How to grow your prospect list with sharp ads and referrals?

Marine Deals Case Study


Marine Deals

New Zealand
3,715 subscribers


Subscribers enter the sweepstakes with a single click. Winners are selected randomly among all the subscribers.


Most sweepstakes fail in two areas: traffic and conversion.

Without traffic only a few people start to go through your funnel. And without good conversion only a small portion will become a subscriber.

However, this e-commerce company mastered both parts.

They drove targeted traffic with smart advertising, and converted visitors to email subscribers with an engaging grand prize and nice design.

Also, they used referrals, a free technique that can multiply results.


The company fulfilled their main goal of building a nurturing list. At the end they collected 3,715 email addresses.

Read more details in the following paragraphs based on an interview with Graham Decker, the manager of this contest.

Graham Decker, marketing manager Graham Decker, marketing manager
Our aim is to provide the best gear and the best deals to customers. And our marketing is based around growing our database, so we can email fishos and boaties with some awesome deals!

The Company

Marine Deals is an online store which sells fishing, boating and diving gear. They are known for their fast delivery service, their wide range of offerings and providing access to refined brands’ products.

Challenges & Goals

Marine Deals’ main goal was to increase the number of email addresses with new prospects on their nurturing list.

Campaigns mechanics

In order to achieve their goal they decided to run a 44-day-long draw on Marine Deals’ Facebook page.

These were their two reasons for choosing Facebook:

  1. They wanted to reach those who have never heard of them, and Facebook has a great advertising system.
  2. Even though collecting “Likes” on Facebook isn’t worth it any more - as there is no more free reach - it’s still perfect for capturing email addresses.

They asked for your name and email address in exchange for a chance to win a package of fishing gear.

The web shop wanted to reach out to new newsletter subscribers on Facebook, hence they ran a sweepstakes on their fan page.

This campaign caught 7,834 Facebook users’ attention – this is the number of visitors – with 3,715 subscribers resulting in a 47% conversation rate.

This is an excellent result as the average conversation rate for sweepstakes is around 25%.

Let’s see their key ingredients for such great results:

1) A tempting prize

The web shop offered a Shimano Softbaiting Combo. In the sport of fishing it’s as valuable as a BMV is for car enthusiasts.

This equipment was an excellent choice as a grand prize!

Simply, it precisely determined the targeted audience, as only serious anglers are the ones who can value gear like this.

It combined all the elements of a great prize:

  • relevant for those whose main hobby is fishing
  • contains real value as you can’t get this kind of gear on every street corner
  • therefore appealing enough to give your email address and name.

The company made a valuable promise, and they rightly talked highly about it in their ads!

Many products for fish-geeks. Now it’s understandable why such a grand prize was a hit.

2) A dazzling copy and design

Choosing the core element – the promised prize - for your sweepstakes is the first step.

The second is building an authentic atmosphere around it. You don’t want people to click on your ad then close the draw instantly with disappointment, right?

The web shop made sure that their app held a strong and credible feeling.

That’s why they spent a whole day creating graphics for their contest. They didn’t work in vain as they could use the same images for their ads too. It made their ads and sweepstakes consistent as they carried the same graphic elements.

Facebook ads directed people to the contest’s front page that had a single aim: to click “Enter”.

3) Targeted ads for prospects

If formerly we loved Facebook for free reach now we can love it for its precise targeting, even though you need to pay for it.

This company used Facebook ads very well: they advertised the same post for different people through targeting experiments.

Their best take-always were the following ones:

  • They set the ad to the News Feed, as the grand prize’s image was more readable there and it seemed to be converting better.
  • They created as specific audience for their ads by targeting people by their location, gender, age, interests (interested in fishing, or a particular fishing magazine, etc.).
  • They kept the ads’ audience narrow so when their ads run they could follow which settings converted better.

Marine Deals run well-targeted Facebook ads for posts like this. The post included the contest’s link (that worked on mobile too).

4) The power of referrals

While the web shop reached completely new people with their ads, they could capture an even larger audience’s attention thanks to the viral nature: friends.

They reached people’s friends with a simple tactic: encouraging referrals.

Subscribers could invite their friends for a better chance to win. They could collect 10 bonus points for each friend who entered from their link.

Subscribers could monitor in the app the number of points they gained. They also received emails after a friend entered from their shared link.

This was a great way of motivating invites and also of further boosting the viral nature.

You could share the sweepstakes on multiple social media channels. If someone subscribed from your link, you received bonus points.

Results in numbers

  • The sweepstakes attracted 7,834 Facebook visitors during the 44 days that it was open to the public.
  • From 7,834 Facebook visitors 3,715 people subscribed to the draw, meaning that the conversation rate was 47%. (The average conversion rate according to Antavo’s statistics is 25%.)
  • 65% of the subscribers entered via desktop, while 35% of the subscribers subscribed from mobile devices.
  • The total cost of the campaign was $2,186, including the cost of the grand prize, Facebook ads and the application builder tool they used for creating the draw.
  • The cost of one subscriber was $0.5 and the cost of one new Facebook fan was $0.7. - They attracted an extra 2,800 fans to their Page.


You may be afraid of experimenting with Facebook ads or perhaps you are sceptical regarding its success.

But this smart web shop showed that with the right targeting and great ingredients you can successfully achieve your marketing goals.

Quality is always over quantity!

This shop wanted to collect new leads for their newsletter database. They fulfilled this goal by capturing 3,715 unique email address with their sweepstakes.

The core of their success was based on 4 pillars:

  • An appealing grand prize for attracting people.
  • A nicely built contest application for capturing leads.
  • Driving targeted traffic to the app with Facebook ads.
  • Using referrals to encourage people to share the draw.

The company used the Antavo platform to build the contest application.

Graham Decker, marketing manager Graham Decker, marketing manager
A friend recommended Antavo to me, and the results with Antavo were surprising! Antavo + Facebook Ads work!

Antavo helps 20.000+ brands, agencies and marketers all over the world create contests, sweepstakes & giveaways to social, mobile & web. See if we can help you too.

This case study is based on an interview with Graham Decker the manager of Marine Deals and written by Timi Garai.

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