How To Win Sweepstakes And Contests
Entering sweepstakes and contests can be a very exciting and rewarding hobby. This article will show you how you can "beat the odds'' and win frequently. Anyone can with the right knowledge.
What Are Sweepstakes
Sweepstakes are random drawings for prizes sponsored by various organizations to draw attention to their product or service. When an organization offers a sweepstakes it must adhere to many state and federal laws. One of the most important laws for you to understand is that no purchase is required to enter a sweepstakes. Many people believe that you won't win unless you buy the sponsors product, this is not true. Many winners of sweepstakes do not purchase the sponsors product. The sponsor is hoping you will become aware of and try their product by offering a sweepstakes to draw your attention to the product. Most larger sweepstakes are handled by an outside judging agency. This helps the promoter insure that everything will be handled properly and legally.
Do not confuse sweepstakes with contests. Contests winners are judged to win by their skill. When an organization offers a contest, it often will require a proof of purchase. This is legal because a contest is not a random drawing, winners are chosen by judges for their skill. Some of the more common contests are for recipes, writing, or drawing. Winning contests can be easy if you are skilled in the area required. There are usually far fewer entries in a contest than a sweepstakes.
Game Sweepstakes And Lotteries
Game sweepstakes are different from other sweepstakes because they have predetermined
odds. There are only so many game pieces printed or game plays available, so the
odds can be calculated. The odds are displayed in the rules. There are many types
of game sweepstakes. Some of the more common ones are instant win games, match and
win games, and collect to win games. Instant win games are the easiest to play, usually
you scratch off the game piece with a coin and see if you are a winner -
Finding Sweepstakes To Enter
Sweepstakes are everywhere. they are often advertised on the TV, in the newspaper, on the radio, in magazines and in stores. A simple online search for sweepstakes will bring up hundreds of current sweepstakes also. When your shopping, look for "take one'' forms offering sweepstakes and make sure to enter local contests when shopping. The inserts in the Sunday newspaper arealso a good source of sweepstakes.
Reading The Rules
It is important to read the rules. Do not enter a sweepstakes without first reading the rules. This is important for online sweepstakes and mail-
You will usually enter online sweepstakes on the promoters website. If you are entering online sweepstakes regularly, it will be a big time-
Improving your odds
Entering as many sweepstakes as you can find that appeal to you is one good way to start winning, but being selective can help you win without as much time and effort. Being selective of what you enter is one of the best ways to win often. Obviously, a sweepstakes that offers thousands of valuable prizes is a better sweepstakes than one that offers only one large prize. Entering several sweeps many times is also better than entering many different sweepstakes one time each. Think of the difference of entering a sweepstakes with one prize once as opposed to entering a sweepstakes with thousands of prizes 50 times. The latter example would have thousands of times better of a chance to win than the first example. What you want to do is win, and you can win by getting the odds in your favor. Below are some examples of good and bad sweepstakes, I will explain each of these below.
Many valuable prizes
2nd chance sweepstakes
Sweepstakes that are difficult to enter
Hard to find sweepstakes
Sweeps that have a very short entry deadline
Sweeps that are for a targeted audience
Games requiring a unique code
One or a few prizes
Multiple ways of entering (coupon or rebate form)
Only one entry allowed
Heavily advertised sweeps
Sweeps with a very long duration
Here is a brief discussion of the aspects of a good sweeps, enter these!
Many valuable prizes-
Now you will see what kind of sweepstakes to spend less time on:
One or few prizes-
Now you're starting to get an idea of what to look for. Once you find a desirable sweepstakes to enter, remember to enter often.
Entering often, is the key to winning. The more entries you send in, the better chance you have of winning. The number of times you enter a sweepstakes depends on your budget for mail-
When You Win
First off a warning! If you receive a notice or phone call stating you won a sweepstakes, and they ask for a fee to claim your prize, or require a purchase, THIS IS A SCAM! NEVER SEND MONEY TO CLAIM A PRIZE! It is very exciting when you win your first sweepstakes prize. Usually you will be required to fill out an affidavit and have it notarized and send it back to the judging agency. When you win a smaller prize you may just receive the prize in the mail. Most winners will be notified within a month or two of the end of the sweepstakes but occasionally it will take longer. Trust the judging agency, if you're a winner they will notify you. Some people will send for the winners list to see if they are on it, if you're on it you will already know, so don't bother.
A newsletter is a great tool to have when entering mail-
There are several good websites available that list sweepstakes links.Our website lists only sweepstakes with prizes valued over $1,000 and is accessed free by newsletter subscribers.
A Few More Tips
1. When the word "plain" is used you must use white unlined papers & cards. Use paper for "paper", a card when rules ask for a "card". Only one entry per envelope. 3x5's must be mailed in envelopes. Always
print legibly on your 3x5's, never use rubber stamps, labels, etc.
