Can you really use competitions (comping) to make money?
Yes! You really can! You can approach your comping in one of a few ways:
- Target prizes that you want for yourself or your family
- Target prizes that you would want for others (to reduce your costs at Christmas or for birthdays)
- Target prizes that you want to sell on to make money!
- Target anything and everything and decide what to do if and when you win!
I’ll be honest, I was always more of a number 4 competitioner, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the right approach! My favourite competition blogger is Super Lucky Di! Her site is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in comping as a hobby and she explains what the best best approach is! She also has a great book which goes into everything you need to know about competitions and comping in a lot more detail! There is also a really great Facebook group which she runs for fellow comping fans and the community will give you advice, as well as keep you motivated when things aren’t going your way!
I LOVE FREE STUFF!
I mean – why wouldn’t you?! It is great to get stuff for free when you know that it is coming. Do you know what is even better than that though? Winning stuff! It’s great if you know the items are coming. Equally though stuff arriving at your home that you weren’t expecting because you won it in a competition is just brilliant! It always gets me buzzing. Are you one of those people who is always saying “I never win prizes”? If so, is that because you never actually enter any?
I’ve always been a “lucky” person. At school fairs growing up I would end up with tons of junk from raffles and tombolas. My dad and I used to enter competitions on the local radio station. We would be forever picking them up or receiving things in the post from them.
The internet has made it super easy to enter competitions in very high numbers for very little effort – gone are the days of printing out answers and posting them off or hanging on the phone for ages. Don’t get me wrong – these methods are still around – they are just not for me.
Types of competitions
Here I will outline the most common types of competitions that I like to enter.
Twitter – F&RT
One of the most common competitions that I see and enter are the “Follow and Retweet” ones on Twitter. They involve the grand total of two clicks (one to follow the account and one to retweet them) and so can be done in high numbers for very low effort. Due to this though, the numbers of people entering them are really really high so depending on the popularity of the account, your chances can be really slim but I have had some good (and not quite so good) wins on there. These include:
- Hotpoint KM040AX0 Kitchen Machine
- Movie merchandise bundle from a Cinema chain
- Fish slice
Some of these may ask you to follow additional accounts or “tag a friend”. I’m usually happy to follow a second account if the prize is decent enough, but I don’t like competitions where I have to tag friends as I don’t want to spam them. I know some people who have set up a separate Twitter account solely for these competitions. I would recommend you do the same, just remember to occasionally tweet some other stuff in between the competition tweets to break it up! You might also be able to find a comping friend who is happy for you to tag them and vice versa on these types of competitions.
Competitions like this are usually pretty easy to find – just search for #win or #competition or similar in the Twitter search box.
Some companies will give you a short form which you need to complete in order to enter their competitions. Like with my Twitter account, I’ve set up an email address just for competitions. Invariably you will end up on email mailing lists (you can unsubscribe but I find it’s easier to have them all come in to the same place). You are going to have to decide how much information you are prepared to share and therefore which entry methods you are happy with. Some ask for your name and email address only, but some ask for full address, email, full name and a phone number. Just remember to read all the Ts&Cs and opt in and out of everything that you do or don’t want to be receiving.
Although you will end up with a lot of emails at this email address – just remember to skim through them before deleting – you don’t want to accidentally delete an email saying you’ve won a prize and miss out!
You will either love or hate Gleam and Rafflecopter. You might (like me) like one and hate the other. In short, they connect to your social media accounts and enter competitions with little effort. I find Rafflecopter more effort (for example you have to post the tweet and then get the URL and submit that whereas Gleam will do it all for you). You also don’t have to do everything it says to get entries. I tend to do the Twitter and page visit entries and leave the Facebook and subscribe to other platform options. These tools basically do the above options for you. Again it is up to you to which methods you feel comfortable using and how much personal information you want to share.
I use Facebook primarily for personal things. I have a lot of friends on there and I don’t like spamming them. Therefore I only enter Facebook competitions if they are of products or brands that I already like or follow. I know a lot of people who will follow new brands to enter their competitions, but a) I don’t want to like stuff on Facebook that I am not actually interested in and b) Facebook tends to block competition entries on a regular basis.
Also, Facebook rules are regularly changing with what you are and aren’t allowed to do in order to host a competition on there. For example you aren’t allowed to ask an entrant to share the competition as an entry method. You also can’t ask an entrant to like a page to enter, but you can get them to like your page’s status! Confusing or what?!
My favourite places to find competitions are:
You would be surprised how many of your favourite websites have “Win” sections on their websites – have a look there. Also keep an eye out on your social media pages.
Paid entry competitions
Paid entry competitions are effectively a form of gambling, however for the price of entry you may decide it is worth the cost – only you can decide.
You may see promotional products which require a purchase in order to enter. You may be required to keep your receipt for these and so it is worth getting a folder or box to put these somewhere safe.
I personally tend not to do any competitions where you have to pay to enter, that is unless I was buying the product anyway.
Other types of paid entry competitions include ones you see advertised on TV or radio, quite often where you have to call a premium rate number. These types of competitions do tend to have larger prizes, but again, there is a large chance of losing the cost of entry and so if you are on a tight budget I would avoid these.
Effort based competitions
Effort based competitions, such as ones that require you to complete a task like making a picture, writing a story or anything else which takes time and effort tend to have much lower entries than other competition types. Obviously that is taking into consideration the audience so the Heart’s Faces For Florida competition did involve effort but also would have had a massive audience and therefore big numbers of entries, however on a smaller scale creative and effort based competitions really can be worth the time and effort.
Comping can be a great thing to help with your finances as long as you don’t rely on them solely! You can enter to win things you want or need – but don’t forget, if you win something you don’t want – you can sell it on and make some money!4