We recently got in touch with a brand that ran a giveaway that generated some awesome results in the cannabis industry.

See what their contest was, how they marketed it, and the results they achieved.

birch & fog viral VYPER giveaway

Our retention rates were high, our conversion rates well above industry standards, and our NPS (Net Promoter Score) sat at 87… so why did our growth stall?

People love novelty, especially Millennials and Gen-Z.

We had a few reliable tactics up our sleeve to serve our growth strategy, but we just weren’t seeing the growth we were accustomed to.

Rather than blame the world, though, we decided to do something new, something we knew our community already enjoyed, but on a massive scale.

That’s when we started researching new avenues for growth. I probably spent the better half of the day Googling away, until I read one of Jack’s blogs.

Curious, I played around with the demos, subscribed to the service, and quickly set up my first experimental giveaway. And the results ?.

Scroll down to check ‘em out, but first…FREE Guide: 7 Growth Hacks That Will Quickly Improve & Grow Your Website [Download]

Before we get started, here’s some context.

We (Birch + Fog) were experimenting with a few different growth tactics before we discovered VYPER:

  1. Cross-promotional giveaways.
    With other female-first brands on IG worked very well, but only so many can be run and they need to be spaced out. It’s easy to burn this tactic out quickly, and persisting can lead to brand erosion. You don’t want to be seen as a “bargain brand,” and you definitely don’t want to be perceived as desperate.
  2. Limited success with influencer relationship platforms.
    We found that our own in-house influencer recruitment process was better than the influencer relationship management platforms out there. They’re definitely valuable but better leveraged for their databases, not recruitment. They generated awareness, but revenue and traffic attribution are difficult.
  3. We experimented with an internal affiliate program.
    But found that the return wasn’t worth the investment (at the time). There was too much operational overhead, and that time was better spent building relationships with our influencers.

So what gives? (heh)

Besides a pop-up on our home page, we never needed to deploy any lead capture software. Our metrics all looked healthy: from traffic and sign-ups to order conversion and AOV, everything was peachy. Our sign-up process and pop-up were more than enough to sustain our growth.

As a leading indicator of sign-ups, one of my critical KPI was site traffic. But as we grew, so did our goals, and exponential growth proved difficult to sustain with our activities at the time: 30% month over a month meant if we had 50,000 visitors last month, this month’s goal is 65,000.

We started looking for ways to generate lots of TOFU (top of the funnel) awareness and traffic.

Since there were onerous advertising regulations in the cannabis industry, we looked to giveaways as the perfect alternative for driving that traffic, which led to commensurate sign-ups and sales.

Now, back to that first giveaway, we ran with VYPER.

The results were mindblowing!

VYPER giveaway stats

It only took 7 days. Our very first giveaway.

That green bar? Those were our “viral” emails, leads that were captured from referred participants.

We experienced a 10% lift in traffic within a week, and 64% of our participants came from an audience that was, until then, untapped. Neat!

Our giveaway objectives

  1. A 45% MoM lift in traffic;
  2. A 30% MoM lift in revenue;
  3. Educating customers about our brand story, value proposition, and offerings; and
  4. Increased social (IG and FB) engagement, follows, and reviews (you can’t be community-powered without making the effort to build it!)
  5. Increase brand reach and awareness in the cannabis industry.

Key results and takeaways

Let’s talk numbers, along with some lessons we learned on the way:

Key results:

  1. 35% overall increase in traffic.
  2. An 83% increase in Pageviews on our blog, and a 54% increase in unique sessions.
  3. 1,000+ new Instagram followers per week.
  4. A whopping 1,842% increase in Facebook likes,
  5. 2,017% Facebook page’s fan engagement rate,
  6. 3,772% increase in website clicks from social? Guess when we started using VYPER?
  7. People are more likely to participate further down the line if your grand prize is based on a random draw, as opposed to the top scorer. We think this is because people are discouraged when they join halfway through the game and realize that they have a lot of catch-ups to do, which impacts sign-up conversions.
  8. Entrants don’t mind receiving multiple emails in one week if it’s for the contest – they like receiving updates on bonus actions, rewards, and events like double-jeopardy.

