If the Problem Is….
I can’t seem to WIN anything.
Winning competitions takes time and patience. Some compers start winning as soon as the hobby grabs them and pulls them in. It might take a month or two for others. It’s sad, but some people never seem to win anything. When you start out comping it is best to try local competitions (where less people are likely to enter) and ones with more than one prize so your chances will be better. Large national, well promoted competitions are hard to win especially those with big ticket prizes. However, there is always that elusive element of luck involved so it’s still worth giving them your best shot and crossing your fingers.
I’m no good at WOL competitions.
Don’t be frightened of WOL competitions and avoid them as they are actually easier to win than the random draw competitions (as not only do less people enter them the ones that do often don’t give a lot of thought to their answers). Practise writing WOL answers to simple questions like ‘why do you want to win this prize?’ and when you do enter them take your time. If you can see what others have written (say, comments on a FB page) you may get some clues on how to do a better job. If all else fails, try photo competitions – they are fun too!
I can never get enough VOTES to win.
There are really only two options to resolve this problem. The first is to find more people willing to vote for your entry (legitimately, that is) through friends, friends of friends, family, your neighbours (if they will speak to you after that). You can also make polite requests on competition forums as long as you are prepared to return the favour. The other option is to avoid them, stop wasting your time, find other competitions that you enjoy and move on…
I am missing prizes I have won.
This is becoming a bit of a problem especially with FB competitions where promoters expect the entrants to check back at a later date then message with their contact details if they win. Although it can be very tedious it is a good idea to keep track of your entries and find a way of flagging the date you need to go back and check the winners list. This can be done with a spreadsheet, with the calendar in your smart-phone or just in a notepad. Also make sure you ‘like’ the main page of the competition promoter (not just the competition post). You can always ‘unlike’ it later if you don’t win.
My prize hasn’t arrived.
Sometimes it takes a month or so for a prize to arrive at your front door but if it is any longer than that it might be worth contacting the promoter with a tactful email or message asking if the prize has been sent and when they expect it might arrive. Most big companies outsource their competitions to PR companies so they may not actually know but at least you have made contact. If they care about their reputation, they are very likely to chase it up. Then wait.
An unexpected prize arrives.
Surprises are fun. Its part of the reason most of us enter competitions. However it can be quite irritating when a prize arrives and there is no congratulatory note (or any note) from the promoters. If you have been tediously recording your entries somewhere you have more chances of tracking down where it came from. Otherwise, just enjoy it.
I get too much unwanted emails and spam.
One of the drawbacks to comping is the vast amount of unwanted emails and spam you are likely to get from all the websites you have to register with and FB pages you have to like to enter their competitions. If you have set up a separate email account for competitions this will be less of a problem s you can simply unsubscribe from most of them later on. Make sure you keep a lookout for scams too. If you don’t tick the opt-in box on an entry form you may reduce the unwanted emails but not always.
I’ve won a competition but lost the receipt.
If a competition requires you to make a purchase in order to enter it is important to keep it safe until the winner(s) are announced. I have a special box for these. Sometimes promoters don’t ask to see the receipt, especially if there are multiple low-value prizes involved. If they do and you have lost it simply be honest and they may honour the prize anyway. It will depend on them.
Photo attribution – Thomas Stasiuk