man holding a sign that says "giveaway"

Generating Leads with Online Contests Using Entry Forms

Online contests with entry forms are a powerful tool for businesses looking to generate leads and engage their audience. By requiring participants to submit a form to enter, companies can collect valuable information while offering an incentive. This article will cover the essentials of setting up such contests, including benefits, planning steps, a sample promotion plan, and key considerations for success. We’ll conclude with a concise time estimate, materials needed, and necessary tools to ensure your contest runs smoothly.

Tools & Skills Needed

  • Form Builder (e.g., Google Forms, Typeform)

  • Email Marketing Software

  • Social Media Management Tools

  • Analytics Tools (for tracking participation and engagement)


  • Prize(s)

  • Entry Form

  • Promotional Materials (graphics, emails, social media posts)

  • Data Storage Solution (CRM or spreadsheet)

infographic of how to create an online contest to generate leads


The Power of Online Contests

Online contests captivate interest and encourage participation by offering something valuable in return for engagement. When entry is tied to a form submission, it becomes an excellent opportunity for businesses to gather data like email addresses, preferences, and other relevant information from potential leads. This method not only increases your audience’s size but also enhances your understanding of it.

  • Step 1: Planning Your Contest

    • Define Your Goals: Start by clarifying what you aim to achieve with your contest. Common objectives include increasing email list size, boosting brand awareness, or gathering consumer insights.
    • Select a Prize: Choose a prize that aligns with your brand and is desirable to your target audience. It should be compelling enough to encourage participation but relevant to your business to attract genuine leads.
    • Create the Entry Form: Design a form that collects the information you need without being overly intrusive. Essentials typically include name, email address, and perhaps a question related to your product or service to gauge interest or gather insights.
    • Set Contest Rules: Clearly outline how and when the contest will run, eligibility criteria, how winners will be chosen, and how they’ll be notified. Transparency is key to building trust with your audience.

  • Step 2: Promoting Your Contest

    Effective promotion is crucial to ensure your contest reaches a wide audience and attracts a significant number of participants. Use a multi-channel approach for maximum reach:

    • Social Media: Leverage your existing platforms to share the contest widely. Consider paid ads to target specific demographics.
    • Email Marketing: Send details to your current email list and encourage them to share the contest with friends.
    • Your Website: Feature the contest prominently on your homepage or a dedicated landing page.
    • Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers or complementary businesses to promote your contest to a broader audience.

Sample Promotion Plan

  1. Launch Phase: Kick off with an announcement on all your social media channels, an email blast to your list, and a press release if applicable.
  2. Engagement Phase: Keep the momentum going with regular updates, reminders, and teasers about the prize.
  3. Final Push: In the last few days of the contest, intensify your promotional efforts to capture last-minute entries.
  4. Post-Contest: Announce the winner publicly and follow up with all participants via email, thanking them for their participation and offering a small consolation prize or discount code as a gesture of appreciation.

Key Considerations

  • Compliance: Ensure your contest complies with local laws and the terms of service of any platforms you’re using for promotion.
  • Data Security: Be transparent about how you’ll use the data collected and ensure you have measures in place to protect participant information.
  • Follow-Up: Use the leads generated to build relationships. Plan a series of follow-up emails that provide value and gently introduce your products or services.

By following these guidelines, your online contest with entry forms can become a cornerstone of your lead generation strategy. Remember, the success of your contest lies in the balance of offering value to participants and gathering meaningful data for your business. With careful planning and execution, you can achieve both objectives and see your audience grow.