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Fun and Games at Affiliate Summit
Fun and Games After the Sessions at Affiliate Summit

April is a very busy “holiday” month for me – our wedding anniversary, birthdays for several family members, Earth Day, usually Easter, and sometimes even Tax Day are reasons to celebrate. OK, maybe not Tax Day, unless you’re getting a tax refund, but in any case, I give away a lot of presents in April. From now until the end of April, I’d like to give YOU the opportunity to get a present from me, too!

I have written about how lucky I have been in attending previous Affiliate Summit events (look at that, an affiliate link!), but now I want to share that luck with you! I was fortunate enough to be given TWO GOLD PASSES (each a $279-$749 value) to Affiliate Summit East 2011, August 21-23 in New York City and I’d love to give them away to you! Leave a comment below telling me what you want to learn about affiliate marketing and I’ll randomly select 2 answers to each receive a Gold Pass to this exciting affiliate marketing conference!

You’ll get the opportunity meet the best and brightest people in the affiliate marketing industry for free! Gold passes to Affiliate Summit include:

  • Admission to the Meet Market and Exhibit Hall
  • Keynotes
  • Sunday educational sessions (except the Monetize Summit track); and
  • Access to the Affiliate Summit Social Network.

This pass does not include Monday and Tuesday sessions but you will have access to all recorded session videos and PowerPoint presentations after the Summit. Here come the disclaimers: Passes cannot be transferred, and the pass codes become invalid in the event the conference sells out (so register using them before Affiliate Summit East 2011 sells out in order to use them). Also, anybody registering for a complimentary pass who neither checks in at the conference nor cancels will be ineligible for future complimentary passes (so don’t say you’ll be there and not show up…it’s just not polite).

I’m so excited that Wil Reynolds will be giving one of the keynote addresses! He is an amazing and engaging speaker and although I have heard him speak several times, each time I learn something new. Bryan Eisenberg, also known as The Grok on Twitter, will also be giving a keynote at ASE11 and I can’t wait! I have followed Bryan’s writing for years and finally met him at Econsultancy’s Peer Summit 2010 event. I was blown away by how quickly and easily he came up with innovative solutions to what had seemed to be insurmountable problems so I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say to the Affiliate Summit attendees. Jon Spoelstra is also a keynote speaker at ASE11. Although I haven’t heard of him individually, I have heard of the Portland Trailblazers and New Jersey Nets, both of which he has managed.

Don’t forget to add the Twitter hashtag #ASE11 to your “watch list” for more news on speakers, sponsors, affiliate info, and even special events around the conference dates. Life isn’t all work and no play, and this conference isn’t either – some of the special events around Affiliate Summit conferences include parties and other networking events, including my personal favorite Trivia Tweetup (no Tweeting required, just a good knowledge of trivia).

What do you want to know about affiliate marketing? Leave your comment below by April 30th, 2011 and you could win one of two Gold Passes to Affiliate Summit East 2011!

Every Child Wants A Pony, Does Every Marketer Want A Pony Movie?

Sharon Riding Secretariat? Nope, That's Pepperoni Pizza!
Is Sharon riding Secretariat? No, that horse is Pepperoni Pizza!

The film Secretariat opens up around the country this weekend. I have always loved horses and I remember when Secretariat won the Triple Crown of horse racing. Although I didn’t own my own pony when I was younger, I was fortunate enough at the time to be able to ride Peperoni Pizza, aka Pete, several times a week. I was even lucky enough to be the barn manager for a highly-ranked team at the Ochlockonee River Pony Club event where the photo on the left was taken¬† (several years ago).

Online and Offline Movie Marketing

Secretariat, like all movies, is an opportunity waiting to happen for all kinds of media. Traditionally, film publicity included newspaper and magazine ads; billboards; bus and subway ads; in-theater trailers and previews; TV and radio ads; and other offline campaigns. The addition of online media into the movie marketing mix adds another dimension of audience engagement. It allows people to “like” the movie on Facebook and share info and trailers with their friends via social media. On the movie’s website audiences can watch film clips and download pictures from the movie to view on their computer or even post as their avatar on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media forums. Some movies even have games based on the movie that people can play and share. Film marketers do an amazing job of encouraging online influencers to share their love of a movie’s brand among their connections.

Brand Advocacy Via Social Media

This “brand advocacy” or implied endorsement of a movie’s brand by sharing among a person’s friends and followers is even easier to do when the movie’s subject is connected to something they are passionate about. Like the small child who desperately wanted a pony being more likely to write a blog post about the movie Secretariat than any other movie when it comes time to write about a different form of marketing. (Hmmm…sound familiar? LOL) I eventually got the horse – at one point we had two ponies and a horse between my daughter and I – and although I was never tiny enough to be a Triple-Crown-winning jockey, there IS a perpetual trophy awarded by the Harford Horse Show Association with my name on it.

