Getting Started

What You Need To Do

You're a Winner! works with an email service provider that provides email design and delivery services. Currently the program works with wiredMessenger and Mailchimp as supported email service providers.

First, create an account on whichever service provider appeals to you. The You're a Winner! client program will communicate with that provider to process emails, update subscriber status and collate statistics related to each email campaign sent out.

Decide whether you want to track your customer's birthdays and anniversaries to create additional recognition for your business.

Email Service Provider Forms and Templates

You will need to create an opt-in confirmation email and at least two email templates.

The confirmation email is sent to a new subscriber on your list and should contain a message that describes who the email is coming from, and what they're signing up for. If you are using the suggested congratulations message that lists the names of the winners for each draw then the message should also contain a sentence that indicates that by signing up for the contest they give you permission to publish their name in case they are a winner of any particular draw. We have included a sample confirmation email here.

You will need templates for:

  1. winner notifications
  2. non-winner consolation messages
  3. birthday notices (if you have opted to send birthday messages)
  4. anniversary reminders (if you have opted to send anniversary reminders)

You can use the emails to promote your business any way you want - by describing special promotions, hours of operation, new products or new services.

Decide how long customer registrations are good for (we suggest six months to start). Customers receive emails each time a draw is run for the entire registration period.

Select a product or service that you can award as a prize.

Decide how often you want to run the contest (we suggest every two weeks to start).

Decide how your customer information will be entered into the You're a Winner! client program. Your options include:

  1. Printing table tent cards to be placed at the customer's table or service area.
  2. Using a PC workstation as a kiosk terminal that runs the You're a Winner! registration interface all the time.
  3. Using a Windows tablet computer that can be brought to the customer table with the You're a Winner! registration interface running.
  4. Using registration cards the customer fills in manually and a staff member transfers into the You're a Winner! registration interface.

Either of the first two options are the recommended ones. The third option requires an investment in tablet computers that may not be worth the expense. The fourth is labour-intensive and time-consuming, and the first three have a major advantage that the third doesn't.

The QR Code Advantage

The registration interface window has a QR code that your customers can scan using their mobile device to register or re-register for your contest virtually instantaneously. If the customer has previously used their device to register a visit to a You're a Winner client site (either the one they're at when they scan the code or any other) then their visit is registered effectively immediately. If the customer has never used their device to scan a You're a Winner! QR code, they're asked to provide their email address. If the user has registered in a You're a Winner! system running anywhere, that profile information is on file and can be used to fill in your database from the information on the You're a Winner! main server. If they've never registered that email address at any You're a Winner! client site then they're presented with another window where they are asked to provide their name (first and last) and optionally their birthday, anniversary and postal code/address information. All of that information is stored on our server and also forwarded to the You're a Winner! client program running at your facility.

Random Draw

Gifts can be awarded at any interval you choose - daily, weekly, monthly... whatever. In the case of a restaurant, the gift might be dinner for two; a golf and country club might give away a round of golf; an automotive service department could award a car detailing package; a grocery store might provide a specific dollar amount of free groceries, etc. Gifts should be awarded as gift certificates of some sort. Note that the You're a Winner! client program doesn't track the redemption of gifts or certificates - that has to be managed separately.

When a customer registers or re-registers the system automatically records the visit by creating a "visit record" for that customer for that date. Visit records make the customer eligible for all draws in a specified period of time. We recommend that the visit record be valid for six months or so, but the validity period is entirely up to you.

The more visits a customer has, the better their chance of winning. However, the system limits the visits to one per day per customer, so no one can "stuff the ballot box".

The contest manager portion of You're A Winner! calculates all eligible visit records, generates a randomized list of visit records, picks the winner, and sends the winner email notification of the fact of their winning.

It then sends consolation email notices to all other contestants.

Both the winning notification and consolation emails should include marketing information that you want to get to your customers - sales, featured products, special events, etc.

The time-consuming list management chores like dealing with bounced emails and unsubscribe requests are handled by the You're A Winner! list manager software and MailChimp's servers which communicate with each other as necessary. Customers can unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe link in the email they receive. You can unsubscribe a customer in the You're a Winner client software running at your facility by editing the subscriber's status.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

The optional birthday and anniversary tracking facility allows you to collect birth dates and anniversary dates from your customers and to send them a congratulatory email just prior to the day (any number of days in advance - you select the date range. Of course you can also award the recipient a discount coupon, gift certificate or similar promotional item.


You can grab a copy of the client program by clicking on this link. Both the installer and the client program are signed by me, personally. See the contact page for my contact information, and the security certificate the programs were signed with should match the information on the contact page.

When you run the installer you'll see a welcome dialog. Note the requirement that the computer you're installing the client program on needs to have an active internet connection.

After you click Next on the welcome dialog, you'll see the license terms dialog. Read that over (it's short) and if you agree, check the I accept... check box and click Next.

Next, you will be asked to specify the folder into which you want to install the client program. The default works pretty well in most cases, but feel free to change it if you wish. All the You're a Winner! files will be placed in this folder or in sub-folders of this one.

At this point the installer has enough information to proceed, so the installer will go ahead and create the files used by the client program.

This process takes only a few moments to complete, and at the end the installer will automatically start the You're a Winner! client program. When the client program starts it detects that there is no registration information on file, so it presents a dialog for you to fill out. It's important to fill out the fields with real information if you intend to actually use the client program since the information you provide here identifies the emails you send as coming from your facility, the management reports are sent to the email address you specify in the management email address and any receipts for payments made are generated for the organization you specify at the address you specify.

Below is an example of how I anticipate the filled out registration dialog will look like:

Once you have filled out the fields, click the Ok button and the system will start a conversation with my server to register the software and to obtain a license file that permits the operation of the client program for the next 30 days. Just to let you know it's doing something, it presents you with a down counter that starts at 30 seconds and disappears when the registration is complete.

In the odd rare circumstance where my server is not responding in a timely fashion you might see the counter go to zero, and the folllowing message appear:

If this happens, wait a few moments and then click on the Registration Information menu item (located under the File menu heading) to try to retrieve the updated license file.