20 Expert Sweepstakes Tips to Help You Win More Prizes

A Quick Guide to Becoming a Regular Winner

Woman Winning on Her Computer
If You Want to Win More Prizes, Follow These Tips.  Image (c) Westend61 / Getty Images

Are you entering sweepstakes without much success? Would you like to have more delivery trucks pull up to the house to deliver prizes? We've assembled some of the best sweepstakes tips from experts to help you take your hobby to the next level and improve your chances of being a regular winner.

1. Have a Realistic Idea of How Long It Takes Prizes to Arrive

It would be nice if prizes started rolling in as soon as you submitted your first entry form. But unless you're entering instant-win sweepstakes, finding out that you're a winner can take a while. Remember that the giveaway needs to end, entries need to be verified, and names need to be drawn before the first prize notifications go out.

Even if another winner has been drawn, you might still have a chance to win. Sometimes, people turn down prizes and the sponsor draws another potential winner. But starting the winner selection process from the beginning takes even longer for your prize to arrive.

So don't get discouraged if it feels like you've been entering for a while without success. Try to send your entries in, and then forget about them. Have fun with the entry process and don't count on wins coming in at any particular time.

2. Use a Dedicated Email Address to Enter Sweepstakes

Setting up a dedicated email address to use only when you enter sweepstakes helps you recognize legitimate win notifications, avoid spam mail, and detect scams.

Luckily, it's easy these days to set up an account just for this purpose. Just create a free email account and use it as your address to enter sweepstakes and nothing else. Then, be sure to check it at least once a day.

3. Download a Form-Filling Program

Many expert sweepers use a form-filling program like Roboform to enter sweepstakes faster. These programs let you store the information you usually need to enter sweepstakes, like your name, address, and email address, and then enter that information into the entry forms with the click of a button.

Roboform has a free version that you can try. If you aren't a fan, try one of the other programs to find one that works for you.


Remember that some sweepstakes disqualify entrants who use form-filling software, so check the rules before using Roboform or a similar program to enter.

4. Set Aside Time to Enter Daily

Persistence is the key to winning sweepstakes. Set a specific time to enter sweepstakes every day. It doesn't have to be long, a half-hour spent multi-tasking while you are watching television in the evening is enough.

If you're short on time, enter only a few of the ones you most want to win, but try not to let a day slip by without any entries. 

5. Maximize the Number of Sweepstakes You Enter

The less time it takes you to submit your entry forms, the more you can enter -- raising the chances you'll become a winner.

That doesn't mean that you should enter haphazardly. The first time you enter a giveaway, you should read through the rules. Plus, it's always a good idea to visit the sponsors' websites if they have interesting products.

However, the more you streamline your entry routine, the higher your odds of winning will be.

6. Focus Your Time

Some sweepstakes let you enter only once throughout their entry periods, while others allow you to return daily for additional entries. Which type should you enter? 

Ideally, the answer would be "both," but the correct response really depends on you. If your time is short, focus on entering sweepstakes that only allow one entry per person. No one will have better odds than you do, and you can enter a bunch of these sweepstakes in a limited amount of time.

If you have more time, enter daily sweepstakes. Most people don't enter every single day; if you can, your odds will be higher than your competition's.

7. Prioritize the Giveaways You Enter

The simple fact is that there are too many sweepstakes to be able to enter them all. So how do you pick and which ones go on your must-enter list?

Of course, you should really want to win the prize being offered. Beyond that, you should know how to pick the best sweepstakes to enter: those with improved odds of being picked as a winner.

That means, focus on local sweepstakes over nationally advertised ones, or sweepstakes that have prizes only a few people would want to win, or giveaways with more entry restrictions that you qualify for. This will mean that you spend the most time on giveaways where you're more likely to win.

8. Be More Efficient With a Sweepstakes Strategy

To enter as many sweepstakes as you can in the time you have available, you need to create a strategy to find new giveaways to enter. Otherwise, you'll miss chances to win and your sweepstakes list will get shorter as the giveaways you've picked expire.

Having a sweepstakes strategy lets you be more efficient about making sure you have great giveaways to enter lined up for you. It lets you spend more time entering and less time searching for sweeps.

9. Always Read the Rules

Before you enter a giveaway for the first time, be sure to read the rules. This helps you avoid wasting time by entering sweepstakes you can't win, and also prevents losing a prize because you didn't follow the rules correctly.

Reading the rules also helps you avoid unwanted mail, reveals additional ways to win, and helps you avoid pitfalls. So even when you're trying to enter sweepstakes as quickly as possible, going through the rules pays off in the long run.

