How Facebook Contests Helped Build A $30,000/Month Business

Seven months ago a Premium member wrote me an email and when I got it, I asked him if he would do an interview. He emailed me back saying: No, I’m not ready…

Melvin Cedeno had started a social media consulting company and acquired one client, a stainless steel jewelry company. He told me that in the past 90 days, thanks to Mixergy, he’d made them over $58,000 without paying for ads.

So we exchanged emails for the last seven and he finally said yes to the interview I’ve been waiting over half a year to do with him.

Melvin Cedeno

Melvin Cedeno

Social Media Nexus

Melvin Cedeno is the founder of Social Media Nexus, which specializes in lead generation on Facebook. If you’d like to contact Melvin, you may reach him at



Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Three messages before we get started.

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Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, home of the ambitious upstart and check out this email that I got seven months ago. Here it is.

Back in December, I started a social media consulting company and acquired one client. A stainless steel jewelry company and in the past 90 days, thanks to Mixergy, I’ve made them over $58,000 without paying for ads. So Melvin Cedeno, who you see on your screen right now, he wrote that email and when I got it, I asked him if he would do an interview and he emailed me back and he said no, I’m not ready to talk about this. So we exchanged emails for the last seven or so months and he finally said yes and today we got the interview up and waiting for over half a year to do with him. Melvin is the founder of Social Media Nexus, which specializes in lead generation on Facebook. Melvin, welcome.

Melvin: Hi. Hey, there.

Andrew: It’s weird to be on this side of the interview, right?

Melvin: It’s really, really surreal. I’m excited. Really excited and I just love it. And I have one question.

Andrew: OK.

Melvin: Can I ask a quick question?

Andrew: Yes.

Melvin: What is the top buck that you have back there? I’ve always wondered what is the top buck.

Andrew: This one right here?

Melvin: Yes.

Andrew: Let’s see, this right here and we’ll reveal it at the end of the interview. Get people to keep watching. First, let’s talk about some of the celebrations. Then we’ll talk about some of the frustrations and then we’ll figure out this one thing that you did that got you on your way. A celebration, it was one order that got you jumping around, what was that? Do you remember?

Melvin: Yes. It was early afternoon and we haven’t had like a single sale in the day yet. And we were just going around. Then like, I refresh the order page and there is a $600, $612, $600 order that out of nowhere just landed. We were used to getting like maybe like 10, 12, 15 orders in the day and not having it add up to $600 or like $1,000 or whatever. But this one order was like $600 and we’re like, oh, my God. At first, like, we were a little skeptical because it was from a foreign country and we weren’t sure if it was like, I don’t know, fraud or something.

So before we shipped everything out we, like, went and verified the card and everything and turns out that he actually did want $600 worth of jewelry and then we’re like yeah. So that was a really, really good day because it just opened my eyes to the possibilities of what exactly was posible as far as like in a daily sale. Granted, it was one out of however many but we if we can find more customers like him we would have $600 days like all day.

Andrew: And this, of course, if for your client Blue Steel Jewelry. People can go check them out at

You took them from $300 in sales a month, to how much?

Melvin: To about 1000 dollars a day so about 30,000, $30,000. And that’s been consistent. Except for September. This last month was like bad, like not bad, but we just broke 20,000 I think. But we’re used to, we’re thinking we’re king of the castle. Just like, oh, 1000 dollars a day, we’re unstoppable. And then we’re just, get down and we had our first 89 dollar day. The entire day we had 89 dollars in sales. We were like, damn. But I don’t know, I guess it was just a bad month, total. But before that it was just consistent, like month after month of about 28,000, 30,000, over 25,000. And since about February, give or take.

Andrew: Okay. All right, and a large part of this in fact, maybe even all of it, is thanks to Facebook. No, not all of it. Facebook. You’ve now started email so that’s helping you guys grow. We’ll get into the details of how you did it. But let’s talk about when you were 21 years old. How was your financial situation then?

Melvin: What financial situation? No. There was nothing. I’ve always been a person of development and all that. But I mainly used it to build relationships and get a girlfriend. I started off the whole journey in the pool world, the Bell pickup artist society. And now it’s a nice amount of energy and time went into that for about a good year and a half.

Andrew: Into what? I’m sorry. I’m not following you.

Melvin: All about pickup artist society? The pool world, that’s what we call it. It all started off, probably when I was 20, something like that. And I started out in this iii marketing company. And that was the first thing that gave me the idea that I could be super rich. And then then I found the whole pickup artist community, which gave a lot of people skills, I guess. And then.

Andrew: Wait a second. This isn’t in my notes. I was looking for something else. I didn’t realize. You were a part of a pickup artist society? What does it mean that you were a part of a pick up art. Were you teaching people how to pick up girls and making money off of that? Or were you learning to do it yourself? No?

Melvin: No, no, no. Not like business status or anything like that. Just be me and a group of 6 or 7 guys, that would get together a couple times a week and then we’d go off to colleges and just talk to ladies and work on our skills with people. I don’t know.

Andrew: And how did it work for you?

Melvin: Really well. Right now, I’m with the girl of my dreams. I think she is. And we’ve been together 2 years. And that’s all I really wanted out of it. Which was why I’m not in that whole world anymore. But I still read articles like iii. I know remember he was on one of your interviews. And I was like, yeah. But that was a big part.

Andrew: What’s one thing you learned about meeting women through this society?

