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

What Do You Need to Start Entering Online Sweepstakes?

The great thing about entering sweepstakes online is that it's easy and inexpensive to start, and the payoff can be fantastic. Cash, cars, and dream vacations are a long-shot possibility. More frequently, you'll win prizes that make your life easier and more fun, like gift cards, free movie tickets, electronics, and more.

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 can 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'll use when you fill out those sweepstakes forms.

For example, you can avoid problems notarizing your winning affidavits if you use the same name on your entry form as on your official ID (like your driver's license or state identification card). Nicknames can sometimes make the notarization process more difficult than it needs to be. And using a fake name will probably get you disqualified.

Most people use their home addresses to enter. Post office boxes should be avoided when possible because some sweepstakes disallow them, and many prizes can't 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:

  • Top 10 Sweepstakes to Enter Right Now
  • New Sweepstakes
  • Car Sweepstakes
  • Cash Sweepstakes, or
  • All Sweepstakes to Enter

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

Step 3: Avoid Scams

Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage of the fascination with winning to trick people out of their money. Before you start entering, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the warning signs of sweepstakes scams.

Before you fill out an entry form, you should know how to tell if sweepstakes are legitimate and what phishing scams are and how to avoid them.

Finally, if you do come across something suspicious, you should know how and where to report a scam.

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.

It helps to develop a sweepstakes strategy that works for you. When you have a plan to run through every day, you save time and mental energy.

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:

  • What to Expect After You Win
  • How Sweepstakes Notify Winners
  • What Do Winning Emails Look Like?
  • Why You May Have to Fill Out an Affidavit When You Win
  • More articles about how to claim prizes

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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How to Be More Successful With 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

Now it's time to go beyond just filling out entry forms and start entering sweepstakes like a pro. Here's what you need to know to be more effective with online sweepstakes and 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. Make sure you have a good mix of sweepstakes in your online entries, some with large prizes and 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 when you choose the sweepstakes you enter. You only have so much time and energy, so enter strategically.

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 learn 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 lose track of 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:

  • Good Reasons to Track Your Wins
  • How to Track Your Wins
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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

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

Many companies use 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 chances to win.

Best of all, many people find entering social sweepstakes even easier than online sweepstakes. Here are tips on how to get started with social media sweepstakes.

Entering Twitter Sweepstakes

Twitter lets you communicate 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.

Start entering Twitter sweepstakes by creating a free account at Twitter.com. You can then follow your favorite brands and/or sweepstakes sites (like @ContestsGuide on Twitter) to find giveaways to enter.

Here are 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 properly, check out this Twitter glossary for beginners.

Twitter parties are another fun way to win prizes. 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).

During a Twitter party, the host awards prizes to the participants. The prizes usually match 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.

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, 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 some 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.

Entering Pinterest Sweepstakes

Pinterest is a social bookmarking website. If you find a recipe, a DIY project, a craft, or any other web page with an image that you want to remember to visit again, you can simply pin the image to a pinboard.

You can also see what your friends are pinning, and they can pin the sites you like as well.

Pinterest can drive significant traffic to websites, so many companies use giveaways to encourage new pins. Find out how to enter and win Pinterest Contests and take advantage of the prizes being given away for using this site.

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:

  • Boost Your Odds of Winning Blog Contests
  • Advantages of Entering Blog Contests
  • Where to Find Blog Contests to Enter


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.