(This post is over a day late, largely due to hard disk failure on my nearly new Sony laptop. More on that later.)
Day Three of Affiliate Summit West was the best day there for me, despite missing the evening events. If you still don’t know what this event is, check their site out when you’re done reading here, because they’ve got another one coming up in Boston at the tail end of summer. It would take a long time for me to pass along all the information I learned in the few days I spent in Las Vegas at the summit, and the networking opportunity just doubles the value of the ticket price. Before going, I honestly thought the ticket price was a little high, but now I know it’s worth it, especially for someone new to many of the affiliate concepts, like me. Anyway, here’s how the final day went for me.
Ask the Experts
My first real goal for the day was to sit in on the Ask The Experts forum. Initially, Ian, Roger, and I headed to an empty table, as we were unsure how this forum would take place. Then it became clear that you just sit at the table of an expert you’d like to speak with and listen and ask questions you have. Each table had its own theme, from Measuring Yield to PPC and SEM marketing. While Ian and Roger picked other tables, I opted to soak in some concepts from David Weinrot, Vice President, Content Marketing & Operations, Shopzilla at the Measuring Yield table. He stressed the importance of comparing your revenue per 1,000 impressions for any given network or offer rather than comparing how much you’re bringing in per month or day total (as I’ve been doing). For merchants, he described how to maximize your program’s conversion rate by paring down on products or offers that aren’t converting well, among other things.
(image courtesy of the Affiliate Summit photo stream on Flickr)
Next, I headed to John Hasson‘s table, where he dished out all the goods on PPC and Search marketing… I mean ALL the goods. Roger was there already, and I think Ian arrived about the same time I did. I jumped in and started learning before I had my pen out. John’s table was one of the two tables that were not only full, but also attracted people like me who were willing to stand for a while behind the those seated just to get some of his valuable insight. John let us know what software to use for managing campaigns, what search engines he prefers, tips on bidding and running certain ads during the day versus the over night or during the weekend versus the business week. Sadly, I’ve only grazed his site before today. Now his feed will be a part of my morning routine.
As I was departing this forum, I was stopped by someone who helps fund start-ups. He said he was told he should hunt me down to talk about a start-up he’s working out some details with. It’s fairly technical and sounds right up my alley, so we talked for a bit and exchanged business cards. I’m keeping details to myself for now, as I like to assume non-disclosure on these things until someone says otherwise. It sounds cools, though, so I’ll probably write about it at the appropriate time if the company ends up working with mine. (By the way, if you’re the person who referred him to me, let me know.)
Super Affiliate Strategies that Work
The next forum that was a must-attend for me was Super Affiliate Strategies that Work with Kristopher Jones, President & CEO, Pepperjam, John Chow, CEO, TTZ MEdia (and JohnChow.com, of course), Zac Johnson, President, MoneyReign Inc. (and ZacJohnson.com), and Amit Mehta, Founder, SuperAffiliateMindset.com.
This forum was one of the things I was most looking forward to at the Summit, and after three pages of notes, I’m not second guessing my anticipation. When you throw four guys on stage who have learned, from the ground up, how to make a LOT of money online and you’re invited to fire questions at them, it can be nothing but good. Zac induced a resounding applause from the whole room after articulating how passionately he feels about the industry and how affiliates are viewed. He’s just the person to say it, too, having climbed his way to the top and proven that years of hard work can pay off really well. While Amit fielded a lot of the questions, everyone offered valuable advice for seasoned affiliates as well as those of us still just peeking in. I haven’t formally met the whole panel, but they all seem like good people who I’d like to talk with more.
Social Media Strategies in Affiliate Marketing
After lunch, we headed over to the Social Media Strategies in Affiliate Marketing forum with a panel consisting of Sam Harrelson, VP of Business Development, OnCard Marketing (Moderator), Stephanie Agresta, Partner, The Conversation Group, Justine Ezarik, iJustine Tris Hussey, Training Manager, b5media, and Deborah Schultz (who I hope has shaken her cough), Principal/Chief Strategist, DeborahSchultz.com
Speaking about the impact of varying social media outlets on web traffic and branding, they answered a lot of questions, from the simple to the complex questions that might require post-forum follow-up. They tackled issues of blogging and social media etiquette, things that will get you banned, and things that might get you noticed in the ways that you would like. Over all, the general lessons learned included:
– Act socially online as you would offline. As Deborah put it, (I’m paraphrasing here) “if you walk up to an ongoing conversation and start jumping around, going ‘me! me! me!’, people will ignore you”.
– Not all social media outlets work for everybody.
– Do not feel ashamed about needing to monetize your blog. This was emphasized with my favorite quote of the hour, “I can not go to the store and buy milk with comments and trackbacks.” – Tris
This panel helped me to think not only about what I should be doing as a blogger, but perhaps a couple things I should not be doing (maybe I should stumble my posts less, eh, Tris?). It was a rewarding use of my time and it turned me on to some new promotional opportunities.
Fun With the Rio’s Segway
While a few of us were hanging out in the Bloghous press area, one of the summit founders, Shawn Collins, brought over a Segway for us to play with. Just before that, John Chow came over and I remembered to get a picture with him finally, after bumping into him several times throughout the summit. John told us that he nearly ran people over with a Segway, so I think we were all just a bit nervous about trying it out. After a little wobble (due more to my being nervous than the device being hard to balance), it was incredibly easy to navigate and keep upright. The thing balances itself, so all you have to worry about is speed and steering. I definitely need to get one after I get rich from all the tips I learned at ASW08. Here’s a video of it.
Here’s that photo with John Chow.
I completely forgot a part of my day. XY7.com, who I mentioned in my previous post, were filming snippets from various affiliates that they plan to use in a marketing video (I guess it’ll be out before long). Anyway, they sent one of their booth girls, Heather, to round up people to participate and I happened to be one. Those guys are a riot. I can only imagine what would happen if I had gone to the party they said they were having. In any case, I plan on signing up and I hope I really like their network if my face will be on their marketing material.