How to increase your chances of winning competitions

“I’ve entered thousands of competitions, and I’ve not won a thing!”
“Everybody is winning except me!”

Sound familiar?

If you read interviews with compers in the newspapers, it might seem like winning prizes is easy. But the truth is, it’s not easy – successful comping requires persistence, patience and positive thinking. People are rarely good at it straight away – if you wonder why I’m successful, it’s because I have over 20 years’ experience and know lots of tricks of the trade (and that’s why I’ve published a book of comping tips!).

If you’re new to the hobby, it will take a while to get in the swing of things. Most new compers will enjoy comping for a few weeks, then when they don’t win – they give up. It’s the ones who keep going that will eventually be successful – and remember, some promoters take months to notify their winners, so be patient!

Most compers reckon just 1 in 1000 of their competition entries is a winner. I don’t track the exact number of comps I enter, but my own ratio of wins to entries is about 1 in 60. So why the difference?

The majority of compers focus on the quantity of comps entered, finding comps via listings sites like Loquax, PrizeFinder and MSE, then using autofill and keyboard shortcuts to fill out web entry forms rapidly. Some compers are entering 200 or more comps a day!

For me, it’s about quality of comps entered – I enter fewer comps but spend more time on finding them. I spend an hour or two most days finding and entering around 30-40 comps, a mixture of purchase necessary, Twitter (replies, rather than RTs), Facebook (comments, rather than shares), Instagram, Gleam, Rafflecopter, postal, local and radio comps.

I only use competition listings websites to search for effort/creative competitions, or to look for wishlist prizes. I simply don’t want to do a daily trawl through the MoneySavingExpert forum or The PrizeFinder. I find it dull, and I also know there’s a low chance of a win because thousands of other compers are entering those same easy prize draws.

I focus on the prizes I want to win by searching at least once a week for my wishlist prizes, using bookmarked Google searches and saved Twitter searches to do this quickly.

If you’re struggling to win anything, here are some suggestions:

How to start winning

Enter every day

Lots of comps (particularly text comps and instant wins) allow you one entry per day. Even by entering a prize draw for a second time you’ve already doubled your chance of winning – so if you can do an entry every day for the duration of a promotion, your chance of winning will be significantly increased.
Current example is Pringles Stack’n’Share, which ends on 30th April 2020. 

Set reminders

Habits are important – get yourself into a regular comping routine. Use Google calendar notifications, phone alarms or even Post-it notes to remind yourself to listen out for radio comps, do daily instant wins, weekly Google searches or monthly checks of your favourite websites. 

Search for local low-entry competitions

Look for local business pages (restaurants, venues, shops, salons etc) on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – lots of them will be running competitions.
See blog post: How to find local competitions and giveaways

Find comping friends

You’ll find lots of comps if you follow what your friends are up to on your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feed – particularly if they’re kind enough to tag you in comps. Local friends are the most helpful, as they will tag you in low entry comps – find them in local Facebook comping groups, or join a local competition club

Join an online comping forum or Facebook group

Check the motivational winners posts to see where and how people are winning prizes. If you’re in the Lucky Learners group check it daily, as this is where myself and members share comps with low entries or lots of prizes (be sure to check the ‘Pick of the Comps’ announcement post for our recommended comps)

Search Google and Twitter

Search on Google or Twitter for the prizes you want and competition types you enjoy most (photo, video, Instagram, recipe, etc). Do you have a smartphone? Use it for Twitter searches when you have a spare moment (in a queue, on the bus, waiting at the school gates) – enter right away, or bookmark the tweets to look at later on. Curate Twitter lists to focus on your favourite accounts. You can find some great low entry Facebook and Instagram comps via Twitter searches! 

