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How to Run a Contest on Your Website

by Erum Zehra

A contest is a great way to attract traffic to your website. However, handling contests manually can become very difficult if you receive a huge number of entries.

Here’s a secret: You can use follow up autoresponders to automate the dreary tasks involved in running a contest. All you have to do is set up your contest once and the follow-up autoresponder will take care of the rest.

Choose an autoresponder service
The first step is to get an autoresponder service. You need a service with the following features:

You should be able to place codes in your message which get replaced by the subscriber's info. This way the message will have their name and other details.

Subscription Form
The autoresponder should let you generate a subscription form with multiple fields. You should be able to add your own custom questions to the subscription form.

Automated and Manual Messages
You should be able to set up autoresponder messages and send out manual messages. (Ecourse wizard at this URL: offers all the above features and a lot more)

Set up the contest form
Decide on the questions you will ask your contest participants. Then enter these questions in the custom fields of your autoresponder service. A sign up form containing these questions will be generated. Place the code of this form in the HTML coding of your web page and upload it. Your contest questionnaire will appear on your website. Make sure you inform your visitors that entering the contest will also subscribe them to your list.

Set up your welcome message
Set up a "welcome message" or a "thank you message" for entering the contest in your autoresponder account. This will be pasted in the first window of the autoresponder message sequence. It will be sent immediately when someone fills and submits your contest form.

You can add more messages and set up the number of days after which each message will be sent. These can be a follow-up of your contest or any other info you want to pass on to the contest entrant.

Personalize your messages
Most autoresponder services let you customize the emails that go out by putting in generic fields like ~~First Name~~ which will get replaced by the first name of the contest entrant. They will think you sent them a personal message and pay more attention to it, when in reality the whole process is automatic.

How the process works
If people want to enter your contest they will have to fill up the contest form. As soon as they fill the form and send it, they will receive the first autoresponder message. They will keep receiving the follow-up messages that you have added after your welcome message until they unsubscribe or the message sequence comes to an end.

Ending the Contest
The announcement of the winner or the ending of the contest can be sent via the manual message option in your autoresponder account. You can also personalize this manual message.

Gather valuable visitor information
When your visitors enter your contest, their answers will get saved. You can view all the information they submitted in your autoresponder account. (You can also download this information). Once the contest is over you will have the whole list of contest entrants saved in your autoresponder account. You can now send them manual messages and manage them easily, through the autoresponder service. You can gain a huge number of subscribers to your list in this way, and use this list to promote your product or service.

Discuss this in our Forum

About the Author:

Erum Zehra runs the autoresponder service Ecourse Wizard at Learn all about writing ecourses by subscribing to her free ecourse. Send a blank email to [email protected]

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