Melvin: What’s one thing?

Andrew: Give me one tactic that gives me an understanding of the way that you might approach women differently because you learned from the Pickup Artist Society? And then I got to get back to business. But, I have to stop here for a minute.

Melvin: One thing? Women don’t want you to solve their problems. All they want is somebody to listen.

Andrew: And so you can, by listening to them in a bar, you can pick them up? That’s what you’re saying?

Melvin: Let’s see. For me it was never about picking them up or anything like that. It was more about the entire night. Like having a good overall time. ‘Cause at the age, when I was like 20, we couldn’t really go to the bars. So none of that would really work for us. So, we’d just go to college campuses and we’d start off the night and we’d them somewhere. And it was like, and that, in a college campus society, that would be more like a tribe way of thinking. Like, I don’t know. They have all these different arts types and things that work out in different situations. And I don’t know, it’s mainly just about making sure they have a good time. There’s one guy, Nick Sparks, I love that guy. And he had a really good take on it. If anyone wants to know any more about that, I’d really look up Nick Sparks. He’s the man.

Andrew: All right. By the way, doesn’t look like it was giving you all those superpowers like I imagined. It seems like it was very good relationship advice. And a bunch of guys that you can go out and meet women with. But nothing.

Melvin: As far as superpowers, no. It was mainly like, it would give people a lot of self-confidence tips, like visualizations. That’s one good thing I got out of it is just like. Mainly Ross Jeffries was, his whole Ross Jeffries confidence tapes. So I listened to those. And those are really, really good. I get OCD about things and I listened to a bunch. And as far as what has stuck, I’d say probably Ross Jeffries. And then Nick Sparks. And…

Andrew: So basically, the best thing you got out of it was confidence.

Melvin: Yep.

Andrew: Through visualizations. What would you visualize?

Melvin: I’d visualize who would who iii self be. And I’d imagine him 20 feet tall. And I’d imagine walking [??] in. There would be a lot of NLP. So like NLP was a big part of it all. So that whole started me in the whole, like, learning about hypnosis. And conversational hypnosis with people and all that. So, NLP was a big thing in the pool world, because, I don’t know, the whole study of language, not just talking with them. Was, not more about like. ‘Cause once you start trying to solve their problems, then you break rapport. And that’s a big thing. Like how to keep report, how to build it quickly. And how to stay in rapport with yourself, ’cause I know I have my own ego. And I don’t know where I’m going with this but I feel like I’m babbling.

Andrew: All right. Well, back to business then. Um, 21 years old, you’re broke. You answer an ad on Craigslist for Bluesteel, and this is for what job?

Melvin: Bluesteel is a salesmen ad.

Andrew: And so they wanted you to sell, how?

Melvin: Oh. They go to biker shows and they set up a booth and they sell jewelry, just like that. And they go to different biker events and all throughout the country. So I just figured it would be a weekend gig and I just went out there, I was 45 minutes late for it. I just luckily happened to be in the area. And that ended up turning into a month or 2 month long road crew journey. That went on to. Like I ended up in Arkansas, Tennessee, and just traveled the country selling jewelry. And that’s how that started. Just answered the ad, did well, made some monies and figured, why not just go visit other states a little bit.

Andrew: And by doing well, you’re just basically showing up, talking to people like a human being, and helping them pick out the right jewelry and that’s basically what it is. Right?

Melvin: Doing well, it’s a grueling process. ‘Cause it’s 14, 15 hour days, and I don’t mind that. Like, go out there and yeah, help them pick out rings. What do they want. Up-selling them.

Andrew: How would you up-sell someone on a ring? This was back before you were doing their online sales. When you were doing in-person sales, how would you up-sell?

Melvin: Up-sell? The number 1 big thing, in jewelry world, is to get it in their hands. So once they have it on their hand then I kind of use a couple of NLP tactics. ‘Cause I’d see ’em. ‘Cause one big thing that they tell you is don’t interrupt their thought process while they’re thinking about it. ‘Cause when they ask you how much it is, just kind of wait. It depends on what type of buyer it is. It would be different in a situation. But iii put it in their hands, if they like it, then once I have their card in their hand, that’s when I start up-selling. Like once you get their card in your hand, that’s when you’re like, oh, have you seen this? Oh, well let me try this on.

Andrew: And you just keep holding onto their card while you’re suggesting other things. You don’t hold it up the way you did like this, obviously. You just, you have it in your hand, you say, what about this? Do you also want this? While I’m ringing it up can I get that for you, is essentially what you’re saying.

Melvin: Yep. Just get the card and then start the up-selling.

Andrew: So what happens if I do look at a ring and I say, hey, you know, Melvin, this does look like a nice ring. And, what does this cost?

Melvin: Oh well, does it fit? What size is it? I see you’re just holding it. Try it on. See how it feels.

Andrew: Ah, so you shift me away from the question and get my right back to the contemplation to trying on, to experiencing it, to visualizing myself with it, to thinking about why I might want it. Instead of answering my question even.

Melvin: Yep. Pretty much. That’s essentially, we got a couple of different things we do but that’s one of the big ones.

Andrew: All right. So you’re doing this all off-line. You’re still, as I understand it at this point, not doing very well financially. In fact, your boss is driving you to work. Or, what’s going on?

