What is Affiliate Summit?
Affiliate Summit was founded by Missy Ward and Shawn Collins in 2003 for the purpose of providing educational sessions on the latest industry issues and fostering a productive networking environment for affiliate marketers. It is the premiere conference in the affiliate marketing niche, and attracts thousands of attendees that can be split into five main categories: agencies, affiliates, merchants, networks, and vendors.
There are two Affiliate Summit conferences every year:
- Affiliate Summit West
- Affiliate Summit East
Affiliate Summit West usually takes place in Las Vegas, although other locations are also being considered. Affiliate Summit Easy on the other hand is mostly held in New York. The conference is 3 days long and it consists of educational sessions, keynotes, networking and of course a few crazy parties thrown into the mix.
It was an amazing experience, and I’d like to share with you some of the ways in which I found Affiliate Summit to be beneficial, and why I can highly recommend attending this conference.
With around 5,000 attendees and loads of exhibitors and speakers, it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to be a networking heaven. The networking opportunities Affiliate Summit presents are amazing, I managed to meet so many interesting people and I learnt so much. But most importantly, meeting so many industry peers and experts gave me a lot of motivation to go back home and try new things and really improve several aspects of my work.
You don’t have to be a networking guru to make at least a few new friends at this conference. I found everybody to be very eager to talk and learn from each other, and often times folks will just come up to you and introduce themselves.
This doesn’t mean that you should be lazy of course, but attending a huge conference like this one might be intimidating for introverts, and I just want to make the point that it doesn’t have to be so. I would also suggest going through this ebook from Shawn Collins, in which he deals with making the most of conferences, with a special emphasis on Affiliate Summit.
During the three days of Affiliate Summit, there were multiple sessions going on at the same time, so there was never a shortage of interesting sessions to attend for me. I found all the sessions to be of extremely high standard, and the questions being asked at the end of each session were intelligent and reflected most of the concerns the audience had.
Affiliate Summit consists of a few different session formats. In most of the sessions you’ll find one or two main speakers who present their topic followed by a short Q & A session. Then there is the panel format, which are a bit more personal as around 4 industry experts get to discuss between themselves and also with the audience, and share some of their experiences. I found these to be particularly insightful.
Finally there are the roundtable discussions, where you have a choice of several round tables headed by experts. You basically sit down at any table with an interesting topic, and get to join the discussion, ask your questions etc. The roundtables usually have around 5-10 people sitting at them so you’ll definitely get the chance to ask your questions to the expert at that particular table.
The speakers were highly approachable, and I made it a point to personally talk to most of them after their session. This gives you the chance to ask specific questions as well as exchange business cards and get to know the speaker.
Meet Market is where all the merchants, networks, vendors and agencies can set up stands. As an affiliate marketer, it’s a wonderful opportunity to just meet the people behind the products and services you’ll be promoting during the rest of the year.
Getting to know your affiliate manager personally is important as this can give you the opportunity to cut a better deal with regards to commissions, but also to discuss your promotional methods and see what’s working for others. Every website/blog is unique, and your affiliate manager can help you choose the best techniques for your particular audience, which will of course result in a win-win situation for both parties.
Affiliate conferences have a reputation to be great fun, and I guess being in Las Vegas the fun is never going to be lacking, right? So yes, be prepared to have some great fun at Affiliate Summit!
What with awesome parties with open bars and excellent performers every day of the conference, networking lunches if you have the all inclusive pass, and maybe fitting in a show or trip to nearby attractions such as the Grand Canyon, the work-play balance is well maintained.
Should You Attend?
You should definitely consider attending the Affiliate Summit conference if you fall in any of the following categories:
- Bloggers looking for ways to monetize their sites
- Affiliate marketers who want to make connections with merchants
- Merchants who want to attract the best affiliates
Specifically with regards to WordPress, I would recommend this conference for plugin/theme/service providers who want to learn how they can boost their sales through affiliate marketing. An effective affiliate program necessitates careful planning in order to attract the right affiliates and give them the best tools to promote your business. It also requires monitoring to make sure that you are constantly getting high quality traffic that converts well. Attending Affiliate Summit will give you a great head start and it will be the perfect occasion to ask those questions you surely have to the experts present. I bet they will assuage your doubts and you will leave the conference with many ideas and a strong drive to galvanize your affiliate program, or start one if you don’t have it yet.
If you’re a blogger or affiliate marketer, you know that WordPress is the most popular platform out there for blogs and affiliate sites, so you’ll be in good company at Affiliate Summit. I met many other fellow bloggers, some who blog specifically about WordPress (such as Syed Balkhi from WP Beginner), and others who blog in other niches. It was interesting to compare what works in different niches and this provided some great insight for me too. Too many times we get stuck in our little world writing about what we love, but we ignore what’s happening in other niches. Such a conference provides the opportunity to widen horizons and gather new ideas.
Affiliate Summit is not for everyone, but if after you read this article you feel that you fit the profile, make it a point to attend the next one, you won’t regret the investment.
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