16 Make-or-Break Take-Aways From Business This Year

Affiliate Marketing Learnings 2015

 

For the past 12 years I have been out there: learning, speaking, listening, teaching, helping, evolving and sharing my thoughts and findings about performance (affiliate) marketing with the world. However that time and effort was mainly focused outwardly in the performance and digital marketing space versus understanding my own business as a whole.  This year, I’ve been forced to look internally, re-focusing my attention back on my business, team and re-establishing a solid foundation to support organizational growth.

In just three and a half years, we have gone from five full time people to 32 team members today. We have seen an average of 100% growth year over year as a company for six years straight. Calculating our growth rate over the past five years, we are sitting at about 5900% growth.

As a result of that growth, we have gone from only servicing small to medium sized businesses to servicing and consulting for leaders in ecommerce, travel and B2C Lead Gen, including enterprise level brands such as Southwest Vacations, Dropbox, Norton by Symantec, and Swiss Watch International to name a few.

The industry as a whole has changed rapidly. Where there were only a couple of dozen “affiliate management” companies in 2009 when we launched, there are now over 400 “digital and performance marketing agencies” who offer affiliate program management or partnership management of some sort, amongst many other products and professional services.

As a result, and in order to remain a leader in the digital and performance marketing space, some things had to change within our own business:

  • Our internal systems, processes and procedures needed to be updated and tied to a different company structure that could support a stronger growth team, larger clients and an unbreakable corporate culture.
  • We needed a dedicated operations team who could ensure the seamless execution of tasks, system and resource allocation, including HR.
  • We needed an internal training and mentoring system (buddy system) for newer recruits to feel supported and brought up to speed on both industry and AIM standards of excellence.
  • We needed to invest in proprietary and third party tools that would help us further differentiate ourselves by adding incremental value around data insights, technology and program growth, while supporting our drive for innovation, seamless execution and solid results.   
  • We needed to be more selective of both new team members and clients, to ensure there was perfect alignment with the culture, needs, expertise and the growth that could be achieved together.

In just six months (about the same amount of time I had taken from my blogging to focus on corporate growth), we have been able to address all of these pieces, and although they have not been entirely perfected, they have made an immediate impact on:

  • Our ability to grow our client, partner and team profitability and results even further
  • Our client, team and partner experience, boosting morale, retention and satisfaction
  • Team re-alignment, corporate culture, and the renewed bond and constant communication between high performance teams

Further, with a focus on strengthening our internal team and operations, we have seen the following results:

  • Our clients average YOY program growth was 167%
  • Team and client satisfaction rates increased by 112%
  • Our company revenues grew (without any focused marketing or sales efforts) by 97%
  • We have been able to maintain our A+ rating on the BBB for excellence, integrity and client satisfaction

Through this experience and in embracing and working more closely with our team, I have personally grown as a business leader and entrepreneur. I’m incredibly grateful for the grit, dedication, focus and hustle of our team, and I’m grateful for our friendship, purpose and combined passion for becoming and remaining a leader in our space. We are here to strive for constant excellence, to DIGG (our motto: Delight, Innovate, Grow, Giveback) at all times, and to become the very best versions of ourselves possible.

My learnings over the past six months have allowed me to understand a few more things about myself as a business leader as well. I better understand where to focus my attention, and how to invest my time and resources most wisely to make the biggest difference.

As a business owner, here are my key takeaways from this past year:

  • Your culture and people are everything. Invest in them. Nurture them. Embrace them. Love them. Choose them wisely. They become the foundation of your business, an extension to yourself, the memory of your client experiences, and the driver of your overall results.
  • It’s important to live and breathe your motto every day and build it into your culture. Ours is to DIGG at all times: To Delight, Innovate, Grow and Giveback.  Every person on our team strives for this, and we hold each other accountable to it.
  • Keep investing in yourself, your team and your business. As soon as you stop, you become stagnant and diminish your value greatly.
  • Always strive for excellence even during tough times when you are transitioning. Never settle for “acceptable” or “good enough”. As a team, we have embraced the vision of setting the new standard for what is considered “exceptional” in the performance and digital marketing space. We will continue to push our limits and strive for that next discovery, that next best practice, the best incremental result.

