Behind the Scenes: How I Won the CommentLuv Affiliate Contest

Last week I did quite a bit of promo for the CommentLuv plugin’s big anniversary sale.  And I promised to share with you the results.  I won the affiliate contest.  So first, thank you to those who trusted my recommendation and grabbed a copy of the plugin–I hope you love it as much as I do!

More than sharing the results though, I thought you might like to know the “behind the scenes” of what I did that worked and how you can apply the same strategies if you’re promoting affiliate products or entering affiliate contests.

First, the promotional tactics I used.  At various points throughout the contest, I…

  • Blogged about the plugin
  • Blogged about my favorite paid resources, including the plugin
  • Blogged about a bonus training for those who purchased the plugin
  • Shared those three blog posts on social media
  • Added a banner ad and note to my sidebar on my blog about the sale
  • Emailed my list three times including one straight promotional email, one about the bonus training, and another final reminder (and correction of a little mistake I’d made)
  • Shared about it on my Facebook page
  • Tweeted about it — lots — and with varied benefits oriented tweets as well as straight “hey it’s on sale” tweets
  • Posted on LinkedIn and other social networks about the sale

Things I could have done, but didn’t quite have time to (a 4-day business trip to California fell in the middle of the promotional period so I wasn’t totally focused on promotions) or just skipped:

  • Arranged ahead of time to have guest posts go live that would have driven traffic back to my site
  • Shot a video review of the plugin
  • Shot a video walkthrough (screencast) of how the plugin works and showcase benefits
  • Created some graphics or an infographic to share on Pinterest
  • Enlisted friends to help me promote (ask them to retweet, share social media updates, etc)
  • Created and posted a press release about the sale
  • Purchased an extra license and hosted a giveaway here on my blog
  • Added a pop up to my site with a promo for the plugin
  • and more… there are lots of ways to promote a product as an affiliate!

And here are the 5 top strategies/mindsets that contributed to my win:

1.  Don’t Count Yourself Out Before You Begin

I almost didn’t even jump into the contest.  I took a quick look at the leader board when I first heard the promotion had begun and it was filled with the names of smart bloggers who I respect (and secretly never thought I had a chance against).

Add to that, I’d never actually tried to win an affiliate contest before and had no idea how it would work out for me.

I jumped in anyway.

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”  Nora Roberts

2.  Be Coachable

Are you coachable?  It can be a tough question.  When we think we’ve got it together, it’s not easy to accept advice or change directions.  Thankfully this was a new experience for me and that allowed me to be more open to coaching.  Staying open to that in my business is something I strive to do, even in areas I think I’m pretty good with–success comes so much faster if you can separate yourself from being “right” or committed to any one particular idea or strategy and instead just go with what works from those with experience.

Andy Bailey, the very cool brain behind CommentLuv, sent us some great ideas of ways to promote and share the plugin.  One of his suggestions was to offer our own bonus for anyone who purchased through our links.

I’d never offered a bonus with an affiliate product before but it seemed like it could work well.  So I sat down to brainstorm and looked at what the motivation for purchasing CommentLuv really is… for me it boiled down to two things: traffic and relationships.  Traffic was the easier sell for me to teach, so I went with that and offered a bonus training on how to get more traffic to your website.  Huge boost in sales and I get to deliver something that’s fun for me.  Win-win-win.

3.  Track Results and Change Tactics as Needed

Throughout the contest I changed tactics several times to get in front of different crowds and promote the plugin from different angles.  By watching traffic stats I could see what was getting clicks (Yay! Do that more!) and what wasn’t (Fix it or stop it already…).

For example, some of my tweets got very few clicks at first.  That didn’t mean Twitter wasn’t worth using as a promotion channel, it just meant I needed to create better tweets and look at the flow of where I was sending the traffic (straight to sales page vs. to my blog post review or resources).

4.  Stick With It and Don’t Give Up, Even if You Screw Up

I’d already sent two emails to my entire list early in the promotion and I knew if I sent a third, I’d get more unsubscribes.  I sent it anyway because I’d made a mistake in my excitement and told my list it was ending on the wrong day.  Big oops.  I was pretty mortified.  But after I sent out the correction email with a “last chance” reminder, I got thank you notes from people who thought they’d missed it and were happy to grab it last minute.

5.  Be Picky

I don’t promote every plugin or JVZoo deal or Warrior Forum offer I see.  Could I?  Sure.  Would I make some money?  Most likely.  But it’s not worth it.  I’d rather promote only what I really believe in and use myself.

