The top ten mistakes compers make

As a new comper, it’s easy to make mistakes when you get started – but even experienced compers can slip up! Here’s ten common mistakes you might be making…

1. Not reading the rules

Yes, I know you’re rushing to enter as many comps as you can – but if your entries aren’t valid, then you won’t win! If there aren’t any terms and conditions, or they’re minimal – ask the promoter politely where you can find a full set. I see lots of compers angrily querying the rules AFTER a competition has closed – instead of asking the important questions before they enter! The really important things you should be checking for in the rules/T&Cs are the closing time and date, whether a creative comp is judged or randomly drawn, and how soon the winner will be contacted (some comps might only give you 48 hours to respond, so be prepared). For creative comps, rules usually say no copyrighted material (logos, music, etc.) and the photo must be yours. Don’t include anyone in photos whose permission you don’t have – I see many compers featuring children in their photo entries when the rules clearly state no kids!

Also see: Why you should read the rules

2. Not checking your entry is correct

Check your spelling, and any hashtags you’ve used. Have you followed, liked, retweeted, added to an Instagram story, included a photo of your pet in fancy dress, tagged 7 friends and done everything else that was asked for? If you use autofill or Roboform, have a glance at your entry to make sure all the information is actually in the correct boxes! If you’ve spent time creating a competition entry, read the rules again before you submit your entry – some promoters try to get away with making changes midway through the entry period!

3. Always opting in to receive further information

Don’t rush through entry forms ticking every box you see! Choosing not to join a company’s mailing list doesn’t affect your chance of winning a prize. Read carefully what it says next to each box, and only tick to receive the emails you’re actually interested in – otherwise your inbox will be overwhelmed. And NEVER tick a box that gives a promoter permission to give your details to ’third parties’ – this will result in a flood of unwanted emails to your inbox!

GDPR regulations say that a prize draw entry should be a separate tick box to a mailing list opt-in, so we can easily enter the draw without committing to receive email newsletters! Unfortunately a few companies are still insistent that we must join their mailing list in order to enter a draw – but of course, you can always unsubscribe once the winner has been notified…

4. Forgetting to check emails and messages

Shockingly, a large number of winners never respond to a winning notification – so they never receive the prize – and never even know that they actually won a prize! Some winners stumble across a missed email a few months later and are incredibly disappointed when they realise what they could have won! Make sure that’s not you by keeping on top of your inbox (see above – get yourself OFF all those mailing lists!), and regularly checking email junk and spam folders. Check the email addresses you use for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are still in use – and if not, update them to an email address that you check regularly. Lots of Rafflecopter and Gleam winners don’t respond to winning emails because they logged in via Facebook, and their Facebook account uses a defunct email address! In addition to emails – check your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram messages (and hidden messages) every few days. 

See also: how to check message requests on Twitter and Instagram, and how to check Facebook filtered messages and message requests.

5. Tracking every competition entered

For some odd reason, press features on comping like to include ‘Keep track of every competition you enter’ as one of their top tips. But that’s a complete waste of time – and can be discouraging and disappointing when you look back and see all those comps you didn’t win! Certainly, take time to track a handful of important comps you enter – those where you’ve made an effort, bought a product, comps with just a handful of entries or where you have that funny feeling that the promoter might try and wriggle out of awarding a prize. Bookmark these comps, or keep a list of links in a Notes app – then 28 days after the closing date, check back to see that winners have been announced. But noting down every single competition you enter is a painstaking task that takes up valuable comping time. On the other hand, noting down every single prize you win can be a fabulous motivator (and also help you to check that you’ve received them all!)

6. Not putting enough effort in

Lots of compers do things the easy way – they use a website like Competition Database or MSE and methodically go through every listed prize draw – most of them a simple entry form or a click on the Like or Retweet button. But because they’re so easy to enter, these prize draws get the most entries and are hard to win. Instead, take a step outside your comfort zone and try searching for low entry comps, enter a photo competition, download an app or buy a promotional product to enter a ‘winning moment’ promotion – and you’ll immediately increase your chance of winning. You’ll also learning new skills and tips in the process!

7. Complaining too much to promoters

It can be helpful for promoters if you politely and privately point out how a promotion could have been administered fairly, why your prize isn’t what was advertised, or how their T&Cs could have been clearer. But public complaints on social media can be detrimental and even result in a brand deciding not to run future prize promotions. Some promoters and marketing departments dislike compers, considering us greedy and obsessive – do you want to be portrayed that way? It’s always best to think before you comment – try to get your point across clearly and calmly! If you do try the polite approach with no success, there’s always the option of complaining to the ASA and getting them to do the dirty work on your behalf!