Melvin: [??]. Well I still don’t have a car. Let’s see. At that point, ’cause, it’s, we go hotel to hotel so we’re just living. You live on the road at that point. And I don’t know, I still don’t have a car and I don’t want a car. But the financial situation has definitely, definitely improved, though.

Andrew: You were living at one point, out of your boss’s house, working for food and shelter?

Melvin: Oh, yeah. Pretty much.

Andrew: Tell me about that.

Melvin: Well this was after, what was it, like 2 years ago, a year and a half ago. It was right after we got back from Galveston, Texas. And Texans have a lot of money. And that was a really, really good show for us. And we learned from the people in the booth next to us, that they were making 200 to 300 bucks a day, online. And that’s what really sparked the idea. Because they had like a website, and they had a Facebook page already set up. They weren’t really doing anything with it. So, they gave us that idea. And then I went up to them, was like, hey, how about I just run your whole social, your whole campaign. And they were, no, he was pretty okay with it. And then, since the beginning, we were pretty much working straight commission, the entire time. There weren’t any sales coming and I was broke. I figured, well, I had a little bit of money from Galveston because sales-wise, I made about 1,000 bucks. But most of that got squandered. I think he came up to me with the whole idea of just like, “Hey you can stay with me for about a month and I’ll pay for your food, I’ll pay for you to stay for the month”, and we just worked on it. I pretty much worked that entire time to get a plane ticket back home. I ended up flying back on Christmas Eve to visit the girlfriend. Pretty much the entire month of December I worked for 200 bucks in total at the end of the month.

Andrew: Unreal. It’s a good thing that you learned confidence tricks because as a guy earning 200 dollars a month, you start to feel bad about yourself. You start to feel like, “Am I worthy of this girlfriend?” You start to cause problems for yourself because you feel like you’re not worthy of being with her. Does any of this ring a bell? I know it would for me.

Melvin: [Laughs] Well, it’s more of like a, well it was just something that needed to happen. At that point, it was like it was inevitable. I learned a while ago to not correlate wealth with self-worth because I consider myself a pretty talented dude. So, I’ve always had those other things like honorary thespian, the really high rank jazz guitar player. I loved football. I was really good at activities like that so I had pretty good confidence in other areas. So, it was just something I was never focused on at the time. I’ve always excelled at what I wanted to do. As far as confidence wise, it was more of like a, “Oh shit! What’s going to happen next?” Or, “Oh crap, I got way too drunk and blew the rest of this paycheck. What am I going to do for the next two days?” At that point I’d kick myself a little bit and be like, “Should I have done that?” But, at that point, my response is like my reality I guess. I don’t try to dwell on the past that much.

Andrew: OK. So basically you’re at the show, selling jewelry live, you’re doing it well, you see the guy at the booth next to you is actually killing it online. And you say, “Hey, there’s an opportunity for us to go online too.” You say to your boss, “Can I lead this online effort for us?” He says, “Sure.” He sees that you need some place to live while you figure it out because you’re not going to be earning commission for a little while. And, he lets you stay at his place for food and shelter. You spend time building up their web presence. True?

Melvin: Yep.

Andrew: OK. Was this company that you saw, Badass Jewelry?

Melvin: Mm-hmm

Andrew: It was? OK. So, … I’m sorry?

Melvin: Did you mean the company next to us, were they Badass?

Andrew: Yes. The company next to you.

Melvin: No they were some twisty, bendy jewelry. It was like plastic jewelry. Badass is people we found online that were doing pretty good.

Andrew: OK. So as part of going online, is this where you discover Mixergy and say, “I need to figure out this whole space”?

Melvin: I was probably two or three weeks into the whole project. I needed an assistant at the time, because we figured this whole online world is going to be pretty big, and if it’s just me then there’s going to be other things that I need to handle. So I started looking online like, “Where can I find her? How can I get a college intern?” It was the video with Noah Kagan from Mint and App Sumo, his video popped up and that’s how I found Mixergy. It was one of their locked videos, so you had to be a premium member to actually see it. I was on there and I watched a couple of the ones that anybody could watch. I thought about it for a few days. It was only 25 bucks a month. So, I might as well just watch the one video and see if I get anything out of it, and it’s the best thing I ever did. It even had a section on there on Face Book. It had a section on how to copyright. It ended up being me looking for “How can I do less work by hiring a free intern?”, and into, “Oh I just found this great, amazing resource that has not sold a lot of joy.”

Andrew: I do notice that, by the way, that people often land on a product that’s for sale, then go, “Well I don’t know who this guy is.” Then they’ll bounce around, sometimes for days, maybe even weeks, looking at the free stuff saying, “Can I trust this guy?” Then they make a purchase. Then go back and watch everything it feels like quickly. By the way, one thing I like about that Noah Kagan course, where he talked about how he hired, as a guy who is in the pickup artist community will recognize this, he was basically prizing the job with him. Even though he wanted you to work for him for free, at the time he was just getting started with his company, he made it feel like working for him was prize that you have to work for. You have to put in some effort and do certain things to get that job because people who aren’t willing to do it aren’t really good hires, and people who are willing to do it are going to be more likely to stick around and do work for them, and they will feel more special, like they earned the right to work for them. Have you used that in hiring at all? Have you used that attitude in anything that you’ve done?

