There are two things for which importance is always underlined in the world of affiliate marketing: high-quality content and click-through-rates. As an affiliate, you need to invest time and effort in creating amazing content that is relevant to your audience and thus attracts intelligent traffic. When you succeed at that, you have ensured yourself an essential ingredient for increasing CTRs (and therefore, conversions).
In addition to content and click-through-rates, there is another C-word affiliates should pay more attention to: conferences.
Let’s face it: in the 21st century, we have become accustomed to digital communication, moreover – we became dependent on it. It’s either real-time texting via instant messaging apps, commenting and endorsing on social media, or exchanging audio and video messages. Our entire focus is put on convenience, efficiency, and saving time.
The fruits of technology are tasty as hell. Various communication channels have made our lives easier, while the whole concept of having a genuine conversation with someone has been enriched with emojis, filters, stickers, and other amusing features. This shift towards the digital world has served us as a double-edged sword.
Undoubtedly, the Internet has completely transformed the way we connect and bond, not to mention the way we learn, grow, and elevate our careers. Just think of LinkedIn, the global social networking service that is entirely employment-oriented. By publicly displaying information about our current careers or plans, we are basically open 24/7 to business offers and project proposals.
But does this mean face-to-face contact has become redundant, even when it comes to business networking?
On the contrary. People need face-to-face contact, no matter what.
Here is my point: it doesn’t matter how far you’ve come with your affiliate business, scaling is always a good idea. While reading through online industry news is good for keeping up, attending conferences can be your most powerful weapon in this venture.
Not entirely convinced? Read through the five reasons affiliates should attend conferences.
1. Real Life Networking
Have you ever heard of the saying “your network is your net worth”?
Research show face-to-face meetings have irreplaceable value: 95 percent of the surveyed business professionals think they are crucial for establishing long-term business relationships. For affiliates, they are even more valuable. Here’s why.
As social beings, humans need one another for creating a virtuous circle where all participating sides have some kind of benefits. It’s all about helping one another and nurturing reciprocity. A simple thing such as handing out your business cards can lead towards increased traffic for your website, and by taking other people’s cards – you can broaden your email list.
Conferences make a unique opportunity for meeting thought leaders, influencers, and experts from the industry. This means you get a chance to meet all the winners and doers live, exchange business cards, and start building up professional relationships. By greeting people in person and engaging in a conversation, you are opening doors of opportunity for future collaborations.
The time and energy you invest in socializing can result in great benefits, be it new business projects, recommendations, or receiving help from a highly respected expert when you need it.
Conferences matter for affiliates, in particular.
Most of the affiliate networks function as mediators so there is no direct communication between affiliates and advertisers. Every party has its specific role and the whole system has its rules that are justified.
However, conferences can broaden your business perspectives. By mingling around, you are granted direct access to product insights, marketing resources, and the conditions under which advertisers and affiliates usually work. Be mindful that participating can help you get your creative juices going and accurately assess your current business position. Target those who are veterans in the field and soak in their wisdom in order to prevent making their mistakes.
Conferences give you a chance to meet people you collaborate with online. Live contact strengthens the existing bonds and you can finally put a face to that name. Networking makes doing business a bit more personal. You’d be surprised to see how positively transforming a casual face-to-face chat can be for your business, making it warmer and more human.
2. Open Your Eyes, Ears, and Learn
In addition to networking, a conference’s primary focus is education. Affiliate marketing conferences always gather speakers that are highly successful industry experts looking to share their findings in presentations. By default, conferences encourage two-way communication, so there are Q&A sections, panel discussions, or workshops organized.
Take Affiliate Summit West as an example, taking place in the Paris hotel, Las Vegas, in 2018. Besides the educational sessions, this event is known for its trade shows that gather affiliates, vendors, merchants, digital agencies, and traffic sources in one place. All conditions for purposeful networking are established this way. Direct and efficient communication is in the focus: internal statistics from the summit organizers say 74 percent of the past exhibitors reported this event supplied them with the most business leads compared to any other trade show.
Affiliate World Asia is another globally recognized event, taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, this December. The organizers have really outdone themselves by including some of the most sound marketing names in their program, such as Neil Patel, Alexander Nix, Mark Houng, and James Van Elswyk. You’ll get a chance to hear some data-driven knowledge, innovative ideas, and network with those who made it big.
These events enable you to hear valuable success stories, unique insights and conclusions (such as marketing and conversion strategies that are proven to work), while you’re granted with a chance to participate in every conversation.
Steven Johnson, the renowned author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, wrote about the importance of clashing with minds different than yours can help you develop new ideas. You need to listen to your instincts instead of forcing new ideas to come to life. The trick is to let seemingly unrelated pieces of intuition merge so that they form a bigger picture, i.e. a new idea.
