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How I Used Viral Giveaways and KingSumo to Triple My Email List

Note: This is a guest post from Sam, the founder of Money Nest — a personal finance blog for millennials in the U.K. to make better financial decisions.

Having followed Noah for years, I knew one thing…

If you want more customers, then email is the BEST marketing channel.

To grow my business, I wanted to get more email subscribers quickly.

I searched for tools online to grow an email list… and I found KingSumo to run viral giveaways

The end results were EPIC:

  • TRIPLED my entire email list — from 360 to 1,005 subscribers — in 7 days
  • Had a nice side effect of gaining hundreds of new social followers
  • Got four new backlinks (which helped boost my SEO rating)

And it only cost me a total of £107.52 (aka £0.17 per subscriber).

Much cheaper than other marketing methods!

What I did with KingSumo wasn’t magic. I didn’t spend tons of money. And I didn’t have a big network to use.

Instead, I used an EXACT strategy you can copy today.

If you want to get more email subscribers which turn into customers, then viral giveaways are the best way to go.

Here’s exactly how I used KingSumo and viral giveaways to grow my email list…

6 Steps to Use KingSumo to Grow Your Email List

  1. Step 1: Find the Perfect Prize to Attract Tons of Email Subscribers
  2. Step 2: Set Up Your Perfect Viral Giveaway (For FREE)
  3. Step 3: Focus on Building a Rock Solid Foundation for Growth
  4. Step 4: Leverage Social Media for Viral Growth (With Little Effort)
  5. Step 5: How to Team up With The “Big Guns” to Grow Faster
  6. Step 6: Stay Organized (How to Get More Done in Less Time)

BONUS: Get the winning KingSumo checklist

Step 1: Find the Perfect Prize to Attract Tons of Email Subscribers

No iPads here!

One of the dangers with giveaways is attracting freebie seekers who will never read another email after your giveaway is over.

My favorite strategy to reduce these freeloaders is to start with a prize that’s super tight to your niche.

For example…

  • If you run an eCommerce website, give away free products or Shopify apps
  • If you have an online blog, give away an hour of your time for a free consultation
  • If you have a YouTube channel, give away free YouTube Red

You don’t have to spend a lot of money — Noah was able to get 6,411 from a recent giveaway he ran for a Seth Godin book collection that only cost him $80.

Since I run a personal finance blog targeted at 20 to 30-year-olds in the U.K., I went with personal finance books aimed at the U.K. market.

KingSumo giveaway items

To pick the books, I thought about what I read over the past couple years, found my favorite, and reached out to the author using the tool Hunter.

Here’s an example email that I sent…


I LOVED your book. Read it a few times, my favorite part was where you shared advice on negotiating a raise.

Quick question…

I’m running a giveaway for my readers. Gonna promote to 1,000+ on my social and email channels.

Would be excited to give away your book + link to your site.



Sending the email worked like magic.

The author hooked me up with five free copies as long as I linked to his website and books on the giveaway page.

Plus, he added in five free copies of a friend’s book where he was recently featured.


With the 10 prizes picked, it was time to move onto setting up the giveaway.

Step 2: Set Up Your Perfect Viral Giveaway (For FREE)

With the books in hand, it was time for me to setup my first giveaway through KingSumo.

I didn’t have a specific new subscriber goal in mind, but I did want to grow my list faster than traditional methods. And I wanted to grow my email list to get more customers and readers to my business.

Here’s what I did:

  • Head over to the KingSumo website and enter your email address to start your first giveaway (completely FREE)

KingSumo giveaway homepage

  • After entering your email, you’ll be taken through naming and describing your giveaway alongside choosing the bonus entries. Once you’ve finished, hit Save at the bottom of the page (most problems can be answered on the KingSumo FAQ page)Giveaway setup
  • After entering your general giveaway details, you’ll have the opportunity to enter Bonus entries to make your giveaway go viral. Which brings us to the next step…Bonus entries image

Step 3: Focus on Building a Rock Solid Foundation for Growth

In Noah’s video on 2018’s best marketing strategies, he emphasizes the benefit of building virality into your product.

Since KingSumo offers pre-built virality by giving people more entries to share with their friends… we’re going to exploit the hell out of this.

In the latest version of KingSumo, contestants can gain extra entries by clicking a custom link, following social media pages, or watching a YouTube video.

Utilize custom link sharing

After you sign up for KingSumo, you can configure your bonus entries links from your giveaway setup page (under step 2).

