How I win free beauty products in giveaways and sweepstakes.
Last week, I saw a package for me on my living room table. That was nothing unusual. I'm always requesting samples, so I'm always getting some sort of package. I became curious when I saw it was from Mary Kay, though. The envelope felt like it contained actual makeup, not a sample, and I didn't remember requesting anything from them...
When I opened the package, there was a pretty bronze cream shadow and a brush. I had won a weekly sweepstakes from Project Runway and Mary Kay! How exciting!
This is nowhere near my first win, however. Last year, I got into requesting product samples after I happened to randomly see a Yahoo News article about free samples that sparked my interest. The type of people who request samples often enjoy the hobbies of couponing and "sweeping" (or entering sweepstakes), as well. As I began to read blogs about free samples, I also saw many sweepstakes and giveaways mentioned. So, I thought, it didn't hurt to enter. Slowly, I became a bit of a "sweeper" myself.
Although my friends and family make fun of me for it, I really enjoy samples, sweepstakes, and coupons! I totally understand how, to my friends, they may seem like comical hobbies better suited for a stay-at-home mom with OCD. But I see it differently. I have plenty of nonconstructive online pursuits (like Facebook stalking, obsessive online shopping, random Youtube tangents, and so on. I'm sure I'm not alone...) But the thing that differentiates sampling and sweeping is that they are actually productive "time wasters." I send my name and address out into cyberspace and often get something I didn't have before in return. All types of nice things show up in my mailbox for free. How cool is that?
That's why I thought I'd share the love and show you guys some of the things I've won over the past year, as well as give you some sweepstakes pointers.
This is a Dove prize pack I won last year in their daily holiday sweepstakes. It contained Dove body wash, a nice bath pillow, aromatherapy oil and eye mask, and yummy French Vanilla tea.
I won this Milani lipstick from a Facebook giveaway.
I won these full-sized Vaseline products from a "She Finds" sweeps.
I won these energy bars from a Facebook sweepstakes. (They were really good, btw!)
I got this full-sized Nivea lip butter from a giveaway on Nivea's Facebook page.
I won Aussie deep conditioner from Allure Magazine.
I snagged a full size Suave Moroccan Infusion Shampoo in a Suave giveaway.
I was the winner of a Palmer's weekly sweepstakes.
And just this weekend, I got this email message:
Here are my tips on how you can win:
1. Find sweepstakes and giveaways. There are many ways to do this. Connect with companies you like on whatever social media sites you regularly use. Many giveaways and sweeps work through Facebook entries. There are also a substantial amount you can find on Twitter, Instagram, etc. If you like a company on Facebook, you will be able to see when they post promotions. There are also tons of blogs and webpages made just for contest, sweepstakes, and giveaway information. My favorite sites for finding sweepstakes are http://contests.about.com/ and Samplestuff.com's Facebook page " Free Samples And Freebies"
2. Enter the contests that you really want to win. Since there are so many contests out there, it makes sense to focus just on ones that you actually would like to win. What good is it to get something useless, even if it's free? Not only that, but it is selfish, as you are taking a prize from someone out there who really wanted it. I always think, "Would I actually use this thing?" before submitting my information. I try to only enter sweepstakes that offer something I am either dying to have, or at the very least, could be useful/fun in my daily life.
3. Increase your odds. First, if you enter tons of sweeps, statistically you are bound to win some! So the more you enter, the better your chances. There are also some other simple considerations to boost your odds. Sweeps that are for lesser known companies, less valuable items, or nitch products will likely have fewer entrants, making it easier for you to win. Sweeps with restrictions (state/age/gender etc) also will have better odds than those with none. Check the entry rules about how often you can enter, too. Some allow daily or weekly entry, others are one time only. Enter each as much as possible to boost your chances. Any contest that requires you to do something extra or creative (upload a photo, write a paragraph and so on..) will likely have fewer entrants than those that just require a form. The more prizes given, the more likely you are to win. With the Mary Kay sweeps I just won, they chose 5,000 winners weekly. Those are much better odds than just 1 winner a week. The shorter the entry period, the better the odds. So, those quick day-long Facebook giveaways are pretty easy to win. Many of the items I won are from this type of sweepstakes!
4. Always check your email. I didn't get any message about winning the Mary Kay sweepstakes, but usually, with even the smallest giveaways, they inform you that you won and ask you to verify your address within a certain time frame. If you fail to respond you can lose your prize. Over the summer, I was travelling in Guatemala, and due to spotty computer access, I did not check my email often. I won a lip and cheek color set from Lucky Magazine worth over a hundred dollars, but I didn't respond to the email soon enough. Unfortunately, I lost out on my most valuable prize so far. Not cool! Also, many times the notification email is sent from an individual employee, and can look quite unofficial, so check your email regularly and carefully.
5. Think like a winner. I totally believe in visualization and positive thinking. If you feel like you are going to win, you probably will.
Finally, and most importantly:
6. Don't give up!!! Keep entering. It takes time for sweepstakes to close, for the companies to choose names and contact winners. Chances are you will forget you even entered by the time you hear you won! Give it time, and keep going. If you are persistent you will surely win.
I wish you the best of luck!
So, do you enter giveaways and contests? Have you ever won any? Please feel free to share your own winning tips in the comments.