Mr. Johnson does have a point: listening to what affiliate experts have to say is not only educational, but also inspirational. Borrow other people’s ideas to better your affiliate work.
3. Sell Yourself Wisely
There’s hardly a better place for making a solid professional impression than on conferences. Because conferences for affiliates are narrowed to a single industry, you’re already halfway there. Appreciate the fact that you’re exposed to the most relevant pool of decision-makers, peers, and colleagues. Every move you make counts.
This doesn’t mean you should stress out about it and think of it as a golden opportunity you cannot mess up. Quite the opposite. Take a deep breath and come prepared. Do your homework and become more aware of the way you carry yourself. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Study through the conference agenda: know who’s coming and snoop around their biographies and achievements; map out how you can take advantage of their expertise.
- Set a goal and prioritize: going to an affiliate conference for the sake of gaining new professional experience is a good thing, but set a goal for yourself and prioritize. In means of panels you want to attend (sometimes, tight schedules result in overlapping) and to whom you want to speak.
- Mind your social skills: show good manners and listen to what your interlocutor has to say; try remembering the name of the person with whom you’re speaking, it can do wonders for the impression you leave.
- Body language counts: just by straightening your back and lifting your chin up a bit, you’ll dominate the space around you and radiate confidence; moderate smiling is always a good thing.
If you have some success as an affiliate, you should try your best to have your name heard. The art of balance is of great importance here: you don’t want to seem too pushy or arrogant, but nobody likes a person who’s too humble, either. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. Maybe you don’t have billions yet, but progress and commitment is what truly matters.
Building authority in every industry, not just affiliate marketing; takes time. Conferences are the perfect place to start. Embrace the fact that we live in a real-time, sharing society and join the crowd that’s tweeting and recording Instagram stories. It’s just another effective way to stay relevant and show you’re working on professionally upgrading yourself.
You will see that, when it comes to self-marketing, it’s not always about arguing your points or explaining your conclusions, but promoting and appealing to the emotional (i.e. human) side of those with whom you interact.
4. Get Informed About the Newest Affiliate Tools and Trends
Staying at the top of your affiliate game means following trends and new tools that can be beneficial for your business, be it as a smart investment or something that optimizes your daily tasks as an affiliate.
Affiliates usually rely on performance trackers and tools that help them craft better ad campaigns. But imagine having an opportunity to directly ask the creators and designers of these tools some in-depth questions. By attending affiliate conferences, you can.
Startups and SaaS businesses are frequent conference guests and it’s not that hard to understand why. It’s a win-win situation:
- By directly talking to their leads, they can take advantage of face-to-face contact and be more persuasive about their tool’s benefits.
- On the other hand, affiliates get an exclusive opportunity to ask any question they like (a lot different than what you get by sending an inquiry to customer support).
- Affiliate tools that are fresh on the market can get a proper promotion, while you get a chance to test them.
Of course, affiliates know that the most challenging part on the path to success is to gaining a full control of the traffic and analyzing the results after split-testing. Those who are completely committed to their affiliate businesses know that user behaviour can be a changeable thing, so newest findings regarding UX and UI can be of great help. Trial and error is inevitable, but hearing about latest trends, both from speakers and participants can be incredibly useful.
5. Have Fun
Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?
All of the well-organized conferences have informal, side events within their programs where participants can mingle and relax in a casual ambient. Networking never truly stops, but parties and cocktail meetups create a much more laidback atmosphere for bonding. People show different, more personal faces of themselves as the environment signals them it’s ok to loosen up a bit.
The nature of any type of conference is purely social. In the end, it’s not only about establishing new business relationships, but also personal ones, like friendships. Given the fact that all of the people who come to an affiliate-focused conference must have some sort of interest in affiliate marketing (if not developed businesses), you have a common place in which you can build a relationship.
Parties and other casual events are perfect for affiliates who are a bit introvert, as anything can be used as an icebreaker. This kind of setting allows you to feel and explore the chemistry with new people. Follow requests from strangers we get on social media don’t trigger that spark. Share good energy with like-minded people and you’ll create incredible memories that will last.
Over to You
Some affiliates fail to see the value of attending conferences, as more often than not these events can get pricey; especially if you add the travel costs. Organizers from the affiliate industry try their best to offer free tickets to affiliates as well as different ticket packages, so that their events remain accessible to the majority. Without any doubt, participating in a conference is a smart business move. Sure, you might damage your budget for a couple hundred dollars (or thousands, if it is a more exclusive event), but the gains are much more valuable.
Imagine sealing a six-figure deal with a new business partner with whom you’ve clicked from the very start. That doesn’t seem like a poor investment, does it? In any case, you can rest assured you won’t go home empty handed.