New bonus entries view

The first thing I did was select “Click a Link”, and then head over to Share Link Generator.

Share Link Generator Social allow you to set up custom messages in URLs, so when people share you can automatically add your own copy and hashtags.

This is way better than just entering a standard Twitter profile link — instead, you get people helping share the giveaway for you.

Since I wanted to really get these social messages pumping, I used a cheeky hack for my custom messaging…

Use Hashtags within custom share links

I searched on for popular hashtags relating to giveaways and personal finance. gave me trending hashtags relating to these terms, which I used in my custom messaging for Twitter and Instagram.

Then, I went back to Share Link Generator and typed out my example message, which gave me the URL I could copy into KingSumo…

Share Link Generator image

Last, I went back into my KingSumo Dashboard for my giveaway, and set up the following:

  • Add Extra Entry > Click a Link
  • Link URL: Click here to see the full URL
  • Link Text: Get 4 bonus entries when you click here to share the giveaway on Twitter!
  • Bonus Entries: 4

Every time people shared the giveaway on social media, each post would get viral attention from users searching these popular hashtags.

Incentivise sharing

Now that my giveaway was using custom link sharing and Twitter hashtags, the virality machine was primed.

I just needed a way to kick-start it.

I started with simply emailing the 360 people already on my email list — and sharing on my own social channels to several hundred people.

Then, after a few days, I exported ALL my contestants.

I looked for anyone with only one entry, aka they didn’t share on social media channels.

Bonus entries for KingSumo

Next, I emailed these people individually guaranteeing a special bundle of content upgrades to help them improve their personal finances if they shared on at least two social networks.

I’d keep track if they took action on my email and shared by looking at their entries.

Here’s a sample email you can send:


Sam here, wanted to reach out personally. 🙂

Heads-up you can increase your chances to win the free personal finance book.

All you have to do is share on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. You’ll get 12 additional bonus entries if you do.

Plus, if you share on two networks, I’ll personally give you a free gift of my best material in a single PDF (value $49).

Just click this link to share on Twitter: LINK

This link to share on Instagram: LINK

And this link to share on Facebook: LINK.

Let me know when you do and I’ll send over the PDF.


Step 4: Leverage Social Media for Viral Growth (With Little Effort)

Once my social media machine started going with viral sharing in the background, I wanted to increase the leverage. So I moved my attention to Facebook groups.

Facebook Groups

I’m a regular contributing member of two U.K.-based personal finance Facebook groups.

Neither had huge numbers, but were super active and closely moderated and — because I was an active member of the community — they let me post my giveaway.

Be careful to not just jump in and blast out links — build a reputation over time. Here’s an example of one the posts I made:

Facebook Social Post

Reddit (be careful)

If you have to be careful on Facebook, posting a link on Reddit is like walking on a tightrope.

Much of Reddit’s user base came from Digg in response to Digg introducing ads — so it’s no surprise there’s a natural hatred for all things that seem like advertisements.

However, by being a regular contributing member of a few subreddits, I managed to drive 89 contestants via Reddit.

Part of this was due to the prize being well respected and often mentioned within Reddit. Here’s the strategy in a nutshell:

  • I posted in two subreddits where I was already a regular contributor (/r/ukpersonal finance & /r/fireuk) and I created the posts several days apart, whilst continuing to naturally contribute on both subreddits
  • I tried to make the post read like a natural conversation, rather than an advertisement
  • I kept an eye on the comments, replying to everyone (more comments generally drive more views).

Here’s an example of one of the posts I made:

Reddit screenshot

Giveaway sites

Although this can be a route to attract career “compers” aka people who enter giveaways all day (yes, this is seriously a thing), I thought it was worth a try.

Here’s the CRAZY part…

Some of the places I thought would bring the worst subscribers actually helped.

I asked a friend to post within a Facebook advertising

I’d run a small ad in my first giveaway that drove 12 entries, so I knew the potential Facebook ads offered.

I ran a split test ad campaign with two simple creatives targeting…

  • Males in the UK
  • Between 20 and 37-years-old
  • With an interest in investing

This was the audience that typically came onto my blog (you can check out your Google Analytics Demographic Reporting to figure this out as well).

Here’s what my creative looked like:

Money Nest giveaway

According to Facebook’s conversion settings, I spent £45.12 to generate 509 link clicks resulting in 14 new contestants. Money well spent!

