Sweepstakes contests can be fun and profitable. Of course
there is a large element of luck and chance involved, but there are ways to increase your
odds of winning to give yourself every chance possible. "Luck" is where
preparation meets opportunity. In this winner's report I will cover all facets of
sweepstakes contests, and actually show you how to increase your odds of winning:
Why do companies have sweepstakes contests? Companies aren't
in the habit of giving money away for no reason. They have learned that sweepstakes
contests are good for at business. It draws people's attention to their company and
product, and is good publicity. It is important to realize, however, that you don't have
to buy anything to participate in a sweepstakes contest. The sponsor would love you to,
because they are in the business to make money, but no legitimate sweepstakes contest
requires you to do so. Sometimes they try to make it appear that you need to purchase
something, but if you read the fine print, you will find that it is optional.
Everyone has opened their mailbox at one time or another and
read Ed McMahon's words that "You may have already won 10 million dollars". A
lot of people make fun of these Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, but there's no
denying that the prizes are very high, and we all secretly dream of winning it.
The Publisher's Clearinghouse is one of the largest and most
famous sweepstakes contests. It is also one of the most widely played. The results of this
of course is to increase the prize but also to decrease the chances of winning. This is a
fairly obvious concept: If only two people entered a contest, they would both have a 50%
chance of winning. If 1,000 people entered a contest, each person's odds of winning would
be 1,000 to 1. These odds increase into the millions in the case of the Publisher's
Not all sweepstakes contests have such high odds though. In
general the smaller the prize the better the chances of winning. For instance there are
many contests on a local level; of course these contests won't be million to one shots
because not that many people are exposed to the ad campaign. Your chances of winning local
contests are much better than nationally publicized events.
There are two assumptions that people have about sweepstakes
contests. The first is that "Nobody ever wins those things anyway", but that
just isn't true. Thousands of people just like you win contests every year. If no prizes
are given out it will quickly come to the attention of the proper authorities who will
take appropriate action. This does happen occasionally as we sometimes read in tabloids or
our local papers, but these incidents are few and far between and not worth worrying
The second assumption is that "The games are all fixed';
but again, there are strict guidelines and laws that sweepstakes operators must follow,
and any deviation from these rules will get them in hot water fast. The point of
mentioning these things is to remove any worries you may have that you don't have a fair
chance at winning sweepstakes contests. Modern contests are respectable and legitimate.
ENTERING SWEEPSTAKES CONTESTS
In order to win sweepstakes contests, you must enter
frequently and regularly. You've got to enter every chance you get. The reason for this is
obvious; the more times you enter the more chances you have of winning. You shouldn't put
all of your eggs in one basket. Variety is the name of the game. It will also give you
practice. Sweepstakes contests are just like anything else; it takes practice to get it
You also need to learn the rules; over 90% of the applicants
don't, and are disqualified. For instance, you need to make sure that you give your full
address. You should also print in capital letters, if that is what is asked for. You also
need to check the deadline of the contest you want to enter. If you are sending your entry
after the contest deadline, you're wasting your time. The judges throw out the rule
breakers, and the relatively few entries that remain are used to pick the winner.
Another important thing is to maintain a positive attitude. You
have to imagine that you can win if you want to win. Picture in your mind the prize that
you expect to get, and try to believe that you've already won it. I know it sounds silly,
and there is no schoolbook explanation for it, but there is statistical proof. The
majority of winners use this positive thinking method and although we're not sure why it
works, it has been proven time and time again.
Another interesting fact about sweepstakes contests is that while
millions of people play sweepstakes every year, only about 30,000 play seriously, and
those 30,000 win most of the time! These are the people who know what they're doing, who
do everything correctly, who play every contest they can as often as they can, and keep a
positive attitude. Over $200 million a year is spent on sweepstakes contests by the
promoters, so it is well worth your while to learn to play to the best of your abilities.
WHERE TO FIND SWEEPSTAKES CONTESTS:
The first step is to find as many sweepstakes contests as you
can. The reason for this is simple; the more contests you enter, the more you will win.
There are hundreds of giveaways every month, but most people miss 98% of them just because
they don't hear about them or don't know where to find the entry blanks. So where do we
find sweepstakes contests? They can be found in many locations.
