Over the next two posts, I will give a break down of exactly what I did to win the competition.
The Finalist Post
First things first. Before anything else you had to get selected by Shoemoney’s staff as a finalist. This meant a killer post.
The first thing I did was assess the competition. I immediately understood that there would be no point attempting this thing half hearted. Just whacking up a useless post on my blog isn’t going to win me a prize easily valued at $5k but it will deteriorate the quality of my blog and brand. So before even deciding whether to enter it or not, I had to do a quick analysis on reward/ratio.
If I my chances of at least getting into the finalists were slim to none, I wouldn’t even bother entering. That decision would be made solely based on the competition. In the end, there were 92 Comments with probably 70 entries to the competition. But when I made the decision to enter, there was less than 40 entrants.
Firstly, this low number was very surprising. I guess that it was the holidays and what not probably meant less people were aware of the contest. Any way, I started reading through the other comments and was fairly shocked at what I saw.
There were a number of entries that were 1 paragraph long, broken links and posts with clearly no thought put into them. Yes there were also a few good posts, but most of them were below par.
Low numbers and low quality? Shit yeah, bring it on.
When I first read the post there was two days left to enter the contest.
Knowing that I had two days, there was no reason to rush the post. You should treat it like any other piece of writing you are trying to get right and write it out, let it sit, edit it, let it sit some more (something I usually don’t do because it takes to long and editing is annoying but it definitely is the most effective technique).
The Essay Approach
When it came down to writing the post, the first question I had to ask my self is “What is this post trying to achieve?” this is something we all had to do in school when we were given one of those annoying questions and told to discuss it. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to argue a point? Solve a problem?
In this case, the point was to be selected. To be chosen. So I started thinking about other types of documents that have a similar purpose. The first that came to mind was a resume, something I have lots of experience with as an ex-recruiter. A resume is a document you create so you are selected. But getting hirired for a job is not usually just from your resume, you need to do a good job selling youself to secure the position.
This train of thought brought me down the path of a sales letter. Really the purpose of this post was to sell myself. Really, this post was to be a sales page.
The Sales Page Post
I am by no means an expert copy writer. But I know a little. I know what some of the key elements of a strong sales letter are. These include:
Telling a story
Focusing on the benefits
I started telling my story. People like dealing with people they know, so the more of a story you can tell the more trust you will build plus it makes for an enjoyable read. I continued with emotional stimulation by writing the post in a very casual manner and by sprinkling humour through the post. I then wrote a section on how I can give back and what the benefits would be of hiring me. Whether they are tangible benefits for someone like Shoemoney or not is irrelevant. They just have to be better than the benefits the other contestants were offering. Some is better than none.
On top of the above elements which appear in every post I added two more of my own for this particular post:
An element to show I had done my research
A gimmick to stand out from the crowd
If you see down the bottom of the post, there is a picture of a girl in a grey shirt with a CLICK HERE underneath her. This was not chosen by accident. Actually Shoemoney talked extensively about this picture in his video on Facebook advertising. By adding this element is showed that I actually knew who Shoemoney was, followed his stuff and paid attention. Plus it was slightly humours, at least I thought so anyway.
The last was the tattoo gimmick. To be honest, this was chucked in right at the end. I was basically reading my post thinking shiit, I need a gimmick to close this deal and maybe more importantly, to win the votes. Sure I had a strong post, but it didn’t jump out at you, there was noting overly special about it. If you see Donny Gamble’s post he included the elf video and Danger Brown had a cool video of his own plus he was going to shave his head. These are two other fantastic examples of utilising a gimmick to get attention which resulted in both these guys making it to the finals.
I don’t know why I chose to get a tattoo. Basically I just thought it would be something that the judges would notice, people would talk about and it would make a funny story. No real reason besides it was a straight gimmick.
The End Result
Here is my winning entry. I probably spent a good 4-5 hours on it, possibly longer. Lots of that time was just reading it over and over correcting little bits and pieces. But every couple of times I read it I would get another big idea and chuck it in. As I said the tattoo idea didn’t come until the very end, maybe the last or second last re-read so it definitely pays to do this.
Electron plumber just released a post on his blog ripping into me for using Amazon Mturk as a marketing tool in the Shoemoney Affiliate Competition.
Its true, I wont deny it. I did it. And kudos to him, we all gotta do what we gotta do to win and attempting to eliminate the competition is an age old strategy to win a fight. But the truth is, I didn’t really have much of a choice…
I worked VERY hard on this competition, not only on the entry post but also on gathering votes. I spent the good chunk of my New Years Eve and every waking moment hustling for votes until Jan 2nd untill I saw this…
Those are tweets coming from a post on John Chow’s blog. For those who don’t know, John Chow is a very successful blogger in the Internet Marketing space whom I greatly admire and whos blog I regularly read. The only problem is, he has 118,000 readers!!! 118k wtf? that’s like more than some celebrities.
