Enter Online Sweepstakes Like a Pro: How to Get Started

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Getting Started: Your First Steps to Entering Sweepstakes Online

Woman entering sweepstakes on her laptop.
Want to start entering and winning online? Here's what you need to do. Image (c) Peter Dressel / Getty Images

Are you new to the sweepstakes hobby and looking for some tips on how to get started? If you are ready to try the fun and lucrative sweepstakes hobby, this guide will make it easy! And if you're already a sweepstakes fan, keep reading; these tips might help you win even more prizes.

What Materials Do You Need to Start Entering Online Sweepstakes?

The great thing about entering sweepstakes online is that it's so easy and inexpensive to start, and the payoff can be so large! You only need three things to get started entering sweepstakes online:

  • A computer.
  • An internet connection (the faster, the better).
  • Sweepstakes to enter.

Optionally, you may want to download a form-filling program like Roboform to speed up your sweepstakes entries. It's not necessary, but it makes entering faster, more accurate, and more enjoyable. Roboform has a free option that you can try to see if you like the program.

Step 1: Think About the Information You'll Use to Enter:

Before you dive into entering online sweepstakes, take a moment to consider the information you will be entering on those sweepstakes forms.

For example, you can avoid problems having your winning affidavits notarized if you use the same name on your entry form as on your official ID (like your driver's license or state identification card).

Most people use their home addresses to enter. P.O. boxes should be avoided when possible, because some sweepstakes disallow them, and many prizes cannot be delivered to them.

You should also start a dedicated email address for sweepstakes entry.This can help you recognize sweepstakes win more easily, protect your privacy, and avoid scams. 

For more information and more things to consider, check out how to fill out sweepstakes entry forms.

Step 2: Find Prizes You'd Like to Win

Next, you'll need to find sweepstakes to enter. You can find lots of online sweepstakes right here. You might enjoy starting with these sweepstakes lists:

You can also visit the Sweepstakes Directory to see all of the giveaways sorted by prize type, or my article, 15 Trustworthy Places to Find and Enter Online Sweepstakes for more ideas on finding new chances to win.

Step 3: Find Out What to Do If You Encounter Problems.

Sometimes, you'll come across sweepstakes that are difficult to enter. The problem may be with your computer setup, or the sponsor may be having technical trouble. If you're having trouble, report your problem to the sponsor.

Step 4: Enter, Enter, Enter.

Enter regularly, and don't lose patience. The secret to winning sweepstakes is patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude. Especially when you've never won a prize, it can seem like a waste of time to keep entering if you don't win as quickly as you'd hoped. But that's when you need to dig in and focus on the many positive things about entering sweepstakes if you want to be a winner.

Sometimes, people win within days of starting to enter, and sometimes it takes months. But if you keep at it, you will win. If you're starting to feel discouraged, you can read about how to beat sweepstakes burnout.

Step 5: Claim Your Prizes:

 Make sure you don't overlook any prize wins. It doesn't do you any good to win if you aren't able to claim your prizes! See the following articles for more information:

This should give you everything you need to get started with online sweepstakes. If you'd like to find out how to win more regularly, check out Getting Started with Sweepstakes Part 2: Sweep More Effectively and Win More Prizes.

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Getting Started Part 2: How to Win More Online Sweepstakes

Woman entering sweepstakes on laptop.
Now that you know how to enter, learn how to boost your odds of winning. Image (c) Ezra Bailey / Getty Images

So if you've read Part 1 of Getting Started with Sweepstakes, Your First Steps to Entering Sweepstakes Online, you know how to find online sweepstakes to enter, how to fill out the entry forms safely, and how to know when you've won.

Now it's time to go beyond the basics of entering, and start entering sweepstakes like a pro. Here's what you need to know to be a more effective sweeper and to win more prizes.

Is Winning Sweepstakes Just a Matter of Luck?

When I talk about the prizes I've won, people tend to say, "Oh, you're so lucky!" It's true that luck plays a big role in who wins sweepstakes, and there are real, scientifically-proven ways to improve your luck.

But as Thomas Jefferson said: "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."

So let's not rely just on luck. Here are some tips on boosting your odds when entering sweepstakes, and winning more prizes.

How to Win More Prizes when you Enter Sweepstakes:

Step 1: Organize your sweepstakes entries. You can save a lot of time with your entries if you create a strategy for which sweepstakes you'll enter daily. Here is an example of a winning sweepstakes strategy.

Step 2: Decide which sweepstakes are worth your time. I like to have a good mix of sweepstakes, some with large prizes, some with higher chances of winning.

To make sure you have a good mix, learn about the best sweepstakes to enter and which factors influence sweepstakes odds. Remember that it pays to be picky about the sweepstakes you enter.

