September 21st, 2011 by Elan Sherbill
There is an old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” As a vendor of digital content, are you fully engaged with the affiliate community and the opportunities it offers?
With an ever-growing menu of industry trade shows and conferences to choose from, it is difficult for vendors of digital content to choose the industry events that will add the most value to their business. From the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to the ad:tech convention in London, the options available to digital vendors seem endless.
One outstanding event that we recommend is the Affiliate Summit conference.
Affiliate Summit bills itself as “the premier affiliate marketing conference”, and with almost 4,000 attendees and 300+ exhibitors, it is hard to disagree. There is a winter event held in Las Vegas in January and a summer event held in New York City in August, so this conference offers people interested in affiliate marketing a great opportunity to discuss popular topics and exchange new ideas and strategies.
The summit agenda for Affiliate Summit East last month included 3 full days of educational sessions, exhibit halls, and evening events. Don’t discount the evening events. ShareASale sponsored an “Under the Stars Party Barn Dance” and there was also an “Affiliate Kareoke” event where people were able to let loose, be themselves and strengthen relationships in an informal setting.
As evidenced by the chart below, vendors, merchants, networks, and agencies are all in attendance, so nearly any business that sells products online can find value at this show.
Mark Nykoliuk is an Affiliate and Partner Manager at ZeoBIT, a company that develops professional software for Windows and Mac operating systems. Mark attended ASE and was enthusiastic about the networking opportunities that the conference offered, “It’s all about networking. You can achieve virtually any of your goals for the conference (recruiting affiliates, establishing business relationships, doing competitive research, learning about the new tendencies and what not) by meeting with the right people – and these people are all there.”
Forging these personal relationships face-to-face can be surprisingly refreshing for an affiliate marketer that has grown all too accustomed to the often faceless world of affiliate communication.
Justin Rondeau of TemplateZone, a company that designs email marketing templates, reiterates Mark’s point, “I get to meet and recruit new affiliates, strike up joint venture discussions, speak on behalf of TemplateZone and celebrate a booming industry during such difficult economic times. After leaving Affiliate Summit West I took what I learned and worked extensively with cleverbridge and ShareASale to increase our affiliate sales by nearly 400% in 8 months.”
The best trade shows are those where you can leave the show with some actionable strategies, put those strategies into effect, and then quantify the results. Affiliate Summit is a trade show that meets those objectives.
From the affiliate perspective, Affiliate Summit may be even more valuable. Steve Dovey is an established affiliate in the software industry who works with The Moo Moo Network. He says, “Meeting both the networks and merchants is worth the trip alone. Working from home can make one feel a little disconnected and it’s really good to get feedback on how I’m doing and what I could be doing better.”
So, now that we’ve sold you on attending the show, what are some of the things that you should do to prepare yourself before the event?
Mark’s suggestion: “You can find yourself swamped by the variety of information and businesses presented – but never throw your hands up and say ‘this conference is useless’. Talk to people about what you’re looking for – and you’ll be surprised by how useful this can be to your business. It’s better yet to start preparing by reviewing the list of attendees and appointing meetings at least a week before the event.”
Justin’s suggestion: “Simply put ‘Throw it all out there.’ Don’t be shy, people WANT to meet you.”
Steve’s suggestion: “Plan your time well. Create a list of the most useful educational sessions and block those times out of your calendar. Then find out in advance who will be there and make sure you get to meet your most important merchants/affiliates first so you don’t miss them. If you have time left over schedule in some of the less important meetings. Don’t forget the parties and dinners too, some of the best deals are made after hours so make sure you attend the most relevant to your industry to ensure it’s worthwhile.”
Keystone: Attending trade shows like Affiliate Summit is an important way to spend your time learning about the industry and creating additional value for your business.
Tell us about your trade show experiences. What value did you find in attending?
P.S. Affiliate Summit West will be taking place in January 2012. In between there will be many Affiliate Summit meetups across the US. So sign up, establish valuable relationships, and watch your business grow!
Andy Peterson contributed to this blog entry