Going into the new year and forevermore, we are focused on four key metrics: D.I.G.G.

  • Delight – Through the experiences of our team, clients, partners and all stakeholders, measured by Net Promotor Scores and quality & quantity of feedback.
  • Innovate – Learn, push limits and try new things. We will forever be improving our systems, processes, and finding better ways to do things that result in stronger value and ROI.
  • Grow – Personally and professionally as a team, and in the results we drive for our clients through new customer acquisition, profitable sales growth and increased performance metrics.
  • Giveback – Through industry education, volunteerism, resource allocation and personalized care of the people and causes that mean the most to us.

We look forward to an incredible year ahead of us, and sincerely thank everyone who stuck by us through our year of learning and transition, and for the constant faith and support as we evolved into something much stronger than we ever were before.

Here is to setting a new standard and continuing to strive for exceptional at all times.

What has been your biggest take-away or key learning this year?

Improve Your Attribution Strategy and Keep Up With Your Customers

Are you an affiliate marketer looking to grow your search, affiliate marketing and attribution strategy? Do you want to drive consistent profitable sales growth for your business, and learn from the top online marketing experts?

Welcome to the Digital Strategy Insights podcast brought to you by All Inclusive Marketing, hosted by Sarah Bundy. Attribution tracking has changed dramatically for both brands and their affiliates, and for those who have kept pace with the changing landscape the rewards have been spectacular.

This week’s guest is Todd Crawford, the co-founder and VP of Impact Radius, a previous VP of business development at Digital Rivers and a specialist in guiding industry relations and strategic initiatives. He is also the proud winner of the Marketing Legend Award, which he won back in 2007.

Listen this week as your hosts discuss how to get the most of your affiliate marketing and attribution engagement, which platforms are the best for your business, and how to utilise them to their full potential.

 

Easy Peasey Attribution

Having a good hold on where your company stands with its attribution tracking and affiliate marketing is important in the digital marketing world. With Crawford being a household name in this field his advice is full of gems you can trust to help you with your attribution struggles. Affiliate marketing and attribution tracking is constantly changing and evolving, so if you want to keep up with your consumers demands and increase conversion it is important you jump in.

Do you have a company goal in mind with regards to attribution? If not, you need to. Being able to master attribution and successfully interpret data analysis will benefit your business. Fully understanding marketing touch points and the value they hold will ensure you keep up with demanding consumers and developments in technology.

 

Evolution is Key

Attribution is always evolving because consumers are demanding more. This means you need to keep on top of your affiliate marketing strategies and really understand how attribution affects you and your business. By having a clear goal and open dialogue with your third parties, agencies and marketing team means you will have a clear understanding of your attribution data. In this week’s podcast, Crawford will clear up common questions like:

  • Can you explain what attribution marketing is?
  • Why is attribution so important for my business?
  • Which elements of attribution tracking should I be paying most attention to?
  • Which click models should I focus on?
  • What best practices are there for attribution, and who needs to know?
  • Which is going to be the best platform for my business?
  • How is attribution evolving, what will it look like in 5 years?

These are questions even seasoned marketing pros want answering in order to boost their attribution tracking and affiliate marketing. Listening to all the advice Crawford has to offer will ensure you engage with your desired demographic and optimize your search and digital strategies through attribution.

Even the first baby steps with attribution marketing make a difference to your business. These wobbly steps are imperative to ensuring you and your business fully understand attribution changes and how they help your business. As your strategies develop, your attribution will become unique to you, which will in turn build a stronger relationship with customers and improve sales.

Do you want to optimize your attribution strategies, ensuring you reach out to the biggest audience you can? Are you tired of struggling to get to grips with attribution tracking? Get in touch with Todd Crawford at todd@impactradius.com, or visit their website at www.impactradius.com.

Invest 20 minutes now and learn how you can improve your performance with search, digital and attribution strategies with Sarah Bundy and Todd Crawford of Impact Radius. Want to reach out, engage, and convert new customers? Contact us at www.allinclusivemarketing.com or Facebook.com/trusttheexperts and Twitter @trusttheexperts.

