The countdown timer has just run out.

After weeks of creative prep and more weeks of promotion and moderation, your contest is finally over.

But there’s just one thing left to do: Announce (and contact) the winner.

In this article I’ll show you how to announce your contest winner, notify them via email and follow-up with non-winning contestants.

Let’s begin.

#1. Email to the Contest Winner

First, before you announce anything to the public, you need to contact the winner by email. This is for a few reasons:

  • To make sure the person is eligible to win, meaning they meet any entry requirements stated in your rules and regulations.
  • To make sure it’s OK to use their name in your announcement.
  • To make sure the person responds to claim the prize. You want to be able to announce the winner in a timely fashion, or else entrants will forget or start asking you about it. As a general rule, give 3 – 7 days for the winner to respond to your email before selecting another (be sure to let the original winner know you’re doing so by email).
  • To be sure you’ve run your contest within Facebook’s guidelines (they require you notify your winner before announcing anything on Facebook, as well).

Tips for a great email to the contest winner:

  • Ask them to send a ‘celebration’ photo or video of them celebrating their win: This will provide great user-generated content for you to use in social posts and promotions.
  • Ask them the best address for you to send them their prize.
  • Use friendly and jovial language: This is an incredible moment for the winner. Don’t take away from it by using stuffy ‘legalise’ language like “We’d like to inform you that you have been chosen as….”.

Example of a great email to the contest winner:

Subject Line: Congrats! You’ve won the Sweepstakes from Wishpond!

Email Message:

Hi Amy,

Congratulations, you’ve won the $500 Wishpond Gift Card Grand Prize in our ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’ contest!

To claim your prize, please follow these steps:

  • Confirm that you meet all of the entry requirements
  • Send an email to [email protected] within 5 days to claim your prize
  • In the email, please confirm that’s it OK for us to publish your name on our social channels
  • This one is totally optional, but if you’re excited about winning, we’d love for you to share your win with our Fans and Followers!

If you have any questions, just email me at [email protected] – I’m happy to help :)



#2. Facebook Post Announcement

Especially if you ran your contest on Facebook, entrants will be checking your Facebook Page more than their email to see if they won. And with Facebook’s update to their promotion guidelines, it’s now totally legal to announce contest winners with a Facebook Post (once you’ve emailed them first).

Tips for a great Facebook Post announcement:

  • Thank all of the entrants for helping make the contest a success
  • If the contest asked entrants to submit some user-generated content, such as a photo or video, attach it to the Post
  • Include a short description of the prize (and a photo of it if there is no user-generated content to attach to the Post)
  • Tag the winner
  • Include a link back to the contest: People may not have seen the contest before, so this will let them check it out
  • Say how the winner was chosen: Such as ‘got the most votes’, ‘chosen by a panel of judges’ or ‘by random selection’
  • Let people know when your next contest will be (or that one is ‘coming soon’ if you don’t have one scheduled)

Example of a great Facebook Post announcement:

Congratulations Amy Smith, the winner of the $500 Wishpond Gift Card Grand Prize in our ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’ contest! Her photo entry (see below) received 500 votes, the most of any entrant, and has been crowned the winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this contest a success! Stay tuned for our next contest in September!

In case you missed it, you can check out the contest here:

[Image of the winning entry]

#3. Twitter Tweet Announcement

Your announcement on Twitter can be very similar to your Facebook Post announcement – except you’ll probably need to cut it down to fit into 140 characters.

Tips for a great Tweet announcement:

  • Thank all of the participants in the contest for entering
  • Mention the winner (if you know their Twitter handle)
  • Include a link back to the contest: In a Tweet, you won’t be able to provide much information about the contest, so this is a must
  • Include a photo of the winning entry (if it was a user-generated content contest) or of te contest prize

Example of a great Tweet announcement:

Congratulations @amysmith, the winner of the $500 Wishpond Gift Card Grand Prize in our ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’ contest!

[Image of the contest prize]

#4. Blog Post Announcement

A blog post gives you the most room and flexibility of any of your announcement channels. In it, you can include all of the contest details and user-generated content to tell a full, visual story.

Example of a great blog post announcement:

Blog Post Title: Announcing the Winner of our ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’

Blog Post:

We want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated in our contest and helped make it a success!

And a special congratulations to Amy Smith, the winner of the $500 Wishpond Gift Card Grand Prize in our ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’ contest!. Her photo entry (see below) received 500 votes, the most of any entrant, and has been crowned the winner!

[Winning Photo Entry]

Click here to see all of the contest entries.

Amy was nice enough to send us a video of her doing an awesome celebration dance!

[Video of Amy]

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how our judges chose the winner:

Our panel of judges, which included members of Wishpond’s marketing and development teams, chose the winning entry based on how well it exemplified the entry requirements.

[Video of judges deciding on winner]

#5. Email to Non-Winning Contestants

Finally, you need to email contest entrants who didn’t win.

When you first notify non-winners, their first reaction will be one of disappointment at not being the winner. So your goal with this email is to provide them with some consolation to keep them happy.

Tips for a great email to non-winning contestants:

  • Start by thanking them to take the time to enter
  • Tell them that although they didn’t win this time, there will be more chances for them to win soon
  • Give them a small consolation prize, such as a discount coupon, as a thank you

Example of a great email to non-winning contestants:

Subject Line: Your Bonus for entering Wishpond’s ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’

Email Message:

Hi John,

Thank you so much for entering our ‘$500 Summer Giveaway’ and helping to make it a huge success!

Unfortunately, you were not selected as the winner this time. But as a ‘thank you’ for helping us, we’d like to offer you a 35% Off Coupon for your next Wishpond subscription. Click here to claim your 35% Off Coupon.

And don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to win in our next contest in September!




Thanks for reading! Now that you’ve checked out all of these awesome techniques, let me make one request:

Use them in your next contest and then let me know how successful they were by leaving a comment down below. I’d love to hear how well they worked for you.

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