You Really Should Learn About Affiliate Marketing

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Did you know there were over 4,000 attendees at Affiliate Summit West held at the Rio in Las Vegas earlier this week? This conference which addresses what was once a tiny segment of the marketing world has exploded and grown into a business model every brand should be aware of.

If you're a brand you advertise your products, right? Of course you do. That's a no-brainer. You hand a boatload of money over to an ad agency, they make pretty pictures for you and you hand another boatload over to media outlets to run those pretty pictures. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That's becasue everyone else does it and they've been doing it since marketing was invented.

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But what if you could get people to market your products for you? That's the gist of affiliate marketing. You set up a program and develop tools which affiliates can use to help sell your products. Very similar to Amazon book ads on a website, affiliate marketing is a revenue share model. If a product is sold through the efforts of an affiliate, that affiliate gets a cut of the sale and so does the brand.

That's the simple explanation. But, like anything, it gets more involved and expansive when you grow it to a level when millions of dollars are being made through this form of marketing. And that's why there's an entire conference devoted to it.

Let's take a look at some of the elements of the conference which grew from 3, 300 last year to over 4,000 this year.

The Meet Market

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On Sunday, the first day of the conference, the Meet Market opened. The Meet Market removes all pretense of exhibit hall booth glitz and gets to the heart of what most conferences should focus on: helping connect people so they can seal deals.

At the Meet Market, merchants (companies with affiliate marketing offerings) sat at tables, sans booth glitz and affiliates (website owners looking to make money) roamed from table to table to conduct actual business. Several thousand people from the same industry in the same room at the same time doing business.

The Keynote

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Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, and co-author of the New York Times best-seller, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive, gave the opening keynote at the Rio in the Penn & Teller Theater Monday. Cialdini shared his wisdom on persuasion and he power of scarcity.

He spoke to seemingly mundane topics such as the word "but" and how, if properly used, can powerfully control the negative an positive aspects of conversation and persuasion. And with scarcity, the importance of identifying an untapped niche and expertly owning it.

Cialdini's keynote did not focus on affiliate marketing per se but rather the importance of psychological tactics in business and in one's own motivation to do business. Upon leaving, those in attendance received a business card which outlined Cialdini's recommendations for conducting successful business.

The Mentor Program Meetup

As part of the conference, Affiliate Summit held a Mentor Program. The program teams seasoned affiliates with first timers for the purpose of helping the mentee get the most out of the conference. Those interested in the program, both mentor and mentee, signed up prior to the conference, were paired, had telephone conversations and met for a meal during the conference. Once at the conference all the mentors and mentees met together.

The Sessions

One of the most entertaining sessions at Affiliate Summit was moderated by Rae Hoffman, CEO of Outspoken Media, which intentional or not, aptly describes Hoffman's approach to this. She pulls no punches, holds nothing back and isn't afraid to tell you your site or business model sucks. In the session, attendees were able to glean insight from her straight forward commentary about what works and what doesn't.

Jay Berkowitz, as he does at every conference - each time in a slightly different manner, shared with attendees his Ten Golden Rules. This session focused on ten strategies to make money using social media. Berkowitz touched on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media.

Other sessions informed attendees on how to monetize blogs through affiliate marketing, using pay per call, affiliate program mistakes to avoid, how to fix failing SEO and how brands can leverage affiliate marketing.

The Pinnacle Awards

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As part of the conference, awards in several categories were handed out at an event Monday evening. Missy Ward and Shawn Collins, the conference organizers honored people in six categories: Affiliate of the Year, Affiliate Manager of the Year, Exceptional Merchant, Affiliate Marketing Advocate, Best Affiliate Blogger and Affiliate Marketing Legend.

Held in the Penn & Teller Theater prior to the day two keynote given by Brian Clark of Copyblogger, here are the finalists and the winners are in bold (from AffiliateTip):

Affiliate of the Year

  • Nicholas Koscianski
  • Eric Nagel
  • Kim Rowley

Affiliate Manager of the Year
  • Jamie Birch
  • Stephanie Harris
  • Matt McWilliams

Exceptional Merchant
  • Amazon.com
  • BowlingShirt.com
  • eBay Partner Network

Affiliate Marketing Advocate
  • Angel Djambazov
  • Karen Garcia
  • Rebecca Madigan

Best Blogger
  • Murray Newlands
  • Geno Prussakov
  • Jeremy Schoemaker

Affiliate Marketing Legend
  • Scott Jangro
  • Heather Paulson
  • Brad Waller

The Exhibit Hall

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As with most conferences, the exhibit hall teamed with activity and, along with the hallway outside the exhibit hall and the session rooms, it was the place to be if you wanted to be in the middle of the action. It's the center of the show. It's where all the conference extravagance makes its debut like money grabbing booths, drawings for iPhones, scantily clad women handing out beads, contests, swag and that booth with the motorcycle from the company we still don't know anything about.

But flash aside, it's also where you really find out what a company is about. While some booth personal are more knowledgeable than others, most do a good job explaining what the company does and how they can help you and the companies you represent make money using their services.

The Hallway

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For any of you who have been to just one conference, you quickly realize the hallway is where a lot of conference activity occurs. It's where the mascots roam. It's where where strangers meet. It's where

Charity

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Affiliate Summit is big on charity and the charity they focus on most if breast cancer. This year there were two events. The Purpose Inc. Affiliate Summit Charity Poker Tournament, held Saturday night raised over $15,000.

The Strike Out Breast Cancer Midnight Bowling Fundraiser, held Sunday night at Goldcoast Lanes raised over $3,000. In all, not a bad take for a couple of events.


As we said last year, affiliate marketing is the sleeping giant. But it is growing in both prevalence and relevance. Traditional marketers and agencies would do well to educate themselves about this space

And if you want to know about all the parties that occurred during the conference, you can read about that here, here and here.

by Steve Hall    Jan-21-10   Click to Comment   
Topic: Industry Events   

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