How to make Advent Competitions work for you
December is fast approaching folks, and for us compers, that means that advent competitions are just around the corner! This can be an exciting time for compers as there are way more prizes on offer than in any other month of the year. It can also be very stressful trying to keep up with it all. Whether you love or hate them, entering advent competitions can be fun and lucrative, providing that you make them work for you.
What are Advent Competitions?
In recent years, advent competitions have become a very popular and novel way for businesses to promote their range, whilst spreading a bit of Christmas cheer at the optimum time of the year for retail sales.
Most competitions are set up as an actual advent calendar, with prizes available behind every door. Each day you will have access to the prize behind the coresponding door. The most common entry method is usually name and email address, so they are nice and quick to enter. Most start on December 1st and run for either 12 or 24 days. The prizes can vary greatly in size and value depending on the organisation providing them. You will also find that some companies like to add in special offers behind some of the doors, rather than prizes, so unless it’s somewhere you were already planning to shop, I would avoid these.
My Advent Competition method
A great way that you can make advent comps work for you is to be selective. There are a couple of things that will happen if you try to enter all of the advent comps you find. Number one, you will become stressed and overwhelmed. Number two, you won’t have the time to enter the usual non-advent comps that are still available in abundance. And don’t forget, as many people focus on the advent comps, those regular comps will be receiving way less entries than usual, increasing your chances of winning!
I’m going to hold up my hands now and admit that I am a bit of a comping geek. Well, you would hope so considering I write this blog! But, even in my life outside of comping, I’m a planner. I plan and I research and I organise. This year I have decided to share my geeky method with you lucky people! Some of this might seem obvious, however, simply by being married to an incredibly non-organised person, I understand that won’t be the case for everyone.
Step 1: Research
Probably a bit of a bold term, research, but for want of another, it does the job. So, this year, I have discovered that the advent competitions have been announced even earlier than last year. I’m guessing we’re going to have a ‘Christmas music in shops’ type situation here and eventually they will be announced the same week as Halloween! Still, in this instance I won’t complain as I think it’s great. Both The Prizefinder and Loquax have their advent lists available and as of checking yesterday (19th November) the links on Loquax are already ‘active’. By active, I mean that links to the various advent websites are live, you just can’t enter the competitions yet. Update: As of 1st December Competition Database also have live advent links!
Have a real good look at what’s available outside of the normal comping sites too. I would recommend going to the websites of brands that you love to see if they will be doing one, as it may not be listed elsewhere yet.
Step 2: Selection
Be picky with these comps! As I mentioned above, there are a LOT of them. Bear in mind that a lot of them will run right up to Christmas eve, or day and therefore if you are looking to use the prizes purely for Christmas presents, you’re probably better disregarding them after a certain date (I suggest around 16th December). More than ever, with advents, I only focus on the prizes that I really, really want.
With the advent links available so early, you can save so much time. Most advent comps will start on December 1st, so if you can have already picked the ones you want to enter before then, you’re at a distinct time advantage!
Step 3: Build your collection
What I do from here is to build my own link collection. I have a folder on my toolbar which contains links to the advent comps that I am interested in entering on a daily basis. As they run for different periods of time, I rename the link to reflect the closing date. I don’t care what the prizes are at this point, as I’ve already decided it’s something that I want in the selection stage, so renaming it as just the closing date lets me know when to delete the link and focus my attention on the rest. Below is an example of what I have set up so far for this year.
Step 4: Enter and Update
This is the order I choose to do my competitions in, you may prefer a different order, but the main point is, have an order! I enter the regular comps closing that day first, then go through the links in my advent folder, followed by any new competitions if I have time. I would suggest keeping the links in each advent folder to a maximum of 15 and then selecting open all. This saves confusion and has a nice methodical feel to it. If you have more than 15 links, I would suggest numbering folders along your toolbar i.e Advents 1, Advents 2. Throughout December, I will follow this routine. It’s also worth noting that some advent competitions are not announced until the day that they open, so it’s certainly worth checking back through the advent competition lists available on the bigger listing sites to update your collection.
- Don’t forget about the regular competitions. These will have way fewer entries due to the advents, thus making them easier to win.
- Focus on locally based advent competitions, such as your local shopping centres and indepedent shops, as these will have far fewer entries than the bigger brands!
- Use form filling software such as Dashlane to complete your entries quicker
- Read Facebook notifications last! It’s an overwhelming part of social media comping on any day of the year, trying to read through every single tag notification. At advent time, it can be hellish! Don’t let notifications distract and confuse you, enter those in your collection first, read notifications later.
- Have some sort of Christmas themed photo ready for competitions asking for one, and they will. If it has your kids dressed as Elves etc, that would be a bonus but the broader the appeal, the better as it can be used in different categories.
My Top Picks this year!
So here’s a little updae for you (3rd December). I’m really enjoying the advents this year, how about you? I thought I would to a round up of my top 10 advent competitions this year, let ,e know if you have entered any of them.
- AMC – A Walter White Christmas – amazing idea, I love this one, really unique and quirky
- Grindstore – Nice to see an alternative brand joining in, they have some interesting prizes
- Magic Radio with Sky Cinema – This one is awesome. So much effort gone into it, love the design. Excellent for movie fans
- Travel Up – I love the look of this one and it has some amazing prizes, if you know me, you will know I love the travel and day trip based prizes the most!
- Family Travel Association – Whilst the pay off vs. effort for this advent/game is meager, you have to love the idea! The puppetry video scenes of classic movies are hilarious.
- Radio City’s Signature Living – The prizes are insanely luxurious hotel stay and I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but all 25 days are available now. I’ve already entered for the month!
- My Mail – You do need to register for an account for this one, but the prizes are HUGE. We’re talking holidays and £10k diamond rings!!
- Vegan Life Magazine – I realise this is a slightly more niche appeal. However, after years of endless Christmas gift basket competitions that I can’t enter because they don’t cater to me, this is a welcome treat!
- Scenic Tours – Another attractive calendar with great travel related prizes and mostly high value.
- Keel Toys – Lovely toy based prizes daily, with the opportunity to win a huge hamper of toys on top of that on 19th December.
Dont forget, I still have a couple of my competitions open for this year, with one more to follow this coming Thursday (6/12). See Links below:
What did you win?
As much as it might seem a little bit neurotic or time-consuming to follow my above suggestion, I really do recommend it, as it will save you a lot of time and stress in the longer term.
I’m interested to know if you use any other methods to enter advent competitions and how it works for you. Also, let me know what you win! As much as I am a bit of a ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, there’s something really fun about advent calendars. I used to love them as a kid and have desperately been trying to win myself a beauty advent calendar for this year! I love the thrill of seeing what’s behind each door. And who wouldn’t want a new surprise every day!?
Good luck everyone, enjoy yourselves and I hope you win big!