Comping is as big as it has ever been. Thousands upon thousands of competitions take place DAILY. They can be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Company Websites, in Magazines. Literally everywhere! There is not enough time to enter them all. But you can sure make a dent if you set up right from the outset.
I’ve been comping for around 5 years now and have easily entered 10,000+ competitions. At first, it started off slow but then gradually the wins started to come in. Over the last year, I would say I’ve won about £6,000 worth of prizes, for nothing more than just my time. How crazy is that! The wins have become so regular my colleagues and family ask me on a weekly basis what I’ve won recently. These have been anything from DVDs, vouchers, Days out, Clothing too more expensive things like Game Consoles, Video Games, Football Tickets & Concert tickets. The biggest win to date was two VIP FA Cup Final tickets earlier this year. All from a simple Follow & Retweet Competition on Twitter. Needless to say, the experience was incredible, made even sweeter that it was my team, Arsenal, in the final!
I’m always telling people to comp because of how easy it is. I enter multiple competitions within minutes due to handy shortcuts and software. These genius little things save A LOT of time. And time, after all, is precious. Even with these shortcuts, you need to put some serious time into comping if you want to win. The entire idea of comping is that you enter hundreds of comps on a daily basis. Why? Well, let’s do the math. If you just entered one competition a day, the chances of winning are extremely low. But if you enter 100+ a day, you’ve just double, tripled and even quadrupled your odds of at least winning one of those competitions! It’s honestly as simple as that. The more you enter the more chances you have of winning.
BUT, and it’s a block capital one. Comping is not a glamorous hobby. There is no escaping that fact. Spending hours upon hours filling in forms is no one’s idea of fun. BUT, there are things you can do to make it less monotonous. And I’ll cover them with some tips.
I should say these tips are certainly not definitive. There are no doubt more comprehensive guides out there, hell I’ll even share one here.
This is the first one I read when I started comping and it really helped. It’s near enough the bible on what and what not to do. I’ll touch on the MoneySavingExpert website again later. My tips are simply what I do on a daily basis. I hope they help you win loads of stuff! Are you ready? Here goes!
1. Get a separate email address, now!
These tips aren’t necessarily in order, but this definitely needs to be the first thing you do on your journey of Comping. If you were to use your own email address, you would get flooded with SPAM emails every few minutes! No joke. I just looked at my comping email now and there are nearly 2,000 Spam emails! They are impossible to avoid. However, most web entry forms will have a box, often small and hidden, saying something like “OPT out of emails” or “TICK here to NOT receive emails”. Tick these as much as you can. And look out for tricky wording where it says “un-tick to receive emails” etc. Any email account will do, but personally, I use Gmail. It’s simple, has a clean interface & easy to use
2. You need a decent Form Filler
You will struggle immensely to enter multiple competitions without an automatic form filler. Manual form filling takes ages. Imagine doing that 100 times over! A form filler takes all the fuss away. With one simple click, the form will be filled out. I can’t stress enough how much time this will save you. There are loads of auto fillers out there, but after a quick google search, you will find that Roboform is easily the most popular. It also doubles as a password saver. It has a free and paid option. The free one is all you need and it works like a treat.
I would recommend watching all the tutorials. It can be quite tricky at first to set up. But once it’s up and running it does exactly what it should. But there is another option which I use currently. And that’s built into Google Chrome. It’s a very simple extension called Autofill for Chrome by Fillr. Here’s a link.
This is very simple to set up and use. When you come to a form, after typing in a few characters a blue box will flash up with your details. Click on this and then magically the form fills. I’ll be honest; there are some forms it doesn’t like. But that’s the same with Roboform. It depends on the website
3. Finding the Competitions!
There are loads of competition websites out there. Where they basically gather up all the competitions on various websites and social media and put them in one place. BUT there is only one website that does it best and that is the MoneySavingExpert Comping Board. It’s absolutely brilliant and without it, and the volunteers who post the competitions, I wouldn’t have won anything. You can create a free account and this will allow you to keep track of what you have entered with a Tick, or ones you have skipped with an X. These are seen at the bottom of a competition post.
The competitions are posted in date and time order, newest too old and there are over 200 pages. But the competitions will have all different expiring times. You will see this identified before a comp, with an E:, like this
The competition above was posted today but will end on the 31st Dec. So you have until then to enter into it. Now if you work full time like me, you find it a lot easier to enter the competitions that will end in date order. Unfortunately, there is no way to organize the board this way. You have to manually search for the competitions using this search bar. Here’s how.
