Inside tips on how to win competitions

You have probably seen the stories of people literally living off competition winnings. For these people, holidays can be so common they become a way of life.

Permitz sets up hundreds of competitions each year for Promoters and have seen ALL of the tricks and we are now happy to share some of secrets with you.There are some simple rules you can follow to increase your chances of winning.

Target particular promotions

The simplest way to win a competition is to enter one that doesn’t have many entries.

Some competitions get hundreds of thousands of entries, there isn’t much point in targeting those competitions. Public lotteries have ridiculously low odds of winning and cost money to enter. You should never have to pay to enter a trade promotion.

Permitz conducts a large number of competition draws for Promoters so has a good understanding of which competitions attract entries.

One of the most important factors in determining the number of entries a competition is how many people know about it. If you have read about a competition in a public forum, seen it advertised on TV and heard about it on radio, then chances are, you won’t be the only entrant.

There are a few other important factors and by something called multivariate analysis, which is much less fancy than it sounds, we are developing a tool for determining the approximate number of entries a competition will get. This works well with our clients in the design of a competition but could also be a secret weapon (well, until now) for you folk who simply want to win competitions… Want to know more about that? Send us an email to with the subject line ‘Entry tips.’

Of course, nothing in life is certain, in fact, in competitions there is no direct correlation between these factors and your chance of winning, merely a chance they may improve your chances (mhh.. hows that for a disclaimer).

Greater effort= greater potential reward

Competitions which require you to run through hoops to enter scare entrants away i.e. visit x website, then complete a long survey, then share it with your friend, and then purchase our product and go back to our website.

Our advice for Promoters is always ‘keep it simply.’ Our advice for you, seeking to win a competition, is target those that are complex or require a purchase to enter or seem like they would be too hard for others to enter.

Follow the terms and conditions

The competition terms and conditions are the rules which both you and the Promoter must follow. The competition terms and conditions set out how many times you can enter, how to enter, what the prizes are and so on.

If you think you are being smart by entering using slightly different variations of your name, despite this being in breach of the terms, then think again. If you think that your entry script will guarantee your success in a competition, when the use of such methods is prohibited, then think again. Promoters are well aware of the tricks used by some entrants to win.

By following the competition terms and conditions you can ensure that your entries are not disqualified.

Avoid competitions which are potentially bogus

A reasonably significant risk with any competition is that the prizes on offer will never leave the office of the Promoter (or simply don’t exist). There are very significant fines and other penalties for companies running competitions in this way,  but… how do you know which competitions are potentially bogus?

One easy way is to check the competition terms and conditions to ensure, if the competition is a chance-based competition, that it is approved by the correct competition permits. Competition permits are not needed in all States or for all competitions but if a competition is open nationally and is a chance-based competition, then it would usually have a permit from NSW and the ACT (although there are some exceptions in the ACT).


The top 5 mistakes people make in relation to the need for competition permits

Competition permits are generally required if the winners of your competition are determined by chance. Typically this means the winners are either drawn or win instantly by, for example, scratching a game card.

Competition permits are not required if your winners are determined solely by skill and by qualified judges. Examples of skill-based competitions include those which typically ask a question to be answered in 25 words or less.

There are some common misconceptions about the need for competition permits (Also know as lottery permits). Here are a list of the top 5 mistakes people make in relation to the need for competition permits:

1. I am running a mix skill and chance-based competition therefore I do not need permits— Wrong! You may need permits if your competition involves any element of chance in the determination of winners.

2. I am located in QLD but running a national chance-based competition therefore I do not need permits— Wrong!  If you have a national competition you will need permits from at least NSW and the ACT.

3. Everyone else runs competitions without permits, so there is no chance I will get in trouble – Wrong!  It is an offense to run a competition without competition permits where required. There are serious, and we mean serious, potential penalties.

4. Permits are required from QLD– Wrong! You will need to comply with the QLD guidelines but do not need to apply for a permit in QLD.

5. When I am waiting for permits I can just put ‘Permits pending’ or TBC on advertising material– Wrong! You will need to display the actual permit numbers, as well as various other information, on your advertising.

For more information about the need for competition or lottery permits, send us an email to

Generating leads from competitions

Many of us spend a lot of time on website development and customisation but don’t do a great deal to increase website conversions and generate new leads.