Enter radio comps 

Listen to as many stations as you can (particularly local stations) – on-air radio competitions give instant gratification as you find out you’ve won right away, so they’re a great motivator. Check my tips on how to win radio competitions

Read the rules

Make sure you’re entering properly – read the rules and check the closing date, and be sure your Twitter and Instagram accounts aren’t private.
Check my blog post Why you should read the rules and also Are you entering Retweet competitions correctly?

Get out and about

Stop shopping online and go to your local High Street and supermarkets. Keep a look out for entry forms, posters and magazines – if you’re discreet you can take photos of email comps in magazines and newspapers, without having to buy them!

Try a few effort comps

Most compers avoid any sort of effort competition, which means the entry numbers are low. For many tiebreaker, photo or video competitions, a winning entry is chosen at random so your photo or comment doesn’t need to be the best! If you’re creating something special for a specific competition, take several different photographs so you can use them for other comps. Be prepared for events like Halloween, Pancake Day and Mothers Day by storing relevant photos on your phone ready to post!

Enter comps with lots of prizes

On-pack promotions with thousands of smaller prizes are great to keep your spirits up, especially those where prizes are awarded via winning moments.
Check current Easy-to-Win comps and check out my tips for winning purchase-necessary comps

Enter to win books

Books are one of the easiest prizes to win, especially kids books on the www.toppsta.com website. Check my blog post competitions for bookworms and follow my Twitter lists for Books and Kids Books. 

Cut down on the sharing

Most new compers I see have a Facebook profile full of Like & Share comps, and a Twitter profile full of RT comps – these are exceptionally hard to win, as they are seen by thousands of people! If you find a comp where you don’t want the prize, definitely share it! But if you really want to win, don’t go posting it on Facebook, Twitter and forums so everyone else can join in. It’s nice to share, but it reduces your chance of a win significantly. You’ll have more success with the like/comment comps on Facebook, or the ‘reply with…’ comps on Twitter.

Check for wins regularly

Sometimes new compers miss news of a win because they don’t know where to look! Search your email inbox and junk folders for ‘congratulations’ or ‘winner’ and if you enter Facebook comps, search for your name in the Competition Winners group.

Stuck in a dry spell?

It’s not just new compers that struggle. If you’ve been comping for years and haven’t been lucky for a while, that’s a ‘dry spell’. Losing your comping mojo isn’t unusual, and it happens to most long-term compers at least a couple of times. A new hobby or a life-changing event like a wedding or baby comes along and suddenly you don’t have that spare time to dedicate to your comps.

Here’s a few ways you can stay enthusiastic:

You will start winning again, it’s just a matter of time!

Are you a new comper struggling to win, or stuck in a dry spell? Or maybe you have some tips for new compers?  Leave a comment and let’s come up with some ideas to get you winning again! 

66 Responses

  1. Carol Thomas says:

    I’ve been comping on/off since I was 8years old. I took up comping as a daily hobby 8 years ago. On a whim I entered a purchase competition in my local supermarket, 8 years ago. I won.

    I won a £1000 of supermarket vouchers just before Christmas. That got me thinking, looking online for comps info on etc.

    So been comping for 8 years. I’ve had one bad year in 2015. It’s been average since then of what I usually win.

    It was a bit down last year on usual. I dont think I’m entering as many as I used too as I have found the comp quality has gone down.

    Also with so many extra entering them. Whilst as you say Di, most don’t stick around, there is always others to take their place

    I enter a mixture of comps, from effort based, gleam as well as form filling. I’ve had some amazing wins over the years.

    The supermarket vouchers of £1000, and other smaller amounts. Two holidays: one to Santorini and the other to the Czech republic are my biggies.

    Though my smaller prizes have all bought much pleasure including the ones for charity.

    I only enter what I will use, regift, for presents or donate.

    For me comping has to be fun. If your only doing it for what you will win then you won’t stick around.

    I am in comp community, have my own comp sharing to pages, cooperate help etc others in the community and more. I’ve made some great friends through comping too.

