I have mentioned how much I like Caroline Middlebrook's blog before. Caroline's eBook on building niche sites in WordPress inspired my current “Niche Super-Site case study.” It's inspiring to watch her progress because she is doing what I want to do — having success making money on line without going down the “snake oil path.” A lot of people refer to Caroline as “the honest blogger,” and that is about the highest compliment that can be paid in my book.

So, I was surprised and excited to hear that Caroline is finally working on an email-based StumbleUpon course that will result in her building an email mailing list. I was surprised because she has resisted this in the past. She finally settled on this project because it focus on delivering valuable free content, and not on selling. In fact, she has no definite plans to sell any specific products right now. For now she is happy to add value and learn about building lists. The press was stunned and amazed, and as you can see here, the story was instantly picked up by Net Money Daily.

Caroline Middlebrook’s Email List Contest Newspaper

I also said I was excited. I was excited because I have wanted to start working on my own list. Jay and Sterling over at Internet Business Mastery are always talking about the value of lists. Like Caroline, they focus on real businesses (not snake oil). They also happen to have the best Internet Marketing Podcast on the internet. Anyway, as usual I will be able to leverage off of Caroline's excellent work. This is great for me. As a part-time internet entrepreneur, I need all the help via mentoring I can get.

See, even though this is not Caroline's focus at this time, mailing list are important for sales. I heard once (from Sterling?) that studies show that it takes an average of 7 contacts before someone buys something. The cool thing here is that Caroline is not all about money – and she will build a list of people that know that about her. I expect that if she tries to sell me something from the list, it will be something that she really believes in. Why? Because that is her behavior. So, let's forget about internet marketing for a minute. What if one day Caroline's becomes aware of someone in her community that needs some help? She can use her list to ask for some help. It's permission marketing. People on your list have given you permission to talk to them. Lists are powerful — they are the asset in an internet marketing operation.

Now the cool thing is that Caroline is introducing the project as a contest. The winner gets the privilege of having Caroline use their Aweber Affiliate ID to sign up for Aweber's excellent mailing list management service. This is an excellent prize as the affiliate commission is paid each month for the life of the subscription. Very cool. Aweber is really supposed to be the best, and if it's good enough for Yaro Starak, it's good enough for me.

So, I knew right away, I had to try to win.

Stumbled too muchBut, Caroline has thousands of readers. No telling how many entries there will be. It's all very brilliant really — a viral contest about mailing list to get mailing list opt-ins. I love it. Anyway, I was immediately worried. See, Caroline lives in the UK, and I live in the US. I was scared to death that she might still be pissed about that whole taxation without representation – tea party thing. Then I thought that maybe she is already over that. Phew. (God save the Queen and all that). ūüôā

So, I settled on a multi-part entry. Here is my entry to Caroline's email course project contest in multiple parts:

  1. Appeal to her European heritage. I've never been to Stratford-upon-Avon, but I suspect quoting William Shakespeare could have some positive effect. As it happens, much like Nostradamus, Shakespeare predicted the arrival of Web 2.0. “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” Of course he was talking about the dangers of quick love in Romeo and Juliet — or was he?
  2. Buy her a word. I actually bought the word stumble from The Big Word Project and pointed it at yet to be defined page on her site. (Caroline, you need to make a landing page. You now own the word “stumble”. This is a big responsibility). The Big Word Project allows you to purchase a word from their list to represent a site. That site will then represent stumble in their list and when people click on it, they will be taken to Caroline's site. The project is aimed at changing definitions and creating a new tapestry of words, meaning altogether different things.
  3. Write poetry. Women love poetry. I wrote a haiku:

Web two-point-oh comes

In it's wake, some will stumble.

Some will be stumbled.

  1. Digg and Stumble her contest announcement. OK, that was shameless, I know. But, I did it. I'm not proud, but I did it. I really want to win. I need to win. Winning is everything.
  2. Find a cool graphic for my post. Boy, I sure did that. The above “stumbling down the stairs” graphic is from All Sux dot Com. I have given them a backlink, so hopefully they wont be pissed that I used their graphic without permission.
  3. Long sales letter. Caroline loves long sales letters. I suspect she will be using a lot of long sales letters in her email list. I could add testimonials and yellow highlighting. There could be bonus video and free ebooks if she picks me. It could be a limited time offer. I would win for sure then. Strike that. Just kidding Caroline.
  4. Redesign my blog.  Sure, it's a big expense and a lot of work.  But if I really expect to win this contest, I need to go all out.  So, a blog redesign may be just the ticket!
  5. Call on a higher power. Looks like some local advertising might be just what I need to win.

Caroline Middlebrook’s Email List Contest Church Sign

That about does it for my entry. If you like my entry, please leave a comment here for Caroline to see, stumble it, and then go visit her blog. Note that I reserve the right to augment my entry before the deadline…never know what the competition will bring.

Thanks,
Mark

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