200 People Lifted Me Up… Thank You!

Yesterday I celebrated my 32nd birthday and was blown away by something incredible that happened. Social media and an Industry I love so much lifted me up more than I’ve ever experienced before.  In the last 24 hours over 200 people sent me love, blessings and well wishes through Facebook, twitter, email, text and phone calls. Can you imagine me sitting here having over 200 people sending positive, happy vibes? I could barely contain myself.

I don’t know many industries, if any, that allow for people to care that much about those around them and express it so clearly and beautifully through social media and connectivity. People that I admire and respect more than anything sent me messages like this:

“Happy Birthday! You are one of the most beautiful, motivated, loving and caring people I know. I am so so so thankful you came into my life and even more thankful you never left. Cheers to you and the best year of your life yet! I love you!”

“Hey Happy Birthday to one of the hardest working people i know. Take the day off! You deserve it!”

“Happy Birthday Sarah. Your dedication to your work and family is an inspiration! Wishing you an amazing day!”

“Happy birthday to one of the most amazingly talented, strong yet gentle, generous and loving women I know!”

“I love you!!!!! You are what I aspire to be one day!! I am so happy with the process and the goal. Hugs from afar and Happy Birthday!”

The list goes on and on. There are no words to express how grateful I am for the overwhelming love that came my way yesterday. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Days like yesterday are reasons why I don’t want to work anywhere else. I love what I do. I love that I have the opportunity to inspire people as much as I’m inspired. I’m grateful we work in an industry where so many people care about each other. What a blessing. Thank you for lifting me up, everyone! Yesterday, for me, will never be forgotten.

Affiliate Summit West 2013 Recap

Affiliate Summit West 2013 was by far the best Affiliate Summit to date. A fabulous crowd of affiliate marketing enthusiasts and newbies gathered together to network, learn, grow and create new opportunities for each other like no other event I’ve ever been to. All 5200+ attendees were buzzing with excitement, and I was no exception.

This was my first year attending with three of my team members: Carolyn Kmet, our VP of Performance Marketing, Greg White and Frank Ravanelli, two of our fantastic account managers. We sponsored a room for AIM to represent our clients, our team and meet with anyone who wanted to spend time with us, which turned out to be a fabulous experience for us. We look forward to sponsoring a room again next year.

I also had the opportunity to speak at this show for the first time (thanks again to Shawn and Missy) with my friend Kush A from VMInnovations. We spoke about Affiliate Strategies for a Post Penguin World, which highlighted the importance of building communities, owning your audience to extend the lifetime value of your users, embracing social media, having authentic content, staying relevant and diversifying marketing efforts (such as introducing video) – as well as diversifying your anchor text and back linking campaigns to thrive in a post  penguin world. We had a great turnout (about 100 people in the room) and I thank everyone who came to listen to us speak and learn with us.

Other highlights for me personally included:

  • Attending the Miss America Finally with Liz Fogg, Shannon Weidemann, and Deb Carney on Sunday night
  • Enjoying the ShareaSale Masquerade Ball with great people I haven’t seen in a year
  • Meeting great friends of mine for the first time in person – especially Pat Grady, Jennifer Ward and Kevin Wetherby
  • Watching my friends and people I admire win awards for their hard work and contribution to this industry
  • Spend a hilarious fun filled night out with my team at the CSI Experience, a delicious dinner and bonding till 3:30am
  • Meeting with some fabulous prospective clients and affiliates
  • The incredible excitement, interest and contributor response rate with Affiligate.org 
  • Hanging with the entire ShareASale team for some belgium beers before my flight home
  • Catching up with old friends and respected colleagues every day
  • Getting tackle hugged by Jennifer Ward and Tim Ash in the Meet Market on Sunday
  • Representing All Inclusive Marketing in a way that made me so proud. In the words of Carolyn Kmet “We exhibited knowledge and class, kindness and cohesiveness.  These are qualities that were very apparent to our clients, our affiliates and our competitors.  I cannot express how proud I am to be working alongside you to grow this company.”
To Shawn and Missy, thanks for giving us something that allows us all to enjoy our industry so much. We look forward to many more Affiliate Summits to come.

Honored to be Listed Top 40 Strategists in Digital Marketing!

Today I stumbled across one of the most amazing surprises of my career. While browsing updates on Facebook I came across a post shared by someone called Top 40 Strategists in Digital Marketing. Imagine my surprise when going through the list I saw my face listed in the #6 position, along side 40 incredibly successful and influential digital marketers!

The article read: “The Online Marketing Institute is please to honor 40 digital strategists in marketing, selected as the leaders that have lead the interactive marketing industry through innovation and education during the past year.

 

This ‘Top 40′ list is compromised of OMI educators, authors, digital strategists and speakers, known for:

  1. Embracing the latest integrated digital strategies and technologies
  2. Advancing the industry through education — speaking, blogging, and teaching
  3. Driving game-changing results for their clients and organizations”

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be included with all these incredible people, and to be recognized for the work I’ve been doing over the past year. Thank you to Aaron Kahlow and the Online Marketing Institute for the incredible opportunity to work with you, and contribute to the industry I love.

