Are you looking to launch your own affiliate marketing program? There are many good events that can help you get started. You’ll be able to meet affiliates and vendors in person, and find out what tools are needed to run a successful affiliate program. You’ll also be able to connect with other retailers and learn from their experiences firsthand. The affiliate industry is pleasantly unique in that knowledge is freely shared.
Affiliate Summit has brought together vendors, networks, agencies, merchants and affiliates since 2003. This year, there will be three different Affiliate Summits. The first is the largest, to be held in January in Las Vegas. The second largest will be in New York in August. And the third is a new addition; it will be held in Austin in May. (Note: I am a speaker at the Affiliate Summits. For this, I receive a free conference pass.)
“We focus on making Affiliate Summit a good investment for newcomers. We’ve got a newcomer program where first timers can have a conference veteran matched up with them to show them how to get the most out of attending. Also, we provide a guide in advance to first time attendees with all sorts of recommendations and advice on optimizing the conference experience,” says Shawn Collins, co-founder of Affiliate Summit.
The first session at each Affiliate Summit is geared toward first timers and provides them with information and ideas to effectively network, learn, and advance in their business.
“Additionally, our agenda indicates the experience level for each session, and they are all filmed, so attendees can see them again after the conference to reinforce the points,” Collins explains.
Throughout the year, there are also numerous meetups associated with Affiliate Summit that provide a smaller scale way to connect with affiliate marketers in your own hometown — check the locations here. These events occur monthly and are typically free. If you find a local chapter, simply click through the link to meetup.com, and then click the link to “Join this Meetup Group.” Once you’ve joined, you’ll get an email when a meetup is scheduled in your area.
PubCon is a weeklong search and social media conference that draws a broad range of online marketing professionals. Attendees include search and affiliate marketers to engineers and coders. The event is organized and hosted by Austin-based WebmasterWorld.com, an online web technology forum that dates to the mid-1980s.
“Small-to-medium-sized businesses are at the heart of Pubcon’s focus,” says Lane Ellis, lead editor at PubCon conferences.
Adam Riemer is the president of Adam Riemer Marketing, an online consultancy. He’s a frequent attendee and speaker at PubCon. “As an affiliate manager, the main reason I go to PubCon is that the publishers come from the search engine optimization world, which usually means they have content and niche sites,” Riemer says. “These types of sites typically add incremental value as opposed to affiliates who only try to rank for your trademarks and your .com plus coupons.”
The next PubCon will be held from February 13-15, 2012 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu. However, if you’re looking for something on the mainland, you can attend PubCon Las Vegas, which will be held in the fall.
Affiliate Management Days
New to the conference circuit this year is Affiliate Management Days, an event focused on affiliate managers and marketing executives who are responsible for their companies’ affiliate marketing strategies. Topics covered include affiliate recruiting and activation, marketing analytics, compliance policing and enforcement, emerging trends, legislative issues and more.
Geno Prussakov, founder of Affiliate Management Days, says the conference agenda was developed to target both experienced digital managers as well as managers who are new to the industry. “For example, we have sessions explaining the various types of affiliates that exist out there, the role they play in branding; how you can employ mobile, social, video, and other quickly-emerging trends…and how you can promote the affiliate channel up your corporate ladder,” Prussakov says.
Affiliate Management Days will occur from March 8-9, 2012 in San Francisco.
In addition to industry conferences, there are also several events hosted by affiliate marketing networks — reporting and tracing platforms on which you might choose to run your affiliate program. These events include LinkShare’s Symposium, Commission Junction’s CJU, and ShareASale’s ThinkTank. Affiliate networks have unique access to both retailers and affiliates. These events are a helpful way to trade ideas with other retailers using the same technology, and to connect with affiliates who might not have joined your program yet, but who are already integrated with your affiliate network. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with network representatives, who can help you optimize your program.