Over a Dozen Creative Ways to Get More Votes for Your Contest Entries

Creative Ways to Get Votes for Your Contest Entries

Students holding buttons at voter registration
Over a Dozen Creative Ways to Get People to Vote for You.. Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

When you enter contests of skill, like photo, recipe, or writing contests, you might think that once you create an outstanding entry, your work is done and you can simply sit back and find out if you've been chosen as a winner.

Think again. 

Many creative contests use voting to help determine their winners. Some use votes to narrow down the pack and pick finalists to be judged. Others go the opposite way, with judges picking finalists and a vote determining the winner.

And of course, some contests do away with judges altogether, and simply let voters pick the winners.

That means that if you want to win more creative contests, you need to have a strategy to gather votes. Simply asking your friends to vote for your entry might not be enough.

For example, many years ago, I wrote about a contest sponsored by ThePamperedPup. The company was accused of condoning cheating when a contestant seemed to surge ahead in votes overnight. The reason? One of the entrant's husband was a PGA executive. He sent a mass mailing out to thousands of people on the PGA mailing list, many of whom voted for his wife. The huge number of votes she received in a short period of time were legitimate.

You might not be lucky enough to have access to a massive mailing list of people you can call on to vote for you, but with some creativity, you can still get a significant number of votes for your contest entries.

If you'd like some creative ways to generate votes for your contest, read on.

Before You Try Any of These Ways to Get Votes:

Before you use these suggestions, make sure you read the contest's rules. Some contests let you use any available way to get votes. Others specify that you can only ask friends and family members.

Some say that you can invite people to vote in the contest in general, but not ask for votes for any specific entry.

  • Ask Your Friends and Family Members
    Your friends and family members might not be enough to win every vote for your, but they shouldn't be ignored, either. Ask them to ask their friends, too, if they don't mind. You might have more people in your network than you think.
     
  • Make Friends with Other People Who Enter Contests
    Join a sweepstakes club or sign up for a Facebook page about sweepstakes. There, you can meet and befriend people who can support you, and whom you can support in turn.
     
  • Put Twitter to Work for You

    Twitter is a website that lets you connect with lots of other people, which makes it perfect for asking for contest votes. If you take the time to develop a network of friends on Twitter, you'll have lots of people that you can tell about your contest entry, and ask for votes.

    In order to utilize Twitter well, don't be too commercial with your vote requests. Take the time to follow people who really interest you and who share interests with you. Post about things other than your vote requests, and don't go overboard with the number of times you ask for help

  • Generate Votes with Facebook
    There are a number of different ways to build a network to help you get votes on Facebook. You can join a vote exchange group (note, some contests specifically restrict entrants from using groups like this), remind your friends to vote on your wall, or create your own private voting group. If you play Facebook games like Candy Crush or Farmville, you can offer to trade in-game gifts for votes.

  • Change Your Forum Signatures to Include Your Contest Voting Link
    If you participate in online forums, especially if they are sweepstakes-related, be sure to change your signature to invite people to vote for you.

  • Use Your Email Signature to Get Votes
    How many people do you email each day? Encourage them to vote for you by changing your email signature to include a link to your contest entry

  • Visit Forums that Offer Vote Exchanges
    Many sweepstakes and savings forums give you the opportunity to request votes for your contest entries when you support other forum members. These vote exchange forums depend on a give-and-take. It's poor form to pop in, request a vote, and never return AND you won't get a lot of votes that way. Be sure to not only make your own post, but to also vote for others, leave a comment that you've done so, and leave the link to your contest in the comment to generate maximum votes.

  • Use Vote Exchanges in Sweepstakes Forums
    Many online sweepstakes and savings forums have a special area where you can offer to vote for other people, and get votes in return. (Note, some contests specifically restrict the use of vote exchange forums). Some places to try include: 

  • Hold Your Own Giveaway
    Some people have held their own giveaways, either by giving people who vote for them the chance to win a prize or by using a giveaway to spread the word about their contest entry. Be careful, some contests prohibit the use of giveaways to encourage votes, though!

  • Make Your Own Commercial
    If you have the talent, come up with a funny and creative video encouraging people to vote for your entry and post it on YouTube. If your video catches on, you can generate thousands of votes. If you want to try this route, check out How to Go Viral on YouTube from Web Trends Expert.

  • Print Flyers
    Design some funny, cute, and eye-catching flyers advertising your contest and why you should win. Make sure you make a tear-away area with the contest's website so that people will know where to enter when they get home or a QR code that people can scan with their smartphones. You can use Canva to make professional-looking flyers for little or no money.

    Put the flyers up on free notice boards at your grocery store, your kids' school, your swimming pool, or anywhere else in your community where flyers are allowed. 

  • What About Your Workplace?
    Talk to your boss about whether your place of business can help you win your prize. Perhaps you could put a flyer up in the kitchen, put a notice on the company intranet, or spread the word in a newsletter.

  • Recruit the Media to Help You
    This tip is only likely to work if you are in the running for a very large prize. But if you are, contact your local news organizations. They might enjoy a human interest piece about how a local guy or gal is in the running for a juicy prize.

Cheating for Contest Votes:

There are various ways to pay for votes. Some websites and Facebook groups sell them outright. Some people use sites like Amazon's Mechanical Turk to exchange micropayments for votes. Most contests consider buying votes to be cheating. 

Some people also try to cheat by taking advantage of weaknesses in the contest's design, like faking IP addresses or creating fake accounts to vote. Before you try this, be aware that most contests have ways of analyzing the votes their entrants' receive. Getting a lot of spammy or illegitimate votes could disqualify your entry.

It doesn't matter how many votes your entry receives if you are disqualified from winning, so be sure to stick to the rules carefully.

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