The one that takes the least effort is through the mail. Ed
McMahon's contest is an example of this kind of publicity. These kinds of contests are
usually promoted on a national level unless it has been sent to you from a local company
who has you on their mailing list as a valued customer, or something like that. Other
places that you can find sweepstakes contests are on the shelf by certain products in a
store. Since sweepstakes contests always have a product tie-in, they of course advertise
the contest in conjunction with the product itself. The promoters want you to find their
contests, so they try to have their displays in obvious places and the appropriate entry
forms should be available at the display.
Of course sometimes the entry blanks "disappear",
because some greedy contestant took them all so there would be none left for you. It is
possible that the manager of the establishment will have more in the back, so the first
thing you should do is contact him and ask if there are any more forms available. If the
manager is not able to supply you with the proper forms, you should look for an address on
the display to write to so you can request some entry blanks for yourself. On the bright
side many contests don't specify that you need an official form, and any 3" by
5" piece of paper will do. You should definitely make sure that the contest you are
entering allows that sort of substitution, however.
And don't be afraid of your entry being passed by in the final
drawing just because it's not on an official entry blank; studies have shown that over
half of big prizes are won using 3" by 5" cards! You may also find entry forms
on bulletin boards, and in magazines and newspapers like Reader's Digest, TV Guide,
McCalls, Woman's Day, Family Circle, etc. Subscribing to these magazines will give you
plenty of chances to find sweepstakes contests.
The problem with focusing on contests that you find through these
sources is that you will be finding the contests that everyone else finds, and they will
be harder to win. Although they do offer the largest prizes available there is also the
most competition for them, and so your chances of winning decrease. Although I'm not
saying that you shouldn't enter these big contests, you should also consider smaller
contests as well.
You should keep an eye out for contests listed in your local
paper, mentioned on your local radio stations, and even occasionally in junk mail that is
sent to you. you can even copy down addresses out of magazines while you are waiting for
your haircut appointment, or in a doctor's office! Again, it is important to read the fine
print in these ads.
You must follow directions and procedures to the letter in order
to qualify to be in the final drawing. It has been estimated that the "pros"
only make up about 2% of the contesters, and yet they win most of the prizes! That should
be good news for you, because by following the guidelines set out in this report, you can
become one of those 2%! You may wonder if there aren't rules set by the companies or the
government to keep the same people from winning too many prizes. The answer is NO, that is
not allowed, because of the companies' own rules governing fair play and equal opportunity
WHICH SWEEPSTAKES CONTESTS SHOULD YOU ENTER?
Although in general you should enter most contests, there are a
few things to consider, such as do you actually want to win the prize offered? It seems
pretty basic, but if the grand prize is a new boat and you're terrified of the water, or
if it's a lifetime supply of dog food and you hate dogs, it's not really worth your time,
Adding to this factor is the fact that you have to pay taxes on
the net worth of your winnings, and a grand prize worth $10,000 that you don't really want
will require you to pay a couple thousand dollars in taxes on your winnings. Of course you
can always sell your prize and turn a profit that way, but it's something to keep in mind.
THE WEEDING OUT PROCESS:
As was mentioned previously, only about 10% of the applicants
make it to the final drawing. The reason for this is that 90% of the entries don't follow
the rules correctly and are disqualified. That's bad news for the disqualified entries,
but good news for you, because you'll follow the directions and make it to the final
drawing, giving yourself a much better chance of winning the big prize.
THE ENTRY BLANK SUBSTITUTION:
You may use a substitute entry form if the rules allow it.
Usually they will specify a 3" by 5" piece of paper. Of course, cards are fine
"instead" of paper, because they both come from the same tree. Basically, if
they specify paper, you can use paper or a card. On the other hand, if they specify a
card, you should only use a card. In addition, if they specify a plain card and you use a
lined card, you may be disqualified. They are sticklers for that kind of thing, and you
can never be too careful!
FILLING OUT THE FORM:
Many sweepstakes contests specify that your entry must be
hand-printed in block letters. Believe it or not, thousands of entrants are disqualified
because they type or hand- script their forms. Make sure you follow the rules; if they
specify block letters, use capitals, etc.
