One question I am frequently asked is, “What are my odds of winning?”  My response always is, “It doesn’t matter as it only takes WON to WIN.”  However, that is not 100% true because depending on the contest or sweepstakes you enter, your odds of winning could be very good or very remote.  Many factors can affect your odds of winning.

1.) There are many different types of entry methods:

  • in-person,
  • call-in,
  • mail-in,
  • text messaging
  • and online.

2.) Within those entry methods there are many different ways to enter.

  • In-person could be a drop box or a business card draw.
  • Online could be a straight forward entry form, a Facebook contest, a Twitter contest or advergame.

3.) Some even span various types of methods.

  • Get a code on your phone and enter it online.
  • Play an advergame online, share it on Facebook and/or Twitter to get extra entries.

4.) Spanning all the entry methods and entry types there is regionality:

  • locals,
  • regionals,
  • nationals
  • and worldwide.

The smaller your local area, (Buffalo, NY vs. New York, NY) the better your odds.

5.) There is also timeframe.  Potentially there will be more entries submitted the longer the contest is accepting entries.

6.) There is number of entries. Can you enter once? Weekly? Daily?  It is easier to win a one time only entry sweepstakes then it is one everyone can enter daily.

7. & 8.) Finally there is sweepstakes eligibility and interest.  Who is the contest open to and what is the prize.  Can you win it?  Do you want to win it?

All of the above aspects will affect your odds of winning.

Unless the promotion is a seeded contest like Tim Horton’s Roll Up The Rim or MacDonald’s Monopoly, you generally will not find the exact odds of winning in the rules.  That said, you can use common sense and your own judgment to asses the odds of any given sweepstakes.  To give you an idea, here are a few examples of various contests, sweepstakes and promotions that have different chances of winning:

There are membership sites such as 123win!. You become a member of the site, login and see what new sweepstakes have been added.  This specific site is for Canadians. Prizes vary from gift cards to prize packs so the odds will vary from giveaway to giveaway dependent on who can enter and how many people are interested in winning.

NOTE: Since the initial writing of this blog post, membership sites have fallen out of favor as social media contests have taken hold.

Royal Draw has a frequent sweepstakes for a gift cards. The giveaways are open to both Canada and the U.S. so the odds of winning should be low, however, since the promotion is only open for a a short period, the odds of winning can be quite good. You also have opportunities to earn points by participating on the site and using those to garner additional entries.

eBags consistently hosts Facebook timeline giveaways, coupled with Rafflecopter. Their sweepstakes are only open to all of the U.S., however you must have a Facebook account to enter and you should have an interest in the prize.  You can even guestimate your odds as you can see how many people LIKE their page or how many liked each post.

I posted a blog, Style to WIN! about a contest with many barriers to entry. Although it is open nationally (in Canada), it has a regional aspect to it (5 major cities) the fact the prize has a limited interest (those interested in hairdressing) has increased the odds of winning considerably.  Therefore, if you have an interest in the prize, or know someone who does, get your entries in. Also, this contest is a annual event, so you will have another opportunity to enter.

Now, I can hear you saying to yourself, “How can any of those contests really have good odds?!”  They may not seem to have good odds of winning, on the surface, but: 1.) Do you ever buy lottery tickets or scratch tickets?  Read the odds on the back along with the value of the prizes and decide for yourself.  And 2.) everyone I know that took this hobby seriously and began entering on a consistent basis (daily, for an hour or two), began to win on a consistent basis.  Until recently (as I have not had as much time to devote to my hobby as I would like) I won 5-15+ prizes every month, month-after-month, since 2004.

What are your odds of winning?  None, if you don’t enter.

So, get organized, get consistent, and start winning!!