Step 5: How to Team up With The “Big Guns” to Grow Faster

After leveraging my own platforms and direct connections, it was time to venture into bigger platforms. Using the power of others with large followings, I was able to get my giveaway in more places. Here’s how I did it.

Start with other bloggers

If you want to grow your giveaway, there’s a TON of value in reaching out to higher-trafficked websites.

Most people are afraid to ask… but it’s not as difficult (or scary) as you think.

I began by searching Google for popular U.K. personal finance blogs. Then, I copied and pasted the top 20 URLs into a bulk domain authority checker, which I then sorted by the highest domain authorities in Google Sheets.

Higher domain authority means better ranking on Google, which gives me the chance to appear on higher-trafficked pages.

After I sorted by domain authority, I reached out to each blogger asking them to share with their audience. In return, I offered to promote their content on my social channels.

Here’s an example email I sent:


LOVE your site.

Recently read your post about side hustling and it really made me think. Found it especially interesting how many millennials are freelancing nowadays.

Quick question…

I’m giving away 10 personal finance books.

Would love to explore putting this in a small place on your site. 🙂

Happy to promote your content on my social channels in return.



Once I emailed, I kept a note in a Google Sheet of everyone I’d emailed (and whether I’d sent a follow up message or not).

If they said yes, I’d pass along a link to my giveaway they could post on their site.

And if I didn’t hear back right away, I sent two follow-ups:

  1. The first follow-up asked if they’d seen the message
  2. The second asked if they didn’t want to feature the giveaway on their blog, if they would share on Social Media instead.

This is a Robert Cialdini hack since smaller favors are much more likely to be accepted after an initial bigger favor.

I reached out to 37 blogs and ended up netting a feature on three blogs (plus they shared heavily on social) — and a feature in a large blogs newsletter.

In other words, 10% of the people I reached out to featured me!

This was HUGE… normally most cold emails don’t even get a 10% reply rate.

Leverage the prize

Combined, the 10 books had finance tips and advice from 50 different experts.

Some of these experts boasted their own audiences, so I searched for their contact details using Google and Hunter.

Then, I reached out telling these people I’d enjoyed reading their advice (I did actually read the book!), explaining the giveaway, and asking if they’d share it on social. And I pre-built sharing links using Share Link Generator again.

Of the 50 authors, I managed to get in touch with 25.

From these 25, I got four social shares. That’s a success rate of 16%!

Here’s a screenshot of one of my exact outreach emails:

Example email from Samuel

Podcasts – from ears to clicks

I’m a big fan of podcasts, so after emailing the authors…

  1. I opened up iTunes to scan the personal finance podcasts online
  2. I reached out to both podcasters and their guests (letting them know about the giveaway and asking for a share)
  3. Finally, I followed-up twice

I emailed a total of 13 people, which got me three social shares (including one influencer with 319k followers) and a guest post opportunity.

Here’s an exact screenshot of an email I sent to podcast hosts:

Example Tony email

Step 6: Stay Organized (How to Get More Done in Less Time)

This may seem a bit cliché but staying ahead organizationally was the single biggest win for me during this giveaway.

By lining up as much as possible ahead of time, and creating a checklist, I was able to get significantly more done.

KingSumo organization

I estimated the time it would take, noted the order of what I felt were the biggest wins, and marked completed or not.

To organize the promotion ahead of time, I used tools like Twuffner, Facebook’s built-in scheduling tool, and Later. This freed me up to focus on other areas (like emailing influencers).

Be prepared to hustle

After following the strategy above, what happened for my business?

First of all, running a successful giveaway wasn’t easy.

I hand-cranked over 350 emails, failed a bunch, and spent lots of time getting everything organized.

But the results were worth it.

When I closed the giveaway just seven days later, here were the final results…

  • 📈 Tripled my email list
  • 👨👩👧👦 Gained HUNDREDS of new social followers
  • 🚀 Got several high-value links

If you want to grow your business and get more customers, starting with building your email list is the best way to go — and KingSumo viral giveaways makes it easy.

Now go do the same for your business!

Sam Jefferies blogs at Money Nest, a personal finance blog on a mission to help 20-30yr old’s in the UK make better financial decisions.

BONUS: Our 4-step checklist to a successful giveaway

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29 responses to “How I Used Viral Giveaways and KingSumo to Triple My Email List”

February 2, 2021 at 7:03 am

I really like the article and the way you are helping people run a giveaway.