A few examples of our recent email campaigns:

Email 01 = Entrants: 45% open rate, 10% CTR
Email 02 = Entrants: 45% open rate, 7% CTR
Email 03 = Newsletter: 20% open rate, 5% CTR

contest email examples


  1. Prizes that are not directly related to your offering or don’t address your target audience or niche’s interests, like vacation vouchers, may generate a lot of traffic and sign-ups, but results in fewer orders and customer conversions. Everybody and their mama want to join, but you wanna make sure you’re making the most out of your traffic. If you’re going for a lead magnet that is unrelated to your offering, make sure it is at a niche product or service that would attract the people within your target audience.
  2. Offering an incentive for first-time customers reduces the barrier to entry for folks that may be interested, but are anxious about making that first purchase. Let them test your product at an introductory rate, and if the experience delights them, they’ll come back.
  3. Flooding the bonus actions from the get-go is overwhelming for participants. It creates a lot of noise and distracts them from taking the actions you might really want them to take. It might seem like more bonus actions = more opportunities to engage, but these can be deployed over time and announced via email to keep them coming back.
  4. Bonus actions like “like, comment, and share this Facebook post” will increase a post’s relevance score, which helped us reach more people at a lower cost.

So, how were our prizes related to our offering? A little about our brand for context, and then more about our plans for the next giveaway.

Birch + Fog is the wellness, beauty, and lifestyle collective for health-conscious and plant-powered women. It has grown formidably since, forming a tribe of women, mothers, and socialites.

Pharmaceuticals aren’t for everyone.

The modern woman deserves better, modern alternatives to self-care, so we set out on a mission to change the landscape through premium plant-powered wellness products that make up the backbone of your routine.

It’s casual, uncomplicated wellness that works with you, instead of on you.

As a direct-to-consumer brand, we have complete visibility on our customers through our tech architecture and see them all as influencers. We share their content on our website, our social media profiles, and anywhere else we can show off.

We get our most hardcore fans involved in our product launches, who are more willing to put up with some issues because they know we will listen and act on their feedback.

This also makes them feel special and creates an army of evangelists for the brand.

Think about it this way: when your friend says “you need to try this,” you probably will.

And the results speak for themselves. For the first year, we drove sustained 30% MoM revenue growth, and more than doubled our first year’s revenue in the next 8 months.

After reaching 16k IG followers in September of 2018, our account was disabled ☹️.

We had to start fresh, and 4 months later, we went from 0 to 13.1k followers. And VYPER may have helped a bit ;).

influencer post

All UGC is shared on our website, and associated with a product. Talk about a call-to-action!

VYPER user generated content

80% of the posts we share are user-generated.

The growing ubiquity and acceptance of cannabis have created a new market opportunity. Birch + Fog is uniquely positioned to become a leader in the female-focused direct-to-consumer, cannabis-based wellness, health, and beauty niche.

And the possibilities are endless:

  1. Self-care tips for your daily rituals
  2. Exercise and fitness
  3. Anxiety relief
  4. …and more!
Birch + Fog

(What are advertorials, you say?)

Things we’ll try next

We focused on mastering Facebook/Instagram ads, Facebook/Instagram posts and stories, and emails to both our newsletter and entrants as promotional channels. Now that we have a better handle on those, we’ll explore:

  1. Higher points per referral.
  2. Starting with 5 bonus actions, MAXIMUM. And making sure these are all directly aligned to business objectives. Add more and change out bonus actions as the contest runs.
  3. Leveraging influencers more. Get them to post the giveaway.
  4. Building relationships with Facebook groups and blogs that will help put it in front of a new audience.
  5. Taking high-quality photos for Facebook and IG posts, and lots and lots of video for stories.

Other tools we can’t live without

  1. Social analytics and scheduling
  2. Slack for internal communication
  3. Google Suite for collaborative work
  4. Project management software (Monday.com, Trello and Asana). There are plenty of guides that compare the features between Trello vs Asana
  5. Design tools (Canva etc.)
  6. Google Analytics for channel efficiency and site performance
  7. Klaviyo for email, forms, and pop-ups
  8. Intercom for customer support
  9. Stamped.io for reviews, UGC, and NPS

Where can we find you (website, social handles, links, etc)?

W: birchandfog.com
IG: instagram.com/birchandfogcanada
FB: facebook.com/birchandfog

So, If you’re 19+ in Canada, take a look at our giveaway! → http://bit.ly/2RZPqYZ

Prize pack we put together:

  1. Grand Prize: $1500 gift card to our shop?
  2. Two $500 gift cards to Fashion Nova for your next shopping spree?
  3. Twenty of our plant-powered best-sellers?
  4. Six home + wellness essentials, including an essential oil diffuser, a cushioned lavender-infused sleep mask, and a date night bucket list, the Little Book of Mindfulness, and a Chakra Couple’s Game?
  5. Two of the exclusive Vessel vaporizer pens. Be the first in Canada to own these signature pieces?

Let us know if you have any questions about running contests and giveaways in the cannabis industry in the comments below!

Jack Paxton
Jack Paxton

Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.

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