All Inclusive Marketing: Leaders in Social Media Performance

affiliate marketing podcastIf you want to improve your digital strategy as an affiliate marketer, exponentially grow your profits for you and your business, then this podcast is for you. Learn from the online marketing elite to reach your growth goals.

Welcome to the Digital Strategy Insights podcast with your host Sarah Bundy of All Inclusive Marketing. The landscape of digital and social media strategy has rapidly changed, which has been trying for some, but beneficial for those who have stuck to their guns.

Listen as this week’s guest, Alina Radinsky of All Inclusive Marketing, answers Bundy’s in depth questions on the ins and outs of social media strategy. Radinsky has grown a client base as the social media manager at AIM, ranging from non-profit organisations to ecommerce businesses. She is an expert on digital and social media strategy, as well as community engagement. She is part of an industry leading team, focussing on search, digital and social media strategies.

Sit back and relax as Bundy and Radinsky discuss effective social media engagement, how to improve the relationship with your desired demographic and your SEO with social media presence.

Grow Through Social Media

Growing your business through social media shouldn’t be a minefield, and Radinsky will talk about some simple ways to get a hold on your social media marketing. With a few strategic changes you can build a loyal following through social media. Thinking about your audience will help improve your social media presence and SEO ranking.

Thinking about the social media identity attached to your business is key to ensure social media works to your advantage. Engaging with your desired demographic in a strategic way will ensure you optimise this presence. It can be as simple as paying attention to what is currently trending, using the appropriate ‘hashtags’, or thinking about who uses different social media platforms and when.

The Goal is Key

When starting to use social media you should ensure you have a solid goal in mind, whether that is the CTR (click through rate) you want or cost requisition traffic. Having a starting point such as this will make the minefield of data analysis much easier. This week Radinsky will tell us:

  • Which social media platforms are best for my business?
  • How do I cope with limited bandwith/resources?
  • Is paid advertising something I should invest in?
  • Which key metrics should I pay attention to?
  • How does my social media presence affect SEO?
  • Can I make negative feedback positive?
  • Why am I failing to engage with my audience?

Take 20 minutes out of your day to find out the answers to these question and more. This is a snippet into all the benefits you will gain learning how to strategically use search, digital and social media. This knowledge is a necessity as even more businesses are using social media as a platform to increase conversion.

Mastering social media can be the best thing you ever do for your business. Engaging with customers through social media can be the key to getting your business off the ground. The advice Radinsky and her team can provide is the best, ensuring you build a strong presence on social media.

Are you ready to master your social media presence and audience engagement? Do you want to build your business with search, digital and social media strategies? Get in touch with a quick email to Radinsky at alina@allinclusivemarketing.com.

If you want a bite-size look into how you can improve your social media performance and digital strategy, take a moment to listen to the Digital Strategy Insights podcast. Then if you want to reach out to us at All Inclusive Marketing (www.allinclusivemarketing.com), you can visit the website, visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/trusttheexperts or follow us on Twitter @trusttheexperts.

How To Improve Your Affiliate Marketing by Attending Affiliate Summit

affiliate marketing podcastIf you want to improve your digital strategy as an affiliate marketer, exponentially grow your profits for you and your business, then this podcast is for you. Learn from the online marketing elite to reach your growth goals.

Welcome to the Digital Strategy Insights podcast with your host Sarah Bundy, founder and CEO of All Inclusive Marketing. The landscape of affiliate marketing has rapidly changed, which has been trying for some, but beneficial for those who have stuck to their guns.

Listen as this week’s guest Shawn Collins, co-founder of Affiliate Summit answers in depth questions on the ins and outs of his business. Collins has been in the business for nearly two decades and is also the founder of GeekCast.fm, co-editor in chief at FeedFront Magazine and a blogger and author in his own right. Affiliate Summit is at the top of their game when it comes to providing exceptional events for performance marketing.

Sit back and relax as Bundy and Collins take you through Affiliate Summit’s journey, how they’ve triumphed over the tough times, and how they envision the next five years.

Learn From the Best

Affiliate Summit is a name you need to know if you want to learn from the best. As a company they pride themselves on being able to provide a community of education and respect. This is why they are leading the industry in elite marketing conferences.

