blog of the 2018 conferences and we will be updating you soon with a list of 2019 conferences. While it can be time-consuming and expensive to attend these events, they are so beneficial and an important part of your job. So as you peruse the list and decide on what conferences you should attend, let’s look at why you should attend these events. There are many reasons why attending these events is beneficial and can help grow your marketing program:
1. RelationshipsThe affiliate industry thrives on relationships and there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. In the world of e-commerce, partners live all across the globe and we don’t get the opportunity to meet on a regular basis. These events are a great opportunity to see top partners and grow the relationships. While I like to carve out some meeting time to discuss business, I also like to meet partners for coffee, lunch or dinner. This one-on-one personal time really helps me get to know the people that I deal with. Remember, people do business with people they like.
2. Networking OpportunitiesThese events aren’t all work. There are usually happy hours throughout the day and parties hosted each evening. I would recommend setting aside some time to attend some of the events as it’s a great way to spend time with partners outside of a work environment and also a great way to meet new people. The more I attend these events, the more people I know from previous events that I have attended. While these may not be people that I currently do business with, you never know when that might change. It’s always great to chat with like-minded professionals and learn from what they are doing. It gives us a new perspective on our own position and hopefully gives us fresh ideas.
3. Educational OpportunitiesIndustry events will always have a great line up of guest speakers (like our very own affiliate marketing keynote speaker, Geno Prussakov). Take advantage of this opportunity and go listen to what is going on in the industry and gain insight from the best in your field. There is always something to learn and its good to hear success stories and challenges from others. The knowledge that you gain can improve your skills and help your clients.
4. Brand ExposureThis is a great exposure opportunity for your brand. Get your name in front on existing and new customers, whether they are an attendee or an exhibitor. There is always the opportunity to have a booth to showcase your company. With a well-designed booth, you can create a lasting impression on prospective customers. Share some branded materials, have a giveaway and hand out sales material. It’s also a great way to collect the email address of prospective customers that you can reach out to after the event. Most of these events have a large attendee list that is specific to your industry, so these people have an interest in what you have to offer. If you don’t rent a booth space, there are still ways to promote your brand at these events. While the attendee badges will have your name and company here are a few other ways to gain exposure:
- Wear branded attire so that at a glance, people can see your company name.
- Give promotional materials to new and prospective customers. This can be a simple as pens, coffee mugs, branded shirts or notebooks. Branded PopSockets for phones were a hot new item at some events I attended last year. Get creative and share something that people will use regularly to reinforce your brand.
- Sponsor an event. Find out about sponsorship opportunities. This would usually result in your name on promotional materials or banners at some of the events.
- Reach out to the organizers about being a speaker or hosting a workshop. While this gives you the opportunity to speak about your brand and services, it can also be a learning experience and help develop your public speaking skills.
5. Competitive IntelligenceAttending these events lets you see what others in the industry are doing. Do your research prior to walking the exhibit hall. Look through the brochure and see who is attending – are there are a lot of repeat exhibitors or new exhibitors? What are the new exhibitors offering – is it a new product or service? Gather promotional materials as you walk around. You can learn about upcoming products and services along with pricing information.
6. Seminars and WorkshopsHere is another area where you need to do your research. Seminars and workshops can fill up fast so identify the ones that are of importance to you and register early. Not only do these sessions keep you informed but attending a workshop will have discussions by experts and real-life examples that are pertinent to your day to day job. There is often the opportunity to share experiences and exchange perspectives.
7. New TechnologyThere is always new tools/software that can help you grow your program. Discover the latest and greatest and be at the forefront of your industry. On the expo floor, you can meet with the owners that can chat you through why you should use it or give you a hands-on demonstration.
8. Getting InspiredAttending these events can help you obtain new ideas and feedback. There may be attendees who have the same struggles or issues and by having conversations, you may come up with new solutions. Sometimes you need to take a step back from your day-to-day tasks to really see the big picture and come up with new and creative ideas. Plus it’s great to be in a room with others from your industry and see how some of them are so passionate and fired up about their job! Its contagious and should send you home motivated for success. To review, attending industry events are hugely beneficial in helping to grow your affiliate program. Not only do you to get to network with your peers but you also get to meet top partners and hopefully find new prospective partners. Plus there is also the opportunity to hear from industry experts about what makes them successful. As with any event/meeting, planning is key:
- Secure accommodation at the conference facility if possible. Often there are discounted rates and the benefit of being on site is that you can go back to your room easily if you have a break in your day to catch up on work/emails.
- Pre-plan and schedule meetings. Allow adequate time between meetings as if one meeting runs over and you have a tight schedule, you will be running behind schedule all day.
- Book session/workshops that you would like to attend as early as possible.
- Be prepared to have some people cancel on you and leave some slots for last minute meetings that you would like to take.
- Take lots of notes and bring back information to the rest of your team.