Sweepstakes/contest are ran by companies, usually used to market and bring attention to their products, and also to reward loyal customers. “Sweepers” are people who make it a hobby – and some a career – at entering these contest on a regular consistent basis. Just like any other job or hobby, hard work and organization is the key to success.
In the past 3 years I have won thousands of dollars worth of prizes – including cash, clothing, electronics, gift cards, and even vacations (including an all inclusive trip to Disney World!) Though there is no guarantee that you will win, your chances of winning will increase if you follow some of these simple steps.
Steps to Becoming a Sweeper
There’s a few things you need to do to start your sweeping career (or hobby). These steps are key to keeping organized and becoming a successful sweeper.
1. Create a ‘sweep’ e-mail: While entering sweepstakes, you will get a lot of e-mails. I mean a lot. You do not want your personal e-mails getting lost in hundreds of company newsletters, entry confirmations and instant win announcements. I suggest using gmail for your sweep e-mail, as they have a great spam filter.
2.Sign up for social media accounts: The majority of sweepstakes and contest require that you enter via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. A lot of people worry that they are going to annoy family & friends with shares and tweets about these sweeps (it does happen). Where Facebook request that you have only 1 Facebook account, some sweepers start a separate account for adding ‘sweeps’ friends, and entering the sweepstakes. Others use the convenient ‘list’ option in their Facebook profile to just share the sweepstakes with particular people. Do what you are most comfortable with. Also search for sweepstakes ‘groups’ on Facebook that share sweeps they find, and help each other by entering through referral links. Most of the time they will also help a ‘newbie’ with any questions you may have.
3. Sign-up for RoboForm or Google AutoFill: autofill programs such as RoboForm or Google AutoFill will help you fill out entry forms for sweepstakes so you don’t have to type your information in every time. It saves a ton of time when entering, and with some programs you can download and keep the info from computer to laptop, etc.
4.Learn how to watch out for scams & sweeps that ‘sell’ your info: Some sweepstakes will offer ‘bonus’ entries for signing up for things – don’t do it! There are plenty of legit sweeps to enter. Watch as you enter, as some will auto sign you up for a magazine subscription, a credit monitoring program, etc. Most of the time they will offer an alternative no-purchase necessary entry option.
Only Enter to Win what you REALLY want!
I have to admit when I first started, I entered for anything and everything possible..sometimes the thrill of winning would take over the common sense to spend time entering for what I really want. (Just ask my closet full of items that I’m not sure what to do with!) If you could really care less about that autographed C.D.,don’t enter. If you don’t have children or close family or friends that would love to get that new LeapPad toy, skip it. There are plenty of contest out there for things that you’d love to have. So be picky.
Schedule Your ‘Work’ Hours
If you are really serious about becoming a sweeper, you have to commit to it. Just like a job, you need to sit down and put in the time and effort in to be successful. With that being said, if at any point you start to really dread sitting down and entering – then it’s perfectly O.K. to take a break. I know a lot of sweepers who will enter for months and months, and then take a few months ‘off’. Just like any other job it can get tiring and feel like a chore. But if you are a newbie, give it a few months before you give up, or decide to take a break. I have gone a few months without winning and then suddenly it feels like I hit the jackpot.
Read the Rules
I have had a tendency to see a prize, get all excited and enter – and be very disappointed to get an e-mail or phone call to tell me I won..then to inform me I wasn’t eligible and they must pick another winner. (I missed out on a really nice grill and $1,000 grocery gift card because of rushing through the rules). A lot of the sites that list sweepstakes (see below) will have a short synopsis of the rules, so it won’t seem as overwhelming as the pages full of rules. Just pay attention so that you aren’t disappointed!
Organize Your “Dailies”
As you enter the sweeping world, you will learn there are different types of sweepstakes. There are some that you enter 1x and you’re done, some that you enter weekly, or even monthly, and a lot that you enter daily. Some have prizes weekly, and then a big grand prize, or even instant wins that will tell you immediately if you’ve won. To improve your odds of winning, you need to organize your saved ‘dailies’. Personally I use Google Chrome and save bookmark folders. I have a Instant Win folder, a Daily folder, a Weekly folder,and even a Monthly Folder. I then save new sweepstakes into each folder so that I can daily go through the list and enter them. Some people prefer to copy and paste the links of the sweepstakes into an e-mail or document and enter that way. Whatever you are comfortable with is fine, but the more organized you are, the more efficient you will be.
*You may also want to set a reminder for the other type of sweeps that you can enter. There are tons of other ways to enter such as: Instagram, Text to Wins, and mail-ins. I would suggest keeping some index cards,
business envelopes, plain postcards, and some stamps on hand for the mail-in sweepstakes. A lot of times company offer mail-in’s in lieu of a purchase, and they do work! Last year I won a $500 K-mart gift card with a mail-in sweeps.