I spent last Monday and Tuesday attending Affiliate Summit East 2008. I was issued my first ever press pass (w00t and FTW) and allowed full entry into the ongoing on the largest conference for affiliate marketers. I was skeptical at first, after all affiliate marketers are the used car salesmen of the internet, right? But, after spending two days surrounded by those people, I’m starting to think there is a lot social media-types can learn from affiliate marketers and vice verse. We know how to engage in dialogue, create community and connect. And they know how to make money. Imagine a world where we could all make money by conversing and connecting?! Brilliant!
Backing up for a minute, let me explain my conversion from skepticism to compliance. When I first arrived at the conference, I didn’t expect to get much out of being there. The only session I attended on Monday was a panel (with their awesomeness-es Chris Brogan and Stephanie Agresta plus two others) called How is Social Media Changing Affiliate Marketing. This was more of a social media 101 session for affiliate marketers and so while it was wonderful as always to hear Chris and Stephanie speak, I didn’t learn much (my notes from the conference can be found in my twitter stream).
The next day, while attending another social media related session, I had the epiphany to add a “books I love” section to my personal blog, and to have those books not just linked to Amazon.com but to set up an affiliate account so that if anyone buys a books I recommended I would get a few coins. Brilliant. Yet so elementary. While I was impressed with myself for my ingenuity I knew it was kindergarten play. That is when I began to think that I had something to learn from this conference after all.
Conferences are, of course, not about the sessions but about the people. And it was the people that really solidified the turning of my head. I sat with Bosco Pereira from Marketing Tips and discussed the merits of both social media and affiliate marketing and briefly touched upon ways to marry the two–a conversation I am eager to continue. Adam Gilad sat on a panel about copy writing and gave excellent advice on how to build a compelling story out of your products copy. And our conversations later continued to sway my preconceived notions.
So, while I still only know as much about affiliate marketing as will fit on a thumbtack, I am intrigued.
[Many apologizes for the tardiness of this post. I was called out of town unexpectedly last week and only returned late last night.]