Melvin: No. We have the cookie. We have the cookie that they want. We use that more like a _____; every now and then go off to the shows and sell jewelry in person, and that is a good thing we tell the new people. But as far as hiring, still to this day I don’t have an assistant. We tried one out, her name was Carrie. She worked out really well for us. Something happened. She couldn’t do it any longer. But she has been the only one that I have personally hired, underneath me. Other than that, I have had a couple of friends. It has always been that I know they need the moolah, so as far as that, I know that I have the value, the cookie. They need the extra money this week, so they might as well. So I say, “You can do some data entry for the next 12 hours”.

Andrew: OK.

Melvin: As far as selling, I don’t know.

Andrew: Then you start building up the site. Do you get customers? Does it work the way you imagine it will work?

Melvin: Only right after the first big one. A this point, in December when we were first starting out, I had been putting in probably 4 or 5 hours figuring out what our ads are going to look like; what images to use. We had nothing to go on. We eventually had one day where it was about $650.00, and I had been used to getting 20 to 30 bucks a day. That’s only about $40 in orders. So, Holy Crap! The first good day. That was around Christmas. We got into it right as Christmas was starting; and with nothing set up, that was a good first day. After figuring out how to find bad-ass jewelry, and seeing how we were doing with the give-away (we started doing the give-away, probably 2-3 weeks into me doing all of this), the next month, the end of December we had about $2000.00 total the entire month of sales. The next month it was about $20,000.00.

Andrew: Hang on a second. It is because you did something.

Melvin: The give-away.

Andrew: You what?

Melvin: We started the give-away.

Andrew: OK. What is the give-away that you learned to do?

Melvin: We pretty much just pick a product, and every day we give away something free, and we ask them to share it with their friends.

Andrew: So you go on your Facebook Fan page for your company (actually your client’s company), and you say, “We have a ring. We are giving away this ring today.” Right? What do people need to do in order to get it?

Melvin: Back when we first started, all we had to do was put out the headline, and then we said, “Like our page, click share, and leave a comment below.” And that was it.

Andrew: And that was it? And how much was the ring worth?

Melvin: We would change out the rings. It would range from 20 bucks, to now where we are doing our higher-ends, $150.

Andrew: We are all entrepreneurs here. It is a tight community on ________. You can be open about the cost. Wholesale cost of a ring; how much?

Melvin: Wholesale cost? OK? Two or three bucks.

Andrew: Two or three bucks? OK. And you give it away. Do they have to pay shipping and handling?

Melvin: We charge five bucks for shipping.

Andrew: So basically you are making a little bit of money even on the give- away?

Melvin: Yes, we still make a little bit, depending on the ring.

Andrew: Here’s what I don’t understand, Melvin. I understand them “liking” you, “fanning” you and so on, but how does that lead to orders coming back to your site?

Melvin: We plug in a link to our website at the bottom of every single one of our posts. That is the one big thing we noticed. I wish I knew if it was the exact size of it. I am still trying to figure it out; but that seemed to be the case. Show them something that they like. And constantly. I would say when we first started we didn’t know how often to post, so we would post about once every four hours. Eventually we started posting about once an hour. Now we are down to once every three hours. We’re having content, like, “this is what titanium is”. We found different categories that work. Seven different types of categories that work for us that we would fill up. We have our informational posts. We have six categories that we post. And one’s an info, one’s a giveaway post. One would be a product showcase. And then we, uh, what do we do? Uh, Probably showcase. One would be a share post. And we just have these different types of categories iii cycle throughout the day. And the biggest thing that came up was PostCron?

Andrew: Was what?

Melvin: PostCron.

Andrew: What’s that?

Melvin: Essentially, it’s just as a scheduler where you can schedule your apps. Schedule your ads or posts or whatever. So that we could get the post out at like 4 in the morning to the people in like, I don’t know, Australia that are just getting up. Or whatever time, place. And that was a big thing. That’s just, it was something in, about that Facebook interview that you had with those 2 guys. They were saying like, if you don’t post something.

Andrew: Whoa, whoa. He’s the one who talked about Facebook. And.

Melvin: There were two guys [??]. Was that the same guy?

Andrew: Yes.

Melvin: He was saying if you don’t post, if you miss like an entire day, then the people talking about you. Which is the actual number that people would really be looking at goes down. And I’ve seen that. We’ve had days where posts iii go on the fritz for like 2 days and we’ll lose like. We used to have, we used to consider like a ratio. Like we used to have 90% of our fans talking about us. And that would be really, really good. But on the days were iii would crap out, it would just drop to 20%, 30 and it’s like, so hard to get that number back up once it drops. And just like, that’s why a lot of people think, you’re posting way too much, but you see what happens when we ease up on the posting and that number just drops. And that’s the important number, I think.

Andrew: I see. And so, right. That is one of the things that Lou said. He said show up every day with a post on Facebook. And even said, Andrew, you would never go a day without posting. Then you absolutely shouldn’t do this. The same thing goes for Facebook. You absolutely shouldn’t miss a day. And he showed the stats, and you’re saying you saw the same thing. The other thing that you learned from him, you told me before, was to actually ask people to do what you want them to do on your Facebook page. So the reason that people were sharing is that you were outright saying, share this. Outright saying, like this. And he had a different way of doing it. But, or, he would have people like, even comments or photos and tell, get them that involved.

