From January 8th to 10th I attended Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas. I wanted to give you an overview of some of my favourite sessions and other activities while I was down there. Below are some of the sessions that stood out for me.
How to Quadruple Revenue Using Existing Traffic
I attended this session for a couple reasons. First was the fact that Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners (Twitter @tim_ash) was a part of it. I read his book Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions and I wanted to hear him speak. The second reason was I have seen a trend on some of my affiliate websites over the last year of lower conversion rates and some ideas on how to improve things is always good. Always looking for ideas on how to improve things. It was a good session and I was able to come away with some actionable items to implement on some of my sites (including this one at some point).
Affiliate Marketing in the Age of Social Media
I will admit I have never heard of Dave Taylor before. Perhaps it is because I live in Canada or I just live in my own little world most of the time, but he did remind me of a lot of things that I agree with regarding the social web.
It was also interesting that this session took place on the same day that Google announced that Google+ would be integrated into search results. The idea that shopping and referring people to products and services is a social activity not an algorithm. People are social creatures and we look for advice on our purchasing decisions from other people. This was one of the reasons I knew when Google announced Google+ that it would be important to be on there, but that is a whole other post.
The long term goal of an affiliate is not necessarily to just get the sale but to help people make a decision by interacting with them on a social level. While I agree with this ideal, it is not always easy. Some merchants do not allow social media marketing, though most will allow you to link to your own website review.
There was a bit of discussion regarding Pinterest, and how it allows affiliate links. How long that will last will be up for debate, but for now it has potential to be a social / affiliate channel.
In the end I was reminded of a quote from Stephen King.
“I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.”
– Stephen King
In affiliate marketing I think there is a similar idea. I will create affiliate websites that will help people and add value, but if that does not work and I can’t make a sale I will go for the quick and easy datafeed website that will rank well and get the click. Ok it might not transfer over so well but hopefully you get the point. Social media affiliate marketing is hard and it is amazing how easy and well a datafeed affiliate website can do to just get the click sometimes.
Driving Inbound Calls from Mobile Search
One of my goals for attending Affiliate Summit was to look for new ways to promote affiliate products and services. Watching the growth of mobile over the last little while made me want to go to this session for ideas on how to use it to increase the sales. It was an interesting session and I learned a lot about where to start in the mobile search and driving calls. While it was interesting I also realized that the majority of the merchants I work with do not allow any kind of search marketing and I would have to look at some new merchants to expand in this direction.
This session did get me thinking more about the merchants I do work with that offer mobile apps. Many merchants offer mobile apps and want affiliates to promote the fact that they have mobile apps but many of those merchants mobile apps are actually an affiliate leak for me to promote. People could end up installing, creating an account and using the mobile app from the merchant being referred by me but there is no way to track it to me leaving no way for me to get credit for a sale. There needs to be a way to track affiliate generated mobile app installs.
Lots of ideas and thoughts generated from this session, even if they were not necessarily the intended idea of the session. I know I will be looking at more mobile friendly websites and merchants this coming year.
Aside from sessions I was able to meet with several merchants I work with in person for the first time. It was nice to put a face and a name together and chat about their product/service and how to better promote it. This was the most valuable time I spent at the conference and something I will be making more time for in the future.
I hurt my back before heading down to Vegas for the conference so going out every night and partying was not high on my list of things to do. Not that it would be anyways, but I did head over to the SeaWorld event with their Animal Ambassadors. While I am not a SeaWorld affiliate, this did make me want to go to visit one of their parks. The penguins stole the show and my wife and kids were extremely jealous that I got so close to them. Not to mention the stuffed animals I brought back for the kids are now their new favourites. Thanks to SeaWorld for a great show!
Overall it was a good trip to Vegas and Affiliate Summit. I will likely look at going again at some point in the future but can’t see making it an annual or regular trip. Just to difficult to make the time in the busy family/work schedule it seems.
If you were at Affiliate Summit what were your favourite sessions?