Day two of Affiliate Summit East 2014 kicked off with the opening of the Exhibit Hall and the next round of breakout sessions. The Exhibit Hall featured a diverse selection of affiliate programs, vendors and networks. The room quickly became packed and noisy as everyone crowded around the booths. Sometimes the meet ups would mark the first face to face meeting or the start of a new partnerships and other times it would be a warm hello to an old friend from past Summits. Either way the value of the networking opportunities cannot be quantified. Each meeting also serves to help strengthen a relationship and helps to grow your business. During lunch I met an attendee who was attending her first Summit. She expressed feeling overwhelmed by the hall and felt lost. I remembered how I felt many years ago when I was at my first Summit so we arranged to meet up in the afternoon so I could show her around the exhibit hall. After a few booths she gained confidence and was off on her own. When you primarily work on line, it is sometimes easy to fall into a pattern on of feeling alone and it is always important to remember to reach out.
The first of the sessions I attended on day two was in the first round of breakout sessions, “Surviving the SEO Evolution” with Rae Hoffman, CEO of Sugarrae and Pushfire. As always,her session was one of my favorites. Sugarrae speaks in natural and engaging way. The session, geared for both merchants and affiliates was definitely for those with at least intermediate experience.
Rae explained the recent algorithm changes and how examining and understanding the changes and impact on our sites we can fix issues. She targeted the different solutions for merchants and affiliates although there is an overlap. Some of the things that merchants can do include, of course, fixing the technical issues. User generated content is also valuable but it also must be moderated. Affiliates too should fix their technical issues and make sure they avoid duplicate content. We need to provide true value and thin won’t win. Again user generated content adds value but must be moderated to ensure it has value and doesn’t detract due to low quality. She shared several tools to help. It always amazes me the amount of knowledge she has and the ability she has for breaking it down so others can begin to understand. You should definitely read everything Sugarrae and see her speak whenever given the opportunity. You will definitely learn a lot from her but I doubt most of us will ever come close to her level of knowledge and understanding.
The day’s keynote address was Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado, founder of Coastal Advisors. Rich has a fascinating story to share regarding his own personal experience. A philanthropist himself, Rich urged us all to remember to give back and help others in any way we can. As he sat with Rachel Honoway, it felt like we were sitting in our living rooms instead of at a conference. It was relaxing and inspiring at the same time.
After some additional networking, I attended the Ask the Experts Roundtable. I sat in with Stephanie Lichtenstein Ramos of Micro Media Marketing. There was nothing little about this session. Stephanie’s topic, “Why Facebook is the New Myspace” was fascinating and she was very well prepared with statistics and resources to reinforce her stance. She answered the many questions posed to her and it is readily clear why she is an expert in social media. I have known Stephanie for several years and I am always impressed by her wealth of knowledge and passion for social media.
After the Monday’s events drew to a close, we again all headed out for more networking and parties.