There is a simple formula to their success, according to Collins it is a case of trying things out, seeing what sticks and being open to collaboration. Before they founded Affiliate Summit, Collins and his co-founder felt something was missing from the events they were attending. There was too much focus on networking and not enough education. So they decided to satiate their thirst for knowledge by creating a place that could mix both.

An Affiliate Summit event is a conference open to all affiliate marketers with all budgets. Hosting the infamous ‘Meet Market’ as well as the traditional ‘Exhibition Hall’ means those who vend and those who attend are getting enough bang for their buck. Creating this alternative space gives Affiliate Summit their edge against other run of the mill trade shows and job fairs.

Increase Your Performance Marketing the Easy Way

Increasing your affiliate marketing performance could not be easier with the help of Affiliate Summit. Attending one of their shows is the easiest way to maximise your networking potential whilst educating yourself from the best. Having a focus on improving your digital strategy means their shows help you grow as an affiliate marketer. Listen the this episode to find out:

  • How have the Affiliate Summit events changed over the years?
  • Why are these shows so important in the industry?
  • What makes the ‘Meet Market’ unique?
  • How do I know if I should attend, or vend?
  • What do I need to do to become an MC?
  • What differentiates a West coast show from an East Coast show?
  • Where is Affiliate Summit going as a company?

Take 20 minutes out of your day as Collins answers all these questions, and more. This is a snippet of all the benefits you will find from attending an Affiliate Summit show and starting your journey to improving your social and digital strategies. An Affiliate Summit show is for you if you strive to give your customers the best quality marketing possible.

Want to get your hands on one of 50 scholarship VIP passes to the next Affiliate Summit event? To find out how, get in touch with Collins via email at shawn@affiliatesummit.com, on facebook.com/shawncollins, or Twitter @affiliatetip.

Want to go to the next show? It will be at the New York Marriott Marquis on August 2nd to 4th, 2015.

If you want a bite-size look into how you can improve your affiliate marketing performance and digital strategy, take a moment to listen to the Digital Strategy Insights podcast. Then feel free to reach out to us at All Inclusive Marketing (www.allinclusivemarketing.com) by visiting the website, via Facebook at Facebook.com/trusttheexperts or on Twitter @trusttheexperts.

The 7 Things You Need to Know About Super Affiliates

affiliate marketing podcast

Are you a merchant looking to strike up a relationship with super affiliates, but don’t know where to start? Is your business ready to take the next step in building your social, search and digital marketing strategies, but aren’t sure how to reach out?

This is the Digital Strategy Insights podcast, proudly brought to you by All Inclusive Marketing and hosted by Jon Levine. Bringing you the latest and greatest information on all things super affiliates, ensuring merchants and affiliates can have the most beneficial relationship possible.

In this episode your host Levine is speaking with fellow AIM colleague Meaghan Causton, the Publisher Development Manager and 10-year veteran in business. She is an expert on delivering great results in challenging environments, providing the best possible service for companies. The proof is in the pudding as her “customer first” attitude has gained her 20 nominations for various industry awards over her career. Not only this but she uses her expertise and voice to influence others as a board member of the Publisher Recruitment Council.

This episode focuses on the relationship between super affiliates and merchants how they benefit each other, how to create a mutually beneficial relationship, and how to overcome any tricky hurdles along the way.

Play the Long Game

If you are new to the game and don’t have an array of contacts and relationships in the affiliate marketing space, never fear, just reach out and think creatively. You need to play the long game and search for delayed gratification in order to succeed in this marketing space.

Thinking creatively and coming up with alternative ways to make the relationship being super affiliate and merchant mutually beneficial will help both parties to learn, evolve and grow both their knowledge and their sales. Becoming outside the box and comfortable in working towards a long-term goal is the key to your success.

Have a Goal in Mind

Before you even reach out and make the first port of contact with super affiliates it is important to have a clear goal in your mind. What is the main focus of the campaign, who is your target audience and what benefits are you looking for? Having this set out in your mind will make the process a whole lot easier, and better for both parties.

