In this edition of the Affiliate Buzz, host and Instructor of the Affiliate Marketers BootCamp, James Martell, is joined by Arlene as they talk about the upcoming ShareASale Think Tank 2014.
The 2014 Think Tank will be hosted at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the 9th year this event has been held. James always looks forward to the Think Tank and has attended every one since it started; Arlene has only missed a couple.
As with any event, James and Arlene will be taking advantage and take a breakation at the same time. They will be heading over to the Charlotte, North Carolina a day beforehand to see the sites. After the event, they will head over to Memphis for four days where they hope to see Graceland, which is on James’ bucket list. James also hope he can persuade Arlene to go to the NASCAR museum.
As part of their trip; Arlene will search for a Christmas decoration, so every time they put up their tree they are reminded of the places they've visited.
James recommends that anyone who attends events like the ShareASale Think Tank, Commission Junction University or the Affiliate Summit takes a breakation for a day or two before and after the event. This is something he has talked about in great detail about on previous podcasts.
James also mentions briefly that listeners should be on the lookout for the “21 Easy Steps to Organizing Your Own Podcast” checklist he is putting the final touches to. This will accompany the free webinar they are running called “How to Start Your Own Podcast”. There will be an email sent out soon to those on James’ list in the next few weeks.
Flashback - ShareaSale Think Tank 2010 - Ritz Carlton
The ShareASale Network
The ShareASale network is one of Arlene’s areas of expertise. She has spent a great deal of time teaching students how they can use the network and the interface.
James first came across ShareASale when it was still a small company on the Affiliate Summit cruise from New York to Halifax. On the cruise he personally met Brian Littleton, the current CEO, and learnt about the small organisation.
Brian and ShareASale was one of the pioneers of the industry and currently have about 3900 merchants continuously looking for affiliates to promote their products. ShareASale is always looking to improve and make it easier for affiliates.
Arlene explains the process for new affiliates to register with ShareASale. The application process is conducted in five steps; it is essential you take your time with each step and fill in as much detail as you can. You must also have a domain and website you wish to connect to the account before you apply.
For those new to the affiliate marketing industry, James introduces the top players in affiliate marketing. For example James explains:
- Who are affiliates / publishers and what is their main job?
- What is a network and what role do they play?
- Who is the merchant and how can they help the process?
- How do agencies feature in the mix?
- What tracks all the traffic in the system?
Flashback - ShareaSale Think Tank 2009 - Pelican Hill Resort
Agencies Fulfilling A Vital Role
Agencies are a vital element in the affiliate process. They represent the merchants and can provide useful information on the best selling products and how you can improve your marketing techniques to sell for their merchant’s. Agencies often attend events with sample products so you can test what you are recommending.
There will be a number of agencies at the Think Tank this year with Team Loxly, Acceleration Partners, Sarah Bundy, VMInnovations, eAccountable and Greg Hoffman Consulting confirmed on the event’s Facebook page.
The event is a great place to meet up with these agencies, make deals and learn what products will be coming out soon.
Flashback - ShareaSale Think Tank 2008 - Grand Del Mar
Getting To Know The Affiliate Manager
Arlene and James then briefly talk about their experiences with merchants and how important it is to know the affiliate manager. It is the manager’s best interests to support you because they only earn money when you make an affiliate sale.
James has had problems before with being unable to speak to merchants and affiliate managers. While sometimes he can make a success of the program, it isn't always the case and he has vowed to never sign up to program where he cannot talk to the merchant.
Arlene talks about her recent experiences in contacting the affiliate manager in their new venture with Viator. She spoke their Affiliate Manager Kelly, who Arlene had known for a while. Kelly was then able to pass her on to the right person at Team Loxly and after a call they were able to set up a deal.
Looking back at the previous Think Tanks, James and Arlene recount their favorite events. Arlene’s favorite was San Diego, because she fondly remembers the resort and the drive up to it. This was also the first time she attended a Think Tank.
James finds it difficult to identify his favorite, with the Newport Beach, California and the Halfmoon Bay his two contenders.
James also announces that ShareASale picks up 90% of the costs for running the event and attendees only pay $50. This includes access to the entire event, hotel room and meals.
James recommends every affiliate applies to attend a Think Tank as it can be great for your career. The next one will be in 2015.