    Enjoying it as to part of it

    • Di says:

      You’re right about it being fun Carol – it’s essentially a great hobby and prizes are a bonus. It’s fine to take a little break and hopefully come back to it refreshed! Hope you get inspired for 2020 and manage to improve on 2019!

  2. Annabelle says:

    Don’t ever believe the ‘winners chosen at random’ spiel. Winners are chosen by which person best fits their target audience, an example of the exact kinda person the product is aimed at. So if you never win any of them, it’s as your not their target or ideal consumer.

    • Di says:

      This is true in some cases Annabelle (and why I tell people they should always try to make their entry stand out regardless of whether terms state the winner is chosen at random). Bigger brands pay agencies to conduct their draws fairly and at random, under independent supervision so the winners are regularly compers, and not the target audience at all!

  3. Renee says:

    I’m a competition junkie! I went through a phase where I won stuff for a strong few years, a trip to Hawaii, Rarotonga & Nes Cali, these were all promos from buying food products. Facebook ones I got plants, clothes and vouchers here & there… going through a dry spell now & it’s annoying me! Tips?

  4. Ashley Bissett says:

    I have entered over 100,000 online competitions and not won a single thing.

    • Di says:

      I find that hard to believe Ashley – you must have been entering all the wrong ones!

    • Tinny says:

      Over 100.000 COMPETITIONS!!!!!!! and still, haven’t won ANYTHING? wow, I’m also finding it difficult to understand that you still haven’t won, that’s very sad. Maybe you need to take a break or find another hobby

      • Ashley Bissett says:

        Recently won £1000 worth of kitchen appliances

        • Ashley Bissett says:

          Their are FAR worse cases than mine I can assure you. Go over to some of the comping forums and take a look for yourself if you don’t believe me. Hopefully the tide has changed. I just do it for fun!

  5. Laura Wheatley says:

    I have been a comper for around 10 years, (with a big break) I used to have lots of look won thousands in gift vouchers, laptop, phones and some lovely little things too. I think since social media took over it is much more difficult and I think on social media it is harder to keep track of entries (from the promoters point of view) there has been a few instances where I have seen companies just giving the winning entry to the last comment. The only competitions I seem to win are bog comps. I also have issues with twitter shadow bans constantly (even when I gave up twitter comps and just did the tweets through the rafflecopter/gleam widgets) …. main thing is I enjoy it and I am keeping going as I know it is possible to win so you just never know 🙂

  6. Linda says:

    I have only started comping again over the last month or so. I did have a couple of years off, in the past have won lots of good prizes, ie £1,000, then a week later another £1,000 from a different competition, that was my best prize. I won a TV, XBOX and many other good prizes. I am trying hard to start winning again, but it seems impossible at the moment, but I am determined.

  7. Matt says:

    Respect. I hardly have time for myself most days with work, family and other commitments that crop up in the week. Spending two hours a day on comps would just not be feasible. Fine if you don’t have a demanding job and family otherwise somewhat illusory.

  8. Patricia Everard says:

    I am having a dryspell of winning competitions.Currently I am trying to win cash prizes.How can I stay motivated.The last prize I won theatre tickets.

  9. Tony says:

    What do you think of uk wins

  10. lorraine jarman says:

    entering lots of competition on loquax and prize finder but no luck so far am I wasting my time entering daily on these sites or shall I persevere until my luck changes.

    • Di says:

      Are you mainly doing the easy prize draws Lorraine? They will get thousands of entries so are harder to win that the comps that require a little effort (photos for example). Comping is never a waste of time, but it’s trying to work out which ones will give you the best odds of winning – local ones, on-pack instant wins, creative and the short-lived social media ones!

      • lorraine jarman says:

        Thanks for your advise Di i’m very new to comping but fine your blog very helpful. Thank you for getting back to me.

