Contests are a great way to increase brand visibility, build an email list, or get your audience to engage with you. But after the contest winners are chosen, you have to know how to write a winner announcement email. Your announcement email needs to be written correctly or you risk confusing or alienating the contest’s participants and even the contest winners.
(Source: Email from Product Hunt)
Things to consider when building your winner announcement email
Fortunately, writing a great winner announcement email isn’t hard. Your email copy just needs to accomplish three things:
help everyone who didn’t win still feel good about participating;
congratulate the winners;
give the winners a clear next step to claim their prizes.
Requirements for the copy in a winner announcement letter
To write an effective email that covers all that, you’ll need to nail two key principles of email copywriting: clarity and brevity.
The clarity of your email copy matters because people often don’t read emails closely. So try to use simple, direct sentences and fairly simple words. Don’t try to be overly clever: Whatever you say should be immediately understandable. Your readers shouldn’t have to think hard to know what you mean.
Brevity is just as important, and for the same reason: Don’t make it hard for readers to understand you. If it takes you two paragraphs to say something that could be expressed in one sentence, that’s making it hard for readers to understand you.
The average email has 434 words in it according to AWeber’s analysis of 1,000 emails from 100 top marketers.
That’s more than enough words to convey the results of a contest, and you could probably cover the basic information of your announcement email in as little as 100 words if you had to.
But what if you’re not sure what to say? No worries! We’ve got your back.
A contest announcement email template
I’ve got big news for you, [first name].
Our contest, [name of your contest] has come to an end, and the winners have been selected.
We want to thank everyone who participated. It’s been so fun to [whatever feedback or engagement you got from your audience during the contest].
Here are the winners:
Susie B. of Emerald, Kansas: 3rd place prize
Susie will receive a [describe Susie’s prize and why it’s good and valuable].
Matt H. of Discount, Maine: 2nd place prize
Matt will receive a [describe Matt’s prize and why it’s good and valuable].
Greg T. of Elmwood, California: 1st place prize.
Greg will receive a [describe Greg’s prize and why it’s good and valuable].
Contest winners should reply to this email. We’re standing by to help you claim your prizes.
For everyone else, we’ve got a special prize for you, too. It’s a [discount on an order, a fun video, a funny insider photo of your team, or a preview of a new product… anything that’s interesting].
Thanks once again for your participation, everyone!
The Team at [Your Company Name]
P.S.: If you’d like to [what product or service you offer], we can help.
That contest winner announcement template is just 197 words long. It goes into enough detail to let your readers know what they need to know, but it doesn’t go on any longer than it needs to.
Notice how the sentences are short and the words are fairly simple. The paragraphs are very short, too often just one line. All these things make it easier for readers to scan and understand your email immediately.
Also, notice the postscript — the “P.S.” That’s included because people will often skip the body of an email message. They’ll read the subject line, maybe the first sentence of the email, and then scan right through all the body copy to the postscript. So if you want to get extra value out of your contest, add a postscript reminding people about what your company does. You might even pick up a few orders.
Word of advice
Don’t use this email verbatim, of course. Adjust it to the voice of your brand and your usual writing style. If your writing is more casual, sprinkle in more of your personality. If your writing is more formal — or if you have to get your copy approved by a legal department — tone it down a bit.
But at least now you have a draft. Now you know how to write a contest announcement email that will be clear, brief, and help everyone who participated in your contest feel good about their participation. And you’ve let your contest winners know the good news. All that means your subscribers will be more likely to participate the next time you have a contest or any other event.
If you’re still not sure exactly what to write in your announcement email, take a look at these five examples of contest announcement emails. You can pull ideas from these as well, or even use them as a template for your own email.
5 examples of winner announcement emails
1. Kuranda’s winner announcement email
This is an interesting example of a giveaway announcement email for a contest that happens every month.
Kuranda makes dog beds that are widely used in American dog shelters. They are a for-profit company, but most of its sales are non-profit. So they do a monthly giveaway of dog beds to increase word of mouth and give themselves some great marketing content.
This winner announcement email is shorter than the template you saw above, but it still covers all the basics.
Use this as a template for your winner announcement email if it’s closer to what you need.
2. AirTable’s winner announcement section of an email
AitTable is a relational database tool that can be made into all sorts of things. The company also has an active newsletter, and uses its newsletter to announce its monthly contests.
This is a very straightforward announcement, but it’s made more interesting because it shows why the winner won. This isn’t a standard “pick a random winner” contest — it’s driven by merit. But, like Kuranda above, it is also a recurring monthly contest. And instead of giving out a big prize, AirTable gives their winners company swag, like stickers. Then it closes the section with a few encouraging words to get participation for next month’s contest.
The giveaway winner also has a reason to post and share about this contest now, so AirTable can also pick up a few brand impressions from the winner’s shares.
Note that contest content like this can also make for an excellent Facebook post. Announcing the contest several times on social media could also work well, especially if you made a video about the contest and used that in your social posts.
3. Bulk.ly’s winner announcement email
Buk.ly is a social media management tool that has a very small marketing team, but they’ve figured out a way to use contests to promote their company nonetheless.
This is a contest winner announcement email, but it’s also a clever way to promote a lead magnet or a paid or free course. What Bulk.ly has done here is to run a contest to give away its product, then give everyone who didn’t win “free” access to a paid course about how to use their product. This helps Bulk.ly drive visibility for itself, and it also means that everyone who participates in the contest gets a special “thank you.”
4. WPMU DEV’s simple contest announcement email
Contests don’t have to be complicated to get engagement. WPMU DEV runs a very simple contest every month that shares an image and asks people to add a caption. And like AirTable’s winner announcement email, WPMU DEV can also include the winner in their email because of the nature of the contest.
Note that the winner here also won a year’s worth of access to WPMU DEV’s premium content. This is an excellent way to prompt participation and promote your product or service at the same time.
This is especially smart because one of the classic problems with contests is they can attract a lot of people, but not necessarily people who are interested in your product or service. By making the contest prize your product, that will increase the quality of the people who participate in the contest and help, you get more business benefits from the contests you run.
5. Alliant Credit Union’s winner announcement email
Alliant Credit Union took a different tack with this winner announcement email: They made their announcement into an article on their blog, then used their weekly newsletter’s top section to tease the article about the contest and the winner.
It works, but it’s a very different approach than other winner announcement emails we’ve seen.
By now, you know what the goals of a winner announcement email are, you’ve walked through a winner announcement email template, and you’ve seen five examples of such emails.
It’s your turn now. How are you going to use what you’ve learned in your announcement email? Leave a comment and tell us your plans.
Build powerful winner announcement emails by using the copy that we’ve shared and elegant HTML emails