How to win free stuff online
Fancy winning some free stuff? There are so many free competitions and giveaways online that you can enter without it costing you a single penny. Competitions come in all shapes and sizes, but unlike free sample giveaways, you'll need to rely on luck and improve your chances of winning by entering as many as you can, starting today!
Free competitions - where do I find them?
Competitions are everywhere but the easiest place to find them all in one place are competition database sites such as Prizefinder, Competition Database and HotUKDeals. These have every competition going on the web!
You can create an account on these platforms to save the comps that look the best to you and order by comps that are ending soonest, already entered or by method you need to use to enter, e.g. Twitter or Instagram pic.
You can also find competitions:
- In your favourite magazines - flick through to find free competitions and look on their website
- On brand websites - supermarkets, beauty brands and household companies all host competitions online that you can enter for free
- On brand's social media pages - 'LIKE' and 'FOLLOW' your favourite brands to keep up to date with their latest competition
- In email newsletters - subscribe for free and keep checking your emails for exclusive access to a company's new giveaway
- On packaging - ok not technically free as you'll have to purchase something but you'll still get a freebie out of it and there's usually lots of each prize up for grabs
- and in loads more places
There are lots of ways to enter these free competitions and giveaways. These include instant wins where you play a game and find out what you've won at the end, and Twitter competitions containing hashtags and 'retweet and follow' competitions.
You can also win with just a simple entry form on a brand's website, so easy.
With all these free competitions and giveaways, you have no excuse to start winning prizes today!
Win free stuff on websites
Most brands and companies run competitions nowadays to draw attention to their website, and it must work because there are thousands of new competitions cropping up every day!
The most common competition entry is a simple form, which takes seconds to fill in. While these are easy to apply for, chances are you'll have less chance of winning because it attracts other compers who can also apply quickly with minimal effort.
If you want to increase your chance of winning, it's best to go for competitions with a bit more action, like this interactive DFDS Conga Game where you can win an Apple Watch.
Next time you're on a website, take a look around and start looking for competitions and giveaways on the company's website. Psst - it might be on their blog or news page.
Some sites like Waitrose even have dedicated comping pages and Sainsbury's have a freebies and competitions page as well.
Win free stuff on Social Media
Social media is now one of the most popular places for compers. Trust me on this one, you'll want to get in on the social media comping action ASAP. A good place to start is following your favourite brands and shops on these channels.
Brands that do amazing social media comps that I love include:
- Emma Bridgewater
It's not just brands giving away their own prizes, either. If you follow supermarkets or local corner shops, e.g. Nisa Local, they give away lots of your favourite treats and hampers!
Win prizes on Twitter
Search for Twitter competitions and giveaways by using popular comping hashtags like #Freebiefriday #RTtowin #Winitwednesday and more to get started. You could even follow other compers to stay in the loop and enter the latest comps.
Most giveaways on here are 'FOLLOW & RT' which requires you to do exactly what it says on the tin, retweet the promoter's tweet and follow them.
If you're retweeting from another comper, maker sure you go directly to the brand's original tweet for your entry to count.
If it's a caption or pic contest, always make sure you use the right spelling of the hashtag.
Win prizes on Facebook
Facebook competitions are often similar to Twitter, you'll usually have to 'LIKE' a brand's page and share, sometimes leaving a comment too. Make sure your comment is relevant and as witty as possible for yours to stand out from all the other entries.
Unlike Twitter where you can have as many accounts as you like, you can only have one Facebook account so make sure your loved ones don't mind getting spammed with all your comping activity!
Sometimes on Facebook there will be a form for you to fill on or a game for you to play. Sounds good to us...
Win prizes on Instagram
Entering a competition on Instagram usually involves posting a photo to your Instagram account, tagging the brand and also adding their hashtag to your post.
If they don't ask for an original photo, they might ask you to 'regram' one of their photos and then tag them and include their hashtag.
You can also hunt for Instagram competitions using hashtags. What's better is you can use these hashtags to spy on other entries to check yours is original and stands out.
Win prizes on Pinterest
Pinterest is still quite a new territory for lots of people so it's definitely worth getting in there now and swiping prizes if you're currently a user.
Competitions on this platform often involve creating a 'board' or reposting an image on one of your boards.
You can find competitions on Pinterest by searching 'competition' or searching on Google.