CommentLuv was easy for me to honestly promote because I love it and I’ve seen the difference it’s made for my blog.  Sincerity counts and I believe our audience appreciates when we keep their best interests at heart.

So there’s my “behind the scenes” of how I promoted the plugin and worked the affiliate contest to stay on top of the leader board and make some cash.

Have you ever entered an affiliate contest or had success promoting a product or service as an affiliate?  I’d love to hear what’s worked for you!  Or, if you haven’t jumped into an affiliate promotion yet, are these tips helpful for you?  Think you could try a few to promote a product you love?

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38 Comments

  1. Wow! Congratulations on your win. You certainly deserve it.

    Thanks especially for sharing your strategies with us. It gives me encouragement and a direction.

    What was your prize?
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… It Takes a Village to Self-Publish a Book to Avoid Losing Your Shirt or Your MindMy Profile

    1. Thanks Flora, it was fun. :)

      Commissions + $500 prize (and a few other cash prizes during the contest).
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Really Stopping You?My Profile

  2. Hello Michelle , first of all i want to congratulate you for winning the commentluv affiliate contest. And then i want to thanks you for the tips you mentioned in the above article that we should not count our self out before the begin and we stop stop creating negativity with in us.
    firdosh joy recently posted… Latest HD wallpapers : Student of The Year starring Alia Bhatt , Varun Dhawan & Sidharth MalhotraMy Profile

    1. Thanks Firdosh, and glad the tips were helpful. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Makes You Remarkable?My Profile

  3. well done Michelle, you were a worthy prize winner.

    thanks so much for being coachable and offering such a valuable bonus for people that bought through your link, I think that made a massive difference to your sales and also it surely benefited the buyers!
    Andrew Bailey recently posted… CommentLuv Premium DemoMy Profile

    1. Thanks! Awesome plugin, easy to promote. And you were a fab host — most don’t stay in touch with their affiliates and give us so many great ideas and suggestions on how to promote. You made it easy. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How a National Holiday Can Drive Traffic to Your SiteMy Profile

  4. Congratulations Michelle. Job well done! I appreciate you and all that you share. My knowledge and skill base has grown tremendously thanks to you.
    Julia Neiman recently posted… Life Fulfillment Reality CheckMy Profile

    1. Thanks Julia, it was a fun project.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Really Stopping You?My Profile

  5. LOVE this post! it addresses all the issues I have with doing affiliate promotions, especially those with contests I think I never have a chance at. I’ve shared this one on FB. One of my top 10 favorite Michelle posts!!
    Lisa
    Lisa Rothstein recently posted… Borrow the Brain of Your Very Own “Mad Woman.”My Profile

    1. Cool, made the top 10 list. :) I’m glad I jumped in and gave it a shot, definitely lots more ways to promote than just email to our lists.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How a National Holiday Can Drive Traffic to Your SiteMy Profile

  6. Congratulations Michelle, a well deserved win! This is an excellent step by step post. I found that my blog post on how I use CommentLuv as well as a promoted post on my Facebook page made the most impact. Since I was in the middle of another big promotion, I did not send any emails, though next time I surely would. In my experience, email always wins the day when it comes to promotion.
    Denise Wakeman recently posted… Managing Comments – Four Plugins for Encouraging and Rewarding Your ReadersMy Profile

  7. Congrats Michelle and thanks for sharing your how to……. I bought the product because of your email and blog post and looking forward to the bonus call

    Thanks for all that you do
    Suzie Cheel recently posted… Full Blue Moon CeremoniesMy Profile

  8. Hi Michelle, congrats on your win. And, what a great idea to share your process with us.
    You were the first one to introduce me to CommentLuv (probably 2 years ago). I find it’s a great way to share with others.

    While I wasn’t the #1 seller in an affiliate promotion I participated in last year, I was a winner of a Kindle Fire. I remember being surprised when I saw my name on the winners’ list, but was SO excited. It was great to share something I felt would help others & rewarding when I saw that many took advantage of the offer.