  11. Stephen Freemantle says:

    I’ new doing the competitions, I have been trying for 3 months everyday but still won nothing, being trying Twitter and Facebook. I have been using Loquax and Money Saving website. Never receive any reply on twitter hopefully this is working 🙂 but keep going hopefully one day start winning.
    Thank you Di this is a great website and it’s good to see people are winning these competitions.

    • Di says:

      What’s your Twitter username Stephen? I’ll follow you and make sure I reply to some of your tweets!

      • Stephen Freemantle says:

        Hello Di,
        My Twitter is Stephen F@stevef20162

        • Di says:

          Following! The first problem I can see is that you’re quoting tweets – you won’t win if you quote tweets, as the promoter won’t see it! You need to RETWEET then add your comment as a separate REPLY!

          • Stephen Freemantle says:

            Hello Di,
            Thank you for your reply,sorry this sounds stupid. I’m on twitter I have a seen a competition, I have pressed like sometimes.
            Then just press Retweet only,
            Then press reply and say you would love to win etc etc.
            I never thought I was quoting tweets all new to this one day I will hopefully get this right.

  12. Naomi says:

    I never win anything. Played NY State lottery numerous times. Over $6k worth of scratch off tickets. Nothing. Zilch. I believe it’s a bad combination of my luck being totally down and out plus the game likely being rigged. I just should give up

  13. Barbara Wood says:

    I used to do competitions years ago then found I didn’t have much time. I have recently started again but everything as changed it is all facebook and twitter which I don’t fully understand but will get there I am sure I will persevere. Any tips will be gratefull.

  14. Gail Weisblat says:

    I just started last Nov. Thank you for all this great info. I have no wins yet. But hoping for them to start soon with listening to all that you have to say .

  15. Marie Booth says:

    I was comping ‘full time’ last year but since I’ve got a term time job I’ve gone through a long dry spell even though I have kept up entering lots of competitions. I don’t understand why the same few people seem to win everything! Are there any tips on email addresses (for example do hotmail and gmail addresses get picked less thinking it’s spam?). I’m really starting to feel that there is no point entering when the same few people win all the time!!

  16. sarah gray says:

    I’ve been comping for almost 3 years. I have hit a real dry spell of late. No idea why – not doing anything different, and always had small – medium wins quite regularly. Any tips to kickstart me? x

    • Sorry to hear that Sarah. It might well be that your dry spell means there’s something fabulous coming your way soon! The tip I’d most recommend from this blog post is Googling for prizes you want, particularly smaller prizes like tickets and meals and local events which will have much lower entry numbers.

  17. Georgina Nicol-James says:

    literally started comping in the last three days. i’ve entered loads, nut i’ll be looking for quality over quantity now, makes so much sense! thank you, really excited.

  18. JB says:

    Would love know how to go about searching them out myself on google. Does anyone want to offer me any tips please.

  19. Jacqueline Roberts says:

    I actually won 2 tickets to centre court & hamper by purely googling a question asked by my son. He asked how many balls do they use at Wimbledon? Did this and lo and behold on a 10 facts about Wimbledon was a competition. Thanks HSBC

  20. Olivia Kirby says:

    I don’t ever get any signal/reception around school, it’s most disappointing!! And I am far too anti social for the purchase comps. I actually think I’m a terrible comper. I have become fairly disinterested in ‘things’ too, I hate presents (giving and receiving) so don’t really enjoy comping for gifts (but I do do it). It always surprises me how many compers aren’t interested in tickets/trips/holidays! They are what I REALLY want. I don’t enter comps for a buzz any more, I just do it to save money and dream about cool holidays!