Sometimes contests require you to send something along with your
entry, like boxtops, UPC codes, etc. Unless they specify, don't attach these items to your
entry with tape, paper clips, etc. You may be disqualified! Just put everything loose into
It is also important how you fill out your envelope. Again, if
the rules tell you to hand print, don't type it; just print it exactly as is shown in the
directions. The rule of thumb is "better safe than sorry". Don't use postcards
unless the rules say it's O.K. To sum it up, just make sure that you follow the rules to
the letter; the judges are much pickier than you'd think, and after you go to all the
trouble to send back your entry, it would be pretty annoying to be disqualified for some
little thing just because you weren't paying attention.
INCREASING YOUR ODDS:
In a perfect world sweepstakes contests would be a completely
random event (but luckily, they're not!), and there would be no way of increasing your
chances of winning. In actuality, however, there are little tricks that you can do to
increase your chances. The pros use these methods all the time to increase their chances
of winning, and so can you!
Sweepstakes drawings are supposed to be completely random,
sometimes performed by a blindfolded judge. If all of the judges were actually
blindfolded, this method wouldn't help, but in practice many of them are not. The idea
here is that the judges consciously or subconsciously are drawn to brightly colored,
visually attractive entries. You can experiment, drawing neon stars, hearts, rainbows,
etc. A lot of sweepstakes "professionals" swear by this method, saying that
they've won many drawings using it.
Another method of increasing your odds is to make your entry more
likely to be grabbed through sense of touch by the judge. Since some judges actually are
blindfolded, this may be an even more important method of increasing your chances than the
first one. The idea is that if your entry "sticks out" of the others, or is
easier to grab onto, that you will have a better chance of being picked. The way to do
this is to fold your entry so that it takes up more space.
One way of doing this is to "pleat" your entry, much
like an accordion. You do this simply by folding the entry or envelope back over on itself
several times, so that it will be easier to grab than plain flat paper. Another similar
method is to just give your entry one single fold, going diagonally across the document.
This method will also make your entry take up more space, and give the judge something
extra to grab onto. Remember; these techniques have been proven to work time and time
again by serious sweepstakes contesters. There is no way to guarantee a sweepstakes win,
of course, but these methods can significantly increase your odds. If it works for the
pros, it can work for you!
Another popular method used by the sweepstakes pros is to flood
the drawing with multiple entries. Simple mathematics will tell you that the more entries
you make in a drawing, the better your odds will be that you will win. In a small contest,
for instance, if there were only one hundred entries and you were one of them, your odds
would be 1 in 100. If fifty of the entries were yours, your odds would increase to 1 in 2,
In larger contests with thousands of entries the odds wouldn't
rise at such a fast rate, but the mathematics would remain the same. Many serious
contesters routinely enter 100 times or more for each contest, know that their odds are
significantly increased with each new entry. Multiple entries can't guarantee that you'll
win of course, but the more times you enter, the better your chances of winning.
You should let your checkbook and financial requirements dictate
how many entries you make. You should never spend more than you can afford on sweepstakes
entries. While it would be great to win, of course, don't play desperately. That's how the
pros do it. It can't guarantee you a win but it can significantly increase your chances,
and that's the best you can hope for in a so-called "random" drawing!
While most sweepstakes contests are completely legitimate, there
are a few shady operations going around. I recently received a "questionable"
sweepstakes proposition myself. I was informed through the mail that I had won a prize of
over $4,500 in cash, and that all I had to do to accept my prize was send back the
notification within 3 days. Until I read the fine print I was lead to believe that I
needed to send $10 along with my notification so that I could win even thousands more in
I became suspicious and called the organization for details,
where I learned that there was $4,500 in prizes total to be distributed equally to
everyone who responded to the mailing! At best they are skirting postal laws, and there is
a good chance that what they are doing is illegal because it is clearly misleading. I am
mentioning this to serve as a warning to you. Be very cautious of any "contest"
that requires you to send in some sort of payment or entry fee. You should also stay away
from any contest which does not feature the name of the sponsoring company prominently.