So what would happen is, you’d say, here’s the ring we’re giving away today. Like it, Facebook us, I mean fan us, and comment to enter. And then you had all these people interact with this piece of content. Some of them would also see that there was a link back to the site, so they could buy, and they said, screw that. I’ll just go see what they have there. I’ll buy it. I don’t need to wait. And that’s how you get customers, fans, and activity on your site. And because so many people were commenting on one of your posts, when you had another post that wasn’t a contest, that post was more likely to show up in their stream, because people were interacting with your other posts. Right?

Melvin: Mm-hmm. Essentially, yeah.

Andrew: And that, that change is what took you from nothing to something big.

Melvin: That, and there were a couple things going on. Like, in the beginning, all we had were images of the, like, actual product itself. And there was, at one point in January, like early January, where we also started using the images, the pictures. It was the actual images, like the item on somebody. So that was another big, big thing that we realized we weren’t doing at all before. And then we started doing that, also in January. That really, really helped us out. Still, to this day, like uh. We collect any and all customer images, like photos that they post on our wall and we add them to our whole, huge database on the back. And pretty much everything’s run on like, Google Docs. Like our large spreadsheets and Facebook ads and everything. So.

Andrew: Okay. How do you keep this going? Is all about just getting face, the contest, or is there a way to make it more sticky so that if you stop running contests, you still get customers?

Melvin: We recently learned this. Last week, we just started doing Facebook ads. And it’s no iii, like the whole transition. Like in the beginning, we’d really focus on getting the fans to share. So we could get more Facebook fans and the giveaway would be a big part of that. So we spent all this time and energy just trying to perfect it. ‘Cause you read, there are a lot of things that happen on the back end. Like handling the customer, like handling the fans when they get pissed off. And they don’t win or something like that. And there’s a lot in the back end. As far as maintaining one the entire time. But I know like, for me mentally. At first it started off like, okay, we’re going to mix sales. Sales. Sales. Sales. All right, on Facebook and now it’s just become a Me generation machine. ‘Cause now were. Since we just started Facebook ads last week, we’re taking care of that. And he is getting a 1.5 or .15 or some ridiculous click- through rate on the ads, which is getting us way more fans than we were getting with our current giveaway. We’ve had 2 separate types of giveaways. We had the one in the iii, where all they had to do was like, share, or comment. And that worked really, really well. But it was kind of against Facebook guidelines. So if anybody’s thinking about doing that, just make sure they’re aware of that. But now we’re fully aware of the guidelines. We’re trying to do it the right way so the page never gets shut down. And we found out the giveaway’s not as effective now that we have a whole giveaway app. And all of that. So now.

Andrew: Let’s just make sure. Let’s just break down what you just said. First of all, the process that you told us you used a moment ago, it’s against Facebook guidelines.

Melvin: Oh yeah.

Andrew: And it was, even when you did it.

Melvin: Huh?

Andrew: Was it, when you did it?

Melvin: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: It was.

Melvin: I believe so. Mm-hmm.

Andrew: So you got into trouble with Facebook?

Melvin: No, no. There was never really any problems with Facebook. We had one fan iii for 2 fans, mention it to us and then we figured, might as well do it legit sense. Let’s make it, we’re bringing in a nice amount of income every month so let’s not risk it. Let’s do it the legitimate way.

Andrew: Right. I see okay. So once you start to get big enough, you realize, alright, now we have something to lose. So let’s make sure to hold onto this by changing the way we do things. I’m surprised you never heard anything from Facebook. Alright so then you said, it’s time for us to change to a more legitimate contest. How did that contest work?

Melvin: Well, one thing that really, something that worked really well from that was getting emails. So we’re getting emails like added internal email campaign, which is why we started that. But as far as engagement and. We like to think of our ads and posts like, each one of them has a function. And each one has a specific action that we want them to do. So back, back in the day, used to be the giveaway was the sharing and let’s get fans. And one’s just now become, let’s get emails. So we just switched.

Andrew: So for people to enter now, it’s not about becoming fans of the company. It’s about giving you their email address within the Facebook page?

Melvin: Mm-hmm. Well you still have to become a fan because we still have the fan page set up. In order for them to go through and actually win the ring. So we have to get the…

Andrew: I see. And that’s another thing Lou talked about. So you’re saying, go here, enter your email address if you want to win. They go there and they realize oh, I have to be a fan in order to actually see the page. Where I would enter my email address. So they hit the fan button, the like button, I should say. And they see the page where they’re asked for their email address. And they’re asked for their email address, and in return they get to win a ring or another piece of jewelry like what you described before.

Melvin: [??] entered, and we have it set up so that when they share, for every one of their friends that also enters, they also get like 5 bonus entries. We can get pretty intricate as far as what you can do with a giveaway app. Like there’s an entire business around that.

Andrew: Break down the business for me. Now, as a guy who’s on the out, who’s not working for any one of those companies but who’s used those companies, who’s out there? We have Wildfire, whose founder was here to do an interview. What else is there? Social North?

Melvin: Yeah. North Soul Shield.

Andrew: North Soul Shield.

Melvin: Tried them for a little while. Didn’t work out for us. And then there was [??] box. And as for giveaway apps, there aren’t too many people out there who. That have actual giveaway ad companies like iii, apps for Facebook. There really isn’t like a iii.

Andrew: Did you try these three that we mentioned? Woo-box, Wildfire. Melvin: We tried North Social. And then we didn’t even know what Wildfire did. Like we tried hooking it up and we weren’t sure. So we, it was mainly something like, okay, we need to implement something quickly. So instead of trying to research exactly what it does or how it works or. I think they’re also on the pricier side. We iii, we just picked one and it was North social. I don’t know why we picked it. But um.

