I had the privilege of speaking with Jeremy (Shoemoney) today about a really cool concept in ‘conference education.’ Seriously, that phrase is not an oxymoron; on rare occasions you can actually learn something at a show. Elite Retreat was founded on the principle that marketers who want to become more successful need advice custom tailored to their individual business niche. Â In the midst of a ‘stale’ conference grind ER has become an event leading edge eMarketers look forward to with great anticipation.

Personally, with their roster of speakers and the arrangement in which the conference is held is so conducive to growth that everyone can take something from this experience. I know this is true because they have a money back guarantee! This is a quality show help by quality people who actually know what it takes to make money online and aren’t holding the secrets back from other people who are ambitious like them. Did I mention that Kris from Pepperjam was there last year to meet with 1 on 1? Nice huh?


Interview with Jeremy Schoemaker below:

GREG: Can you tell us about how the Elite Retreat started?

ShoeMoney: Sure. In early 2005 I had a talk with Lee Dodd over instant messenger. Lee and I have had several companies, off and online, and we have many years of experience learning from success and failure. We talked about how much value there would be to be able to go back in time and sit one on one with ourselves, look at what we were doing, and give advice based on our experiences. Then we thought if we could diversify the leaders as much as possible and each one could offer their advice on what the attendee was doing or what they wanted to accomplish it would be a very valuable experience for the attendees.  That was the original vision for the Elite Retreat.

GREG: That sounds pretty interesting but what do you think separates this event from other industry conferences?

ShoeMoney: I hate to use the signal to noise cliché but I really feel that most conference “sessions” today are annoyingly high in noise and barely audible in signal. To be fair to the speakers though 90% of them are sent by their company and their first priority is pitching a product… not really helping attendees. Also the speaker to attendee ratio at a typical industry event can be hundreds to 1. Even if you have a question for one of the people in a “session” it’s doubtful you will be able to ask it and if you do its highly doubtful the person will be able to give it much thought. By keeping the keeping the ratio of leaders to attendees very low we can ensure that everyone gets quality time with the experts.

GREG: Do you think also by keeping the event small attendee wise that it allows the leaders to speak more freely?

ShoeMoney: Absolutely. One of the first things I ask is that if anyone is going to blog anything please ask permission of the people you are going to talk about. Another thing that makes this event so great is that the leaders and attendees can feel free to really talk about how it is and not have to worry about people blogging what they say. I think that also is another big issue at conferences. Everyone now has a blog and loves to make headlines. People come here #1 to grow their business(s) not to make headlines with what someone said at a conference.

GREG: Can you tell us who is the ideal person to come to this event? Who would get the most out of the event?

ShoeMoney: Really anyone looking to grow their business. We have had such an amazing range of people anything from mom and dads working from home doing affiliate stuff taking tons of notes and getting lots of ideas for the future to a corporate executive looking for that one small tidbit that could make a huge difference in their bottom line. I screen all people personally and if I do not think we will be able to help them accomplish their goal I will tell them so.

GREG: Would you suggest that people involved in marketing online gaming could benefit from Elite Retreat?

ShoeMoney: Totally. Especially at this event. Online gaming is obviously extremely competitive and at this event we have people that have done amazing things in similarly competitive markets. Neil Patel has found some creative ways to leverage facebook traffic and other social media websites to drive traffic into Casino traffic let alone he is on the board of directors for Casino Affiliate programs. Then you have Brian Clark who is one of the top conversion experts in the field. I have done really well in the ringtone industry and have some gambling affiliate experience as well. What it boils down to really is its all the same principals of getting the traffic and then converting it and I think the leaders at this event have a lot to offer online gaming marketers.


GREG: Can you tell us about some of the leaders this year?

ShoeMoney: I think we have a really awesome lineup this year! We have Neil Patel (quicksprout.com) who is “the guy” when it comes to social media and how your company can benefit from it. Brian Clark aka copyblogger (copyblogger.com) is a new edition this year. Brian, in a addition to being a copywriting expert is also an amazing conversion specialist. Andy Liu is also a new edition to the lineup. Andy is a startup expert and understands the concepts of an internet business better than anyone I know. Andy has started and sold several companies and now does venture Gregital investing. Returning we have Elite Retreat veteran Aaron Wall. Aaron wrote the book on SEO (seobook.com) and there is nobody who can show you how search engine rankings really work like Aaron. We will have other industry experts available for programming, Social Media, monetization and SEO advice among other things.

GREG: The price is $4995 is that correct? Can you explain the price point?

ShoeMoney: I wanted to ensure quality both in attendees and speakers and the event as a whole. We have the event one of the nicest hotels in San Francisco, cover costs for breakfast/lunch and other things.Â

It’s a very classy event. In addition all the speakers are compensated very well. No other event comes close in compensating speakers like we do. But putting on a very high quality event has costs.

GREG: I read there is a money back guarantee? How does this work? Why did you feel the need to offer that?

ShoeMoney: Let me first start off by saying that I have always looked at the event with a money back guarantee in mind. I approached it as if someone was not able to get their money back from the event with what we were able to offer I would refund their money and I was prepared to do that at every event. It’s not something I ever stated publicly. If someone at this event does not feel the value is there for them they just need to talk to me and I will send them home and refund them no questions asked. As for why I feel the need to offer it? Well as I said I have always looked at it like I would refund someone if they were not getting value. It’s never happened yet and I don’t expect it to happen in the future. As for why did we put it on the website this year? Our publicist thought it would be a good idea.