If you're worried someone might copy your board and try to steal your prize, you can always set your board to private until you're ready to submit it.
Win competitions signing up to email newsletters
A lot of websites announce competitions exclusively through their email newsletter so if you can think of any brands you'd love to win something from or try one of their products out for free, then head on over to their site now and enter your email.
I'd definitely set up a separate email for comping and freebie hunting because trust me, the spam is real!
Once you've signed up, they'll email you a welcome newsletter then it's all down to you to keep your eyes peeled. Good luck...
Win magazine competitions
A common way to win competitions is to enter magazine and newspaper comps, but a lot of people overlook these because they go straight online now, but they're missing out big time.
Some magazines can be quite pricey, but if you're at the dentist or any waiting room for that matter and you see an up to date mag comp, snap a pic of the comp on your phone and enter later or go on their website, chances are you can get the info here, too.
If you pick up a niche magazine like a puzzle book or crochet mag, you may even be increasing your chances of winning because more people will be likely to enter the popular magazine comps and follow them on your social media.
Do you have a local newspaper or magazine? Scan through these and your chances of winning will be even higher! I've even heard stories of people being the only entrant in their local town or village so keep an eye out for these ones.
Win competitions on TV & radio
You'll have to be brave for this one! You can win competitions by going on popular TV shows like The Chase, Catchphrase and Tipping Point to name a few.
If you search for this on google and sign up to sites that will email you with opportunities, then make sure you apply ASAP for your chance to appear on these shows.
You could win big prizes on here so it's definitely worth doing if you've got the guts to appear on tv!
If you're not quite confident enough to go on national TV, then listen to radio stations for your chance to win prizes. If you tune in to mainstream radio stations, usually prizes are big like cash wins or holidays - ooh yes please!
Local and niche radio stations also run competitions, e.g. Radio X (not so niche anymore but still) often run competitions for you to win gig or festival tickets, vinyls or private shows with your favourite bands and artists if that's up your street.
I once won a pair of tickets to their Winter Wonderland show and screamed in the office while on the phone - very embarrassing but worth it! The radio host was laughing and kept playing it back all day.
There are a range of ways to enter, sometimes you might have to listen out for a certain song and text in and they'll call you back (that's what I did) or sometimes they'll ask you to ring up with an answer, which can be frustrating if you're put on hold but don't hang up because if someone doesn't answer and you're next in line, you can win.
With Heart's competition, they asked people to upload a photo of their depressing January view on their website and which holiday destination they would like to swap it for. If you won, the radio station would ring you and announce it live on air.
WARNING - As with every prize, just make sure you're clear on T&Cs how to pick up or claim your prize. Radio X posted me a pair of tickets out after I rang them in a panic close to the event.
I then showed up at the venue with this pair of tickets and got a voicemail that night saying my tickets were waiting for me at the box office, oops - sorry to anyone who could have used those!
Tune in to morning and drive time shows, which is where they plug their latest competitions the most, but make sure you're listening as much as you can, as sometimes they might ask you questions that featured earlier on the show.
How long do free competitions last for?
Some competitions are 'instant win' types, where you find out if you've won straight away, and some may just appear on your doorstep one day, it all depends on how each company is running their competition and when they are distributing prizes.
How do I know if I've won a competition?
Like I said, it all depends on the brand or person hosting the competition. Check in the small print, as some companies state you will be contacted via phone or email if you've won. Some promoters might even ask winners to return to the site to see if they've won.
Make sure you filter your emails using words like 'congratulations' 'won' or 'winner' so all these emails are moved to a special folder.
Also, don't forget to check your spam folder because sometimes your prize winner email could accidentally slip through the net and end up in your junk. Most promoters only give you a certain amount of time to respond and claim your prize as well, so imagine if you missed out? Heartbreaking!
How do I improve my chances of winning free stuff?
Good question! Comping is all about increasing your chances of winning, and there are a few things you can do to make entering quicker and easier.
Most competitions select winners at random so the more you enter the more chance you have of winning something. However there are some ways you can improve your chances:
Enter for giveaways with many prizes
If you enter a competition where there is only one prize, and 2,000 people enter it goes without saying that you are very unlikely to win. However, if you enter a competition where there are thousands of prizes then of course you’ll have a better chance. To increase your chances, you could target giveaways where there are multiple prizes.