James King
December 30, 2019 at 6:17 pm

Very interesting article. But you don’t mention what the competition is. What do entrants have to do to win? Is there just one prize and one winner?

January 2, 2020 at 10:27 am

Hey, James! David here, the GM of KingSumo. Really, it’s up to you. You can use KingSumo to do multiple prizes, and multiple winners. You can re-draw winners too if you need to. It’s yours to control.

August 18, 2021 at 12:50 am

Hi David! Can I ask how long does it take to redraw winners? Because I just did and it only remove the winner instead of redrawing

December 22, 2019 at 1:04 am

Great article! I really like the article and the way you are helping people run a giveaway. I know that the sharing part is now different on kingsumo.

February 28, 2020 at 6:16 pm

Amazing article.
Can’t believe some if the info and hacks you shared for free!
We’ll be implementing these techniques wherever possible pre the launch of our site

November 25, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Hello, how did you email participants by name as Kingsumo only collects email addresses? I have run giveaways but only get email, I would like to email my subscribers by name but don’t know how to capture that? Thanks

September 14, 2019 at 12:22 am

Giveaway Sites and “career compers” has been a real issue for me running contests. I believe that most of these folks do not fit the personas of my ideal customers.

Consider that each email address you have costs you more in services and ad spend if marketing your list in Facebook etc.

I have actually blocked traffic from IPs of certain contest sites during contests just to avoid garbage leads.

Either way, after a contest I always load my list into an email list scrubbing service like Kickbox which helps ensure the emails are for real users.

Chris Tweten
November 25, 2019 at 3:13 am

Out of curiosity, what sites did you block?

Dibakar Bala
May 30, 2019 at 10:23 pm

I did my First Giveaway in 2017 via KingSumo. I only used Instagram to reach out to my potential audience. In the end I had around 100 subscribers to my list. It isn’t too much but atleast I feel confident about getting some participants interested about my giveaway 🙂

Elio @mondosol
October 20, 2018 at 8:34 am

I really like the article and the way you are helping people run a giveaway. I know that the sharing part is now different on kingsumo. It’s the part 2. Sharing where people select where to share and Default text to display when your giveaway is shared (where applicable)

Richard Brown
October 17, 2018 at 10:09 am

Great Piece Sam,

I have run a couple of giveaways and had some amazing results. The last one we got 2658 email signups, 10,587 like comments & shares on Facebook & 767 new followers, as well as a 78% boost in revenues.

I have a question.

I can see that they get bonus entries for shares, link clicks or likes however how does the referal side work?

I want to send an entrant to have a unique URL & them get 5 entries for each person who signs up through there referal URL.

maybe I am missing something.

BTW I am using the webapp (not the plugin).


Noah St. John
September 4, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Great article Sam! Two questions:

1. What duration was your giveaway (4 days, 7 days)?

2. Since I’m a lifestyle business consultant, I’m thinking of giving away one hour of consulting. Would it be better to give away just one consulting hour to one winner, or 3 consulting hours to 3 different winners?

Pam @ Nutrition to Heal Yourself
June 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm

This is filled with amazing advice! Thank you so much for sharing how you made it work. I am about to run my first giveaway and I have so much food for thought, basically, I am going to try and recreate your steps. Much appreciated.

May 1, 2018 at 7:38 am

Super useful post and great to see your thinking and methodology, and the results.
I’m wondering how best I can integrate it with my plan:

Run a promo to push book sales of a novel.

The idea is simple: with every purchase of the novel, the customer gets a free ebook, which is a non-fiction title with content that relates to the novel (we’re aiming at an established fanbase, and we know they want the free material).
I can use Mailerlite and Bookfunnel to take care of this.

But THEN I want to give every person who has purchased the novel+got the free ebook the chance to enter a giveaway competition, using King Sumo.

My concern is that some people may choose not to take this further step because they have already signed up to my mailing list by getting the ebook on Bookfunnel, and they will then be asked for their email address at King Sumo. Is that overkill?

Am I overcomplicating things?

Edu maker
April 21, 2018 at 7:19 am

If you want to grow your business and get more customers, starting with building your email list is the best way to go

Justin Gordon
March 17, 2018 at 8:35 pm

WOW! Great article Sam and congrats on the great results!

I played with giveaways months ago with limited success, but this is making me want to try them again… with KingSumo this time.