10. Don't Cheat. Even Accidentally

Taking shortcuts to get more prizes may seem like a smart move, but sweepstakes sponsors know how to weed out entries made in bad faith. Cheating has negative consequences like losing your chance to win, being blacklisted by major sweepstakes agencies, discouraging sponsors from offering giveaways, and, in extreme cases, even arrest for fraud. 

It's also possible to "cheat" unintentionally if you don't know or understand the rules. Get to know the reasons for being disqualified from sweepstakes so you can avoid them. Learn what sweepstakes entry restrictions mean and skip over any giveaways that you aren't eligible to win.

Your time will be better spent entering sweepstakes where you have a solid chance of winning.

11. Take Advantage of Bonus Entries for Sweepstakes Referrals

Many sweepstakes give you additional chances to win if you tell your friends about the giveaway. These bonus entries can give you an edge over your competition, so take advantage of them if you can.

Many sweepstakes experts make friends who enjoy entering sweepstakes so they can help each other out with referrals. On social media, you can ask your friends if they are interested and set up a list to invite to enter.

If none of your real-life friends want to enter, you can visit forums on sweepstakes sites or groups of sweepers on social media to find people who are looking to exchange referrals.

12. Enter It and Forget About It

It's fun to dream about winning sweepstakes, but it's important not to set your heart on winning any specific giveaway. That's a path to disappointment and discouragement.

Instead, move right on to the next giveaway and let winning be a lovely surprise when it happens.

13. Fight Against Sweepstakes Burnout

If you're entering and not winning, it's easy to feel demotivated, and that demotivation can lead to entering fewer giveaways and winning less often -- which leads to a nasty catch-22.

If you want to win, you'll need to protect yourself from sweepstakes burnout: negative feelings that take the fun out of entering.

If you're feeling down, read some inspirational sweepstakes quotes, get fired up by listening to fun songs about luck, or shake up your routine. When your luck turns and prizes start coming in, you'll remember what makes this hobby so fun again.

14. Bring More Good Luck Into Your Life

Feeling lucky is a big advantage for sweepers because it helps beat back burnout and makes entering more fun.

If you've never felt particularly lucky, there are things you can do to change that. Here are eight popular ways to get lucky. You can also make changes in your life that will help you have a positive attitude. 

15. Make It Easy for Sponsors to Contact You When You Win

If sponsors can't get in touch with you to tell you that you've won, all your hard work entering sweepstakes will be for nothing. Make sure that you use a telephone number that will reach you easily, and answer even if you don't recognize the caller — it could be a fulfillment agency.

Check your sweepstakes email daily and go through your postal mail carefully, too. Be strategic about the contact information that you use so that you can protect your privacy while still being reachable.

16. Get to Know What Scams Look Like

When your hopes of winning are high because you are entering a lot of sweepstakes, and you are waiting to receive that winning phone call, letter, or mail, you could be vulnerable to being tricked into falling for a scam.

Get to know the warning signs of sweepstakes scams so that you will be able to keep yourself safe. When a win notification does come through, research it before you respond to make sure it's legit.

17. Respond to Legitimate Win Notifications Quickly

Once you've received your first win notice, act quickly to return it to the sponsor in plenty of time to process it. If you have to mail an affidavit, it's a good idea to request a return receipt, as proof that you sent it on time.

If you missed a deadline for responding to a win notice, contact the sponsor anyway. Sometimes they can make an exception and let you return your paperwork late.

18. Keep Track of the Prizes You Win

Tracking the prizes you win helps you stay motivated through dry spells, makes filing your ​sweepstakes taxes easier, and helps you identify patterns that to win more consistently.

Do you win more daily sweepstakes or one-entry sweepstakes? Are instant wins luckier for you than regular sweepstakes? Do you have a lucky time of the day? Tracking your wins can help you find out.

19. Be a Considerate Sweeper

Businesses hold sweeps because spending marketing budget on prizes is a fun and effective way for them to raise awareness of their products (and make more money). However, when sweepstakes promotions fall flat, companies start spending their money elsewhere. They can always buy more television, radio, newspaper, and internet ads instead of giving away more chances to win.

You're not obligated to buy anything or to do business with a company to enter sweepstakes. However, taking the time to review a company's offerings, to make your dealings with them polite, and to express your appreciation encourages more giveaways.

Make sure that you know what you shouldn't do when you win sweepstakes.

20. Enjoy Yourself When You Enter Sweepstakes

The best and most important tip is also the simplest: enjoy yourself. Entering sweepstakes is a hobby, not a job, and you should treat it like one.

Have fun playing instant-win games, learning about new products, meeting fantastic people, and dreaming about wins to come.

Also be sure to enjoy the prizes you can win in the future, not just the prizes you have won, will help you have much more fun — which makes it easier to keep entering and winning.