Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Advice, Affiliate marketing, Conferences | Posted on Aug 15, 2011
Affiliate Summit East is Almost Here
The Affiliate Summit is the premiere conference where merchants, affiliates and networks all get together to discuss successful tactics and make new connections. After attending the affiliate summit in Las Vegas last fall, I really began to see the benefit of affiliate marketing. Today, most companies will say if you don’t have a designated member of your staff for affiliate relations, you’re crazy. There is so much money to be made for your company through affiliates, it behooves you to get active on forums like ABestweb or networks like Shareasale.
Prior to attending Affiliate Summit West, we were disconnected from our affiliates and not making any money worth talking about on our affiliate network. The first thing you learn when you are at affiliate summit is that Affiliate marketing is VERY personal. You need to build relationships and trust with your affiliates in order for them to spend time promoting your product. On top of a mutual trust, it helps that you and your affiliates share a similar vision. Sharing a similar vision is even more important if you are recruiting niche bloggers, but I wont get into the different types of affiliates here.
Once I learned this integral part of affiliate marketing I began to reach out to my current affiliate base. They hadn’t heard from us in over 7 months, so it is no wonder our products were not being promoted anymore. I got into the habit of sending monthly emails telling our affiliates about the current month’s promotions as well as providing them with new banner designs. You need to become a resource to your affiliates for your joint venture to have any success.
“Affiliate marketing is reserved for the B2C community, there is no room for B2B affiliate marketing”
This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. As a B2B company we have seen an incredible increase in our affiliate sales since we visited Affiliate Summit West. I personally believe these three things contributed to a nearly 400% increase in affiliate sales from 2010 (and we are still only in August!)
1. Attending Affiliate Summit
Affiliate summit gave me all of the information I would ever need to craft an exceptional affiliate program for TemplateZone. There are so many amazing speakers and breakout sessions to go to at Affiliate Summit it is hard to find something you won’t learn. On top of all of the educational sessions, there is a Meet market where different networks and merchants will give you demos of products as well as an exhibit hall. By far the most important part about Affiliate Summit is making connections. This is the chance for you to meet up with any of your current affiliates and put a face behind all of the emails. If you have not attended an Affiliate Summit you should, too bad Affiliate Summit East is sold out, looks like you will just have to go to Las Vegas (oh shucks).
2. Joining an Affiliate Network
Joining an affiliate network has helped our affiliate sales so much. We are currently on two affiliate networks, and we could not be happier. If you are a small merchant looking to get started in affiliate marketing I would HIGHLY suggest using Shareasale. They have a low adoption fee, and with a revamped interface they are a lot easier to use. If you are an affiliate, then you should be joining as many networks as possible.
3. Having an ‘Open Door’ Policy
This is incredibly important as an affiliate manager. Make it known to your affiliates that you want to know what they think! You need to become their resource, you know your company and products better than anyone! Always answer you affilaites inquiries, and also ask if there is antyhing they would like you to do different in the future. You are essentially getting an interenet sales force at no initial cost, they only make money when you do, so if you keep them happy & active you will be happy.
I will be speaking at Affiliate Summit East at the Experts Roundtables covering social media strategies. If you are heading out to Affiliate Summit East, be sure to drop by and say “Hi”.