    • That’s what I love about compers – we’re all different, and what works for one of us doesn’t work for another. Sometimes I think I try too many things at once and flit all over the place, but if I focused on one prize or one type of comp, I would be more successful. I like the variety though! What holiday prizes do you have lined up for the rest of the year Olivia – any swish weekends away? 🙂

      • Olivia Kirby says:

        Hi Di! I’ve got the jury’s inn night away to book (Friday freebie Twitter win) and a night in Birmingham with dinner and VIP tickets ago the symphony hall (prize draw from Flybe mag) Also I won the Galvanina bottle reuse comp after hosting the Come Round party. I made a bird feeder and we won a 2 night break to Rimini in Italy! Flights, taxis and hotel. It looks great and the bird feeder took less than an hour and a tenner to make! X

        • That’s great! I did a Come Round ironing party (!) and won a £500 Red Letter Day voucher with my video review of the iron afterwards – only a few of us entered. I’m looking for a weekend in Birmingham, I’ll have to check out that mag! 🙂

  21. Christina Curtis says:

    I used to use MSE religiously! But then the forum started to fail and the search function stopped working meaning I was unable to check if a Competition had already been posted, So I then stopped sharing Competitions and spent more time trying to look for them and I Have to say I have won much more since.. Many of the ones I won recently only had 1 or 2 entries – Infact one recently only had myself and my best friend enter..so they let us both win as the only people bothering to enter.

    I find MSE miss out on lots of great Competitions! Great Blog post and very helpful.. I used to find lots of low entry ones on Twitter but since it changed I have found it harder to find as many as before.

    • I find searching Twitter more effective using several columns on http://www.tweetdeck.com and hope to do a video about that soon! I also enjoy just browsing – for example, I find a local company I like and see who they’re chatting too, and click on their feeds, and then see who’s recommended… you can find some nice little comps that way!

  22. Carroll Marsh says:

    Oh thanks Di,You are very Inspirational and just what we all need when things slow down!When is your book being Published!Big Hugs x

    • Thanks Carroll! I’m hoping ‘SuperLucky Secrets’ will be available by the end of July – I’m going to have to stop comping and start editing to make sure it happens though, and that’s the tricky part! 😉

  23. Plastig Ffantastig says:

    Play to your strengths – I really enjoy the easy entry (goodreads for example, I usually win around 5 books a week) comps, I find it relaxing to do them in the evening when watching TV or whatever. But if you find it boring, there’s no point in forcing yourself when you could be entering more creative comps. Same with the type of comps you enter – I don’t have a wishlist as such, but I don’t enter for holidays, events, trips, etc because it’s too much hassle with work and now the baby… If you know what you *don’t* want to win it’s easier to focus on what you do want.

    • Great tip about the Goodreads giveaways – I always forget about that site as I don’t do much reading, but of course the books make great gifts for family and friends! Definitely agree about certain prizes – much as I’d like to win nights out in London and the like, the hassle of arranging childcare and travel is a pain!

  24. Heather Crowe says:

    I needed this to spur me on, Thanks Di! 🙂 xx

  25. emmasfabulous says:

    Spot on as usual, Di. My spreadsheet isn’t looking great! Two cravendale glasses for June is a bit disheartening. My personal rule is to never give up. I worry if I did I might not start again. As you say, life events can dictate and I’ve spent this year retraining for a new career so that has taken over. But mixing things up does help, I’m enjoying wamo at the moment and doing a lot of purchase comps. Sometimes it’s harder the more experienced you are as it seems all your peers are winning and you know you are capable. Everything seems so elusive! But it does pay to be patient as once you’ve been comping for a few years you get to enjoy the spoils and the memories through those rotten dry spells!

    • It’s also nice to save a few prizes – for example, Red Letter Day vouchers, free meals out or or gift cards can perk you up if you’re not winning, and remind you what a great hobby it is! And you’re reminded me – I’ve yet to win with Cravendale, must try harder!!