Affiliate Movie Tie-Ins

Smart affiliate marketers are taking new cinematic releases like Secretariat and creating banner ads and product offers that emphasize the movie tie-in. An example of a merchant who is capotalizing on the movie by emphasizing the horse-themed items in their banner creative is Leanin’ Tree:

Some marketers are even modifying their product lines to add horse-related items. An great example is how Andrea Levine Designs added horse charms to their dog and cat jewelry can be found here:
Pet Jewelry by Andrea Levine Designs

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep Me From Seeing Secretariat!

Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, once wrote, “You can map your life through your favorite movies, and no two people’s maps will be the same.” Between the combination of horses and a strong-willed working mom, I believe Secretariat will be a movie that will be included in the map of my life. What are you favorite movies and how do they map your life? Please leave me a comment below to let me know.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Don’t Put All of Your Eggs In One Basket

Easter Bunny says, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket!"
The Easter Bunny says,

The topic of the first Twitter chat that I moderated was Jack of All Trades or Master of One. You can read more about it here. This past weekend was Easter, and even though the kids are growing up, the Easter Bunny was still hopping!

That combination made me start to think about the way some companies put all of their budget into one channel. During #SMchat, the focus was on individual growth rather than corporate, but the general consensus was that in order to grow you needed to have experience in more than one area of marketing. If it makes sense for the marketer to diversify, it should also work for the companies that they represent, right? That’s why it is surprising to me that so many companies don’t make use of all of the online and offline marketing venues that are available. The explanation that I’ve heard is that there is not enough money in the budget to cover all of the media channels. My response to that is you’re doing your company an injustice if you don’t test every available area of marketing. You never know what will work best for your company without testing.

Testing marketing channels can be done relatively inexpensively, and once you have proven ROI you can determine how much more you can spend in that media. For example, I have worked for several companies who felt that TV is too expensive for their budgets, but I’ve run national DRTV (direct response television) tests that cost far less than what they’re spending on PPC SEM (pay-per-click search engine marketing) campaigns and bring in more revenue for the money spent, plus have the advantage of reaching offline viewers that may not see your ads online.

Another really great marketing channel to test is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is wonderful because there are so many options and it is the most easily tracked – you can pay for the click, the sale, or even the phone call if you convert better over the phone than online.

Email traditionally has the highest ROI of any marketing channel but you need to test email marketing to see how it works for your company, plus you need to build your email list organically in order to have email perform at the levels it is capable of producing. You won’t get those high ROI numbers on a rented list.

Social media is the “new kid” and people are having difficulty determining ROI from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the other social media venues. I see social media as the glue that brings the company and the customer together. You need to be where your customers are – and more and more people are on social media sites than any other with the exception of Google.

Do you agree – should your marketing budget be spread across multiple channels or should you focus on one aspect of marketing in order to spend your budget wisely? Please comment below to let me know!

The Luckiest Girl In Vegas!

Sharon and T2 visit the Grand Canyon prior to Affiliate Summit West 2010
Sharon and T2 visit the Grand Canyon prior to Affiliate Summit West 2010

As you know from my post on January 11th – Affiliate Summit West 2010 Here I Come – I attended the Affiliate Summit conference in Las Vegas last week. It all started at the end of 2009, when Jason Rubacky from ShareASale sent me a direct message on Twitter: ‘If I can get you a pass, would that help?” Since he was replying to my lament at MEDEX’s new affiliate program not having the budget to go to Affiliate Summit West 2010 (ASW10) this year, my answer was a heart-felt thank you for the kind offer! From that auspicious beginning, I knew ASW10 would be a lucky conference for me!

My husband, T2, and I flew in early so we could enjoy some time together before the conference began. We decided to play in a cash poker tournament on Saturday morning to practice for the Affiliate Summit Charity Poker Tournament to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation being held Saturday night. I’m not a very experienced poker player, but T2 really enjoys it so I’ll sometimes play in a tournament situation (where I know I’ll only lose a set amount of money) with him. Am I ever glad I did! We ended up coming in first (T2) and second (me) in the tournament! The winnings paid for an amazing helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon on Saturday afternoon (see the picture from our trip above)!