Listen as Levine and Causton discuss all things super affiliates, including:

  • What are the best ways to overcome merchants who don’t want to part with their cash?
  • Is special tracking necessary when it comes to paid placements?
  • Is there a tried and tested approach for an affiliate wanting to build a business relationship with a merchant?
  • As a merchant, is there anything in particular I need to think about before discussing placement with affiliates?
  • Which placements yield the best ROI, and how?
  • What are the biggest benefits I will see from placements?

The long and short of it is that super affiliates are wanting to work with merchants, so finding a middle ground and being able to compromise another course of action over “hard-dollar” spend will be beneficial to both parties, creating a good business relationship.

Know who the best partners are going to be for you and your business, whether a merchant or a super affiliate. Having this foundational knowledge before you reach out and try to build a relationship is the first step to helping you both grow your digital, search and influencer marketing.

If this sounds like your kind of podcast then take a 20-minute break and listen to the experts. If you have any more questions, or want further advice on super affiliates or merchants, then contact the team at All Inclusive Marketing, or connect through social media, @TrustTheExperts on Twitter or Facebook.com/TrustTheExperts.

Look for These People at Affiliate Summit West 2015

Meet Us at Affiliate Summit With Affiliate Summit* only three sleeps away, the All Inclusive Marketing team is getting really pumped to meet, network and engage with existing and new affiliates, partners and clients.

Also, with four new team members joining the AIM team over the last month, and with both Jon Levine and Carolyn Kmet making guest appearances at the show as Emcee and Panel Speaker, here are 10 people to keep you eye out for representing AIM this year. But first!

Top 5 Reasons To Meet With Us at Affiliate Summit West: 

  1. You are an affiliate looking to join great programs with solid content and products that will engage with your audience and help you drive your affiliate revenue and profitability.
  2. You are a merchant / advertiser looking for marketing help or advice with your program, either to grow it through new channels, optimize it for higher profitability and new customer acquisitions, or get strategic guidance and insight.
  3. You are an industry partner or service provider looking for a strong strategic partner to help you grow your business, brand and customer base. (more…)

Industry Changes and Opportunities – An Interview with ShareASale Founder Brian Littleton

Brian Littleton interviewOne of the things I find most exciting about the performance marketing industry is how it is always changing, and how that change creates new and diverse opportunities. This week I had the pleasure of interviewing President and CEO of ShareASale, Brian Littleton on the subject.

Sarah: What are the major industry changes you’ve seen over the last two years and how has ShareASale adjusted to keep up with those changes?

Brian: The biggest change came in 2-parts. Starting with the breakup of the Google Affiliate Network, the industry took a moment to really look at some topics that I think were always there but the event forced so many retailers to analyze their Affiliate Channel at one specific moment that those topics came screaming to the forefront. Of course, I’m talking about attribution and its related topics. So many retailers used that opportunity (and technology providers as well) to look at attribution because they were forced to find entirely new technology partners in a very short amount of time.

From ShareASale’s perspective, this was a welcome moment – not because of the loss of GAN in our industry – but because retailers started asking the questions that we had had answers to for several years. Our Clickstream “Leapfrog” technology, Coupon Code Tracking, Mobile App Install Tracking, and other related products saw huge increases in usage and interest – even though many of them had been around for years. Sure, the industry might have known about attribution long before that moment when GAN closed their doors, but the intense focus of that event really brought these issues to light.

Sarah: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for merchants and affiliates in optimizing their earning opportunities going into Q4 and 2015?

Brian: I think preparation and diversity are keys that shouldn’t be overlooked, but honestly one of the most important things to do is to actually pay attention ON Black Friday and Cyber Week. I see huge bunches of both Affiliates and Retailers missing out on earning opportunities because they simply aren’t paying close attention on those dates. Deals pop-up, trends are spotted and shared, and emails are flying at a near constant pace starting on Black Friday. Personally, I run a blogger group where I may post 15-20 times during the day to let people know what kinds of trends I am noticing – and some of those bloggers take great advantage of that information.

Sarah: With ShareASale ThinkTank around the corner, what do you personally want to see happen as a result of this show?