Click on “Search this Forum”
This will bring up this box. Click on “Advanced Search”
In this section, type in the Keywords box the date you want. Here I’ve typed E: 11/12. This will show me competitions ending on this date. You then need to change the drop-down box underneath to “Search Titles Only”. Once done, hit “search now” at the bottom.
As you can see below, it should only now give you the competitions that end on that day. It’s not perfect; some other dates will slip through. But it works most of the time. This means you won’t miss any comps on each date, rather than just going through the original board one by one. Which of course you can do if you have the time! For me, doing it this way, I can get them all done in about an hour so.
If you’re wondering why I have some double ticked and crossed. That’s a code telling me that I have seen that comp already and I don’t want to enter it. I use to only have them X’d, but then I found I changed my mind on some of them. So this makes it easier to definitely avoid the ones I don’t want to enter. But again, that’s just me!
You just work your way through them. Entering the ones you want to win and skipping the ones you don’t. Simples!
4. Be Creative on Social Media comps!
Social media competitions are the hardest ones to win. They often rely on you following their page, liking a particular post or tweet, and sharing/retweeting to your followers. Problem is, there is no way a company can choose a winner “randomly” from a list of thousands of people. They would have to put everyone’s name in a random generator or names in a (huge) hat, and as if they have time to do that! So personally I think it comes down to your comments, and how active you are on social media. I made the mistake before of having a separate twitter account for competitions and I never won anything! But then I looked at it from a company’s POV and I realized why. My account was very spammy. Nothing more than a stream of RT’s and that’s it. No other activity. It might as well have been a machine doing it. So I deleted the account and started entering then from my own twitter account. And almost immediately noticed the difference! To them I was a real person, doing normal things like commenting on things I liked, RT and liking posts, sharing pictures, thoughts etc. It seems silly but this is what company’s look for when choosing a “random” winner.
The reason I’ve titled this’ be creative’ is because it all comes down to your comments. If a competition just wants you to Follow & RT. You won’t stand out. You have to ALWAYS leave a comment, even if it’s something basic like “Awesome competition, thank you!” By doing this, you’re there, visible in the comments section, as well fulfilling the competition rules. It really does improve your chances hugely. But to improve your chances, even more, be different with your comments. Everyone comments the same thing. You need to stand out. Be funny, original and interact with the promoter. Ask a rhetorical question, use GIF’s, pictures etc. A combination of this will really give you a much better chance of standing out.
But even with doing this, it does mostly come down to luck. Sadly there is no foolproof way of winning a competition, if there was, it wouldn’t be fair on anyone! Just whatever you do, DON’T BEG or leave a sob story. Of course, people have difficulties in their lives. But there’s a time and a place to share that. And it’s certainly not to win a competition. These comments come off really cheap and tacky and just are not needed.
5. Be PATIENT! And Juggle Comping Other Activities.
Whoa. A double tip in one! Aren’t you lucky? This one goes without saying. As awesome as it sounds, comping should only be done as a fun little hobby on the side. Even with putting hours upon hours into doing them, you are still not guaranteed to win. Hurts, doesn’t it? It’s the truth. You can start comping and might not win anything in months. Then all of a sudden wins come out of nowhere! This year I’ve had the most wins yet, with an average of a couple every month. But other years there was hardly anything. It’s just the nature of it. The only important thing is to keep going. Enter the ones you WANT to win and forget about it. Move on. Never get your hopes attached to a particular prize. It’s best to enter then move on to the next one. You will start to win something eventually, and that win will make you feel so good. Just one win drives me to keep on going, so imagine my drive with all the wins this year!
As I’ve said already, comping is very boring. So how do you make it, well, not boring? That’s easy. I juggle comping while binging Netflix shows or listening to podcasts. Because most shows you only need to listen too, to get an idea of what’s going on. By doing this I’m doing two things in one! Let’s be honest, when you’re watching TV you’re already distracted by your phone anyway! So why not make it a potential prize-winning distraction instead?
There you have it. Some simple tips and whatnots to get you started in the world of comping. I hope you find them useful. If I come across anymore on my journey I will happily share here! Also, come say hi on twitter! @SurrealKevbo. I would love to know if you win anything with these tips! And you’ll even see the comps I enter and you could enter the same ones! I don’t mind. The more people comping the better. There’s too much sadness in the world at the moment. So if anything can bring someone a smile, I’m all for it!