Most people think of sweepstakes as a free or cheap version of the lottery. Sure, it doesn’t cost much, if anything, to enter, but you still only have a million to one shot to actually win a prize.
Or do you? Is winning a contest simply about pure luck, mere chance, or is there something more to it? TL;DR: sweepstakes are about putting in the work. You can win prizes big or small, you just need a lot of elbow grease. Here’s the lowdown.
First, Some Inspiration: Big Winners
Sweepstakes aren’t about winning a toothbrush or a company pen. You want the big prizes. There are plenty of them out there. Here are some examples of hugely impressive wins by your average person:
- Diana “Di” Coke. Since the 90s, Coke has won a VW Beetle (yes, a new car!), £35k in cold hard cash, and trips to places like Tokyo and Brazil.
- Carolyn Wilman. Also known as the Contest Queen, Carolyn has won over $250,000 by entering sweepstakes.
- Tracey Barnes. She won $10,000 in Cartridge World’s Go Green, Win Green contest. She had a 1 in 11,533 chance.
- Kimberley Green. This one was a whopper: $221,000 from Century 21 (a realtor) to put towards a new home.
Great, Where Do I Enter?
Those wins have probably got your mind fantasizing about your dream holiday to the Bahamas or driving around in a brand new Ferrari. But before you start packing your bags, you actually need to enter a contest first.
Become a ‘sweeper’ by entering some of the contests below. Remember, these are just examples of what’s out there; they may have expired by the time you read this, but it’ll give you the inspiration to look up your own.
Sports Ticket Contests to Enter in 2020
Sporting event sweepstakes, a personal favorite. Who doesn’t want to attend the World Series or the NBA Finals at least once? Gatorade Towel is a cool one to enter, as it gives you the chance to get a personalized performance session with an NFL strength coach. It won’t make you play like the pros, but awesome nonetheless.
Another interesting one is the Million-Mile Home Run Sweepstakes by Alaska Air, giving you the chance to attend Spring Training in 2021.
Geico is also running an enticing one: a trip to the 2021 Daytona 500 race in Daytona Beach, Florida opened until November 9th.
The last, but not the least, the Football Hall Of Fans Sweepstakes run by Ford, offers you the chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LV, a trip to the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement, and a new 2021 Ford F-150. How amazing is that?
Activities and Outdoor Prizes
These are super common, as companies can offer sweepers places on activities for very little in terms of investment. For example, the Paddling.com contest to win a kayak is worth $700 in retail value, but the cost to manufacture is relatively low.
Another one to test your luck and win a new 2020 Polaris Slingshot SL worth $32,500 until September 30th is a Polaris Slingshot sweepstake, or you can get a free 20121 Yamaha YZ250F motocross motorcycle and a Fly Racing gear package until October 12th by entering a Your Best Ride Sweepstakes MotoSport’s contest.
Online Sweepstakes Games
Another recent addition to the sweepstake Rolodex is the online sweepstake game. In many ways, it’s similar to gambling, except you don’t have to deposit real cash money. If you like traditional casino games, for example, this is a roundabout way to gamble without gambling.
Because gambling is still a bit of a grey area in the United States (it’s slowly being legalized), casinos get around it by offering people the chance to buy sweepstake entries, which allow them to play traditional table games, slots, and more. However, due to regulations, casinos must also offer free sweeps coins (the currency you use to play) by mail.
Popular sweepstakes games at CasinoTopsOnline will give you a better idea of what’s on offer, and you can get your feet wet by playing for free first. Once you get your head around it, use the mail-in method to get your free coins.
Cold Hard Cash Sweepstakes
Some of us don’t want holidays or activities. We want cash. There are websites out there (Google is your friend) that cover cash sweepstakes. They’re actually quite common.
For example, Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream is offering a $4,600 prize, in addition to a one-year supply of ice cream. Blue Buffalo is running a Summer Sweepstakes, where you have a chance of winning a cool $7,000. Seriously, there are countless of these out there.
I’m Hooked; But How Do I Win?
Okay, you’ve seen the awesome prizes. You want to enter. And you want to win. The good news is that it’s not just about sheer luck. There’s plenty you can do to up your chances of winning.
Take the Extra (Annoying!) Steps
Anyone can enter an email and hit ‘Submit.’ But taking the time to write a little blurb about why you are entering the contest? Nah. Or how about taking a picture doing something related to the brand? Nope, next contest.
Most people don’t want to make an effort required to enter sweepstakes that ask for more than just a few personal details. This means that the ones that are harder to enter are also the easiest to win.
Streamline Your Submissions
If you’re still doing manual entries, stop. You need to use something like Roboform to automatically enter the standard details for you (email address, name, phone number, etc.).
If you’re looking to become a pro, you need to look for ways to enter as many competitions as impossible in record time. Tools like this one can help get you there.
Create New Email Addresses
Multiple emails = multiple entries. It really is that simple. You can try this Gmail trick to create infinite addresses using a single account.
But perhaps the best reason to create sweepstake-specific emails is that if you’re not careful, your main email address is going to turn into spam city. Companies that create sweepstakes want two things: 1) enhance brand awareness, and 2) get your details. They want your details to send you stuff. Period.
You want to create a Google spreadsheet, and pronto. If you don’t organize your sweepstake entries, you’re getting nowhere fast. The organization ensures you enter the right number of contests; it’ll help you see your ‘hit rate’ (the % of times you win something), and can help improve your strategy.
Last One: Join the ‘Sweeping’ Community
Yes, there is such a thing as a ‘sweeping’ community. For those who have experienced that sweet taste of sweepstake victory, it’s almost impossible not to want to experience that high again.
Especially considering how winning is about effort, not luck. If you’re starting to get visions of winning a new car or holiday to Disneyworld, it’s actually possible to win. We’ve given you a few pointers, but there’s so much more out there.
This guide stands still in time, but you don’t have to. We leave you with this golden tip: to get the most out of sweepstakes: join the community. Forums, newsletters, conventions, and Facebook groups. You’ll find thousands of others like you looking to win the big prize.