The folks at Webmaster Radio put on the first Affiliate Convention, ending just a few hours ago. Billed as “free for affiliates”, many said that the event wouldn’t happen, wouldn’t attract high quality affiliates, and couldn’t secure a sponsor. Even Larby Amirouche was considering whether or not he was going to come. But when 10 of us from BlitzMetrics went to the Mile High Affiliate Party on Wednesday night– held at a Denver strip club, we saw a packed club of 300+ people. The show had 1,200+ folks registered and over 900 folks badged. The Thursday session I moderated on Alternative Search Engines (mostly Facebook) was standing room only. And today’s session on lead generation strategies was packed, too.
What did I learn?
- A conference where affiliates get in free draws a different crowd: The usual suspects– Shoemoney, GetAds, Scott Richter, Wes Mahler, etc— were there. Yet folks such as Mark Brooks, (the pre-eminient expert in online dating), Gillian Muessig (president of SEOmoz.org) and Mark Nelson (Director of IT at Quiznos)– who are not part of the typical affiliate scene– provide expertise in online marketing that you otherwise wouldn’t get. There are a ton of folks who are part-time affiliates and are quite skilled in their day jobs– usually more well-rounded than full-time affiliates that have just one trick.
- New perspectives from non-affiliates: For example– if you are a dating affiliate and didn’t attend, you’ve really missed out– dating is HOT. The downturn in the economy has driven out the folks who aren’t serious, leaving the remaining traffic converting better. Folks in this space are killing it in a market that’s still growing– yet those who are making money will want to tell you that you should stay out of dating, since “it’s not doing too well.” You would have learned what techniques super affiliates are using, what niches are working, how to tweak landing pages, how to SEO those pages, and so forth.
- Local and social are the future: I spoke about local lead gen in one of the panels. Yet a number of other speakers noted the opportunity for affiliates to reach out to the millions of local businesses and sell them on a pay per call basis. Instead of competing against hundreds of other affiliates on the same offer, you can have the exclusive for roofing contractors in your neighborhood. Sure, each one might only earn you $300 a month, but what if you could duplicate your PPC templates and landing page templates to 100 of them– and earn $30,000 a month? That’s steady income for you. Call tracking software, whether offered by BlitzMetrics or other vendors, is now easy to use and cheap. The Facebook and twitter land grab is on, just like domains 10 years ago. Use that to fuel the fire.
- Drunk people tell you their secrets: There has been a party each night and it was in those personal meetings that I’ve learned more than I ever could in a session that’s being filmed and recorded in front of hundreds of people. If you want to really move up your learning and earning curve, you need to reach out. The drunker, the better.
Great post. Sounds like fun. Wish i could have been there.
Local and social are definitely the future in terms of helping SMBs get more leads. And i love the idea of going through affiliate channels who are hungry and capable. It’s still in beta — but we’re prepping now to do exactly that with http://www.cloudprofile.com. Check it out.
The drunker the better! Too bad being a 16 year old marketer I can’t get fellow bloggers drunk. I will just have to work on other ways of getting networked.