El Plumber was right. I am not a super star, I don’t have the Alexa rankings to control the masses. I thought I had a compelling entry that would naturally attract votes, but in a situation like this that means jack. After all the work I did, blasting out to my lists, hanging on Facebook asking everyone to vote for me for 2 days straight, asking friends to post on their walls, pulling thousands of emails from every conversation I’ve ever had on Gmail and of all my social network connections. Even asking random girls in bars to vote for me on their smart phones. I thought I was doing pretty well and used a number of interesting marketing methods that I will post about later.
While I cant see my votes, I can see the clicks from the links I was marketing and things were going pretty well. But now that a post had gone out to 120k readers the competition had been taken to a new level.
After seeing the tweets, I started doing some investigation. Oh and by the way, its not just tweets, there is syndication and a whole bunch of other ridiculous stuff that happens when someone posts on a blog of that size. I wasn’t sure if this was a legitimate friend-helping-a-friend-out post or if it was a brilliant paid advertisement (which I am not against by the way). I had read last years winners post as he talked about how he won the competition. He too had bought a post on John Chows blog to help him win votes. Here is his excerpt:
Enter John Chow
I’ve been following John and Jeremy for a long time. I’ve watched them compete against each other (to see who cold get the most RSS subscribers in an allotted time frame) and promote ZK in the Internet Marketer of the year contest.
It only seemed natural I enlist the services of John Chow and so I contacted him about the possibility of a sponsored post. It seemed like a good fit, the Shoemoney and Johnchow audience is similar and John Chow has a big following (71000 RSS subscriber and 51000 twitter followers).
I felt it would be a solid investment as it would likely bring in a lot of votes. I figured if I lost there would still be some value in the links from John Chow and some of the attention it generated.
Five bills later I had a post up on John Chow promoting me and I was feeling pretty good.
I almost when onto sponsored tweets and tried to buy a tweet from Shoemoney himself but I assumed he would decline in for conflict of interest reasons. Probably should have done it for the potential attention/linkbait anyway.
Not sure if 5 bills was $500 or $10k but either way, that’s lots to spend. And since John Chow’s following is up significantly from last year, it would probably be even more expensive this year. I still wasn’t sure if Donny had done the same thing so I dug up his post on John Chow’s blog.
This is what it looked like:
Now see Donny Gamble’s Post:
After seeing this I thought F*(%… I cant win this doing what I’m doing. As El Plumber said, I simply don’t have a big enough following. But it seems that a media buying frenzy was about to begin. Technically speaking, if I had the funds I should have been able to buy advertisements all across the internet. Make Facebook ads with the criteria of “ages between 10-99” and plaster them up. Create PPC campaigns on every keyword and buy the front page of MSN. Buy spots on Google TV, hire a professional producer to make me an emotionally stimulating, NLP filled commercial causing people to emotionally connect with me and have a strong call to action to resulting in votes on promise of donating a billion dollars to starving children if I won…
Unfortunately for me, I don’t have those kind of resources….
There was no way I was going to win without some form of paid marketing approach so I started looking around at the different tools and marketing channels I have at my disposal as an internet marketer. I looked at various media buys, sponsored posts, sponsored tweets etc… But if I am going to be spending money on advertising, I am going to look for the channel that is going to bring me the best return on investment. The tool I chose is one that I have used a few times provided by Amazon.
Mturk or Amazon Mechanical Turk is basically a service where you can find people to complete a small task for a small price. You can have them do things like comment on a blog, bump up a post on Digg or vote for you in some competition.
I thought about running a PPC campaign and paying anywhere from $0.10-$2.00 per click and not be guaranteed a vote. Sure if I threw enough money at it, I would get the same results but it didn’t seem like something that a smart internet marketer would do. Why pay more for the same results?
With Mturk, you can have an action completed for you for a set price. Depending on the difficulty of the action, you might pay anywhere from $0.05-$2 per HIT (Human Intelligence Tasks). Since this task was a very simple one “go to a web site and click vote” I created a campaign paying $0.05 per HIT.
Not sure what Donny’s ROI will be on his John Chow investment, say he paid $1000 and got 1000 votes (less than a 1% conversion) its still pretty expensive. I figured 118k readers, even if he had a 1% conversion that would be 1180 votes. So I structured the hit to be 909 votes, with fees that worked out to be exactly $50. Pretty good investment I thought plus I felt I had already done pretty well in the natural voting part, I just needed something to counter the big influx of votes Donny would get from John Chow.
Firstly, nobody knows where they stand so its all very exciting. It’s completely up to Shoemoney and his staff on how they choose a winner. I didnt do anything illegal, there are no rules stating what marketing tools can and cannot be used. But this isn’t a democracy that is going on here so my fate and that of the other marketers lies in the hands of Shoemoney and his staff.
I’m sure if someone had access to Oprah they would ask her to do a shout out for them. If that were the case all the Mturkers in the world probably wouldn’t help.
It is clear that the final portion of a competition like this is not about the quality of your entry, but about who you know, your ability to leverage marketing channels and the resources at your disposal. Much like business in the real world.
