The person who came up with the phrase, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" was definitely not a sweeper. Those of us who enter sweepstakes know that free lunches are just the tip of the prize iceberg.
However, sweepstakes are not guaranteed to continue. Sweepstakes come out of a company's advertising budget, and a single bad experience can convince the sponsors that their marketing dollars could be better spent elsewhere. For that reason, it's very important to be a considerate sweeper.
1. Thank Sponsors for Your Sweepstakes Wins
You might be surprised by how few winners take the simple step of thanking the sponsors for their wins. Remember that sweepstakes are organized by real people, who are usually excited to hear how their giveaway is received by the general public. They've put a lot of time, money, thought, and effort into creating the competition that you won. Simply sending them an email (or better yet, a letter in the mail) to tell them how much you appreciate your prize can make their entire day, while improving the chances that they will hold more sweepstakes in the future.
2. Be Polite and Patient to Sponsors When Something Goes Wrong
Sometimes you might encounter a problem with sweepstakes sponsors; for example, their website is down, you would like a clarification of their rules, or you haven't received a prize you won in a timely manner. While you should definitely stand up for your rights when it comes to receiving prizes, you should also remember to be polite and friendly to the sponsors in every communication you have with them. You're more likely to get help if you are polite about your problem, plus you won't run the risk of turning them off sweepstakes.
3. Remember - You're Not Entitled to Sweepstakes
Sometimes, we sweepers get so caught up in the excitement of entering and winning great prizes that we lose perspective. Sweepers have gotten angry enough to rant and rave about sponsors because the prizes weren't big enough for their liking, because airfare wasn't included in a win, or because a survey was required to enter. Remember that there are thousands of sweepstakes available to enter at any given time. If you are frustrated by one, just put it out of your mind and move on to the next.
4. Spend Some Time on Sponsors' Websites
When you're trying to get as many sweepstakes entered as possible, it's natural to rush through each site as quickly as you can. Remember, however, that the reason why sponsors are offering these wonderful prizes is to entice you to learn more about their products. Taking a few moments to look around the sponsors' websites and read what they have to say not only encourages the sponsors, but it could lead to your discovering something new and nifty.
5. Buy from Sponsors When Possible
Another great way to show your appreciation for sweepstakes is to spend your money on sponsors' products and services when possible. While you're certainly not obligated to buy anything as a condition of entering sweeps, it's really helpful to keep sponsors in mind when you go shopping. For example, if you browse through a sponsor's website and see a gift that would be great for a friend, bookmark it and return the next time you're getting ready to buy a present. This will raise their profits and show the success of their sweepstakes advertising. If possible, mention on contact forms or face-to-face that you heard about them through their sweepstakes.