Tips for Advent Competitions
Are you ready for the busiest time of the year for compers?
You may have noticed a few companies starting their daily giveaways early, but most will be launching next Friday, 1st December. There will be a mix of comps – some will be 24 prizes, one a day until Christmas. For others, there might be a daily prize on weekdays only. And some companies might do a ’12 days of Christmas’ promotion, either starting on the 1st or the 12th December. In some cases, there will be prizes on some days and discounts/offers on the other days. If it’s a social media comp, the winner is usually contacted or announced the following day.
Yes, Advent can be a rather stressful time for compers, but don’t panic! Here are my tips on getting organised…
Check the ready-made lists
As usual, someone else will be doing the hard work for you – but keep in mind, thousands of people will be visiting competition listings sites daily through December so you have a lot of competition! Start with a browse of one (or more) of the main UK competition sites, bookmarking your favourite advent comps as you go. Then each day, pop back and see what’s new – and bookmark the comps you like in your browser.
Set up browser bookmarks
Bookmarks are a comper’s best friend – use Ctrl-D/Cmd-D to save a website, or tap the star in the Chrome menu. I store advent comps in a folder labelled Adv on my Bookmarks Bar – inside are several folders, for Facebook Advents, Twitter Advents, Web Advents and then more for Gleam, Instagram, apps etc (see screenshot below). On a computer, right-click a folder name and choose Open all bookmarks to open all the Advents in new tabs, then enter one by one, closing tabs as you go. Put 25 links maximum in each folder so it doesn’t slow you down too much. Keep these folders and each year you can reuse them! I also rename bookmarks where the comp opens or closes at a certain time, eg ends 5pm @LEONrestaurants.
Decide on a handful of essentials
If you don’t have much time to comp, limit yourself to 10-20 essential comps where you really want to win the prizes – and make sure you do those every day. File those into Essentials bookmark folders in your Advents folder. Then if you get those done – you can move on to your other folders! Keep in mind that entry numbers REALLY tail off after the first 10 days of December, as people get bored or simply run out of time, so try to avoid burnout!
Use autofill to fill forms quickly
When you’re filling the same form every day, you have to take advantage of your browser’s autofill function. If you want more options and don’t mind paying, I recommend Roboform Everywhere and have used it for years. With Roboform you can SAVE the contents of an entry form before submitting, and load it the next day – handy for dailies that have unusual fields to be completed! I’ve also heard good things about the free Dashlane tool.
Keep your inbox tidy
Most of the brands who run advent competitions don’t do it out of the kindness of their heart. No, they want to get you on board as a paying customer! And lots of them will be adding you to their mailing lists as a reward for your entry – so check any boxes you’re ticking! Whatever you do, don’t register for daily email reminders of comps. You’ll be wasting time clearing out your inbox – just use a list or your bookmarks to enter them.
If your inbox is already jam-packed with rubbish, you’re not going to be able to cope with the influx of new emails – and might even miss a winning message! So start NOW and click the unsubscribe link in all those unwanted emails as they arrive – or do what I do, and use a tool like Unroll.me to combine them into one daily digest.
Make sure you search your inbox and spam/junk folders regularly for ‘Congratulations’, ‘Winner’ or ‘Runner up’ in case you’ve missed a winning notification – this applies all year round of course!
Search for comps
Thousands of people visit the competition listings websites, so you’ll do better if you hunt for your own comps. There are lots of words and phrases you can combine to find your own Advent comps. They can appear at any time in the next couple of weeks – some companies only start their ’12 Days of Christmas’ on the 13th December! Search on Google and Twitter for ‘Advent competition’, ’12 days of christmas’, along with ‘win’ or ‘prizes’ to find comps, you can even search for that specific day: ‘Day 6 win’ for example, or add your local town to the search. Don’t forget to check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds for your local shopping centres and favourite brands!
Tweetdeck (for computers – see screenshot below) is an awesome way to run several Twitter searches simultaneously.
Set keyboard shortcuts
This is a massive timesaver for compers! You can type a few letters, and your device will automatically expand it into a phrase of your choice. Set shortcuts for your Twitter handle, email address, etc. To do this on an iPhone it’s Settings > Keyboard > Text replacement, on an Android it’s Settings > Language & Input > Personal Dictionary.
Copy and paste comments
Have a notes file on your computer or mobile, and a set of answers: your favourite Christmas movie/food/song/tradition, etc. Add a generic comment you can use for quick Facebook and Twitter replies: “I’d love to find this in my Christmas stocking!” for example. Again, set Keyboard shortcuts for these phrases – you can type a few letters and a paragraph appears by magic! For example I type ‘xs’ on my iPhone and it expands into ‘The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping’! Watch out though – Facebook algorithms are flagging a lot of comments as spam, so don’t do too much copy & pasting at once!
Don’t ignore other comps!
While everyone else struggles to enter 500 advent comps every day, the number of entries for blog giveaways, creative Christmas comps, and purchase-necessary instant wins will be way down – particularly comps that require you to leave your warm home to enter! Photos of your Christmas jumper, decorations and tree will definitely be useful too – see my list of this year’s win your wishlist competitions too. And don’t forget to tweet your BBB and Kellogg’s advent calendar daily selfies…
Copy other compers
Keep an eye on your Facebook ticker (if you have one, it’s on the right of your screen on a computer) to see which Facebook comps your friends are entering – you might spot some low entry treats! It’s hard to search Instagram for comps, but you can always check the entries on competition posts to find compers and then check their profiles to find other comps to enter. And of course, you’ll find loads of people tweeting entries (try our Lucky Learners list to start with).
I hope these tips help you out – please leave a comment if you have any more! You might also want to watch the Facebook Live I recorded in 2016 with lots of Advent tips.
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