Step 3: Enter as often as you can. The more entries you have, the better your odds of winning. To cut down on the time it takes to enter sweepstakes, visit how to enter sweepstakes faster. If you're having trouble fitting sweepstakes into your schedule, see how to find time to enter sweepstakes.

Step 4: Make sure you're not doing anything that might hurt your chances of winning. Some sweepers shoot themselves in the foot by making these common sweepstakes mistakes. You should also read about how to fix some common reasons for not winning.

Step 5: Keep a log of your wins. Winning a prize might seem unforgettable, but after a few months, it is easy to forget exactly what you won, whether you are waiting on any prizes you haven't received, and how much you'll owe on taxes. Here are some articles that will make tracking your prizes easy:

Tools and Programs to Help You Win More Prizes:

Once you've gotten beyond basic sweepstakes entry, there are some tools that can help you win even more. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • The paid version of Roboform. You only pay once, and you can store an unlimited number of sweepstakes forms and identities, making it much faster and easier to win. You can also check out these other great form-filling programs.
     
  • TweetDeck, a free program to help you organize Twitter sweepstakes entries.
     
  • Diigo, a free program that lets you track which sweepstakes you've already entered.
     
  • Your favorite method of receiving Sweepstakes News.

Do you have any tips on how to take your sweepstakes hobby to the next level? Or any questions? Visit my Facebook page, About Sweepstakes, to chat. And be sure to continue on to Part 3 of Getting Started with Online Sweepstakes: Entering Social Media Sweepstakes.

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Getting Started Part 3: Entering and Winning Social Sweepstakes

Keyboard with Symbols Used in Social Media Sweepstakes
Many companies are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter for their sweepstakes. Image (c) Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

If you're new to the sweepstakes hobby, this series has covered the mechanics of entering with How to Start Entering Online Sweepstakes and how to boost your chances of winning regularly with Beyond the Basics - How to Win More Sweepstakes.

Now, it's time to learn how to succeed with an increasingly popular method of offering sweepstakes: social media.

More and more companies are turning to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more to run their contests.If you haven't tried these sweepstakes, you could be missing out on some great prizes.

If you think that trying a new way to enter is intimidating, don't worry; many people find entering social sweepstakes even easier than online sweepstakes. Here are tips on how to get started with social media sweepstakes.

Understanding Twitter Sweepstakes

If you've ever held a conversation by text message, you have some idea of what it's like to use Twitter.

Twitter is a way of communicating with friends, businesses, professional contacts, celebrities... just about anyone, much like a blog. What sets Twitter apart is that each post must be short - 140 characters or less, similar to a text message.

So start out by creating a free account at Twitter.com. You can then start following your favorite brands and/or sweepstakes sites like mine (like @ContestsGuide on Twitter) to find giveaways to enter. Get more details on how to start winning Twitter contests.

Twitter has some jargon that might seem strange when you first get started. If you want to make sure you know how to follow the instructions in the rules properly, check out my  Twitter glossary for beginners.

Twitter parties are another fun way to win prizes through this social media site. Basically, companies organize chats around a specific topic. Examples of some topics from Twitter parties I've attended include sharing budget travel tips (organized by a hotel booking website) and a chat about raising babies (organized by a diaper company).

Throughout a Twitter party, prizes are given away to the participants. The prizes usually fit with the theme of the chat. Some parties also give away prizes to people who Tweet about their giveaways in advance. You can find out more about Twitter parties here.

Of course, it's always smart to know how to stay safe when you enter any kind of sweepstakes. Before you start, learn how to recognize scams on Twitter.

Entering and Winning Facebook Contests

Facebook is an incredibly popular way to connect with your favorite people and companies. Using Facebook, you can share pictures, find old friends, and yes, enter contests.

Once you have your account (and remember, you should only have one), check out the right way to enter Facebook sweepstakes.

If you're not sure where to find Facebook sweepstakes, following About Sweepstakes and your favorite companies can help. You can also check out my list of current Facebook sweepstakes to enter.

It's a good idea to also know how to protect your privacy on Facebook and how to avoid Facebook page scams.

And don't forget to occasionally do some maintenance on your Facebook account by removing app permissions you don't need and unliking pages that you don't want to follow.

Everything You Need to Know about Blog Contests

A blog is an online publication that is usually run by a single person, and often focuses on a specific topic like political opinions, parental advice, or computer game reviews. Many blogs offer sweepstakes to expand their readership. Blogs contests tend to receive fewer entries, and have better odds, than most online sweepstakes. Here are some tips on how to win blog contests:

Conclusion:

How do you feel about social sweepstakes? Do you have any unanswered questions about them? Visit my Facebook page, About Sweepstakes, to share your opinions.

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