Enter giveaways with low engagement
With some competitions, you can see how many people have entered. Bloggers use competition tools like 'Rafflecopter' or 'Gleam' where you can see how many entrants they've had.
Why do some competitions have low engagement? If there is a lot of effort required, like completing a creative task (such as a selfie in a specific place, a drawing or so on) or sharing on multiple social media channels, then people are less likely to enter.
Some promoters even ask you to post an answer or head to a certain location to take a photo. Generally people don't have the time or patience for these competitions, so if you enter, you're automatically increasing your chance of winning.
The key to comping is organisation. Get all your equipment in one place and make sure you've triple checked all the competition T&Cs.
If you're feeling incredibly organised, set up a spreadsheet to track your entries, follow up with companies and most importantly, keep count of your prizes.
Some compers swear by bookmarks, wish lists and notepad style apps, where you can create lists of competitions to apply for and organise it to suit your comping style.
Here are some ways to help you get started:
- Use an automatic form filler such as Chrome extension Autofill that will allow you to automatically complete long web forms with just a click of a button
- If there's an option, share your unique referral link with your friends and family to earn extra entries
- Join websites that save your details so you can see which competitions you've already applied for
- Use filters on competition websites to also filter by type e.g. Twitter, Instagram, web contact form, and so on
- Apps like Evernote even allow you to filter and make multiple custom notes that merge together to help you
Take note of seasonal dates like Halloween, Easter, Christmas and so on, as more companies host competitions around this time, so create your own competition calendar and set reminders for these times of year.
You can even use your calendar to set alerts to remind you to apply for competitions that you've saved previously.
Photo: Super Lucky Me
Get creative & put the effort in
If you are applying for a competition that requires a little extra, it's definitely worth putting that effort in to win big prizes. Think outside the box when you're taking photos, drawing pictures and coming up with catchy captions.
Promoters usually want material they can share again and again so bear this in mind when entering and make sure you stand out from the crowd!
Some competitions may require you to get creative so if you’re good with words or can tell a hilarious joke, make sure you use it to your advantage.
For example, some competitions may ask you for your favourite household tip, or ask you come up with a witty catchphrase.
Many creative competitions which give you license to go wild with your answer, can be found on social channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Questions could include: Tell us your favourite thing about our product Who would you share this prize with and why?
It helps to be friendly and put as much effort into your answer as possible – poems and jokes are always popular.
Brands also love a visual so where possible add a photo or image to make your entry stand out!
Here is a PRO tip for you – brands like when you’re seen to be sporting so consider wishing other’s good luck in the competition or liking something else’s entry.
Don’t go crazy though, there’s no need to include a long drawn out sob story as to why you deserve to win, unless it’s a very genuine, it may serve to irritate others.
Don't be greedy
Like I said before, lots of compers have 'wish lists' and focus on winning specific things such as:
- a holiday
- a car
- a new bathroom / kitchen
- new gadgets like a laptop or TV
- experience days out like afternoon tea or a sports car racetrack day
There are also dozens of smaller competition prizes you can also win from comping like a makeup kit, a mug or cushion, but it's best to get an idea in your head of what you want to win.
You can then narrow your search and start to filter through google to find competitions and improve your chances of winning.
Avoid competition spam
Some sites will include affiliate links and when you sign up to enter competitions, often you'll find yourself getting spam calls, texts and emails. This is because those little tick boxes that feature on competition sign up forms give these companies permission to pass on your information - naughty, right?
Make sure you untick these boxes before submitting your competition entry. After all, less spam in your inbox means you can focus on emails containing new competitions or winning emails - hurrah!
How do you tell if a competition is a scam?
There are so many competitions around now and unfortunately scammers take advantage of this by hosting fraudulent giveaways where there is no prize and they are simply after your personal details.
You must be very vigilant when entering competitions, if something looks too good to be true then it often is! Likewise, only trust reputable brands and sites.
Always make sure you're triple checking who you give your information to and make sure you check with someone else if you're not sure.
You can always give the company a call to check if they're legitimate. If they don't have any contact details or you ring and you feel uncomfortable, then it's probably best to steer clear.
And this goes without saying, but again, ALWAYS read the T&Cs!
So what are you waiting for? Get comping and win today!