Andrew: And that’s the way it works that you described for us. People have to enter their email address and in order to see the email address box, they have to hit the like button. Once they hit the like button and enter their email address, you tell them, hey, do you want more entries? Share this on your Facebook profile with your friends, and then when they do that, more of their friends come in to give you their email address.

Melvin: Yep.

Andrew: That’s the way this whole process works. What does that cost you to do that?

Melvin: Cost us? They have a whole bunch of payment plans. Like for us, it’s 179 or like 169 a month.

Andrew: 169 a month?

Melvin: yep. Well worth it though.

Andrew: Sorry?

Melvin: Well worth it though.

Andrew: Well worth it though. Why do you think it’s being, it’s not going as viral or it’s not as effective as the other one is?

Melvin: Oh, well, what’s it called? It’s a term. Entry? Like the levels of entry, I think? Cause before it was just on their wall. All they have to do is like and share. And that’s something they can do in 2 seconds. Now, instead, there’s also the. They have to go through and they have to through their email and they have to give out their email so there’s that whole process. And now, since, in the giveaway, we’re not allowed. Like when we’re having a promotion, we’re not allowed to ask them to share. So that’s a big part too. So the giveaway kind of takes care of that. So when we ask them for bonus entries. But it’s just a stuff iii to do in order to get something you used to get in like, 2 seconds.

Andrew: More steps and they have to leave the page that they’re on to take those steps. Gotcha. Okay, but you’re collecting email addresses. And before you weren’t. And now you’ve got a building community that you can actually access when you want, and you don’t have to worry about page rank. You don’t have to worry about a change in the Facebook guidelines. You just contact them directly.

Melvin: Mm-hmm. We built a nice big ole email list off this.

Andrew: How big? It’s been only a few weeks though.

Melvin: Let’s see. Even capturing it. Like before the actual website, website, we hadn’t been doing anything with emails. As far as sending them. But we had been collecting. Collecting email addresses. Like, on the old site, on the old page, we used to get 40-50 leads a day but we weren’t doing anything with them. And it’s only recently that we got MailChimp and started loading everything up. And the last 2,3 weeks, then we started building. As far as sending out emails but we’ve always been collecting in some sort of way. Like it wasn’t on the giveaway app, but we’d collect them right on our website. Like create a customer guest account or something like that. I forget what it said, but.

Andrew: So how many people did you get on your list?

Melvin: Currently our mailing list is 19,000.

Andrew: 19,000. You sent out an email. Can we talk details about your new attempts to use email?

Melvin: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Cool. So, you sent out an email, you’ve learned copy-writing, you’re getting better at it, and your first email, how did it do?

Melvin: The first, first one? Really, really bad. ‘Cause I didn’t even know Photoshop. This whole process, I know, I’ve gotten pretty decent at Photoshop. But in the beginning it was like, I’d take a document page and I’d try and color in the background like in Paint or something. And that was completely inefficient. That one did horribly. But as the year progressed, I’d keep learning a bunch of different things. Like we sent maybe one out, I don’t even know, a while ago. And we didn’t do anything with it because we were focused on other things. And eventually I found that one article. I don’t know, one video by Dave Maxwell. I saw the copy- writing thing on the side and was like, okay, this is what I’m going to need to learn. So I started learning all about that and putting all that together. And writing out my pages of copy, like he recommends. And that’s actually been a big help. And then we also found iii we do is look at our competitors and there’s this other company called BlueNile. They’re doing about 300 million a year in sales. But they’re a higher end diamond company. We figure they know what they’re doing. Especially since they’re pulling in about a million a day in sales.

So we went to, we got on their email list. That’s one thing we do. We join whatever email list we can find and look for a while at what they’re doing. So, BlueNile, we noticed theirs was very postcard looking. So, the most successful one we’ve had in the last, maybe 2 and a half weeks, puts us against them. That one postcard looking one that’s really, really simple. It didn’t have the framework built out with any links. It was just a postcard looking thing with just a link to our most Pinned items like. Recently started building up our Pinterest. So we’d add, we’d send one out like that, and then somehow that one sold really well. That one did, I’d say really well. But compared to the one we’ve done before, and the other ones we were split testing that only got maybe, we generated 10 bucks a sale, like 20 bucks in sale. Then that one was just the iii, where it was like 800 bucks. I put it together in 2 hours. So, iii Photoshop thing, I’d spend eight hours trying to do something. And now I gotten a little better at it and copy-writing and all that, figuring that out. Like, I broke it down to 2 hours and sent that out. And 800 bucks, like out of nowhere. So that was nice.

Andrew: So the others were just, under 100 bucks, under 100 bucks, under 100 bucks. We’re talking about 10 bucks, 20 bucks and then finally, this one hits 800 bucks. And all it is, is a postcard. And are you sending people to Pinterest?

Melvin: No. We made our collections on our page, on Shopifiers and Shopify. And they make it nice and easy. So it was a collection of our most Pinned items. So I went onto our Pinterest and we found our most Pinned items and made a collection of what they were. And just sent them right to our site. So we sent them out 2 days ago, we sent them to Pinterest, thinking that might help. That didn’t generate anything. It was essentially the same email that we sent before. We were just testing it out. And just, nothing happened out of it. I’ll have to check on the iii on that because it’s still iii I guess. Probably give it a couple more hours, I’ll be done.

