Together Again: 5 Summertime Contests Ideas that Celebrate Experiences

There is something special about the summertime. It is all about enjoying beautiful weather, downtime at school or work, and (most importantly) making memories that last a lifetime with your friends and family. Even as adults, we can remember the exhilaration and joy summertime brings.

Those nostalgic summer memories are powerful, and they can be used as the basis of your next contest.

Why not embrace the best parts of summer with email giveaways and contests aimed at bringing people together with those they love to create new memories?

The Power of Email

You might be wondering if email marketing is still an area you should be spending resources. In addition, the recently passed GDPR laws in Europe have many business owners worried about making a costly mistake.

With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram becoming increasingly popular, it is easy to assume that older forms of marketing like email may have died off or at least become less effective.

The truth is, email remains one of the most powerful marketing channels you can use. Unlike social media and paid advertising, with email you have complete control over who sees your messages. Plus, email is more cost-effective than most other marketing mediums.

According to a report by dbsdata, the average ROI for email marketing is nearly 50 USD per $1.38 spent (converted from sterling pounds.) Moreover, according to data from Smart Insights, email has a higher conversion (at 4.29%) rate than social media and search combined. 

This post will share contest ideas you can leverage through email that emphasize spending time with loved ones instead of material objects. Then, we will cover a few strategies you should implement to get the most out of your email contests.

Summertime Contest Ideas

The snow has melted, the flowers are blooming, and warmer weather is here to stay–for a few months at least. The purpose of summer-specific contests is to tap into that summertime nostalgia by giving your audience the opportunity to recreate those carefree summer memories with their loved ones.

Combining the effectiveness of email with the emotional impact of summertime creates a powerful marketing punch.

Here are five contest ideas for inspiration:

Celebrate Family & Friends

Call for long-form answers celebrating friends and family. E.g., “Tell us why your friends are worth celebrating this summer!” Relate the prompt to your brand only if you can do so in a natural way.

For example, a swimming pool company might say “Tell us about your favorite outdoor summer game!” A grill company could ask “Who is your favorite grill master?”

Alternatively, the prompt could be less brand-specific, “Tell us who your favorite teacher is and why you think they  are the best for the chance to take them to  <insert local event or theme park>!”

The purpose is to have entrants focus on the people they care about and why they are important to them. The long-form format is best suited for email, where people are used to more in-depth writing.

Family Photo Contests

Over the years, family photos become nostalgic reminders of how fast time passes.

Ask people to share their favorite family photo look. You could suggest themes related to your brand or topics your audience is interested in: superheroes, the 80s, Christmas in July, or Rockabilly. You could ask people to vote for the most on-theme or most creative ensemble. Alternatively, you could focus on the location of the photo. For example, while camping or hiking or at the beach.

Or, host a contest for the best recreated family photos. Ask families to recreate their favorite old family photo and have others vote for the best reenactment.

Ask “Who Would You Take?”

Offer an event-based prize and ask who entrants would take and have them explain why taking that person is important to them.

For example, offer a pair of tickets to a country concert and ask entrants to submit a video explaining who they would take as their plus one. You might find out one entrant has a super fan for a mom who never does anything for themselves. Or, you might find a father who wants to take his young daughter so they can bond over a shared love of music.

Prizes can be awarded randomly or you can let everyone vote for the best answer. (Attaching a user-generated content aspect to your email campaign has the added bonus of increasing your brand’s reach across platforms.)

Share A Favorite BBQ or Picnic Recipe

One of the best ways to spend time together in the summer is by having a picnic or BBQ. Whether it is to celebrate a birthday, graduation, or just because it is the weekend, there is something special about turning off the electronics and spending time eating, drinking, and just hanging out with friends and family.

Many families have a go-to recipe for picnics or backyard BBQs, and this contest gives them a chance to share their family recipe with the world. Think mom’s potato salad, grandma’s famous pasta salad, dad’s 7-layer bean dip, and so forth.

Consider how you can use the recipes to create additional (useful) emails after the contest is over. For example, instead of just sending out an email highlighting the winning recipe, pick five winners and send one recipe out a week. Ask recipients to share on social if they try one of the recipes and share how it was.

Give Experience-Based Prizes

One of the simplest ways to celebrate togetherness during the summer is by offering experience-related prizes. Many people don’t need more stuff, they want to create memories. Helping them create wonderful memories also helps increase positive sentiment around your brand.

Plus, it has the added bonus of generating user-generated content when the winners attend the event.

Here are a few ideas for experience prizes you can use to promote spending time with friends and family.

  • Tickets to outdoor concerts
  • Passes to theme parks, the zoo, or other outdoor activities
  • Picnic or beach accessory packages
  • Food and restaurant gift cards
  • Outdoor play equipment giveaways such as bikes or swing sets
  • Patio items such as grills or patio dining sets
  • Outdoor game sets like horseshoes or bean bag toss (These could be branded)

Strategies for Creating An Effective Email Contest

Creating an experience-based email contest can help generate good feelings about your brand and increase social media visibility, and, in the long term, sales. However, like any marketing platform, email needs to be approached strategically.

Here are a few ways to get the most out of your email contests:

  • Embed forms or links in your email blasts, making it easy for entrants to click and be taken to the entry form.
  • Use cohesive email graphics that match the rest of the contest promotion images across social media, landing pages, etc.
  • If you use the contest to drive email sign-ups and expect to get European users, make sure you enable a double opt-in and check that you are GDPR compliant.
  • Use your email list to do things like announce the winner, but also try to drive other actions such as liking on Facebook or downloading a valuable guide.
  • Use polls or questions to segment your email lists so you can send more targeted emails in the long term.

Ready to start designing your email contest? Sign up for a free account on Woobox and start creating your campaign today. Try different formats and styles–you don’t have to pay until your contest is ready to go live.