6 Steps to Growing an Email List and Selling More with Product Giveaways

Giveaways can be high-ROI growth initiatives without being gimmicky.

6 Steps to Growing an Email List and Selling More with Product Giveaways

Product giveaways can make brands millions of dollars.

I know because I've seen it.

Enter to win something 🤝 sign up for an email list.

Simple? Hardly.

Doable? Absolutely.

Here are 6 keys to executing a product giveaway to win new customers:

Make It Enticing

Let’s face it, most people aren’t so quick to give an email away — myself included.

The giveaway prize needs to immediately break through the "wall" that may stop someone from signing up.

If a mass of potential customers that haven't heard of your brand before CAN’T immediately say, “sign me up,” then you’ve already lost. It has to be a no-brainer.

I’ll reference what we did at Steiner Sports a lot here. We used giveaways as a key growth lever over the course of a few years.

Yes, it definitely helps when you can give away autographed memorabilia from sports superstars like Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Stephen Curry and countless others like we did.

Most brands aren’t going to have assets like that to showcase. But, that’s okay.

Supplement brand? Year’s supply of product.

Sell luxury watches? Give one away!

Fan gear for video games? Try a console.


Partnering with other brands or media companies can help you both expand the reach of your giveaway to a new audience and elevate your prize game.

Back to Steiner: We once partnered with Complex to give away a signed Michael Jordan jersey and other time Shaq’s signed size 22 sneaker. Other times it was players directly on their social pages.

Michael Jordan autograph giveaway with Complex and Steiner Sports

One that I really loved was when Odell Beckham Jr. was on the cover of Madden. We had EA Sports make custom screen grabs from gameplay that OBJ signed and then we gave away those signed, framed prints along with copies of the game.

Odell Beckham Jr. Autograph Giveaway with EA Sports and Steiner Sports

Cross-Channel Alignment

You may think something you’re doing as a company is a big deal. But, not everyone else will think that if you don’t make it a big deal.

What does that mean?

Don’t operate in a silo.

Be prepared to launch content that lives:

  • On all major social channels (and is formatted to each where necessary)
  • On-site
  • Via email (yes you want to get new users to give their emails, but leverage your existing list to amplify messaging)
  • Through paid advertising

At Steiner, over the course of 3 years we spent over $70,000 in Facebook/Instagram ads alone supporting hundreds of giveaways. Each one, where possible, had a partner aligned and we promoted the heck out of it everywhere…even INSIDE Yankee Stadium!


Not sponsored, but I’ve always been a huge fan of Gleam. It allows for easily running competitions with entries gated for email acquisition along with social sharing elements that would amplify reach while giving users additional chances to win. There are many similar platforms out there.

Do you have to use a dedicated platform for running these? No, though the social sharing elements, reporting tools, etc. definitely make a difference.

You could start with simply having an embedded signup form from your email platform, like Klaviyo for example, to be the mechanism for users to sign up.


Whether you’re syncing signups via a tool like Gleam to Klaviyo or just using a direct signup form, you should always have triggered messaging that goes to participants immediately after sign up.

What does that mean? A welcome flow.

Split the messaging that users receive by whether they are a brand new user in your list, existing user that hasn’t purchased or past purchaser.

And tailor the content of that flow to each giveaway.

You can (and should) include a discount offer as part of this flow similar to a welcome flow if that’s part of your general strategy.

“But I always get junk emails with giveaways, why should I even bother doing all of this?

Adding the conditional splits with varied messaging is important because, yes, a certain amount of entrants will be a mix of spam addresses that people use, junk email addresses, addresses with past purchases/already in the list, or legitimate net-new customer leads.


This is the fun part. This is where you find out the ROI of your campaign.

After about 30, 60 or 90 days:

  • Export a list of all email addresses that entered a giveaway
  • Export your list of orders from your ecommerce platform or ERP (all-time)
  • Run a VLOOKUP to assess where any users that have entered placed their first order after their date of giveaway entry and were not in the list prior to that

We ran this reporting sporadically over the course of time. During that three year period, total lifetime value of new users subscribing to the list that hadn’t previously purchased was over $2 million.

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Ben Zettler is the founder of Zettler Digital, a results-driven agency specializing in performance marketing, retention, and website optimization.

He was an early adopter of Shopify, having founded the brand Brooktide Sunglasses in 2013 (acquired) and led digital marketing and ecommerce operations for Steiner Sports, the leading producer of authentic hand-signed collectibles for over 5 years.

Today, as one of few Klaviyo Elite Partner and Shopify Plus Partner agencies, Zettler Digital has partnered with over 400 ecommerce brands across luxury, fashion, food, health and wellness, sports and lifestyle categories, as well as world-class athletes. Previously, Ben was the Assistant Director of Baseball Operations at his alma mater, the University of Maryland. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and children.


Ben Zettler

Founder, Zettler Digital