Andrew: All right. By the way, you mentioned that you wrote down other people’s ads. You mean you actually sat down with a piece of paper and a pen and you wrote down successful copy-writing.

Melvin: Dan Kennedy. The biggest tip I’ve given anybody so far, is, Dan Kennedy said this. You go to Amazon and you go to the top 100 best sellers, or whatever. And, ’cause you can’t copyright a book headliner or book cover or something. Something like that. So you can actually take those headlines and look at the reviews, and the pros. There’s just what it does, or whatever. And the cons is whatever problem you’re going to solve for them. Because a big thing in copy is it’s like when you’re trying to sell something, people don’t want the actual thing. They want what it’s going to do for you. So, realizing that whole like mental process behind all of that. Like, the whole bringing the whole salesmanship to paper has been really a big key. [??]

Andrew: So, this is two different things. You’re saying, with amazon what you do is you go and look for a book that’s similar to what you want to sell? Or, you just look for a book and you start writing out copy for the book. The pros that people in the reviews say, like if they say the pro of this book is that it’s well written. Another pro is that it shows you how to, I don’t know, cut your own hair or whatever. That’s what in your own copy, you use as the reasons . . .

Melvin: I do.

Andrew: . . . why people should buy, and the cons are what you’re fighting against and what you don’t have.

Melvin: Cons are [??] like what problem are you going to solve. Like, one of them we had is, ‘this ring took forever to get to us.’ So one of our latest headlines would be like, ‘guaranteed great ship’. So . . .

Andrew: Oh, I see, I see. You’re looking at what you’re competitor’s ratings are, what your competitor’s reviews are on amazon, and you use those to write your copy. Got you.

Melvin: Yeah

Andrew: Got you. OK. And then the other thing you said you do is, you also just write out by hand, long form, the best copy you can find, so you can internalize what they are saying. Right?

Andrew: OK. And that’s Dan Kennedy who told you to do that? Who . . . where you learned to go look at Amazon’s reviews?

Melvin: Yes. He was saying, like, he used to spend like eight hours trying to spend copying or trying to write copy or something. Now on Amazon, he was like, this has, this has chopped down my time to like about an hour. I can just go here and just write down all the best ones and just put them together, slice them and dice them.

Andrew: Good stuff. All right, I think I’ve got everything here. Is there anything that I missed? Anything about your story that we didn’t include in here?

Melvin: It’s still going. I’m just trying to figure everything out. Tracking is very important. [??] organized …

Andrew: I’m all right. Before I show this . . . Actually, let me show this book right now. I wonder if it’s a jerky thing for me to have done to pull the book that you asked about, off the shelf, and just kept it here. I sometimes feel when I’m watching TV shows where at the end of the hour, they haven’t resolved things for me, and they tell me to come back next week. And then I watch next week and they still haven’t resolved it and they tell me to come back the week after that. No, if you just do a good show, I’ll come back week after week. You don’t have to play these tricks. So, I’m wondering if this will come off as a trick or if it will actually be a fun thing that I did here. We’ll see, based on comments and feedback. But the book is A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams. It’s one of many books that I’ve gotten from authors and I don’t remember why but it just wasn’t a good fit for an interview so we didn’t have the author on. It’s a good book though. There’s the end of the mystery and from now on, in the next few days while I’m still here in this office, and before I move to San Francisco, I’ll have the spine facing out.

Melvin: I’ve always wondered what those were.

Andrew: What’s that?

Melvin: I’ve always wondered what those were, because, like, they’re almost, like, in the line of sight so you can make them out but you just can’t make sure.

Andrew: They’re almost . . . Every single one of them was sent because of an interview and I think almost every single one has been on here. Tell to Win, [??], Smarter Faster Cheaper, [??] Biography, and so on. Alright, one piece of advice for someone who is where you were, back when you were still living in your, in your bosses house working essentially for food and water . . . for food and shelter. It wasn’t quite so dire.

Melvin: Water is free.

Andrew: [SS] Yes, so one piece of advice that you would give someone who was in your situation.

Melvin: Persistence. For me, persistence and focus.

Andrew: And here is something else that I got from you. You’re always freaking learning. I mean, whether it’s learning through Mixergy interviews, or Dan Kennedy, or just watching your competition. You didn’t just sit in awe or in frustration when a company called Bad Ass Jewelry was doing Facebook contests. You said, they’re doing something interesting. I’m going to breakdown how they did it. You are looking to see how are good copy writing . . . how are good copy writers, how are good copy writers putting their material together. I’m going to break it down. And whenever you learn something, you seem to . . . as often as possible you took some action, you wrote down the copy. You didn’t just say, yes that’s a good idea.

Melvin: [SS]

Andrew: Sorry.

Melvin: Speed of implementation would be a big one. Just apply things quickly, like, [??]. Like, I learnt something[??]. Like, try to apply it in some way, whether it’s completely unrelated or not. There will be somewhere I can, like, see how it does. And, if it works, keep it. If it doesn’t, then move on.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to give . . . Can I give people your email address? You said it was okay, right?

Melvin: Yeah, cool.

