Case Study: What We Learned from Running an Email Giveaway

Imagine chairs, tables, and desks literally grown in a factory in upstate New York in a week.

That’s the tagline for Ecovative’s Everything Home Grown e-commerce store.

They sell furniture. No big deal, right?

Except the furniture is all grown from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. Yes, furniture grown from mushrooms. Take a look.

Stack Table, with up-close view of MycoFoamTM core. Stack Table, with up-close view of MycoFoamTM core.

Planning The Giveaway

The Prizes

Ecovative decided to give away the following prizes (just under $1,000 in value):

Grand Prize: Stack Table, Coin Holder, and an Ecovative t-shirt

2nd & 3rd Prize: Stack Table

10 Runners-Up: Desk Organizer


Ecovative set a target deadline for the giveaway as one week. One week to plan/build the giveaway, get entries, choose winners, and ship the products.

With such a tight deadline, we would need to work fast and focus on the important things. Oh, and drink a ton of coffee.

Quick Tip: Are you running a giveaway or contest? Work with your team and create a calendar. What needs to happen each day of the contest? There are a lot of moving pieces. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

The Goals

The primary goal was to get product reviews for Ecovative’s newest product, the Stack Table.

The secondary goal was to grow Ecovative’s email list.

We grew the email list by collecting visitor’s emails. One email equaled one entry in the giveaway. This welcome mat was the main way we collected emails.

Welcome Mat for Collecting Emails Welcome Mat for Collecting Emails

Promoting the Giveaway

Everything Home Grown was already receiving hundreds of unique visits a day from organic traffic and Facebook ads. But we needed to increase traffic as much as possible for a successful giveaway.


The first step in promoting the giveaway was Facebook. We put out posts on Facebook and boosted them all between $5-$10.

Fantastic Facebook post made by Emily at Ecovative. Fantastic Facebook post made by Emily at Ecovative.

We also started running Facebook ads targeted towards past website visitors and people who like Ecovative’s page.

Facebook Pixel allowed us to target these people. If you don’t have Facebook Pixel installed yet, you should do so now. You can thank us later.

We ran four ads all together. A control ad, a variation on the audience, and two variations on image and text.

Quick Tip: If your company is giving away free things, use the word “Free” in your ad. It makes a big difference.


The next step in promoting the giveaway was posting on Reddit. We created posts on r/Giveaways, r/Sweepstakes, r/Contest, and a few other smaller subreddits.

It took maybe 10 minutes all together to post on these subreddits. Most of them only required a link and a title. So if you’re running a contest or giveaway, it’s a no-brainer.

In addition to Facebook and Reddit, Ecovative put out posts on Instagram and Twitter. We didn’t put any money into promoted tweets, but it’s something we’re going to try in the future.

Instagram post made by Emily at Ecovative. Instagram post made by Emily at Ecovative.

Email Marketing

Ecovative already had a MailChimp list with a little over 3,000 subscribers. We set up several campaigns for the giveaway. Each email sent contained a list of the prizes, instructions on how to enter the giveaway, and at least two buttons linking to the giveaway page.

MailChimp Email Newsletter for the Giveaway MailChimp Email Newsletter for the Giveaway

The Everything Home Grown store is built using Shopify. So we installed the MailChimp app through the Shopify app store. This app allows MailChimp to sync with the data on your Shopify store.

We sent out 11,900 emails and an average of 14% of people clicked through to the giveaway or one of the social media accounts.

Quick Tip: Using Scheduled Batch Delivery to send your campaigns will prevent potential strain on your server. It also gives you extra time to fix things when you realize there is a bug, typo, or broken link.

MailChimp Batch Delivery MailChimp Batch Delivery


When the giveaway was finished, Ecovative announced the winners. We emailed each of the winners to say congratulations and get their address, t-shirt size, etc. Then Ecovative shipped the products to the winners.

Ecovative ended up with 381 new email list subscribers, 104 new Likes, and several sales!

The best news is, a few days ago Ecovative received the first product review for the Stack table! We are expecting more reviews soon.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don’t run the giveaway during Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
  2. We should’ve included some nice shiny images of the prizes in the email newsletters.
  3. Allow the giveaway to run for more than a week. More time would’ve given the giveaway time to build momentum and hype.
  4. Using a third-party tool like Vyper would’ve saved valuable time. Time that could’ve been used to set up a viral loop feature where people receive more entries in exchange for sharing on social media.

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