Brian: ShareASale’s ThinkTank has been such a fun event for me to host every year. We’ve been a little sporadic with our schedule, switching from May to October commonly depending on where we plan to host it, but this will be the 9th time we have hosted the event. My biggest goal, every year, is just to see individuals grow in their business – and it happens all the time. All I really have to do is put a Blogger and a Merchant in the same room and let them do their thing. Sure, we provide educational opportunities and networking – but the real magic is just in the interaction of those two parties trying to find ways to do more business together. I’m also excited, this year, for some pretty major product announcements that we’ll be rolling out as well!

About ShareASale

ShareASale has been in business for 13 years, exclusively as an Affiliate Marketing Network. Our technology receives accolades for speed, efficiency, and accuracy – and our reputation as a fair and honest business is well known within the industry. Our objective is to provide customers with an advanced Affiliate Marketing platform. We strive to deliver the best product in the industry, and support it with superior customer service provided by people that will follow up, call back, and provide real solutions. Stay connected by visiting them on Twitter and Facebook.

Small Business Influencer Awards

Every year, Small Business Influencers recognizes some incredible people who are nominated for and voted by their community as people who’ve contributed much to their industries.

I’m honoured and thrilled to announce All Inclusive Marketing has been recognized for not one but three different awards by their community. We’ve have nominations for both myself and our Director of Content Marketing, Lisa Picarille, as well as for Growth Story with client, Abe’s Market.

Voting ends in less than a week, and we’d love your support and click to vote! Votes count and we currently have a great chance of winning at least one award. It appears you can vote once per day and per device. We appreciate your support, and thanks to those who nominated our team and our client. Best of luck to everyone on the list!

Please click here to vote today:

Lisa Picarille, Industry Expert

Sarah Bundy, Industry Expert

Abe’s Market, Growth Story

5 Key Takeaways for Running a Successful Business: Lessons Learned

Today, June 1, 2014, All Inclusive Marketing celebrates its five-year anniversary. We have had a lot of ups and downs over the past five years. But it is with immense gratitude and humility I reflect on some of the hard lessons I’ve learned along the way.

 

1. Your Power is in Your People

We’ve gone through many teammates trying to find the perfect fit for our company and culture. We want people who see our vision, live and breathe our mottos, deeply care about their impact with our team and clients, and put forward the heart and soul to see themselves and those around them succeed.

Investing in the right people was the first turning point for AIM that allowed us to grow into a global leader, and I’m exceedingly grateful for our team who strive to make AIM even more successful every day.

 

2. Zip it and Listen

One of the more humbling lessons I’ve learned over the past five years is both giving and receiving honest feedback. At AIM we encourage our team to constantly strive for greatness. We want them to achieve personal and professional growth. We give each other constructive feedback and work very closely as a team to vet everything we do to ensure only the best quality work is put forward.

Through that process, I have learned that I don’t always have the right answer. However, by listening and understanding people’s different communication styles and personality types, I can adjust how I behave and what I do to be a better leader and make better decisions with and for the team. It has ultimately produced better results and increased moral.

I work on this every day. Some days I’m better at it than others. And our entire team has the mentality of constant growth and improvement, which allows us to flourish together. For that I’m extremely grateful.

 

3. You Can’t do it Alone

There are things I’m very good at and much I bring to the table that makes me a strong, valuable player on our team. However, I’m lacking in other areas. Luckily, I’ve quickly found my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve learned that it’s okay to rely on others and delegate. In fact, it’s essential if you’re going to move forward as a leader in your space.

When I finally let go of the ropes and allow other people help me, they always managed to rise to the task. Giving them complete accountability for their areas of responsibility is empowering and that’s when AIM started to see its greatest success.

It’s OK to rely on others to help you, which is why #1 is so essential when hiring the right team. By understanding your own key strengths and weaknesses you’ll have a better time finding people who are exceptional at the things you’re not so good at, making you that much stronger in the end.

 

4. Work, Life Balance is Essential to Business Success and Your Sanity

If you’re burnt out, you’re not much use. I’ve burned out a couple of times since starting this company. It happened once when I brought my infant to a big industry conference where I was speaking; we had a booth; I was live blogging sessions; and I was nursing my baby. This particular conference was my third that month. Another time I had 10 flights in 6 days between three countries and three speaking sessions at three conferences while raising two little kids. You do the math. It all added up to me in the emergency room getting X-rays for Pneumonia and subsequently being bed-ridden for two weeks.

