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SPI 320: How to Run a Contest to Build Your Email List and Grow Your Brand with Noah Kagan

SPI 320: How to Run a Contest to Build Your Email List and Grow Your Brand with Noah Kagan

By Pat Flynn on

Noah Kagan’s back today to talk about online viral contests and giveaways: a slice of the marketing pie that’s often overlooked. These are contests or giveaways in which the audience can take actions to gain more entries, which in turn spreads the word about the contest itself even more. It’s a fantastic, symbiotic strategy that I’ve used very successfully myself in growing my YouTube channel (now over 100k subscribers!). Plus, Noah’s got an amazing contest to announce today as well—enter for a chance to win all of my courses, a year of KingSumo Pro, and a year subscription to my Smart Podcast Player—a combined value over $1,500! [See below for rules and disclaimer.]

Editor’s Note: The contest has ended—scroll down to find out who won! Thank you to everyone who participated!

Noah and his team developed a tool called KingSumo, and it’s amazing. It can help you grow your YouTube channel, podcast subscribers, and social media following simultaneously. Plus, it’s completely free, it’s web-based, and it’s super effective. I’ve used it to attract as many as 1,000 new subscribers in a single day!

Marketing through contests and giveaways has been essential for Noah; it’s actually been responsible for 30 percent of revenue for AppSumo, one of his companies. Today, he’s breaking down how KingSumo can be used to create viral online contests. He’s also walking us through some of the ways that viral giveaways work so well, tips and tricks for your own giveaways, and what’s next for KingSumo. If you want to learn how to grow your online following fast, this is the episode for you!

Make sure you check out Noah’s tips below for some fast-paced takeaways that you can refer back to after you listen to the episode! And if you want a free checklist, head over to

I want to give a quick shout out to another amazing tool I love–Teachable. From an insider perspective, Teachable has amazing tools to help course creators better serve their students. I’m so grateful for this company. They’re constantly introducing new features because we, the course creators, request them. They love helping us to help our students succeed. If you’re thinking about creating an online course and want a platform that’s super easy to use, check out and you’ll get some freebies as well.

Create Your Own Contest with KingSumo & Win BIG!

UPDATE: Congratulations to the contest winner, Lali! She’s a motorcycle enthusiast who ran a giveaway of the STS Smart Turn System and Smart Brake System. She partnered with STS to give away their products for free, and promoted the giveaway through her Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram channels. She’ll be receiving free access to all of my courses, as well as a year’s subscription to my Smart Podcast Player. Well done, Lali!

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the contest! Read below for some awesome tips from Noah about running a giveaway.

One thing I love about having Noah on the show is that he always leaves us with a challenge. The first time he was on the show (Episode 71) he challenged the audience to get over the fear of asking for things by asking for a discount at Starbucks.

Well, Noah’s got another challenge for us today, and this time the prize is big. If you win, you get access to all of my courses, plus a year subscription to my Smart Podcast Player, and a year subscription to KingSumo Pro. That’s right, all of my courses: 1•2•3 Affiliate Marketing, Smart From Scratch, Power-Up Podcasting, a year of my Smart Podcast Player premium podcast player, and a year of KingSumo Pro. I’ll even include my Advanced Power-Up Podcasting course, which releases later this year. This prize package is worth over $1,500!

We’re running this contest for two weeks starting today, and on June 13, Noah and I will select a winner. (Don’t worry, we won’t be selecting based on the number of entries you get to your contest—that wouldn’t be fair.) All you have to do to enter is listen to this episode, create a contest with KingSumo, and link to it in the comment section below. That’s it! At the very least, we hope this encourages you to take action and try running an online contest on your own. Don’t forget to check out Noah’s tips below, and his free tip sheet at And again, make sure you link to your contest when you post it in the comment section below.


There are multiple legal considerations that you should familiarize yourself with before deciding to run a contest or giveaway online. KingSumo will provide you with some great information, however please consult with your own legal counsel and/or attorney as applies to your own situation before running an online contest or giveaway. I will not be held liable for any damages incurred as a result of using KingSumo or running your own contest or giveaway online.

Noah’s Tips

So, a lot of people ask themselves, “do viral giveaways really work?” Well the short answer is yes, they absolutely do. But beyond that, here are three common misconceptions about viral giveaways and/or contests, as well as some useful tips:

Misconception 1: People Who Enter Giveaways are Bad Subscribers
This one is the big one—a lot of people think that the people who enter giveaways are just looking for a freebie, and so they’re not “real” subscribers. However, KingSumo has found that as many as 40-50 percent of giveaway subscribers stay on board; contest subscribers have been responsible for 30 percent of AppSumo’s revenue! To make the most of your new subscribers:

  • Use a double opt-in procedure via email.
  • Give away a narrow product your ideal customers would be excited about but others wouldn’t—so products that are specific to your audience.
  • Three months after your giveaway, unsubscribe anyone who hasn’t opened or clicked any emails (you can do this through most email service providers).

Misconception 2: You Need a Huge Audience
This is absolutely not true. If you have small audience, here’s nine things you can do for free to boost your contest or giveaway:

  1. Post on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  2. Post the day before your giveaway ends.
  3. Email your mailing list.
  4. Add a badge to your website (use
  5. Grab your LinkedIn Contacts and email them (recommended to only do this once—don’t spam!).
  6. Text ten people on your phone.
  7. Post in Facebook groups relevant to your giveaway.
  8. Submit your contest/giveaway on a subreddit like /r/giveaways or /r/gardening.
  9. Make a YouTube video about your giveaway.

Misconception 3: You Need a Huge Prize
This is 100 percent not true. Noah’s proof: He got 6,411 email subscribers by giving away a Seth Godin book collection that cost him $60!

How to Start a Giveaway with KingSumo

  1. Go to and sign up for a free account.
  2. Start simple: Give away an hour of your consulting time, a free product, or a free book collection.
  3. Configure bonus entry options: These are things like Facebook likes, Instagram follows, YouTube subscriptions, and podcast listeners. One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is how much of your audience isn’t following you on other channels.
  4. Share your giveaway with your email list, social following, friends, etc, and keep sharing!

For a free checklist of these tactics Go to

Thanks for Listening!

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Special thanks to Noah Kagan for joining me this week. Until next time!

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