12/7/2010 3:00 PM ET|
How to win contests and sweepstakes
Not everyone wants to go to that much trouble. The Blue Nile contest received only 400 essays. Josh Tauber, of the search-marketing firm Wpromote, has run social-media contests that drew only 30 or 40 entrants.
"Your chances are really high," says the director of viral marketing, who's worked on giveaways of everything from coffeemakers to a Ford Fiesta. In fact, he's come to recognize certain people who enter contest after contest.
Where the best chances are
Local contests are easier to win because fewer people can enter. Countless bloggers are offering prizes, too -- what better way to get readers? -- and some of these giveaways have few to zero entries. But even with a well-known blogger your chances are pretty good, because you need to be one in a thousand, not one in a million.
Follow your particular focus. For example, parents should check out mommy blogs for the chance to score everything from board books to eco-friendly disposable diapers. Or even school uniforms: French Toast regularly stakes bloggers with polos and pants to give away, and recently ran a contest with a $10,000 cash prize to one family plus $5,000 worth of uniforms for a local school.
Such specifically targeted contests mean reaching fewer consumers -- but the right ones. A child-free reader isn't interested in school uniforms, and a Luddite wouldn't want a laptop.
Savvy sweepers share secrets
Noah Fleming's winning streak was made even more valuable by the fact that Canada (unlike the U.S.) doesn't require citizens to pay taxes on sweepstakes winnings.
Over the past couple of years the Internet entrepreneur has won, among many other things: an all-expenses-paid trip to the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, two Xbox 360s and a number of games, concert tickets, a 20-inch iMac, an autographed hockey jersey, an iPod, a Tassimo coffeemaker, a 46-inch television, a home theater system, DVD boxed sets, a Wii, a Flip Mino HD camera and two Dell laptops.
"Luck" had nothing to do with it, Fleming wrote in this post on his website. It was simple persistence -- "and you can do the exact same thing."
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Preteens, rejoice. The grown-ups have a compelling reason to consider getting you a tablet this year. Adults, listen up.