    I’ll certainly keep your tips in mind for the future.
    Congrats once again.
    ~Debra
    Debra Jason recently posted… Did You Make Someone Happy Today?My Profile

  9. Congratulations, Michelle.
    Thanks for the tip about CommentLuv and all the useful step-by step tips for promoting. Looking them over, it seems that most of them amplify the effectiveness of all the others. So the more you have in play, the more impact each one has. You’ve listed lots of great ideas here, and I’m adding a big handful of new ones to my arsenal!
    Robbie Schlosser recently posted… How to Choose Your Best Wedding MusicMy Profile

  10. Congrats again! Can’t wait to get CommentLuv’s premium features working for me and maybe trying some of your suggestions on affiliate promotion. Thanks for the great article – as usual.
    Tawnee recently posted… 4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Your HomeschoolMy Profile

  11. Congratulations for winning the contest (and the commissions), Michelle!
    And a very educational article!
    Eleni Poulakou recently posted… Writer’s Blog Under ConstructionMy Profile

  12. Congrats Michelle. You’re awesome. Thanks for sharing your affiliate secrets with us.
    Ileane recently posted… The Ultimate Collection of CommentLuv Blog ListsMy Profile

  13. Congratulations on winning the contest and thanks so much for great ideas for any other affiliate competitions that come out.

    Thanks for sharing your success.
    Tania Shipman recently posted… The WorksMy Profile

  14. Awesome and extremely valuable post, Michelle! Thanks for sharing your tips for success and congrats on being the top affiliate. You definitely earned it!
    Kim Nishida recently posted… How to Separate An Egg (And Stand Out From The Crowd)My Profile

    1. Thanks, Kim, it was a nice surprise for sure. I should have tracked time invested–now that would be an interesting thing to have measured… LOL
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How a National Holiday Can Drive Traffic to Your SiteMy Profile

  15. WOW!!! Congrats Michelle. Well deserved. You’re definitely part of the movers and shakers in the blogging hemisphere. I respect your decision to only promote what you truly believe in. When you do that you radiate authentic energy and it draws people to you and the product you’re promoting.

    When I found you through Facebook a year or so ago … I had a vision – based on your content – as to where your presence on the internet would be – and I must say I was on point.

    Continued success in all your endeavors. :-)
    Adalia John recently posted… 10 Inspirational Image Quotes to JumpStart Your CreativityMy Profile

    1. I do believe I remember that prediction, Adalia. :) Thanks for being such a wonderful encouragement and blogging friend.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Have You Checked the “Fun-O-Meter” Lately?My Profile

  16. Awesome job Michelle. It’s great to hear the details of a campaign done right! Thanks for sharing the lessons learned.
    Tom Treanor recently posted… The Social Media Checklist – Keep Up With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & PinterestMy Profile

    1. Thanks Tom, it was an interesting learning experience for me. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Have You Checked the “Fun-O-Meter” Lately?My Profile

  17. I like the point no 4 as ” don’t give up even you screw up” which will inspire every one to live on other hand all we know that we have to die and nothing will go with us but we are trying to reach our goal. It is a great philosophy of life.
    Main Uddin recently posted… Top 10 secret freshness factors of contents in optimized articlesMy Profile

    1. Yep, just keep trying and getting better each time.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Have You Checked the “Fun-O-Meter” Lately?My Profile

  18. That’s great Michelle. I saw quite a bit of comment luv promotion happening on the internet. Glad to see that you were victorious! Only promoting what you truly believe in is what worked for you. Suzanne
    Suzanne recently posted… 4 Steps to a Successful End of Year Marketing PlanMy Profile

    1. Yes, they got quite the buzz going. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Behind the Scenes: How I Won the CommentLuv Affiliate ContestMy Profile

  19. I love commentluv and I love your tips. I can’t wait to win one myself.
    lara recently posted… One Direction ShirtsMy Profile

  20. This was great. Thank you.

  21. Really nice tips. They’re very simple yet really effective when you’re promoting something. Though it does take some work.
    Chris recently posted… How to Attract WomenMy Profile

  22. Congratuations on your win. I’ve been using the free version of CommentLuv for a long-time, but have been thinking about upgrading in order to take advantage of the affiliate program. Reading your post has made me consider it even more seriously.
    John Fisher recently posted… Versace Man Eau Fraiche Cologne/Fragrance ReviewMy Profile

  23. what a valuable post it is!
    I am really looking forward to implement these stratergies you mentioned here.
    keep updating posts like this michelle I will be following you
    please guide me further

  24. wow , you won the contest!
    Great and I just loved the way you taught us the tips about affliiate marketing.
    Being a beginner I don’t know much but I got valuable content from here.
    Thanks for the lovely article
    deepika recently posted… Romantic bollywood songs and videos with a twist!My Profile

  25. This article definitely works the time to read it! Nice job Michelle! Keep it up!

    =)

  26. Really nice tips. They’re very simple yet really effective when you’re promoting something. Though it does take some work.

  27. Very good content worth
    Ananias Santos recently posted… WhatsApp Marketing Máquinas de VendaMy Profile

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