How to find local competitions and giveaways
For the best chance of winning a prize, you need to find and enter competitions that don’t have many other entrants! A great way to reduce the number of competitors is to enter prize draws and comps advertised in your local area, or enter to win prizes that need to be collected or used locally. A competition to win tickets to a local independent cinema, or a weeknight meal for two won’t get anywhere near the number of entries that a nationwide cinema or restaurant chain will get for a competition.
This blog post will give you a few ideas on how you can find low-entry local competitions – and how to increase your chance of winning them!
Find and follow local businesses
Local businesses regularly run competitions to attract new customers – but they’re usually not very good at promoting these comps, so it’s a good idea to follow their social media profiles, visit their websites and join their mailing lists.
- When you’re next walking down the High Street, make a note of the shops, bars, beauty salons, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres that you see – then search for them on social media. Some might even be advertising comps in their shop windows.
- Pick up a local magazine or newspaper, and see which businesses are advertising – they usually include their social media handles in the ads.
- Look out for comps in local gyms, car dealerships, libraries, hotels and tourist attractions.
When you’re joining a mailing list or following their social pages, have a quick look for any current comps too! If you discover a page on Facebook you particularly like, you can receive a notification each time they post. To do this, select Follow – then select the edit icon next to Notifications, and change from Highlights to Standard.
When you find local businesses on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll also be shown related pages – check these to see if there are other local business profiles you could follow. On Facebook you might see Pages Liked By This Page – where you might find other local pages worth visiting.
Read local newspapers and magazines
Check your local newspapers (both paid and the free ones) for comps – and if you have one, check the Friday-Ad free ads paper. You can pick up local papers and magazines for free at shopping centres, swimming pools, libraries, cafés and bars – and you’ll find lots at popular student shops and cafés.
The Media Info website has a search function – use this to look for your county or town. You’ll find local newspapers, radio stations and magazines listed, and can visit their websites to look for comps.
In your web browser, create a bookmarks folder for your favourite local websites – and then set a reminder in your calendar to check them regularly (at least once every fortnight) for new competitions. You can also add social media links to your bookmarks folder. If you’re unsure about using Bookmarks, see my blog post How to use Bookmarks in Chrome and Safari.
Listen to local radio stations
Local radio stations often run competitions, on air, on social media and on their websites. There’s a great list of stations and their coverage on the RadioCentre website – and lots of these run regular comps. Don’t restrict yourself to radio stations in your immediate locality – try the ones just outside your area too! It’s easy to tune in – ask Google or Alexa to ‘stream Spirit FM’ (for example) or get the Tune In mobile app. There are lots of ways to enter on-air radio comps – register online in advance, text a keyword, call the studio, or even request a song on Twitter.
Local radio stations sometimes have a PR team that go out and about visiting local shopping centres and major local events – if you spot them, make sure you go and say Hi, just incase they’re giving out freebies or prizes!
Go to local events
Baby Shows, Health Shows, Village Fairs, Community Days… there are lots of local events full of stalls running giveaways. Keep an eye on Twitter for chances to win tickets, and check the venue Facebook pages for ticket giveaways. Always take a pen and a few business cards along to events just in case!
Experiential and pop-up events are popular at larger train stations and Tesco Superstores – and you’ll sometimes find them at shopping centres. Look out for news about local store openings too – Homesense, TK Maxx, Lidl and other stores have announced on Facebook they’ll be giving vouchers to the first customers on launch day!
Make some local comping friends
A local comping group is by far the best way to keep up to date with local comps – they meet regularly and share magazines, entry forms and details of upcoming local events where they might be comps! Find a list of current competition clubs that welcome new members here.
If there’s no club near you, why not start one? Then set up a Facebook group or Whatsapp group so you can share details of local comps quickly and easily. One of the great advantages of a local comping club is that often members win last minute prizes that they can’t use, so it’s easy to find someone to pass it on to!
Of course, not everyone has a comping group locally, but via my Lucky Learners Facebook group I’ve encouraged people to set up their own smaller local Facebook groups to share competitions. Not all of these are regularly used – but all it takes is a few people posting one comp a week to get things up and running, so give it a go! You can find a full list of local groups on this blog post.
