Internet Contesting - How to Start Winning!
1. Setting Yourself Up to Win – Get Organized
First thing to do is to have an email account solely for contesting. The most widely used ones are www.hotmail.com, www.gmail.com, or www.yahoo.com. This allows you to avoid spam in your more personal email accounts and allows you to sign up for newsletters for extra entries in contests without overflowing your "normal" accounts.
Second task is to make folders in your Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Netscape. Make a folder in your toolbar in your bookmark Favourites that says “Daily”(try your right click button or select "New Folder" and name it "Daily". There you save contest links that you’re allowed to enter every day (the contest websites below will tell you if they are daily, weekly, monthly or single entries). So therefore also make a folder for “Weekly” and “Monthly” too.
Third task, is saving contest entry pages with a good title/name. When saving a contest, do not use the default description that comes up. Save the contest under the name of the prize. For example, if the prize is an iPad, when saving, name the contest "iPad". If there is a code word or skill testing question that's hard to do - save it after the name of the prize. (Why save a contest that says "Proctor & Gamble" - the you don't know what you're entering until you get to the contest entry page). This is a good idea if you don't have a lot of time to enter....that way you can concentrate each day on the prizes you really want.
TIP - Make your homepage a contest entry page of a contest you really want to win that allows a daily entry. This way you won’t forget and you at least have many chances to win THAT prize!
2. How to find contests:
The best three places to start are:
www.contestcanada.net - FREE – a very extensive list of contests and you can sign up for their daily newsletter so that you can get contests daily in your inbox. Have these sent to your Contest Email.
www.somewhereincanada.com - not as many contests but has a UPC database, which is useful for some contests.
www.contestcanada.com - You can access for 30 days free on a trial basis. After that it’s $25 a year.
Also, search the web, local radio and TV stations sites as well as any kind of company/store. These usually change monthly. So make it a one time a month event. For example, HBC (The Bay, Zellers, etc) has contests always going on. www.hbc.com/contests/. Also try your local newspaper site and free ones like metro.ca
3. What to enter
Enter EVERYTHING – You never know when someone you know (family or friend) might want/need something you win that you don’t want…. Or you can always donate it to a charity or sell it. You can sell things on www.kijiji.ca - a free site made by Ebay or if you win a gift card, sell it on http://www.cardswap.ca or www.swapopolis.com . The more you enter, the more you’ll win – guaranteed!!! I spend up to 2 hours a day entering contests (summer time) - but usually 30 minutes a day. In that time I can enter well over 100 contests a day!
Important Note: Trips are usually for the person entering… so it won’t be transferable if you can’t make the trip – then you’re just wasting – so make sure you can go, if not, enter someone who can. Ex: I enter my hubby in rock concerts b/c if we can’t get a babysitter; I’d rather him go then me… that kind of idea.
4. How to quickly fill out forms:
I use a FREE program called Roboform. You can download the free version at www.roboform.com/download. It allows you to save two identities that will show up on your internet browser (Explorer, Netscape) and with the click of a button will fill out forms with all your vital information (name, address, phone email, etc. including birth dates!) It also remembers your usernames and passwords…all for FREE.
You should leave out cell phone numbers if at all possible to avoid text messages and unwarranted calls. The idea is, the less information you give, the better. Always look to see what’s required (this might be indicated with a red asterisk) and fill out those. But make sure it is something you are connected to - if you are never home, a cell phone contact might be better. (You might only have 24 hrs to respond to a contest win!).
If you don’t want to download the program you can go to Internet Explorer, then to Tools, then to Internet Options. Click on the Content tab, and go to AutoComplete. Click on Forms and save what you’ve done. This will recognize lots of things like emails and addresses and names so you can just press “s” for Sandra and “Sandra” will pop up. Then you just select from the drop down menu and hit enter. Google Chrome and Windows 7 & 8 does an automatic detection of your normally fill-in for forms online.
5. Opting in or out of newsletters?
PROs – You can be notified of new contests and promotions
- It might gain you extra entries into the contest you’re entering
CONs – You can get lots of junk mail/spam (unwanted/x-rated stuff)
- Possible viruses
- Timely to manage
6. Rules – read them!
This is one of the best tips….. read the rules. Some contests allow unlimited entries but most allow once per person or per household. Most contests will tell you if you already entered, but a couple don’t – so make sure you don’t enter those single contests twice or you risk disqualification due to double entries.
7. What to do when you win?
Be sure to check your contesting email account DAILY. Go through all the newsletters and possible spam and clear out those. Then look for personal names or company titles in the “From” column. They usually have an attachment of the legal forms to claim your prize. Usually most people are notified through email with internet contests. You will be usually asked to print out a form and fax, mail or e-mail it back within a certain time frame. BE CAREFUL – some only allow 48 hours, some are 7 days. It’s best to email PDF/scanned files or fax things (you get confirmations that it was sent), but if you have to mail it back, use ExpressPost or something guaranteed next day. Be sure to fill out forms entirely and double check skill testing questions with a friend or family member. You don’t want to lose a prize due to a wrong math answer. ***Remember: BEDMAS*** Brackets, exponents, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction. If there are two answers, give them both and explain how you got them! So also try the left to right as well as most contests are using this method.
Scams: There are some emails that say you’ve won. If it’s not a reputable company, asks for your occupation, or things like that – delete it – it’s a scam. Also if you have to pay anything in Canada - you usually haven't won if they ask for money up front. This can be false for certain prizes but never give out info if you aren't comfortable or you don't remember entering as well.
8. Sending contests to friends
Some contests give you more entries if you give them other people’s email addresses. First – make sure you have their permission to send contest emails to their account. Then start a list of their names and email addresses (written on paper or in a Word or Excel document) and keep it close at hand when you’re contesting.
You are always welcome to send me contest emails to gain extra entries….
Email me, Sandra Venneri, at: