What are the best ways to register for and enter sweepstakes?
At Sweepstakes Advisor, we often get questions about how to properly register for and enter sweepstakes. All sweepstakes have instructions on how to register and enter, and they may be different from one sweepstakes to another. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully, and sometimes they could use some extra explanation.
Sweepstakes Advisor has been your guide to the best sweepstakes for over 30 years. We’re committed to helping people just like you find, enter, and win the best sweepstakes!
In this article, we’ll explain some of the common rules for sweepstakes entry and the terms they use to help give you the best chance of winning sweepstakes and the great prizes they offer!
Know your method of entry
“Method of Entry” refers to the requirements you need to fulfill to enter the sweepstakes. It is important to carefully read the rules of the sweepstakes you are entering to find out the required method of entry and if there are any acceptable alternate methods of entry.
Knowing the method(s) of entry is the first step to being able to enter the best sweepstakes and win great prizes!
Among the most common methods of entry for sweepstakes is the mail-in entry. Most will require you to seal your entry in an envelope, but some allow or even require your entry to be written on a postcard.
Each mail-in sweepstakes will define how many times each person can enter. It may be once, or once per week, or even as many times as you wish! Whatever the limit, you must use a separate envelope or postcard for each entry.
For mail-in entries, hand-write your entry with a ballpoint pen in both upper and lowercase letters, unless the rules specify to write in all capitals or “block letters,” which just means all capitals.
Mail-in entries in an envelope
Envelope entries are the most common form of mail-in entry. If you want to enter a mail-in sweepstakes and it doesn’t mention what to send your entry in or on, you can safely assume they want you to send your entry inside a sealed envelope.
The most commonly-used envelope size for sweepstakes entries is the #10 envelope – the envelopes you’d most often imagine your paycheck or a letter written on paper to arrive in.
#10 envelopes measure 4 ⅛” x 9 ½“. Unless the sweepstakes you are entering specifies that they require a different size of envelope, this is the kind they want to receive their entries in. Of course, if the sweepstakes rules specify a different size of envelope, then use the size specified! Here’s a list of common envelope sizes and their dimensions.
Address and return address on your envelope can be typed or handwritten, unless the rules of the sweepstakes specify otherwise. For your return address, you can use a return address sticker or stamp unless otherwise noted in the sweepstakes rules.
Mail-in sweepstakes will require you to write out your sweepstakes entry either on an official entry blank (OEB), paper, or a card.
Official entry blanks (OEBs) are forms provided by the sweepstakes holder for your entry. In most cases, you will need to send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to the sweepstakes holder in order to receive your OEB.
If sweepstakes rules specify that you should send your entry on paper, use blank, unlined writing paper, like printer paper.
As for cards, it’s important to understand the distinction between a “card” and a “postcard” when reading the rules of the sweepstakes you want to enter. They are not the same thing.
A “card” refers to a thick, unlined, blank card, like a notecard or cards students may use to make flashcards, about the thickness of a postcard you’d buy at a post office. After writing your entry, you’ll take the card and seal it in an envelope.
For both paper and card entries, it’s important that there is no extra writing on the card – just the information specified in the rules of the sweepstakes you’re entering.
Do not use personalized stationery or letterheads! These will cause your sweepstakes entry to not be accepted.
If sweepstakes rules specify a size for paper or cards used for entries, the size of the paper or card you use must be within 1/16” of the size specified. This may mean using scissors to cut a piece of paper to the correct dimensions.
Mail-in entries on a postcard
In some cases, sweepstakes may allow or even require your entry to be written on a postcard. It’s best to carefully read the rules of the sweepstakes you are entering – if postcard entries are allowed or required, it will be specifically mentioned.
A postcard measures from 3 ½ x 5” to 4 ¼ x 6” and usually features a picture or design on one side while having spaces for address, return address, and a written message on the other.
As mentioned above, if a sweepstake’s rules mention sending your entry on a “card,” this does not mean a postcard. If a sweepstake’s rules specify you should send your entry on a “3×5 card,” use a blank card and send it in an envelope. If they mention a “3×5 postcard,” they mean a 3 ½ x 5” postcard.
Make sure to write your entry in pen, as it is less likely to run if wet, and make sure to write it neatly! The space for your written message on a postcard is often relatively small.
About self-addressed stamped envelopes (SASEs)
Some sweepstakes rules may require that you place a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) inside the envelope with your entry, or require that you send a SASE in order to receive an official entry blank (OEB), as mentioned above.
A SASE is an envelope with adequate postage already appropriately placed in the top-right corner on the front, with your address written on it as the addressee – not as a return address!
It should be placed unsealed inside the first envelope – the one addressed to the sweepstakes holder – so that the sweepstakes holder can use it to send you important information or an OEB.
Online sweepstakes are becoming more and more popular. With no need for stamps, envelopes, or postcards, they are convenient and easy to enter. There are still a couple of important tips for registering and entering sweepstakes online.
First, make sure to enter the web address completely and properly into your web browser if you are typing it in. Also, for many online sweepstakes, especially those on social media, you will need to create an account for the website or social network if you don’t already have one.
Some online sweepstakes that are run through social media will require you to like, re-post or comment on a given social media profile or posting. Make sure to complete this step in order for your sweepstakes entry to be accepted.
Be careful to only enter your personal information on websites you can trust. If you’re unsure about online sweepstakes, make sure to get a copy of our Sweepstakes Advisor Prize Report for a guide to the best and most legitimate sweepstakes!
Enter required information completely and correctly
Whether the sweepstakes you’re entering is online or offline, you will need to fill out, write down, or type in the required information completely, correctly, and in the case of handwritten entries, clearly enough to be easily read.
Here are some important tips on filling out common information required for sweepstakes entries:
Your name is one of the most important parts of a sweepstakes entry. After all, how else are they going to know who to give those amazing prizes to?
Make sure to write or type your full name as it appears on your ID. Do not use initials, like J.B. Smith, or married names like Mrs. John Smith. Common nicknames, like Susie for Susan, Bobby for Robert, etc., are ok – but if your name is John but everyone calls you Tex, it’ll be best to use your given name.
“Address” means a full and valid address, including a ZIP code. PO Boxes are often accepted, but make sure to read the full rules to make sure that the sweepstakes you want to enter allows PO boxes. If the address you provide isn’t complete and accurate and you win, you may forfeit your prize when the sweepstakes can’t contact you.
Be sure to enter your email address properly and completely. Some sweepstakes may send a test email to the email address you provide to make sure it is correct. In most cases, any email provider is safe to use, so long as you can reliably and consistently receive email at that address. You may be notified by email, as well as by mail or phone, if you win big!
Sweepstakes sponsors may provide you an email address to “whitelist” in order to make sure their emails do not end up in your Spam or Trash folders. If this is the case, follow your email provider’s instructions to whitelist or “add to approved senders list” the sponsor’s email.
Any telephone number where you can be reached is acceptable. Make sure it is a full, correct, and in-service number with the area code included. You don’t necessarily have to use your own personal phone number, but if you use someone else’s, make sure it’s someone you know and that you tell them about your using it for a sweepstakes beforehand. You don’t want your friend or family member hanging up on the notification of your big prize!
Get a guide to the best sweepstakes, including method of entry
If only it were that easy, right? A simple, fun-to-read guide on the best sweepstakes currently available, along with important details on how to enter them, would definitely make sweepstaking a lot simpler.
Fortunately, there is just such a guide!
Sweepstakes Advisor has been guiding people just like you to the best verified sweepstakes available for over 30 years!
Every issue of our Sweepstakes Advisor Prize Report is your guide to the best sweepstakes currently available online, with tips on how to enter and increase your chances of winning great prizes. Every issue has information on sweepstakes with prizes totaling a minimum of $12 million!
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