualify each contest entrant as someone who was truly interested in wine, since the overnight stay and VIP tour would be of little value to someone who did not enjoy wine. This made the email subscribers and social media followers gained through the contest more likely to be future customers and wine club members, a key goal of the promotion.

The contest was so successful that Willamette Valley Winery returned for a second year with the same contest promotion and yielded another 700+ email subscribers for their list. Impressive!

Success by the Numbers

Since launch, Willamette Valley Vineyards contest promotion yielded 20,294 brand impressions via:

  • 4,975 app news feed views

  • 548 app feed taps (11.02% CTR)

  • 11,924 Email opens

  • 2,349 Email taps (19.7% OCTR)

  • 3399 website views

  • 5,404 contest entries from 822 users

  • 734 email newsletter sign ups

  • 705 Facebook page visits with new follows

How to Make This Work for You

What unique experiences related to your organization would others find truly exciting and rewarding? By creating a prize that elevates the everyday experience of your business with expert insight, VIP access, or a sampling of something not yet released, you create a sense of occasion and celebration that makes it worth it for the contest entrant to provide their contact information. It also makes them more likely to spread the word about your contest and, by extension, your brand.

Here are a few ideas for unique experience contests that might work for your business goals:

  • Win an Elephant Playdate at the Zoo

  • Be an Opera Star for the Day!

  • Win a Party at the Garden!

  • Win a Private Tour of the New Exhibit with the Artist

  • Win Dinner with the Chef!

Ready to put contests to work for you? Tap the button below to get the details on adding a contest to your Chinook Book promotion plan for this year. Our in-house content strategist can support you throughout the creative process to ensure your contest promotion works well for your goals.