What to Pack For Affiliate Summit West

Whether you’re heading there for the first time or are enjoying your 10th Affiliate Summit, here is a list of things to remember to pack, and a few tips that have worked well for me at past events:

 

What to Pack

Here are  my essentials:

  1. List of names, phone numbers and email addresses of people I am meeting with (if you come from other country, check to make sure your phone plan works were you are – or get a temporary phone while you’re there – personal lesson learned from last year).
  2. 3 sets of business / business casual clothes, two dresses, pajamas, and three casual outfits for evenings out
  3. One pair of dress shoes and one pair of casual walking shoes
  4. Makeup, toiletries and personal items to make me look and smell pretty
  5. Notes for my speech
  6. Client and AIM promotional materials for our sponsored meeting room
  7. Gift bags for our affiliates to enjoy
  8. 200 business cards
  9. Laptop
  10. Money (Credit Cards and Cash)
  11. Passport
  12. Refillable filtered water bottle
  13. Halls / throat drops (lots of talking)
  14. Snacks for plane and the conference – it will be super busy and fast paced and you will need your energy
  15. Camera, lip balm, and your dignity!

 

If you miss anything else,  you can buy it there.

 

Additional Tips

1. Be yourself. Say Hi, smile, ask questions of other people and show genuine interest. My first summit was a huge success because I did this and people who were more veteran than I adopted me because I genuinely wanted to learn more about them and how this all worked.

2. If you have meetings, be on time or make sure you have the person’s number so you can text them if you’re running late. Sometimes meetings run longer than you think and you have to consider travel time. This happened to me at my last show and I couldn’t text the person because my Canadian roaming wasn’t letting me get texts out. She never got the message and thought I just left her sitting there. Be sure you check your numbers and plans.

3. If you’re new, check out the newcomers program. They have some awesome Affiliate Summit veterans there to help guide you and make your time there as successful and useful as possible.

4. If you’ve been to summit many times before and you find yourself meeting with the same people in the same crowds, I encourage you to break out and choose five random people to introduce yourself to. I ended up consulting for two different billionaires last year because I did this.

5. Have your goals set before you get there. Know which sessions will interest you most and that you plan to attend before the show. That way you will be organized and get what you need to out of it. Anything after that is just a bonus!

6. Go to the Shareasale party. Its always amazing 🙂

Happy Summit!

Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Conferences of 2013

Affiliate Marketing Conferences Events Expos and ShowsWith Affiliate Summit West just around the corner, I was inspired to write a post about some of the top affiliate and internet marketing conferences to attend this year. There are more than the list below, such as LeadsGen, the Performance Marketing Summit, LinkShare Symposium, and so on, however here are the Top 10 “must attend” conferences on my list for this year:

 

1. Affiliate Summit

Affiliate Summit West, East and Central are THE hottest affiliate marketing conferences in North America. With over 5000 attendees at both the East and West shows, with the latter next weekend in Las Vegas, attendees will get an incredible taste of the excitement of affiliate marketing through educational sessions, meet markets, networking events, an exhibitor hall, new comers program and more. I will be speaking at Affiliate Summit West at 12:30 Sunday about Affiliate Strategies for a Post Penguin World.

 

2. ShareASale Think Tank

One of my favorite affiliate networks holds their annual Shareasale Think Tank once a year and although in the past this has been an invitation only event for top tier affiliates and merchants to meet (very exclusive with about 100-200 attendees), last year this event opened to the public and was a great success. We will absolutely be attending this show this year.

 

3. Pubcon

One of North America’s largest Digital, Search and Social conference with several thousand attendees, Pubcon also boasts a strong affiliate presence. I haven’t personally attended a Pubcon event, however it is on my list for this year as I’ve always heard positive reviews about it. This conferences is supposed to be especially good for those interested in both affiliate marketing and other channels, as the caliber of speakers on various digital topics is great.

 

4. A4U

Europe’s largest affiliate event, A4U is like the European version of Affiliate Summit. This year they will make their debut in North America.

 

5. AdTech

One of the largest digital marketing shows of the year, AdTech will be hosted in New Delhi in February, San Francisco in April, Sydney in March, Singapore in June, London in September and New York in November. Be sure to check out their website for a full list of dates and locations.

 

6. Internet Retailer

Host of the Internet Marketing Top 500 Guide and all Internet Retailer Conferences, Internet Retailer is the largest e-commerce show in the world. If you’re going to attend this event, but sure to pack some solid walking shoes and some Halls, because you will be walking for days and speaking non stop.

 

7. Affiliate Management Days

One of the new kids on the block,  Affiliate Management Days debuted last year to help affiliate managers and merchants interested in the performance marketing space to be trained by some of the top affiliate marketing experts in the world. Having several shows per year, merchants and affiliate managers alike can travel to the destination closest to them for easy access to experts and high level learning opportunities.

 

8. CJU

Commission Junction University is an affiliate marketing website and event designed to help affiliates and merchants involved in Commission Junction (and the affiliate marketing space in general) succeed. It has been running since 1998 and showcases useful networking , educational and growth opportunities.

 

9. Online Marketing Summit

One of the fastest growing shows in North America is the Online Marketing Summit. This three day event showcases in depth educational workshops, speaking sessions and networking opportunities with leaders in the digital marketing space. Though mainly focused on mobile, social and search marketing, in 2012 they introduced an affiliate marketing workshop (taught by yours truly) and have now expended to welcome several speakers in the affiliate marketing space. I will be speaking at their show in San Diego next month.

 

10. BlogHer

From their site “In 2005, BlogHer Co-founders Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone held a conference to answer the question, “where are all the women who blog?” Today, BlogHer conferences bring together thousands of these women from around the world to discuss, inspire and connect with each other.” BlogHer has become a must attend phenomenon that cannot be overlooked.

Which are your favorite and “must attend” events of 2013?

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