Why aren’t I winning?
“I’ve entered thousands of competitions, and I’ve not won a thing!”
“Everybody is winning except me!”
If you read my blog or interviews in the media, 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 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!
Over on the MoneySavingExpert competition board, the members reckon on average about 1 in 1300 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?
From chat over at MSE it seems the majority of users focus on quantity of comps entered, using Roboform and clever keyboard shortcuts to fill out entry forms rapidly.
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, Twitter (replies, rather than RTs), Facebook (comments rather than likes/shares), Instagram, Pinterest, photo, Gleam, Rafflecopter, postal, local and radio comps. I try to do a quick daily search on Twitter and Google for my wishlist prizes – I do this on my iPhone while walking to/from school. I only use listings websites like Loquax, PrizeFinder and MSE to search for effort/creative competitions, or to look for wishlist prizes. I simply don’t have the time to commit to a daily trawl through a competition listings site. 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.
If you’re struggling to win anything, here are some suggestions:
How to start winning
- Join an online forum, local comp club or Facebook group (try a local compers Facebook group) to keep yourself motivated. Add comping friends – you’ll find lots of comps if you watch what they’re up to on your Facebook news feed.
- Check the SuperLucky Facebook page and Lucky Learners group daily, as this is where myself and members share comps with low entries or lots of prizes.
- Search for local business pages (restaurants, venues, shops, salons etc) on Facebook and Twitter – lots of them will be running competitions.
- Search on Google or Twitter for the prizes you want and competition types you enjoy most. 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 like/heart the tweets to look at later on. You can find some great low entry Facebook and Instagram comps via Twitter searches!
- Enter radio comps (particularly on your local station) – if you win, you’ll know straight away so it’s great motivation to keep going!
- Avoid entering any comps on survey/tick box websites like MyOffers (see my List of Competition Websites for the ones that will spam you!) – stick to the websites and social media pages of companies you know and trust.
- 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.
- 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 – for many of them, a winning entry is chosen at random so your photo or comment doesn’t need to be the best – these are usually very low entry!
- Instant win comps with thousands of smaller prizes are great to keep your spirits up – look for the word WIN on packaging in supermarkets, and check out my tips for winning purchase-necessary comps.
- If you love books, World Book Day and Toppsta (kids) have loads of easy prize draws to enter – see my post on competitions for bookworms
- Cut down on the sharing. Most new compers I see on Facebook have a profile full of Like & Share 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.
- 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:
- Update your wish list. Check my post on making a wish list, then spend a few hours dreaming about the prizes – then get searching for them on Google or Twitter.
- Look through your wins folder or spreadsheet – remind yourself what a great hobby you have.
- Join a local comp club or Facebook group to find motivated friends.
- Try something different – if you’ve been entering the same type of easy prize draws, try something more challenging like searching for low entry comps on Google, or learning to use Twitter, or Instagram
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!