A competition (also known as a trade promotion or lottery) can be an effective way of increasing leads generated from your website. Form conversion rates before and during the competition period give you a clear method of reviewing the effectiveness of your competition.

The key to an effective competition is to ensure that it is as simple as possible to enter and to ensure that the right people know about your competition. Asking for excessive personal information such as date of birth will only serve to drive potential entrants and leads away.

A chance-based competition, which may require lottery or trade promotion permits, requires minimal effort from competition entrants. Winners can be determined by a competition draw.

For a complete and obligation free quote, contact the quote form on our website or send us an email to

Three ideas for your next competition

Various competitions

Looking for a fresh competition that will stir up your customers, infuriate your competitors and increase your sales?

Here are three out-of-the-box ideas for your next promotion.

1. Ongoing rewards and a chance to win Big! The best way to run a competition is to keep it going and to keep giving. Many of the most successful competitions we have seen give away small prizes such as DVDs, event tickets, and cash on a weekly or monthly basis. A blanket permit allows you to run a number of competitions with smaller prize pools over 12 months. On key dates, to coincide with product launches, or events, you can then obtain individual permits to give away larger prizes.

2. Instant win! An instant win competition gives entrants an immediate sense of winning, can encourage multiple purchases and allows you to award prizes to multiple winners.

Instant win promotions need to reward continual participation by your entrants. Ensure that you give a large number of prizes and a smaller number of large prizes. Your minor prizes could be discounts or free products or services that you offer.

3. A chance at a Million Dollars! A million dollar prize pool does not need to cost you a million dollars. Prize insurance allows you to offer prizes in the order of $100,000, $500,000 or one million dollars for a fraction of the total prize value. Such a competition gives a winner the chance to win a large prize. Typically, you would draw one entrant who then attends an event where they are required to pick an envelope out of a possible hundred. One envelope may contain a million dollar cheque whilst the others contain a consolation prize. No matter which envelop your winner picks, they walk away happy.

Permitz have been involved in a very large number of innovative promotions, giving away millions, giving away trips to virtually every continent. Permitz can look after terms and conditions and competition permits for your next competition.

Notifying winners

Notifying winners can be a lot of fun, but also needs to be done carefully! Winners will be overwhelmed to hear that they have won something from your company. Many then go on to be ambassadors of your brand.

It is important to take care when notifying winners, as mistakes can be costly. In one case, a Junior Marketing Assistant conducted a competition draw before the scheduled draw time, then contacted the winner, and then went out for lunch. The Marketing Manager, unable to reach the Assistant, assumed the draw had not occurred, so conducted a second draw and notified a second winner. The prize was valued at over $25k..

Prior to contacting winners you should ensure that the winner’s original entry was valid i.e. that they completed the entry requirements, met any minimum age requirements and provided required information.

There may be some information that you need to award the prize, such as a prize delivery address, or preferred dates of travel. You can request this information in your email or letter to the winner. It is always best to have information you need in writing.

Winners must be notified in accordance with the competition terms and conditions. For a chance-based competition, you will need to notify winners in writing within 2 days of the competition draw. You may also need to publish their details on a website or in a newspaper.

Below is a sample letter that can be used to notify winners of a chance-based competition. Ensure that you change the wording to suit the circumstances of your individual competition.

Sample winner notification letter

Sample winner notification letter

When publishing a winner’s name on a website or in a newspaper the common format used is:  [Competition Name], [Prize Details] winner: First Initial] [Last Name], [Suburb].

It is a condition of competition permits that prizes be awarded in the manner specified in the competition terms and conditions.

Click here for a copy of the above document.

For more template notification letters, details on how to publish winners, and how to obtain competition permits, contact us-


Four important points when designing a competition

Each competition has a different measure of success. Common indicators of success may include:

  1. An increase in sales over the promotional period;
  2. Increased awareness of the brand or your products;
  3. The development of a potential customer database for email or direct marketing; and / or
  4. The collection of data on your current or potential customers.

