How to Win

New to competitions or just looking for some extra tips and strategies to increase your chances of winning? Then you have come to the right place.

How to Win Guide to Comping

If you’ve got the time and patience, entering competitions – or comping, as it’s known – can be a surprisingly lucrative business so long as you follow a few simple rules. As a means to supplementing your income, refurnishing your home or getting away on a dream holiday, comping can pay out big for the amount of effort you need to put in.

Competitions Theory

So how does it work? It’s actually a combination of economics and craftiness. Companies find it cheaper to give away a holiday or product worth several thousand euros than to take an advert out in a magazine or newspaper. Not only that, but they get to collect information on potential customers to add to their database, broadening their consumer reach and offering them prospective future sales that they might not have otherwise had.

Fly through the forms

By putting in several hours a week, systematically entering competition after competition, you’re increasing the odds of winning. As with most things, the more effort, time and energy you put in to entering these competitions, the more likely (with a little luck) you are to win. Most competitions require a simple online form to be completed and, luckily for your fingers and sanity, most browsers offer auto form completion at the push of a button, leaving you more time to enter competitions. Win win! (One example is Roboform)

You win some, you lose most

That being said, it’s important to remember that just because you enter a hundred competitions this week, it doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to win a single one of them. Think of this as more of a fun way to make some money through your hobby, rather than a way to quit your day job and make a fortune. And be warned, it’s surprisingly addictive, with a great community of compers all ready to begin cheering you on.

Read the small print

It’s also important to remember that it’s not really worth entering every competition you find. Many prizes are non-transferable; you won’t be able to send a friend or family member instead, so check the small print before entering if you’re hoping to pass the prize on. For other, transferable prizes, if you don’t want the prize then don’t enter the competition. Not only are you reducing the chance of winning for someone who does want it, you’re potentially going to be left with something that has no value to you and, maybe, no value to anyone else. While it’s true you can then flog your prize to someone else, ethics say that’s a little unfair.

System, Check, System Check, System... (you get the picture)

In order to be successful with your comping you need to develop a system. Work your way through them systematically so you can be sure you don’t miss anything, and keep track of what you have entered. Some competitions will exclude entries from people who respond several times, even if you’ve done it accidentally, so don’t miss out on that big cash prize by entering more than once.

Filter the gold from the mud

There’s no two ways about it, you’re going to get spammed to hell and back. Avoid the excessive amounts of junk emails by setting up a dedicated email address with spam filters firmly in place. Several online email providers, such as Gmail and Hotmail, are free to sign up and the account can be added in to your email application along with your normal email accounts, making it easy to retrieve your notification of winning!

A bit of effort goes a long way

If there’s one thing that’s consistently true it’s that people, in general, are lazy. Any competition that requires a little more effort, such as writing a short story or taking a photograph, will attract fewer entries than a competition that only has one simple form to complete. Make the effort, your chances of winning are higher and, you never know, you may be the only entry!

Other competitions may require a written tie-breaker or an answer to a question in order to enter. Tie-breakers should be well written, short and fun. Research the company’s literature for clues on tone and brand, then write something that’s appropriate to your findings. The power of the internet can help you with the answer to any question, even crossword puzzles and anagrams, so don’t be put off by anything requiring a response you’re unsure you know the answer to.

Never pay to enter!

Don’t be tempted to enter premium television competitions by phone, such competitions must offer a free way to enter, usually online. Details are usually given in the small print on screen, or check the programme or broadcaster’s website for further information. The same goes for postcards. Pick up free postcards wherever you see them, the library and the cinema are usually two sure bets for free postcards.

Know how you win (don't miss out!)

When you win, and you will, make sure you know exactly how to claim the prize. Some companies require you to return to their site to check if you’ve won, and if you don’t claim your prize within a certain period of time it will be given to another comper. An easy way around this is to set up an email alert using your own name as the search criteria, whenever someone posts your name online you’ll be notified via email. Of course, if you have a common name, or the same name as a celebrity, this could get a little overwhelming!

Other companies will email you to inform you that you’ve won, so make sure your spam filters aren’t too rigorous or risk losing out! You can set up filters that automatically move your ‘congratulations!’ emails to a separate folder, making it easy to keep track of your winnings.

Be aware

One final caution; steer clear of anything you think looks dodgy and invest in some good anti-virus software just to be safe. Here at we always check every competition that gets submitted to the site, but we know other sites are not as robust. Always read the fine print, don’t pay to enter anything and don’t forget that you can opt out of company communications at any time. Now what are you waiting for? Get comping!

Don't forget, you can always check our latest competitions here.