As previously mentioned, most legitimate organizations sponsor
sweepstakes contests so that their name will become better known. Any such contest which
hides it's name likely has something else to hide as well. You should avoid any
sweepstakes or "giveaways" that you have any doubts as to the reliability of the
TRAVEL SWEEPSTAKES CONTESTS:
There are hundreds of travel prizes that you can enter to win
trips to Europe, Hawaii, and other exciting places. Some are great deals; however, some
aren't. You should read the fine print to find out all the details before entering these
contests. The best prizes include round-trip airfare, complete hotel accommodations, all
meals and car rental expenses, free tickets to local places of interest, and free spending
money. If all of these things are not included in the package, it may not be worth the
time entering them.
For instance who cares if you win a week's accommodations at
Hawaii's finest hotel if you have to pay your own way to get there? If you were planning
on going soon anyway it would be worth it, but if you can't afford to get over there it
would be worthless to you. Also, don't forget that taxes have to be paid on the cost of
what the trip is worth. If enough spending cash is included with the package you could use
that to pay the taxes; otherwise it will have to come out of your own pocket. And finally,
most of the trips have to be taken within a year from when you win them, and some have to
be taken at specific times.
You need to make sure that you can travel within that time frame
or you may have to forfeit the prize. As a summary, make sure that you read between the
lines for any hidden expenses that you may incur on the trip. If there are any
"service fees", of if they ask for a credit card number, be very cautious; it
could be a scam. But if it sounds like a good deal, go for it! Vacation packages can be
some of the most exciting prizes available.
900-numbers can be a shady business. Before you call one of these
services, there are several things to consider. The most obvious thing is the cost of the
call. All costs should be listed including the cost per minute and the average time of
each call. You should also watch out for the phrase "10-minute minimum", or
something to that effect. This means that the moment you are connected with the line you
are billed for 10 minutes worth of time!
To stay legal, a sweepstakes contest using a 900 number is
required to give you an alternate method of entering (like mailing a post-card). Both ways
of entering have the same chances of winning, so you should use the free mail-in method.
In general, you should avoid any contest that requires you to spend money for any reason.
TIPS & HINTS REVIEW
Here is a summation of the important Sweepstakes pointers so that
you can refer to them easily.
--When choosing a contest, be picky. Make sure the prize is
something that you can afford to have, and is something that you want or can sell without
much problem. If it looks good, go for it and enter as many times as you can.
--If the contest says "void where prohibited" but does
not mention your state, go ahead and enter.
--If they ask for a 3" by 5" card, use a card. If they
say 3" by 5" paper, you can use either paper or card. Make sure that cards are
unlined and white. Don't use postcards unless specified.
--Don't use Xeroxed entry forms unless it states that they are
--Don't type entries unless typing is specifically allowed.
--When told to print or hand print, print neatly, and don't use
script cursive writing. If block letters are specified, use block letters.
--If they ask for a qualifier to be included (box top, proof of
purchase, etc.), include it but don't staple or paper clip it to your entry. Just send it
all loose in the envelope.
--Remember, when they encourage you to buy their product as an
option, you don't have to in order to win! 3" by 5" paper entries give you the
same chance to win no matter how much the sponsor would like you to buy their product.
--You can use any size envelope you want (unless stated
otherwise) although many pros like the larger, "business" size envelopes.
--Don't abbreviate the sweepstakes address; copy it word for word
exactly as it is given to you.
--Decorate your envelopes with colorful crayons or pens to
increase your chances of being picked.
--Accordion-fold your entries to make them take up more space in
the drawing bin.
--You don't have to send for a list of winners to see if you've
won. If you win you will be notified.
--Save any letter you receive from a sponsor saying you've won
until you get your prize. That way if there is some mix-up you will know who to contact to
fix the situation.
--If you move make sure to fill out a "change of
address" card at the post office. You don't want to win and not have them be able to
--If you win a vacation package but would rather have cash, ask
the promoter if t hey will substitute cash instead. Some will allow you to do this and
some won't, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
--Prizes will be taxed as income. Taxes are complicated and
confusing, so talk to your accountant or an IRS representative if you have any questions
regarding a sweepstakes win.
--Keep careful records of your material supplies and postage
costs because they are write-offs when you win a prize.
I hope this report has answered any questions about Sweepstakes
Contests that you may have, and that you feel that the tips that I have provided will
increase your odds of winning. Good Luck!