2. Avoid using a PO Box for your address or sending entries with metered mail, because this is sometimes not allowed.
3. Envelopes usually can be typed (I prefer to hand address all my envelopes to be safe), but never if the rules say "mail in a hand addressed envelope". Number 10 envelopes (business size 4-
4. Return addresses are optional. You can use labels or rubber stamps for return addresses if you like.
5. Postcards may be used only if the rules ask for a "postcard". Postcards can be 3-
6. Sweepstaking is a hobby! Very few people win enough to live off of their winnings. Don't have too high of expectations.
7. Send at least one entry to each sweepstakes you would like to win. Most successful sweepstakers I talk to never send more than 20 or 30 entries to a sweepstakes (1000 entries doesn't guarantee a win).
8. Spread your entries over the life of the sweepstakes.
9. Enter more than the sweeps in this newsletter. be on the look out for in-
10. If it adds pleasure, decorate your envelopes. I don't believe it helps in national drawings, but it may give you an edge in local drawings.
11. If you don't want the prize offered, don't enter. A cash alternative is rarely offered.
12. Don' sweat the taxes! You only pay taxes on the "fair market value". Most people will have little if any tax burden from winning a trip, if you win a substantial prize it can always be sold.
13. Sweepstakes scams do exist, never give out credit card numbers, or pay money to claim a prize, even if it supposed to be for taxes or shipping charges. Any letter requesting money to claim a prize is bogus!
14. Formulate a budget for your hobby and stick to it.
15. Enter contests if you have a knack for writing short essays, photography, or cooking. They have far fewer entries than sweepstakes. A purchase is sometimes required to enter a skill contest though.
How To Enter And Win Online Sweepstakes
Entering sweepstakes is a fun and rewarding hobby. Most major sweepstakes promotions are available to be entered for free online. Companies offer sweepstakes to draw attention and create excitement about their product. A purchase can not be required to enter a random drawing.
There are so many sweepstakes available with prizes ranging from a T-
Online sweepstakes are usually presented in two ways -
Before you get started there are a few basic things you should do. You should set up an email address to be used only for the purpose to enter sweepstakes. There are several reasons this is a good idea. First, it will keep your sweepstaking hobby separate from your regular email account. Second, entering sweepstakes, can draw spam to your email address. It is a great time saver to set up the "autofill" feature on your browser. This way, you do not have to key in your name, address, phone number, etc. at each entry page you visit.
Tips for winning
All sweepstakes are not created equal. While it certainly does not hurt to enter
all sweepstakes you come across since you can't win if you don't enter -
Local Sweepstakes or regional sweepstakes -
Unique Code Sweepstakes -
Survey sweepstakes -
Skill contests -
Hard to find sweepstakes -
Sweepstakes targeted to a limited audience -
Another thing to consider is how many times you are allowed to enter. I would say
most online sweepstakes are limited to one entry per person, many allow one entry
per day -
Where To Find Sweepstakes
By now you might be wondering, how do I find the best sweepstakes to enter? There are many sources and ways to find great sweepstakes to enter. The most obvious way would be to do a search on a search engine such as google or yahoo. A better option would be to find a website that offers links to current sweepstakes. There are many of these also, some are free, but heavy with advertising. Others offer only a few sweepstakes to enter. Others yet, charge a subscription fee to use their service. If you are serious about this hobby, you will eventually subscribe to one or more of these websites.
One last thought. Sweepstakes used to be entered only by mail, and still are in many
cases. If you are interested in expanding your hobby, or going in this direction,
a sweepstakes newsletter will be a very helpful asset to you. We recommend the newsletters
offered at www.bestsweepstakes.com if you would like to enter mail-
Don't Ignore Entering By Mail
It's hard not to notice that sweepstakes have proliferated online. Most all companies, marketers, and even blogs have taken advantage of offering their sweepstakes promotions online. They are easy and cheaper to run online. The old days of mailing in a postcard to enter seems to have all but disappeared. This has been generally accepted as a good thing by a lot of people that enter sweepstakes because there are no longer postage and paper costs. There are dozens of sites listing sweepstakes links without charge also. Our site also has a database of online sweepstakes with prize values over $1,000 available to all of our newsletter subscribers.
The only problem is, there is much, much more competition to win online sweepstakes! I believe that the sweepstakes that are more "winnable", turn out it be the very sweepstakes that you probably do not enter online. We believe that it is much more likely to win a prize in a sweepstakes that is not entered by the masses online. In other words, the sweepstakes with fewer entrants and much better odds of winning.
While you should still enter sweepstakes online, I am more inclined to put my energy
into sweepstakes that are often ignored by the masses of online entrants. These sweepstakes
may include promotions offered without an online entry such as mail-
This is where YOU have a big advantage over the masses of entries received for online
sweepstakes. We are geared to mail-