On any given day, thousands of contests are created to promote goods and services of companies around the world. Someone has to win those contests. Why not let that person be you?
In the last year, I’ve entered numerous contests in order to win fantastic prizes, including tee shirts, high-end backpacks, VIP concert tickets, gift cards, cash, and a $5,000 scholarship. The purpose of this post is not to gloat, but to assure the world that anyone can win with the right techniques and mindset.
While most attribute my contest success to luck (and it is a big factor), I do have a method that I use to increase my chances of winning these contests. I’ve shared some tips below.
1. Choose a contest
Since most contests have at least some form of online presence nowadays, contests are easier to find and enter than ever. A simple Google search will turn up hundreds of contests, but you can select the contests that increase your chances of winning. Just because odds of winning a contest aren’t great, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enter—especially if the prize is big enough.
|Best Odds Of Winning||Poor Odds Of Winning|
If you find a site that makes entering even easier, like a collection of sweepstakes, bookmark it. For college students, check out CampusLIVE. I’ve won some pretty awesome prizes for playing a few games on the site…
2. Read the rules
All contests have rules, it is your job to read the fine print.** Most people don’t pay attention to these rules, but they provide several useful pieces of information, including eligibility, odds of winning, and alternate methods of entry.
Sometimes you don’t even have to do the task associated with the contest. For example, if a contest makes you play a game before submitting your entry form, it may be possible to bypass the game and simply submit the form. This saves time and effort that you can use to do other things—like enter more contests.
After you determine what kind of contest it is (skill contest, sweepstakes, voting contest) you can develop a strategy to enter.
- Skill contests — These are by far my favorite kinds of contests. They include design contests, sending in recipes, and video submissions, to name a few. Because they require creativity and a bit of effort, the number of entries can be much smaller than normal sweepstakes. Increase your chances by making your entry stand out, since humans determine the winner. For example, when the contest calls for crafting a tweet, include a visual component (like TwitPic) to make the judge stop as they are scrolling through submissions and look at your entry.
- Voting contests — These are a kind of skill contest that also requires creativity and effort, but the winners are determined by the voting public. Making entries stand out is crucial here too, and can be achieved by tailoring your submission to the voting audience. When college students are the judge of a contest, put yourself in the mind of a college student—as scary as that may be—to enter appropriately. Additionally, use your social networks to get friends and family to vote for you if possible. Be aware that spamming the link is frowned upon and can do harm to your cause, but providing a story or specific reason why your close friends and family should vote for you will help—and they can share that story with their networks too, getting you more votes.
4. Keep a positive attitude
You are not going to win every contest or sweepstakes you enter. If you do, buy a lottery ticket for me, would you? It is important to not get discouraged while entering and to keep entering away.
Finally, to quote the great Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” You can’t win if you don’t play! Best of luck to you in your contest-entering ventures!
Have you ever won something from a contest? What tips would you add? I look forward to reading your comments below!
Until next time,
**If you can’t read the fine print (or find it anywhere) be very cautious! That may be a sign the contest isn’t the most legitimate. Now go back up and read the rest of this post!