Although it was a crazy time, I look back now and I’m still grateful I did it because it helped establish ourselves as industry leaders and close some higher profile clients that helped take our business to the next level. However, it’s not something I would risk doing again, or even recommend to others.

Driving myself that hard is not worth my sanity, my health and wellbeing, my ability to enjoy time with my family and ensure I’m strong for my team. Life is short. I’ve learned to take better care of myself and lead my team through example, so they can find a better work/life balance too.

 

5. Never Give Up

Where there is a will, there’s a way. Energy and persistence conquer all things. That’s one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin.

I can’t tell you the number of times my husband and partner, Iain, and I looked at each other and considered shutting down shop in the first two years and going back to work for someone else. It’s certainly an easier path – a steady paycheck, benefits, paid vacation time, etc.

Being a business owner is not easy. However, the fire inside us would start burning and we always found a way to make our business work. We kept digging. Kept pushing. Kept fighting for the lives we wanted for each other and our family. And one day we turned a corner. And then another. And instead of taking two steps back and one step forward, we found ourselves taking one step forward, then another, then another, until we felt like we were spring-boarding ahead.

Life is not simple by any means. Whatever direction you chose to go, and whatever challenges you are having, others in a different city, life and situation also have their own challenges they are facing. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is whether those people decided to quit or not.

So, if you love what you do and you believe in it, never give up. You will find a way, and in the end you will make it work. In our case, we’re exceptionally blessed for how things have worked out. We continue to work hard every day on making our business a success, and are grateful for every opportunity that continues to come our way.

Hottest Content Marketing Event of the Year: Content Marketing World 2014

I loved this article Jules Babcock wrote about Content Marketing World as we get closer to the event coming in September of this year. It’s a fun read and absolutely worth checking out if you understand the value of content marketing in the world of digital marketing today.

Imagine the scene: You arrive in Cleveland on September 8th, it’s a gorgeous day and you’re pumped to head to the largest content marketing event of the year, Content Marketing World

After checking into your hotel and tweeting about how excited you are to see Kevin Spacey speak at #CMWorld (maybe you’ll meet him! Wouldn’t that would rock your world?!), you head to the Convention Centre to kickoff the whole event by attending a pre-event workshop.

You can’t miss the mobile business boat so you decided (after tough deliberation of the 12 workshops) on the Constructing and Executing a Mobile Content Marketing Strategy workshop – it’s probably going to be so informative you brought spare business pens, a laptop, a tablet, and a notebook!

By the end of the workshop you’re so pleased with your decision you decide to celebrate by attending the Opening Night Reception for some food, drinks and networking, where those extra business pens will come in handy!

Tuesday starts with a bang at 8:15 when you attend some amazing sessions about The Most Successful, Longest Running 

Retention/Loyalty Program in History, and Skills Needed for Next Generation Content Marketing Teams. You take a break in between sessions to grab some lunch and do some more networking: You missed that guy from that company you want to know more about last night, and just saw him enter the lunch area…Winning! In the evening you head down to see the entertainment, great live music is an excellent way to end any day.

Wednesday morning gives you 15 extra precious minutes in bed before you have to be at the next session on Brandscaping, Andrew Davis is speaking, and you’ve already read his book! Also, maybe today is the day you’ll see Keynote speaker, Award-winning Actor and Producer, Kevin Spacey talk about producing content and branding for Netflix!

Thursday is Industry Labs day, and you’re attending two: Retail, and Professional Services. You’re excited to dive into the workshop to put what you’ve learned so far to good use!

Friday you head home to your team to share with them everything you’ve learned. The amount of tips and tricks you’ve learned for your business will ensure your team is prepared and equipped for the next year of business.

I don’t know about you, but I love an amazing event where I can network with peers and potential business client’s or partner’s, learn more about the industries I love, and learn to be more efficient and produce higher quality products/services. There’s always room for growth, so why not attend this years Content Marketing World?

For more information about the event, follow this link: Content Marketing World or Register here. To see a full list of keynote speakers click here.

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