Andrew: All right, if anyone wants to connect with Melvin directly, it’s just his last name, first name at So, here’s the actual email address. It’s . . . wait, oh yeah, there it is., and you don’t even need that tilde over the N. It’s just . . . you can, you can type out . . . excuse me, And you can exchange ideas with him about Facebook marketing or any other kind of online marketing. Melvin, it’s been great having you on here.

Melvin: Thank you, it’s been great being on here. I love it.

Andrew: Cool. Fine, and thank you all for being a part of it. Bye.

  • Martin Ramirez

    Great interview! I liked how he talked about how he took things he learned and applied them. Why are you moving to SF? I heard you say that in another interview. By the way, I didn’t mind you holding the book till the end.

  • Thanks Martin!! If you have any questions about the things I applied and tried out feel free to email me.

  • Dan B.

    I’m disappointed you didn’t wear a costume for your Halloween Mixergy interview. Keep up the great interviews.

  • Great interview and Melvin awesome numbers on Facebook in such a short time. Huge fan of taking something away from each interview and look forward to checking out NorthSocial more. Thanks Guys!

  • Kane Mar

    Do you have a link to the facebook course with ‘the two guys’? I’d like to watch it but I’m having trouble finding it. Thanks! =)

  • Hey mike thanks for the compliments. If you have any questions or anything feel free to email me at I’d love to help ya out in whatever way I can.

  • I was wearing my costume, I was dressed up as a business man! =P

  • Tom K.

    If illegal methods were used on Facebook, what good is this interview?

  • Melvin, great interview. One thing though – I noticed you said you are paying $169/month for North Social to run your Facebook contests? That seems like a lot. We actually made a totally Facebook compliant contest platform that plugs right into Facebook like you described too but only costs $29.99 per month. Check out the demo:

  • Love the interview curious how I can apply these to my photography business ( so I can expand to new markets and hire more photographers??? Any ideas would help!

  • Good interview Melvin & Andrew, & congrats Melvin on your success. However it seems to me like the single biggest influence on your rapid growth was the Facebook giveaways, run on your page’s timeline, which you found out later are against Facebook’s terms… And you didnt get any warning from Facebook for this. So my question is- would you recommend we do the same- run contests & giveaways against the rules until we are getting a lot of likes & are making good money, then play by the rules? It seems like these other methods are less effective & expensive so why not do exactly what worked for you?

  • Hey Daniel

    Great question, the chances of getting in trouble are pretty slim so it’s really up to you as far as how you wanna go about your give aways. There’s pros and cons to either way you do it. With an app you collect emails that get added to your mailing list but the reach isn’t as far, but on the other side you get the viral reach but no emails but feel free to do what we did. But if you wanna do it the viral way here’s the template we spent alot of time tweaking. And if you have anymore questions free me to email me

    ____________’S GIVING AWAY 3 OF THESE RINGS FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All you have to do is “Like” their main page, “Share” this post, and comment below! Share it now to enter! Check Out Our Website To Check Out Our WINNERS LIST!

    Remember to “Like” __________ to be entered in future Give-A-Ways!!

    Good luck! – _______________ <- Website Url

  • Great interview guys!!! Lots of takeaways & def. going to be implementing!! Both of you keep up the great work!!

  • Thanks!

  • Thank you!

  • Travis, I like your page and that is an awesome price for that service. I have always been wondering how do you lock your page until someone clicks the like button?

  • .

  • Damn I had written a reply and it didn’t seem to work! :(

    I also do Facebook giveaways in the Melvin suggested, and find them highly effective (of course nowhere near Melvin’s numbers). I actually find really short giveaways that end within 2 hours, are the most effective. I realise this against FB terms, but they are so much easier than an app giveaway! Like Melvin said, it’s one less entry point that users have to go through. But yes, I am looking at different ways of doing this, because I really don’t want to be blocked from Facebook. I am doing more blog giveaways with links back to Facebook.

    Ps – Melvin, I wish you could come work for me, to get my numbers up like that ;) Impressive.

  • jr_sci

    Hey, you guys can check Nathan’s It has a really easy feature to create pages for Facebook contest. It will hardly take 5 mins to set up everything. Here’s 1 example:

    Now, here’s a question for Melvin:

    Do you create ads targeting the contest page or to your Posts / fan page? What’s the approx CPC you were paying? I found it rather strange when I saw that FB suggested a CPC of $0.12 from my Indian account and it showed $0.51 from my client’s account from Texas, USA. It was for the exact same ad targeting the same demographic.

    It will be great to know your experience when it comes to setting up ads and the CPC, Not sure, how comfortable you will be answering this.

  • That locked up feature is known as a “like gate”. There are several ways to do it, we created one of the more difficult ways to do it that looks like a lightbox and is dyanamic based on the “like” status of the person viewing the tab.

  • Adam Klisher

    +1, Andrew which interview is the one with ‘the two guys’? Thx!

  • Adam Klisher

    Tried emailing Melvin, no replies:( Guess he is to busy getting 200K+ fans;)!!!

  • Jalima Shani

    Great interview Melvin & Andrew! Melvin your success is inspirational.

    I am not sure my new company, is ready to begin running contests, we have have zero Facebook friends, and zero followers on Twitter.

    What are 3 great techniques you used to build your Facebook following from scratch?

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  • Michael de la Maza

    I contacted Melvin based on this interview. He agreed to do some work for me, and I sent him payment up front. I never heard from him again. Be careful!

  • I’ll email you and him right now to clear this up.

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