All I can say is that I really want to win this competition. I needed a paid marketing channel to stay in the game and this was the most financially viable channel to use.
Good luck to the other contestants, I hope your marketing efforts don’t work as well as mine, but if I don’t win, I hope you post about how you did so I can learn and grow.
I can’t decide which one is better. I know that spending a weekend with Shoemoney will completely change my life forever. And that’s not just some “oh yay lets go and get feelings and be all emotional and see the light” warm and fuzzy life changing crap. I’m talking direct, immediate repercussions that will hockey stick my income, network, reputation and lifestyle immediately.
Buuuut, the Playboy Mansion…. This is something that has been on my “top 10 things I want to do before I die” forever like… You could have all the money in the world and not be guaranteed entry to the mansion. Well.. if you had all the money in the world you could probably get in, but you know what I mean…
The good thing is if I win this contest, I won’t have to choose! Because Shoemoney, the mad man that he is, is giving away the opportunity to win both of these fantabulous prizes in one hit! Oh he’s also chucking in some other cool bonuses like a free trip to Vegas and a $2,000 blackjack hand to sweeten the pot!
This post is my entry to said contest which you can read all about here.
A year ago I took it upon myself to redesign my life. I was 24, working in good job in Sydney as an IT Recruiter. Life was good, I was earning 6 figures, had lots of toys, but it wasn’t Shoemoney good. And I wasn’t free.
I wanted excitement, adventure, riches, travel, VEGAS!!
So I set off, off to see the world. For the last year I travelled through South East Asia, Europe and North America. But before leaving I took it upon myself to get set up with some income to help me along the way and truly achieve my goals. Having an already fairly strong background in IT and business the internet seemed the way to go.
My first endeavour was an e-commerce store which is still running strong and has been my main earner over 2010. While travelling I worked on this business and quickly learned the ways of the internet world.
After 9 months of excessive partying like New Years in BKK, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 4 day festivals in Hungary, the biggest nightclub in the world in Ibiza, underground raves in Amsterdam, experiences in Berlin that I will not write about publicly and much other crazyness it was time to get serious again.
So a couple of months ago I relocated to Vancouver where I am now. I have stuck my head down doing 100 hour weeks and have got lots done. I released my first free product. My first collaborative ebook and my first paid product is currently in WSO testing. I have built niche sites like this and this. I have a full time VA and have assembled a team to produce my first app kicking off early in 2011 – no links here, this one is hush, hush. I feel I am right before tipping point and am just looking for something to push me over the edge. Rolling with Shoemoney would without a doubt be the rocket fuel that pushes me to the next level.
I wanted to move to Vancouver so I could have access to opportunities just like this. I made it to Blogworld for my first Vegas experience a few months ago which was mental but nothing compared to what I expect ASW to be! I also wanted to be in the same time zone and be closer to people who were more experienced and accomplished than me in the online world. They say you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with so I want to make sure I spend my time with people I respect and who are better, faster and stronger than me. So far so good as I met my partner for my software project here already!
Ok so why do you DESERVE to win?
Well I don’t know if I deserve to win or not, only our esteemed judged and super sexy voters will determine that. But what I do know is that I WILL maximize this opportunity to its fullest.
Some people will tell you they party hard, but few people know what partying hard really is.
Some people may tell you that they know how to be professional, but few people have pitched to Fortune 10 Investment Banks.
Some people may tell you they are serious about making it online, but few people have put in the work to learn everything they possibly can AND act on it.
Some people are applying for a free trip to Vegas, but few people understand the REAL value you are offering in this competition.
Hell, I will fly myself to Vegas for the opportunity to hang for a weekend. I don’t care about the expenses or the blackjack hand (although I REALLY want that ticket to the Playboy party!) I know the value will be far beyond the immediate material benefits of the prize.
In terms of what I can offer in return… What do you give the man who has everything?
Well, I know I can offer fun company. I can tell you that I’m an easy going guy with a steadfast positive attitude. I have oodles of interesting stories, know how to have a good time and get along with people from all walks of life. I’m also a single man with lots of experience chasing girls all around the world if that’s your kind of thing.
I can be known to give good advice but I can also be known to tell it how it is which some people don’t appreciate. In return, I prefer to be told how it is and I know Shoemoney is that kinda guy. You won’t need to tread lightly with me.
In terms of promotion: I will blog the whole experience and promote Shoemoney as the next Hugh Hefner to every good looking girl I come across for the rest of my life. I will do any type of interview or promotional campaigns you want. I will send everyone who helps me win this a personalised card filled with blue glitter and for the grand finale: If I win the blackjack bet, I will use the winnings to get the shoe money logo tattooed onto my back!!!
Yes you heard me right. John chow can even record it and post it on his blog!
By the way, I don’t have ANY tattoos so this is a pretty big deal. That’s how bad I want this. I’ve thought about it many times and have always said – if I ever get a tattoo it needs to have a good story behind it. If I’m lucky, I might have just found my story.
So please Shoemoney and his oh so very good looking staff, pick me!!