If you have a few local friends, check with them if they’re happy for you to tag them on social media. A lot of local businesses are keen to spread the word, so they might request that you tag 3 or more friends when you enter their comps! So if you can track down some local compers and make them your tag buddies, you’ll be able to get more entries in and find more comps. They might even share the prize with you if they win! We have a post in the Lucky Learners group to find tagging mates.
Find local comps on Google
I use Google searches all the time to search for specific prizes, but you can also use them to find local comps. Start by going to www.google.co.uk (if you’re UK based!) and tap in your search terms – try the words win, competition or prize and combine with your local town, city or county. When you get results, click Tools then change Any Time to Past Week to see recent results.
- To exclude words from your search results, simply add a dash (minus sign) before the word eg. if I wanted to win local event tickets – but not football! – I could use win Brighton tickets -Albion. This would show me ticket competitions but NOT any that mention Albion!
- When you put a phrase in quotes, the results will only include pages with the same words in exactly the same order as what’s inside the quotes – for example “win a meal”
- Type OR in capital letters to search for pages that may have just one of several words, eg. Win tickets competition Hove OR Brighton gives results for both locations – without the OR, Google would only show websites that match both Brighton and Hove. The OR tells Google to look at the words either side – if you want to use phrases, include quotes, eg. win “hotel stay” OR “overnight stay” OR “weekend break” London
Here’s an example of a search string I might use. I get a lot of results about Brighton & Hove Albion FC, so I’ve excluded Albion from the search:
competition win hove OR brighton -albion
Don’t forget to save your search results as bookmarks in your browser too – with the ‘Past week’ filter activated it means that every time you visit the bookmark, it will show the latest results!
If you want regular search results in your inbox, set up a Google Alert! Simply go to https://www.google.co.uk/alerts and tap in your search words – you’ll be emailed when Google finds matching results.
Find local comps on Facebook
Facebook search can be a bit hit and miss, but here’s a few tips to find local comps.
- Try searching for your town name with ‘giveaway’ or ‘competition’. When you get search results, on the bottom left you can change the date to the current month. The example above shows my search for posts mentioning Brighton Giveaway restricted to Jan 2020.
- Search for your hometown on Facebook and tap Pages to see the results – then tick Local Business or Place in the filters on the sidebar. Visit the pages, check for comps and Follow them!
- On Facebook, search for words like salon, café, restaurant, etc. and then filter the search by selecting Choose a City and typing your location. Be as specific as you can and consider your hobbies – eg, search for skates, ski or karaoke to find relevant pages that might be running comps!
Find local comps on Twitter
Twitter is an excellent way to find out about local competitions. Use the simple Twitter search – try win plus your local town, city or county name. Try the Advanced search to specify dates. You can also use OR and – on Twitter, just like on a Google search. Not every result will be a Twitter comp – you’ll find links to websites, Instagram and even Facebook comps. You don’t even need to be a registered Twitter user to do searches – so get stuck in!
After completing a search, on the right of the search box click on the three dots and you can Save this search. Whenever you click in the search box, your saved searches will be listed here.
Curating a Twitter list can be a good way to focus on finding local comps. Add your favourite local businesses and compers to a private Twitter list and check it regularly. For guidance on lists read How to use Twitter lists.
A fun way to search Twitter if you have a computer is to use Tweetdeck. With Tweetdeck you can have several searches running concurrently, plus you can actually search within your local Twitter list (try looking for win, prize or competition). Give it a try at https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/
Find local comps on Instagram
On Instagram try a search for your local town, village, county or city in the search box, then tap on Top or Accounts. You may be able to find local websites, bloggers, events, clubs locally who may be running competitions. Instagram learns from the posts that you like and the accounts you follow, so it should start to show you more comps and local content in your feed!
If you live near a big town or city you might find comps by searching for a hashtag – eg. #LondonCompetition #BrightonComp. Finding local tag buddies will help you find and enter more Instagram competitions too.
Don’t forget, you can always search for the name of your local town or area on competition listings websites too.
What tips do you have for finding local comps? Leave them in the comments!