Enter Competitions

How to earn from entering competitions such as online and newsletter contests to win prizes

There are many free to enter competitions available. These include those on the internet which cost nothing to do. They are free to send and unlike postcard and entry forms that require a stamp, envelope and postcard. There are lists at websites like www.borntoloaf.co.uk

Enter Competitions

They range from large wins such as cash, cars and holidays through to small competition prizes such as DVDs, CDs, books, games and clothes.

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Entries range from several hundred for small, locally run ones through to hundred of thousands for the larger company run ones. So your chances of winning a small prize is good and you would have to be lucky to win a large prize often enough to live off your winnings. But real people do win these prizes. I've been doing them for fun for years and have won Christmas hampers, wine, a weekend break, small cash prizes, gift vouchers, DVDs, books, a year's supply of hot chocolate, a bike, a gas BBQ, CDs and toys for the children and more. Not life changing wins but enough to make a difference to the family budget. Some of those I've won have saved me money because I have used them as presents for the family and others have saved me from buying them. Some, like the Harrods hamper, have been a treat to enjoy.

It is a great feeling to open the door to the postman and receive a surprise winning package, or open your inbox and find a WEM (Winning E-Mail) or get a LWE (Long White Envelope with a winning letter of congratulations).

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Online Competitions

Companies and shops will run online competitions to attract people to their website or to their high street store. It is usually something they wish to bring to the attention of a customer, like the latest television or the latest released computer game or DVD. Generally you will have to answer a question and this may be based on the product to get you to learn more about it and entice you into thinking or actually buying it.

Other companies and websites run them to collect names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mails. They will then add you to mailing and contact lists. So one downside is that you may see an increase in spam, sales telephone calls and junk post. You can reduce this by using a separate account such as hotmail.

Websites will use them to attract people, known as compers, to their website in the hope that they will remain as returning visitors or become online shoppers.

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Free to Enter Competitions

Many supermarkets, like Morrisons, have entry forms amongst their products. You may have to buy a specific product and provide a proof of purchase such as a till receipt or label. It is worth paying separately for such items so that the product is shown clearly for the judges. Some shops, like Argos, run regular monthly or weekly contests on their website. Some entrants like to keep a favourite folder on their computer which lists all these sites so that they can regularly do each new competition.

There are advice services and publications which charge you a small fee and in return they help you to enter. One such example is Compers Update who source short life ones and research the correct answers, allowing members to do more with minimal effort! All new subscribers get automatically added to their prize draw to win a car.

Instant wins can be found on some products which you have to buy then peel back a label or read the reverse of labels to see if you have won. These also have a no purchase necessary route (NPN) where you can send in a stamped addressed envelope (SAE) to get free entry.

One way of keeping track is to use one of the many websites, such as Theprizefinderplus that specialise in finding their users new and existing contests. These have special software to help you keep track, will alert you to new ones and break them down by category or to those that can be done daily, weekly or monthly. Most have forums and chat rooms where you can chat to other compers, get support and advice and even post your winnings to encourage others.

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If this has not answered your questions or you need some more advice then please e-mail me. I would also welcome any advice to increase the information to make it more useful to others. I would also appreciate it if you were to send our link to your friends, forums and social media.

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There is also a newsgroup which you can access online or through your e-mail programme such as Outlook Express. Regular members post new ones and give advice to new members. You should use a spam trap or a specific account to avoid your regular address being harvested by spammers who trawl looking for people who do these.

Websites and magazines also exist for those who want to do entry form, slogan and tie-breakers. These involve more effort and a little bit of word skill so have lower rates of entry. Do try these because your chances of winning are greater and they usually have a higher value. There are resources on the web you can use to help you write tie-break limericks and sentences. Such magazines also list postcard ones such as those found in children's, family and women's magazines, often with the answers. There is also advice such as which ones can be put all in one envelope (AIOE) to save your money on postage.

Competition Advice

This section will now give you specific hints and tips for slogan, newsletter and postcard competition advice.

Use bright postcards to attract the attention of the person pulling the winning postcard from the sack or hat. Though some people think that if everyone is doing this then a plain white envelope has more chance of being pulled out of the sack.

Use serrated edge scissors to make a pattern around your postcard. This makes it feel unusual to someone who is blind folded and comes across your postcard by feel and is curious enough to pull it out.

Write your contact details to an angle different to the address of the entry. This will help stop the Post Office returning the postcard to you thinking it is the delivery address. Sadly this happens several times a year to me.

Try entering a few days before the closing date because this will get your postcard to the top of the sack. This may help it to get pulled out. Though some get closed early because promoters want to get the gifts out sooner or finish a promotion.

Write clearly in ink or use printed labels.

Follow the rules and regulations. Ie enclose the correct proof of purchase.

Use a spell checker before neatly writing the entry form.

Internet Competitions

Use an automatic form filler such as Roboform which will remember your name, address, telephone number and e-mail details. When you get to competition website forms you simply click a button and your details are filled out. It takes seconds to complete and gives you more time for others. Regular compers do 100's each day this way and usually win several times a week.

Some internet competitions have a check box that adds you to their mailing list. You may wish to uncheck this if you do not want their newsletters. Some people think this affects whether your entry goes through to the draw but I do not think reputable website and companies would do this.

Above all never cheat and don't be tempted to do multiple entries - it is not fair and you may get found out and banned from future draws.

Some compers do get sent unwanted prizes! These are usually second or runner up gifts and something they can't make use of. I usually give these to relatives as presents if I think they will like them or donate them to a charity shop. But I generally make use of all my wins. Some compers sell their winnings on internet auction websites like Ebay or at Amazon Marketplace. If the item is new or still factory sealed they can often get a good price for the item and the person buying the items will also pay the postal costs.

It is fun and you can win. You can earn small gifts which will give you treats and perhaps a small income.

Newsletter ones are an easy way to enter and we have won several times this way. You simply agree to subscribe and the company or group organising it will automatically enter you into their draws whilst you actively receive their messages. Usually you just have to give your name and e-mail address and they will contact you if you win. Do read it though since we know of some that name the winners within their newsletter asking them to get in touch.

The disadvantages are few and the major one find extra work can think of is in getting more into your inbox. But then there is little work involved in this method of trying to earn.

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