On review of over one hundred recent promotions, we have determined that there are a number of factors that influence success. These are listing in order of the priority as we have found them:

  1. Whether the right people know about the competition. A competition will not attract entrants unless the right people know that there is a prize on offer. Advertising should be aimed at entrants. Competitions are a very good call to action in an advertising campaign.
  2. Perceived odds of winning. Promotions which are widely advertised with fewer prizes on offer may be perceived to offer lesser chances to win. By offering major and minor prizes you can increase people’s perception of their own chances of winning.
  3. The relevance of the prize. The competition prize on offer should be something that your target entrants actually want to win.
  4. Ease of entry. Many competitions include layers of bonus entry mechanics or steps that entrants need to follow to enter. The harder it is to enter, the less entrants you will have.

The actual value of a prize is one factor that is not as important in determining the number of entries. Most entrants do not readily appreciate the difference between $5,000 and $10,000- they are both just a large sum of money & are hard to visualize.

Common errors to avoid when applying for a competition permit

The State gaming regulators review thousands of applications for competition permits each year. A significant amount of rework is required when errors are picked up by each State. In some cases you may be issued a permit in three of the four states and then need to lodge amendments in the first three, at additional expense.

Here are some of the most common errors:

1. Failing to include mechanisms for unclaimed prizes. Usually you will need to allow three months for prizes to be claimed. If they are not claimed, then conduct an unclaimed prize draw.

2. Not including dates and times for the competition open, close, draw and notification periods. It is important to note all of these dates and also to sick with your terms and conditions. There is always the chance that the lottery departments will actually attend your draw so you need to ensure that your entries are in order and that you conduct the competition draw on the time and at the place specified in your terms and conditions.

3. Not providing sufficient detail on the prizes to be awarded. For example, each component of the prize should be valued (based on RRP), if accommodation is a part of a prize then you should state the type of hotel or star rating plus the number of nights.

4. Excluding mandatory costs such as taxes on flights from a prize. You cannot require a winner to pay to take a prize. All mandatory costs need to be included in the competition prize.

If you have any questions on the above, send us an email to

Some commonly Asked questions

1. When do I need competition permits?

Competition permits are generally required if the winners of your competition are determined by chance. Typically this means the winners are either drawn or win instantly by, for example, scratching a game card.

Competition permits are not required if your winners are determined solely by skill and by qualified judges. Examples of skill-based competitions include those which typically ask a question to be answered in 25 words or less.

2. What if the draw/ my office is in a particular state, does this mean I only need permits from that state?

The location of the draw and/ or your office is irrelevant. However, if the competition is only open to residents of a particular state or it is a requirement that entrants come to a location in a particular state, you may only need competition permits from that state.

3. Do I need competition terms and conditions for a simple or a small competition?

Yes. Competition terms need to set out a number of important things. These include who can enter, when someone needs to enter, what restrictions are in place and what the prizes are. If you fail to have competition terms and conditions you will leave a number of questions unanswered. This increases the risk of a complaint or dispute later on. It is better to have clear terms and conditions which set out everything about the competition and avoid ambiguity.

4. What detail do I need about the competition prizes?

You should include as much detail as you can about the competition prizes in the competition terms and conditions.

Some state regulators specify particular information which must be included. For example, in VIC, you need to ensure you include the name or type (i.e. star rating and location) of any hotel included in an accommodation prize.

5. How long does it take to obtain competition permits?

Each state takes a different amount of time to issue a competition permit. We suggest you aim for three weeks from the day you apply to the day you need permits back. You will need to include the permit numbers in any advertising of the competition.

Permits needed for skill-based competitions

A common question is whether permits are needed for skill-based competitions. The simple answer is no.

When determining whether or not a competition is based on skill it is important to consider if there are any elements of chance involved in the determination of winners.

Chance-based competitions include:

1) Competitions where winners are drawn;
2) Competitions where winners are determined instant (and determined randomly);
3) Scratch and Win type competitions; and
4) Competitions where the prize is dependent on the number of entries or any other factor outside of the control of entrants.

There are some competitions which include elements of skill and chance. These competitions will still need permits. For example, in the first round of a competition entrants must answer a question which is then judged, in the final round a winner is drawn- this is a chance-based competition.

Any competition that is chance-based requires permits (from at least NSW if conducted on a national basis).

Voting competitions do not require permits so long as there are no elements of chance involved. i.e. if you conduct a voting competition, how will you determine the winner if two or more entrants have the same number of votes? If you conduct a draw, then permits would be required.