When I first discovered comping on the web, I thought hey, this is great. Perhaps you thought so too.
Think of the advantages – no postage costs, no envelopes. Just settle down in front of the screen with a nice cuppa tea. Log on to the Internet, search for a few competitions and enter. Bliss!
Or so I thought. Perhaps this is your experience too.
I decided to compare postal comping with comping on the web and allocated myself an hour of Internet comping. But where do you start? That’s a good question.
Bombarded with TV adverts to visit specific websites, I concluded that if I keyed in each supermarket name, into the Internet browser, followed by either .co.uk or .com I’d get somewhere.
So I made a list of supermarkets, starting with the first on the list. When I entered their website address into the browser, it was like going into a store, albeit virtually. You decide which aisles to wander down, have a look around, take any purchases to the check out, pay and exit.
When you enter a website instead of viewing aisles you look at the navigation bar, which is usually on the left hand side of your screen, make your selection and with a double click of your mouse, in you go to another page to view what's on offer.
At one web store I discovered a hyperlink which invited me to `Register for news and win’. A hyperlink, just in case you are new to web comping, is either a word which appears in blue lettering and is underlined or a picture, which when you move your mouse’s cursor over it, displays a hand symbol. This then tells you that if you double click it, you will hyperlink straight into another page or in some instances another website.
So I double clicked the hyperlink, and hey presto, I was on another page which explained about the prize draw.
At some websites you go straight to the prize competition page where you can enter. Others take you to a page which explains about the prize competition, only after you’ve read through a mountain of text about a new product or service and clicked through half a dozen or so more pages to get to it.
Now I know you’re not so naïve as to think that promoters give away a car, holiday or other prizes just for the fun of it. Organising competitions is a marketing tool. Reasons for doing so are many.
It could be to draw your attention to the launch of a new product. The promoter may have added a new flavour to its existing range of pizza and a prize draw will alert your attention.
They may want to ensure a new brand quickly becomes a household name so ensures repetition of its name by inviting you to see how many words you can make from its name.
Now you’re not going to spend hours doing that are you, without some sort of incentive. The incentive of course is the prize.
Here’s a real life instance of how powerful a marketing and advertising tool competitions are…
I was in a neighbouring town Christmas shopping and took a wrong turn down a street and noticed, in a car showroom, that magic word WIN, displayed in large letters on the showroom window.
Screeching to a halt, I went inside to discover an array of Proton cars, which incidentally I’d never heard of before. Leaflets were displayed around the showroom inviting you to enter their competition to find how many words you could make from Proton Persona. The prize? A brand new gleaming bright red Proton Persona 1.5. And the reason for the contest? The launch of their latest model.
Inspired by the challenge, especially as there were only 10 days to the competition closing date over the Christmas holiday period, I locked myself away in the library, only going home when they threw me out at 5pm closing time. 9am next day I was back again. Three days searching twenty volumes of a dictionary and 1,245 words later, my improvised cut-down cereal box postcard entry winged its way to the judging table.
Now having read, reread and written out words relating to Proton Persona, this car name, unknown to me a week earlier, was now as familiar as the brand name of my favourite chocolate bar.
So when I’m next in the market for buying a car, whose name will I remember? Why theirs of course and probably be one of several showrooms I’d visit to make my purchasing choice. However, in this instance, I didn’t need to – I won the car!
Instead of a competition, a promoter could place a paid for advertisement in the press. But think of the free publicity for the promoter when you or I win their prize contest. In my Proton example, my prize presentation picture appeared in three different local newspapers, the story was related on Central TV’s Winners, in Win Your Fortune in Prizes book, to friends and compers at Win With Lynne Roadshows and now here too on the Internet. So you can see why prize competitions are so popular.
Having entered a contest in-store, your name may be added to a company mailing list and they will send you offers and news of their products – sometimes even a contest to enter. And so it is with the Internet too.
And if it’s cheaper for you to enter contests on the Internet, thus saving postage, then likewise it’s less expensive for the promoter to send you emails instead of snail mail postal offers.
Now for the problem, as I see it, with Internet comping. The more you comp, the more `junk emails’ you get. Is there such a term as ejunk mail?
A growing number of websites ask you to register to receive a newsletter with automatic entry into a prize draw. Or when you read the rules you discover by entering you’ll receive future offers and mailings – either by snail mail post or email.
Believe me when I say these soon mount up. At home I receive between ten and twenty items of `junk mail’ a day through comping efforts. On the Internet I do not exaggerate when I say every time I check my email I’m downloading (copying to my computer) hundreds of emails each time. Sometimes three or four times a day – that’s an awful lot of emails.
Not all of this is due to Internet comping. Some webmasters must collect email addresses from websites to send out unsolicited emails as I receive `junk emails’ from companies and individuals I’ve never even heard of – let alone entered their contest.
You have to remember too that it costs you nothing to pick up mail from your doormat, apart from a little time and drop it into the bin if its unwanted, but on the Internet you’re paying connection time phone charges to download emails onto your computer, many of which you’ve not asked for nor even want.
One company sent me five copies of the same newsletter, each of which was so filled with graphics it took half an hour to download !!! You can imagine how you’d feel about that company.
What I do now and, you may like to benefit from my experience, is to have one email address which you use only for comping. Don’t give this address to anyone else at all. Then on your mailbox software set the filter to place all emails sent to your chosen address into one in-box folder. That way you can quickly scan through them, searching for the Congratulations message to see if you’ve won a prize.
This feature was written by Lynne Suzanne in 2002.
At the time of writing, the Internet was still new and connection was quite slow. Also, with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you have to opt-in to receive information and the amount of ejunk emails I now receive are considerably less. However, one aspect hasn't changed, and that is the sheer number of competitions and prize draws you can enter on the Internet. You can find links to online competitions on our www.win-with-lynne.com website. Happy Comping.
Lynne has helped many people to win fantastic prizes through her newspaper columns and books, and herself has won thousands of pounds worth of prizes including two cars and worldwide holidays. Lynne shares her secrets of success in her latest books: Win Cars Holidays and Prizes is packed full of prize winning advice and anecdotes, whilst Punch Lines has over 4,000 puns and word play, ideal for journalists and advertisers to create catchy taglines, headlines and copywriting.Copyright © 1993-2020 Lynne Suzanne, freelance writer and author