No matter what your experience level is in affiliate marketing, if you haven’t attended an Affiliate Summit [affiliate link], you just don’t have the full picture. I know it’s hard to get the funding, the resources or approval to hit the road for an event like Affiliate Summit West, but the value is beyond priceless. It’s not just what you learn, it’s who you learn it from. Affiliate Summit gives you the chance to meet colleagues from all aspects of the industry. If all you know is CPA, then you get to meet some of the big coupon affiliates and learn a little about their world. If you are a seasoned veteran, you get to meet the next generation of innovative thinkers and their ideas might move you in a different niche for testing.
Here’s an example of the relationship building at Affiliate Summit. I was headed to the Carnival buffet at the Rio Monday morning and saw a guy holding an affiliate registration bag in front of me. I struck up a conversation and asked him what he was doing at ASW10. His name was Stu and he owns a growing retail site. He heard about ASW and took the time to attend and learn about affiliate marketing. The buffet line was moving slow so I asked if we could chat for a while and then sit down together for breakfast. By the time we were seated, my Sunshine Rewards buddies (Tricia and Cindy) showed up and joined us for breakfast. Over the next 30 minutes, this affiliate marketing newbie heard from an outsourced program manager and two super affiliates about the industry he came to learn about. We discussed network selection, affiliate communication, coupon strategy, landing page optimization and general definitions of affiliate keywords and phrases. We really talked his ear off and I’m confident we sent him in the right direction to research launching his new program.
It’s unpredictable chance meetings that make events like this memorable. I had incredible meetings with affiliates and vendors and other OPM’s but the lure of building new relationships at Affiliate Summit is the cherry on top. That’s where my PokenZoo promotion came in handy this year. Which by the way was spawned from an initial conversation I had with Adam Riemer back in December. The Poken Meetup was a success because of Twitter and word of mouth. We had about 20 people over a 30-minute period. During this time, I was fortunate enough to have a 15-minute conversation with Warren Whitlock. We actually had a conversation longer than 140 characters. I was able to ask him strategy questions about Twitter, discuss the future of Poken and learn a little bit about who he was as a person, not just a social media guru who wrote a book. It was a long enough personal conversation that he should actually remember me if we meet again.
Even the organized breakfasts and lunches are a great chance for networking at Affiliate Summit. I saw one of my best affiliates (Eric Nagel) at a table and sat with him but didn’t realize I would become friends instantly with everyone else there. That breakfast conversation was beyond hilarious and the centerpiece was my new friend David D. Ochoa. David is quite a character and is eager to learn fast. This was his second Affiliate Summit but I think he’ll be one of my top affiliates very soon. He’s seen the potential from other affiliates and is willing to invest the time to make it work for him.
There are plenty of wrap-up posts from Affiliate Summit West – like this one from Missy Ward – and they cover everything from the keynotes, the sessions, the parties, and the events. But, I wanted to highlight the most important thing to me about Affiliate Summit: relationship building is king and if you want to be successful, this is the place to start.
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