After our helicopter ride, T2 and I were invited to the ABestWeb.com party, where I proceeded to win a goodie bag from Team Loxly Marketing! Then it was off to the Charity Poker Tournament where T2 came in 11th and I came in 6th out of nearly 100 players! By the time the tournament was over, it was nearly 2AM Sunday so it was off to bed so T2 could make his plane the next day and I could head for the Meet Market and the first sessions of ASW10.

I was lucky enough to see Brian Littleton trying on his handmade ShareASale-logoed sweater while picking up my ticket to the amazing ShareASale party on Sunday evening. After Sunday’s sessions it was off to meet my ASW10 mentor, Karen Garcia, from GTO Management. After the Mentor Meet-up was the ShareASale party, where you didn’t have to be lucky to enjoy fun, food, and games ranging from Wii Sports to darts to craps, roulette, blackjack and poker because ShareASale picked up the tab for everything! They even had a moon bounce if you were so inclined…

Although it was midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning, several of us headed from the ShareASale party to the Strike Out Breast Cancer Midnight Bowling Fundraiser sponsored by GTO Management where sometimes being UNlucky is lucky! My team won the “Low Score” award and I won the “Most Gutterballs” award, plus a “Spare When It Counts” award – all from Things from Another World, a GTO client and sponsor of the event along with BowlingShirt.com who provided great retro bowling shirts for all attendees.

I got a few hours sleep before Monday’s keynote and sessions began. After the sessions and a trip around the Exhibit Hall, it was time for the Affiliate Summit Trivia Tweetup. Although my team had a few technical difficulties (ask our team captain Brent Elias about that great football event called the Triple Crown…) we pulled off a come-from-behind win and received Gold Passes to Affiliate Summit East 2010 in August!

And my luck didn’t stop there! After another full day including the Pinnacle Awards presentation, keynote, and sessions on Tuesday, I found out that I won a gift card from the NY Times Store due to my visit of the buy.at booth! Heading to dinner from that unexpected luck, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Jen Goode in the hallway and get an invite to dinner with her and about a dozen of her nearest-and-dearest friends (or at least those lucky enough to catch up with her before they ate) following the Blogger Meet-up. A nice, interactive dinner with a mix of people I knew already and new people that I just met was the luckiest part of the trip!

Were you as lucky as I was at ASW10? Please let me know by posting a comment below!

Affiliate Summit West 2010 – Here I Come!


Visit Affiliate Summit

It has been less than 2 weeks since our New Year’s adventure and I’m already traveling again! This time next week I’ll be at Affiliate Summit West 2010, also known as #ASW10 on Twitter, and I can’t wait! Affiliate Summit announced on January 5th that the show was sold out, so it doesn’t do much good to put up my affiliate link to Meet Me at Affiliate Summit West 2010! but according to the Affiliate Summit blog,

We will be double-checking our attendee list for any duplicate registrations and as we process any cancellations, the Web site will open up and additional registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Keep checking back on the Affiliate Summit site to see if spaces are available because this is one conference you can’t afford to miss!

What the heck is Affiliate Marketing?

I’m glad you asked! The short answer is Affiliate Marketing allows someone with a website (or blog or other online method of driving traffic to your site) to become your advertising partner. A customer visits the affiliate’s site, is directed to the merchant’s (your) website and the affiliate is compensated for either the lead or the sale (depending on how your affiliate program is set up). I’ll be writing a future post on Affiliate Marketing with more details, but that’s the quick explanation.

Why can’t I afford to miss Affiliate Summit West 2010?

Ok, since it’s sold out, and this is a last-minute post, you may end up having to miss Affiliate Summit West 2010, but you should plan on attending this twice-annual conference on affiliate marketing to expand your marketing reach at a fixed cost per visit/lead/sale. Since you only pay your affiliates based on the traffic that they generate to your site, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

What do I need to know for Affiliate Summit?

Shawn Collins, an Affiliate Summit founder, posted a video First Timer’s Guide to Affiliate Summit 2010 if you need details on the event and a slide show about networking during ASW10. Adam Riemer, another active Affiliate Marketer, posted a guide on getting more from Affiliate Summit here. He suggests that a Poken is a necessity for this event.

What’s a Poken?

Poken is your social business card. Scrap the paper business card! Transfer contact info, including your social networks, instantly! Get your Poken Today! (This is a text affiliate link to Find A Poken, where I got my Poken for ASW10. I’ve also included banner affiliate links to Affiliate Summit, START POKEN, and others in the lower right hand section of my blog.)

I’m taking my Poken and business cards and headed to the show. If you’re going to be there, please look for me and say hello. I’d love to do some business together. Want me to look for you as well? Please leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to connect before, during, or after the event!

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