How to Win Sweepstakes: The Ultimate Guide

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There are hundreds and hundreds of sweepstakes out there that you can enter and win. In fact, in January 2019 alone, there were over 123 new sweepstakes contests created and launched by organizers and sponsors just in the United States. You probably know someone who seems to know more than most people about how to win sweepstakes. These people, often called “sweepers,” seem to always be receiving cool prizes for free.

So, is it magic that some people just seem to win all the time? Of course not! Anyone who has a basic understanding of how to win sweepstakes can evaluate these contests for a probability of winning. Once you understand how these contests work, you can use your own knowledge of how to win sweepstakes to become a sweeper yourself and gain your own reputation as “the lucky one” in your circle of friends.

Who Can Win Sweepstakes?

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Sweepstakes organizers must be very careful when they are setting up these contests to make sure that they are completely legal and do not discriminate. For this reason, in most cases, anyone can enter to win sweepstakes. However, this does not necessarily mean that everyone has the same odds of winning or even that everyone will want to enter the contest. Identifying contests in which you are more likely than most to enter is key to knowing how to win sweepstakes.

Legal Limitations on Entrants

There are some legal limitations on who can enter and who can win sweepstakes. If you know how to win sweepstakes, you know that finding contests with these types of limitations is really important. For example, contests can be limited by:

  • State
  • Geographic region
  • Gender in some cases
  • Age in some cases

In general, a sweepstakes organizer should not limit participation based on ethnicity, although some products may appeal to one demographic more than others.

Entrant Preferences Are Self-Limiting

In a lot of cases, the prize itself will limit who will enter sweepstakes. Your ability to recognize a prize or a sweepstakes process that is self-limiting will help you in your quest to learn how to win sweepstakes. For example, sweepstakes that are likely to have fewer entries may have these signals:

  • Prizes that are only attractive to certain people
  • A long, annoying entry form or multi-page survey
  • Sponsored by a new company trying to build awareness
  • Requiring a text to enter

“No Purchase Required for Entry”

In nearly every case, a true and legal sweepstakes contest will have the verbiage “no purchase required” plastered all over it. If you must make a purchase in order to enter, then the odds are good that you are not dealing with a true sweepstakes contest. Instead, you may be dealing with an online giveaway of some kind or even a traditional product promotion.

If you want to know how to find the best sweepstakes, you need to know how to recognize danger signals. Here are a few red flags for sweepstakes that are probably not the best fit for you and that you probably will want to avoid:

  • You have to provide private financial information
  • The entry form asks you for a lot of private information
  • You must set up an account with a lot of common security questions
  • You are asked for your social security number
  • You are asked to provide access to your financial accounts or email accounts
  • There is no privacy policy posted
  • The rules of the contest are not in evidence

Where to Find the Best Sweepstakes

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You will discover there are a lot of ways to find the best sweepstakes. In fact, knowing how to win sweepstakes is really an issue of knowing how to find good contests that fit your abilities.

Sign Up for Sweepstakes Newsletters

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Once you know how to win sweepstakes, you will want to sign up for newsletters that will help you accomplish this goal. You will not just want to sign up for newsletters for sweepers. You should also sign up for newsletters from companies providing products and services that interest you and that you would like to win.

For example, you might sign up for a travel company’s newsletter to make sure you know when the company launches sweepstakes for a trip. You might sign up for an outdoor living newsletter to make sure you are aware when the company opens the registration for its latest camping gear sweepstakes. By signing up with a company directly, you usually will also have access to sweepstakes with fewer entrants and, even better, you may end up in a contest that gives weight to customer loyalty, skills like taking the “best picture” or making the “best post,” or that rewards you for posting about the contest in your social media.

When you sign up for sweepstakes newsletters, consider looking at online reviews before you do so. While many of these newsletters have great reputations, others are simply lists of contests that may be over or that are nearly impossible to win. If a newsletter only lists single-prize, big-ticket contests, then it is not likely to help you as you learn how to win sweepstakes because these types of contests are the ones with the worst odds.

Get Active on Social Media

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Social media activity will help you learn how to win sweepstakes in several ways. Most appealing winners have active social media followings. As we mentioned, many companies want to select winners that will help their brand. This leads them to qualify their terms for winning by adding that winners will have “the best picture” or “the best post.” This type of verbiage permits the sweepstakes organizer to pick a winner rather than making the process entirely random.

First, join social media groups for sweepers. This will help you start to learn how to win sweepstakes because these groups are full of people who are dedicated to sweepstakes winnings already. You will hear and read lots of stories about good strategies and bad ones. You will also get a very good idea of sweepers’ opinions on different contests. Of course, take everything you read with a grain of salt since some members of these groups are more interested in discouraging other entrants than helping out fellow sweepers.

Another benefit of getting active on social media is that many sweepstakes give weight to entrants who promote the contest online. If you get more views for a picture or send more traffic to the website than other contestants, you may have an edge on the competition. If you really are good at knowing how to win sweepstakes, you will find contests where social media is the deciding factor and then leverage your following for the win.

How To Win Sweepstakes

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When it comes to knowing how to win sweepstakes, your success will largely hinge on your ability to identify contests that are suited to your abilities and your personal appeal. As we mentioned before, most companies conduct sweepstakes to generate publicity or attention for their brand or product within their target market. Being part of the target market is, therefore, important if you want to know how to win sweepstakes.

This means, for example, that if you are a man with no children, you probably should not waste your time entering sweepstakes offering a family trip to Disney World unless you clearly can demonstrate you have a family with which to take the trip. Does that mean you cannot enter? Probably not. However, your odds of actually winning are low because the promoters will realize that you will not be a good fit for the prize or for the publicity they hope to generate by awarding the prize.

Curate Your Online Profile to Look a Winner

One key to winning online sweepstakes involves looking like a winner. Since sweepstakes usually take place online, you will find that having a nice, professional profile that indicates you are a good fit for the company goes a long way. For example, if you are entering gun sweepstakes, you will want to make sure your online presence demonstrates enthusiasm for the product but does not endorse any type of gun violence.

Keeping your online presence professional, neat, attractive, and “family friendly” will help optimize your chances of winning sweepstakes in many cases. Of course, as in everything that has to do with learning how to win sweepstakes, the contests you are entering will determine what aspects of your personality and life it will be best to emphasize.


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You may not have to make a purchase to win a sweepstake, but you certainly do have to enter the contest in the first place. Now that you have spent your valuable time reading about how to win sweepstakes, it is time for you to take action and use that knowledge! Do not let the time you just invested in your education about sweepstakes go to waste. It is time for you to be “the lucky winner” who is always getting free stuff from sweepstakes.