I’ll definitely be referring to this article in the near future.

March 19, 2018 at 4:25 am

Thanks Justin,

Good-luck with the giveaway!


sara williams
March 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm

Nice blog , I like reading your blog , keep it up.

March 9, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Awesome Sam, thanks for sharing!

We’d love to try a new giveaway, and KingSumo looks like it makes it easier.

Couple questions:

1) My partner is hesitant to ask for email (she’s used to comment/share/tag in social giveaways). I agree email ist a bigger ask, but it’s also a much more valuable asset. So even if response is lower, ROI is higher, ya?

2) Can you help explain the steps to get someone to share your contest on Facebook and Instagram?

1) create giveaway on King Sumo (this part looks easy)
2) create a facebook or instagram post that promotes the KingSumo giveaway url
3) once someone enters, the email confirmation they get includes the option to share it on facebook or social?
4) I get a bit lost when we get to the ‘share link generator’ step, and what url and instruction text to put in there — linking it to the facebook giveaway post?
5) the user clicks this share post and then adds their own comment to share this? or do they just 1-click share the post.

KingSumo looks exciting! Just want to get our ducks in a row so we can take advantage of the ‘virality’ part.

March 9, 2018 at 9:07 pm

I just watched Noah’s YouTube video on social media being way OVERRATED vs email.

KingSumo targeting your email makes even more sense to me now (compared to going after shares, likes, follows)

P.S. A short YouTube video of Sam setting up a KingSumo giveaway challenge would be super valauble!

March 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Hey Rob,

Really depends what you’re after, personally, I went after both social shares and emails but really put emails at the heart of the strategy by using KingSumo. The ROI is so much higher…

R.E. Custom social shares
When someone enters the giveaway they can get extra entries by sharing on Social Media.

You set this up inside KingSumo by selecting the ‘Custom Link option’. For the link to use in KingSumo to get the social share head over to: create a social share of your choice and it’ll spit out a URL.

Use this URL in the custom link field.

It’s a bit messy to explain but once you’re inside KingSumo you should see what I mean.

Hope that helps,


March 8, 2018 at 9:18 am

Sam, this article feels mindblowing. I love it. Super inspirational but at the same time ridiculously practical. Now that KingSumo is free, I’m setting up my giveaway and just reached out to the publisher of the books I’m giving away using your template.
…and I would subscribe to your blog except for the fact that I’m a teen XD

March 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Thanks Zach!

Best of luck and never to early to pick up some good financial habits!

Since you’re too young to invest yourself just yet, I recommend the books: Simple Path to Wealth, Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Millionaire Next Door!


March 6, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Sam, this is amazing!!!
The content of that article is just mind blowing.
I am working right now on creating my first “giveaway” and your article addresses so many questions I had and didn’t know who to ask!
“My favorite strategy to reduce these freeloaders is to start with a prize that’s super tight to your niche” – this is a great point!

1. Know your niche
2. know what they really want / need it also has to be high value to them so they will be motivated to “Share” your content.
3. Follow Up with them “during contest” to make sure they share as much as possible to make it go Viral (also might offer an updated / bigger gift if they do)
Thank You.

March 7, 2018 at 2:29 am

No worries Mike!

Glad you found it useful 😀


Andy Iskandar
March 6, 2018 at 8:13 am

Great case study Jeff! I like that you included the response rates that you got and the different outreach methods you employed. I know of so many people who complain that giveaways do not work, then when you dig deeper it turns out they only tried a few outreach methods expecting these methods to knock it out of the park.

Your case study is just another example of how we can’t just depend on a few tactics and hoping that those tactics work exceedingly well. The reality is, every tactic will have varying response rates and we have to execute as many as we can so that cumulatively, those tactics contribute to a successful campaign.

I have a question though. I’m curious, did you try to make an offer to your contest sign-ups immediately or soon after they sign up?

Thanks Sam for the case study!

March 6, 2018 at 10:28 am

Hey Andy,

Thanks for your comments.

In terms of an offer, my objective here was to increase my email list to which I send personal finance content.

I don’t currently have a product to sell (although this is in the pipeline), I would recommend at least introducing yourself and linking in some of your best content before making an offer to try and build some rapport.

Hope that helps,


March 6, 2018 at 3:40 am

Thanks Noah & David,

Great to be able to contribute, looking forward to launching my next giveaway!

Happy to answer any questions in the comments.


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