      • emmasfabulous says:

        I agree, this is one benefit as a long term comper that obviously newbies need time to discover. Very rare I have nothing in the bank. Got holiday & paultons park tkts plus some vouchers to spend. I spent the last of my Debenhams vouchers yesterday, that was painful ! Dry spells are tough though , constantly checking the inbox.. Funny how u feel will never win again when evidence points to the contrary! X

  26. Natalie Crossan says:

    In my experience, the people that say they’re entering “thousands and not winning” are entering about 2 comps a day and hoping for miracles. I am one of those that enters an excessive amount of competitions, if I told you the figure – you’d think I was exaggerating but I tend to win at least one prize a day, some days I win up to 10 prizes and I average around 70 a month… If you enter thousands YOU WILL WIN! So, up your game compers! (I mean this in the nicest possible way… even though I know it sounded bossy. I’m a bossy comper….)

    • Nat, you work incredibly hard at your comping – your Twitter feed is a delight! – and deserve every one of those prizes. I know you also hunt for a lot of those comps yourself on Google, and have great techniques for rattling through the blog giveaways quickly. In fact I still have plans to secretly come and film an evening of comping at Natty’s house! 😉

      • Natalie Crossan says:

        LOL there will be a fee Di if any such video of me comping presents itself on youtube 😉 haha xx

  27. rebecca beesley says:

    This is a great post Di. One of the things I really struggle with (and I know it sounds a silly) is when I’ve put a lot of effort into a comp and don’t win (i mean tons of effort like giving up a whole weekend to make a video or spending several weeks working on something), I tend to feel really low on the day I realise I haven’t won. I know that there have been so many highs and buzzes of lots of other wins to make up for it and I often feel happy for whoever the winner is so it’s not a jealousy thing, but just a feeling that I shouldn’t have spent so much time on it. But then if I don’t give it my best shot, then I won’t feel happy with myself either. The feeling is usually short lived – just a day or so usually – but I hate feeling that way when i really don’t want to as I know life’s too short to get upset over such things. x

    • Great point! I dedicated a week of my life in 2009 to winning a VW Tiguan, driving it all over the UK and filming (see the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsMxp4isZak) – it was my first experience of a voting competition though, and of course I didn’t win! There was also the time I stripped in a car showroom and again, didn’t win the car. I think my biggest disappointment was when I recreated the Mamma Mia video dressed as both the Abba girls, and didn’t even get into the gallery! But I only spend time entering comps that are fun to do – if I think it’s going to be stressful or not a good chance of a win, I just skip it and move on. I also consider entering the comps where you can get several entries out of one idea – so if I’m down at Brighton beach I take lots of shots of picnics, products, paddling, Ryland – so I have a good stash of summer snaps too! I also think if I lose with a great entry – I can always put it into my annual ‘Lose Some…’ post! As you say, at least your disappointment is shortlived – and you can always think back on all those amazing effort comps you DID win! 🙂

      • Charlie says:

        Love the video! 🙂
        Do you ever think sometimes when T&C’s say they are judged on creativity that they are actually chosen at random or not much thought put into the judging process? Sometimes, I notice creative competitions have winners that didn’t completely follow the rules and people with really talented entries don’t get acknowledged. It is obviously down to opinion what someone thinks is the ‘best’ entry and deserving but it does appear random at times. I love seeing winners that are really creative and original 🙂

        • Yes, that’s the problem – ideally it should be a ‘panel’ of judges as people have very different ideas on what constitutes the ‘best’ entry. Also, they forget to have the terms, conditions and judging criteria in front of them when they judge!

          • Charlie says:

            I really agree, do you think there is a way it might improve in the future?

          • I think the best we can do is report promoters to the ASA – they only really get told off (they don’t get forced to re-award prizes or anything like that), but in many cases the telling off should be enough for an agency to realise they’re at fault, and do it properly in future.

      • rebecca beesley says:

        that video is fab! x

    • emmasfabulous says:

      You’re not the only one Rebecca, I’ve yet to have a good return on creative comps but soldier in as happy with my entries and as di says u can use for later on. But same as u do feel gutted for a day afterwards!

      • rebecca beesley says:

        glad im not the only one emma. Im glad to have found some great friends through this hobby – helps keep us positive xxx

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