How to Build an Email List with a Raffle Plugin in WordPress

It’s a fact; most new businesses and organizations find it challenging to build their first email list. You can have a million excellent email marketing ideas, but without someone to send them to, they’re just ideas. But there is a tried and true way to build a list. With a giveaway. And what better way to set up a giveaway than with a raffle plugin for WordPress?

As luck would have it, I’ve got just the plugin: Giveaways and Contests by RafflePress. We’re going to use it to get our WordPress raffle up and running.

Okay, it may not technically be a “raffle” since no one has to pay to enter. But raffle is an excellent word that most of us rarely get to use, so let’s flaunt convention and use it when we’re talking about giveaways.

Whatever you call it, the bottom line is it’s easier than ever to build an email list in WordPress, so let’s get started.

Installing the Giveaways and Contests by RafflePress Plugin

Log in to your WordPress admin panel.

In the left column navigation mouse over the “Plugins” link and click the “Add New” link.

mouse over the "Plugins" link and click the "Add New" link

In the “Search plugins…” box, enter “RafflePress.”

search for the WordPress Giveaways and Contests by RafflePress plugin

Once you have located the plugin, click the “Install Now” button.

click to install the WordPress Giveaways and Contests by RafflePress plugin

Click the “Activate” button.

click to activate the WordPress Giveaways and Contests by RafflePress plugin

Creating a Contest With the Raffle Plugin for WordPress

In the left column navigation, mouse over the “RafflePress” link and click the “Add New” link.

click the "Add New" link

On the “Select a Template” page, there’s only one option if you’re using the free version of the plugin.

Enter a name for the contest in the “Giveaway Name” field (the name is for your purposes, the plugin won’t display it).

Mouse over the “Classic Giveaway” box and click the “Use This Template” button.

click the "Use This Template" button

The Details Section

You’ll land on the “Details” page in the “Giveaway Prize Details” section. Here’s where you edit the page that will generate for the contest.

Add the name of the prize and a description. Unfortunately, the ability to add an image is not available in the free version of the plugin.

add prize and description

In the “Start and End Time” section, set the contest start and end dates. To start it immediately, enter yesterday’s date (or any date in the past).

set the start and end dates

Click the “Save” button.

click the "Save" button

The Actions Section

In the “Actions” section, you choose the actions people will have to take to enter the contest.

Note that entrants have to log in with their email address in order to enter, so you’ll get their address whether or not they complete the entry. Entrant addresses are sent to the WordPress admin email address.

The options groups are “Get More Subscribers,” and “Get More Traffic” (the “Get More Social Engagement” options aren’t available in the free version of the plugin). You can send people to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages, or ask them to Tweet a message or visit a page to enter.

The cool thing is you can choose all of the options. That gives people more opportunities to enter, and it exposes them to many of your social media platforms.

actions to enter

When you choose an action, you’re presented with some options. Most of them, again, won’t be available in the free version of the plugin. But, you should check them out anyway.

For some actions, you’ll need to provide the URL or username for your pages or accounts, so don’t skip over the options.

action options

The Settings Section

The “Design” section doesn’t contain any options we can choose, so we’ll move on to “Settings.”

  • In the “General” section, you have the option to limit entries to 3 per IP address.
  • In the “Giveaway Rules” section, click the “Generate Rules” button and complete the fields. Then click the “Generate Rules” button again to finish.
  • If you expect to have entrants from the EU, go to the “GDPR” section and toggle “GDPR Consent” to “Yes.”

toggle GDPR consent to yes

How to Make the Contest Page Visible on Your Site

If you click the Publish tab, you’ll see that you have the option of using a shortcode or a block (if you use the Gutenberg editor in WordPress).

publishing options

So to publish the giveaway on an existing page, open up the page in the WordPress editor.

In Gutenberg, add a block and go to the “Widgets” section to find the RafflePress block.

add the RafflePress block

Select the giveaway from the drop-down menu.

choose from the drop-down menu

Click the “Update” button.

click the update button

Now the contest is included on the page.

contest in page

contest in page

If You’re Using the WordPress “Classic” Editor

Open the page and click the “Add Giveaway” button.

click the “Add Giveaway” button

Select the giveaway and click the “Add Giveaway” button.

click the “Add Giveaway” button

This inserts the shortcode into the page.

shortcode in page

What Kind of Prizes Should I Offer?

If you sell something, the obvious choice for a prize is one of your products or services. That’s the ideal situation because people who don’t have any interest in your product or service won’t enter the contest.

In cases such as those, you can build a solid and effective email list with just a few giveaways.

For the rest of us, though, there’s a bit of a tradeoff when it comes to prize selection. Tech gadgets like tablets or watches will usually attract a lot of entrants. But if the site or business you’re promoting doesn’t have anything to do with tech, you’re essentially gathering a lot of email addresses from people who aren’t necessarily interested in what you’re selling or promoting.

That’s problematic because you’ll get large numbers of unsubscribe requests (or worse, spam reports) when you send marketing emails to a list like that.

So, try to find a prize that relates to your business or organization. You can still come up with gadgety things to give away—like a Kindle for a book-related site—and the emails you harvest will be more likely to be from people with interest in your company or project.

Remember, it’s all about catering to your target audience.

This Is All Well and Good, but I Can Buy Email Lists, What Do I Need This For?

It’s true, you can pay for an email list. But, it’s better to build your own email list for free. Email lists are one of the few things in life where the free version that you build yourself is far more valuable than the one you pay for.

Those “highly targeted” email address lists you may be tempted to buy are rarely of any value. More often than not, they’ll create far more problems than they might solve.

Besides, people who sign up on your site are already interested in what you provide and are more likely to engage in the email. People who don’t know your site exists are more likely to hit the “unsubscribe” link.

A Giveaway Will Draw Attention

We know that. So using a raffle plugin with WordPress is a great way to clear the path to a giveaway.

The plugin we’ve been talking about really only comes alive with the features available in the paid version. But you can run a few giveaways using the limited free edition to test the waters.

If raffles, contests, giveaways, and free stuff in general turn out to be a valuable tool in your marketing arsenal, then you can explore the “pro” features of the RafflePress plugin.

It’s always good to support plugin makers when you can. They keep the WordPress ecosystem alive and humming!

Have you ever tried a giveaway on your site? Was it a success? Did you use any plugin or add-on help to get the job done? Let me know in the comments.

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