The judges have deliberated, the votes have been cast and we have the final winner of Marketing Pilgrimâ€™s Search Marketing Scholarship contest.
And the winner is (drum roll please)â€¦
Ben Wills with The Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing
Tell him what he’s won, Bob!…
Congratulations to Ben who received four votes from the nine judges and wins the $6,000 scholarship prize, which includesâ€¦
- Full conference pass to the Search Engine Strategies conference held in Chicago this December. (courtesy of Incisive Media)
- A 2-day pass to an upcoming SEO Workshop with the choice of "Beginner" or "Advanced" training levels. (courtesy of Search Engine Workshops)
- A one-year subscription to KeywordDiscovery.com keyword research tool. (courtesy Trellian)
- A copy of Aaron Wall’s "SEO Book". (courtesy SEOBook.com)
- A copy of "Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day" by authors Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin. (courtesy YourSEOPlan.com)
- Pay-Per-Click "Starter" and "Advanced" training courses. (courtesy
Search Engine College)
- A copy of "Please Ring Bell for Service".(courtesy of UsabilityEffect.com)
- A copy of WebPosition 4 Pro and 12 months of Page Critic Service. (courtesy of WebTrends).
- 1 year of AdWatcher service (ad tracking and click fraud monitoring) and 1 year of AdScientist service (bid management). (courtesy of Search Marketing Standard)
- One-on-one consulting and training with search engine marketing consultant Andy Beal. (courtesy Marketing Pilgrim)
High praise for Ben Wills…
I hope youâ€™ll agree that Ben is a worthy winner. Not only did his post win week 4 of our contest â€“ the toughest week, with 19 other entries â€“ but his entry had more unique views than any of the 47 other entries.
Benâ€™s look at how to utilize social media marketing resonated well with our expert judges, garnering high praise such asâ€¦
â€œBen tasked himself with doing research on a very broad topic, and he provided his own well-thought-out interpretation. His engaging writing, solid analysis and advice proved that he has the chops to be an SEM success story!â€?
â€œWe’re are up to our eyeballs in SMO and new media PR so his article resonates very wellâ€?
In his own words…
I asked Ben where he got the idea for his entry. He told me…
“The motivation for writing this article on Social Media Marketing was rooted in the undeniable potential that it holds, yet there has been very little written about how SMM actually functions from a marketing perspective. SMM extends far beyond leveraging MySpace or blogging and my goal was to define a framework for understanding interactions within Social Media that could be transposed to any business objective.”
So what was his strategy for promoting his entry?
“You can see from the traffic statistics that the top sources of my traffic came from search, but also from Battelle’s SearchMob. This was one of several social tactics I employed, but being that the SearchMob listing accounted for such a significant portion of the traffic to this article is a testament to how powerful social media can be.”
Now that he’s about to become the next big rock star of internet marketing, what does he want to do next?
“What I’m hoping to do next is to go even further into helping people understand how Social Media Marketing can be used for the benefit of both their organizations and their customers, which is the foundation of my consulting services. SMM is barely in its infancy with very much more to be understood before it becomes widely accepted as a marketing tactic and I think that this sentiment resonates through the success of this article. “
Not quite so new…
When we launched the contest, we stressed it was open to all. While Ben Wills may be a new name to many of our readers, heâ€™s certainly not new to the internet marketing arena.
Until now, he has been behind the scenes and has quietly built some of the most successful marketing teams and services, executing over 2,000 search marketing campaigns in his career. His campaigns have helped companies such as Lowes Home Improvement, Quicken Loans, Brookstone and Smarter.com, including a global search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaign for Motorola, spanning more than 30 countries around the world.
He recently decided to move into the realm of online marketing consulting and is currently advising his clients on the intricacies of search and social marketing and is a self-proclaimed social media marketing â€œevangelistâ€?.
Iâ€™ve personally worked with Ben over the last few years and it doesnâ€™t come as much of a surprise that he won the contest. He has the talent and experience to win a contest such as this, but even so, beating 47 other entrants and then winning the praise of our judges, is no easy feat. (Suffice to say, I did not have a vote in the judging, as I wanted to keep the selection unbiased).
Iâ€™ve already invited Ben to become a guest contributor to Marketing Pilgrim and Iâ€™m also going to be working with him on some client projects. It goes without saying that if you need assistance with any social media initiatives, you should be contacting Ben immediately.
If youâ€™re heading to PubCon next week, youâ€™ll be able to meet Ben Wills, as he will be there and, as his prize includes a pass to SES Chicago, heâ€™ll be in attendance there too â€“ watch for a future announcement, as Marketing Pilgrim will host an informal meet and greet at SES.
A big hand for our runners-up…
I would also like to thank the three other finalists for their fantastic effort. Each one of them did a phenomenal job in creating an entry that won visitors and praise from our judges. I know theyâ€™d like to hear how they did, so hereâ€™s some feedback.
Ryan Bell â€“ 2 votes â€“ including this praiseâ€¦
â€œI’ve got to give it up for the direct, hands-on learning and image integration shown by Ryan Bell in Instant PPC Success.â€?
Jordan McCollum â€“ 2 votesâ€¦
â€œJordan’s is instructive and focused on where SEO techniques can be expanded on to bring long term value by becoming more intimately involved with the design of a site itself.â€?
Nick Urbani â€“ 1 voteâ€¦
â€œâ€¦this one did it for me!â€?
That’s all folks…
Thanks again to everyone who entered, the companies donating prizes and our expert judges. Itâ€™s been a blast, letâ€™s do it again next year!