Instead of complaining, try complimenting promoters when they run a great prize draw or competition. Oh – and don’t underestimate the power of a thank you when you win! It could be a message sent privately, or a public tweet or Instagram post – but it means a lot, especially if it’s a post they can share on their social channels.

See also: How to chase up a prize politely

8. Falling for scams

These days we all have to be super vigilant. With the amount of information we give out online, compers are more at risk than most when it comes to scammers trying to extract personal details from us. If you get a winning notification about a competition you don’t recall entering, be suspicious. Don’t click on any links. Search Google for the phone number or email address it’s come from – or even do a search with the actual text of the message in quote marks to see if you can find it online – you’ll often find others complaining about the same message!

See also how to spot a scam email, and how to spot a scam text message

9. Entering every comp, regardless of the prize

It sounds obvious, but do you focus on entering comps for prizes you actually want to win? There are thousands of comps out there, and you really don’t need to enter every single one. Before you enter a comp, take a moment to think – do you want the prize? If not, would a family member or friend like it – or could you donate it as a raffle prize or to a local charity? Entering for a prize that you can’t use is a waste of your time – and can be disrespectful to the promoter. Spend more time entering for the prizes you want, rather than getting distracted by every comp that crosses your path!

10. Forgetting it’s a hobby

Don’t take comping too seriously! It’s just a hobby, and any prizes are a bonus. Don’t get tearful if you don’t win that prize you had your heart set on. There’s always another chance to win around the corner – and around the next corner too! Enjoy the experience of entering competitions – learning tips and tricks and making friends as you go, and hopefully you’ll soon start winning more frequently!

13 Responses

  1. Rachel Perkins says:

    Great advice Di! many thanks

  2. Lis Goddard says:

    I’m 79 now and enter via twitter on my iPhone. It’s hard for me to understand the technicalities you outline but I guess I’ll just have to keep on trying. I used to win years ago with slogans

    • Di says:

      Keep at it Lis! Have you already watched my tutorials on Twitter? If you’ve got to grips with that you might even want to give Instagram a go – it’s great to keep learning new skills!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I’m a Newbie to competitions & had my first win a couple of days ago when I won 2 tickets to see a a show at the Theatre. It’s really spurred me on. Can I ask you all, do you have a separate email account for entries ? I wondered if I should do. I have set one up that I check now daily

    • Di says:

      Definitely! I have a work/personal email account and then one that I only use for comps and to join mailing lists!

  4. Kate says:

    Hi Di and readers, just wanted to say, in my second week of comping I won tickets to a local event at Goodwood! Like you write Di, it was a local competition in the paper, so my chances were better. Wonder if anything else will come in! Thanks for all the tips and recommended sites. I’m not entering in anything where I write my address just in case I get flooded with junk mail.

    • Di says:

      That’s a great result for a new comper Kate – and usually with events, there are comps to enter AT the event too so keep an eye out!

  5. Blulu says:

    I agree with everything you said, Di. Thanks for saying it and helping to make our ‘comping world’ a bit better/easier XXX

  6. Patricia Bowley says:

    I totally agree with all your tips . In the early years of comping I started to keep all the congratulations letters, and now the email messages, which I print, and put them in date order in a ring binder. I’m now on my 3rd binder and it’s amazing how many wonderful memories come back to me while looking through them. Certainly inspires me when going through a dry spell. I’ve had many small wins but a few big wins too and I always send a thank you message. I’ve found I always get a friendly response back from the promoter. I’m pleased with a win and they’re pleased their promotion has been appreciated by the winner. Result all round.

  7. Emma Larkin says:

    Great advice. Thanks very much.

  8. Carolyn Collins says:

    Very good advice Di. Thank you.

  9. Susan Dredge says:

    So much good advice Di. I love my comping and know that each time I enter I have as much chance of winning (or not) as the next comper but it is great to be part of a like-minded group, seems like family and when you do get that email/letter/unexpected delivery/phone call it is just the most fantastic feeling. Telling non-compers about wins is great watching their expressions and the most used phase ” I didn’t think people won!”.

  10. I think you’ve knocked the nail on the head with these tips and in particular, Rules & Scams, go hand in hand! I review many terms & conditions of ‘giveaways’ on Facebook and so many are either non-compliant or borderline scam. Please be wary people…

    Yes it is a hobby but also there’s a very good social side to it all and some promoters are really fun when running their giveaways. Treat is as a good social laugh and any win is definitely a bonus…even if it’s a free packet of crisps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.