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#ConferenceSeason - A Blog Series From the 2013 ShareASale Blog by Brian Littleton


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Table of Contents #ConferenceSeason is upon us - One Tip Per Day ............................................................................... 3 #2. Get those Business Cards Ready! ................................................................................................... 12 #3. Prepare for the Parties ..................................................................................................................... 16 #4. Selling Your Boss on Conference Attendance ............................................................................... 35 #5. Research the Conference Town ...................................................................................................... 37 #6. What to Pack ..................................................................................................................................... 39 #7. Get Marketing Material Ready ......................................................................................................... 42 #8. Things You'll Pack But Don't Need ................................................................................................. 46 #9. Things To Do On the Way To the Conference ............................................................................. 49 #10. Dress to Impress ............................................................................................................................. 52 #11. Keeping Conferences Organized ................................................................................................... 54 #12. Success at the Booth ...................................................................................................................... 60 #13. Be Prepared for a Change In Plans .............................................................................................. 62 #14. Four Best Shoe Buys for Conferences ......................................................................................... 65 #15. Organize & Motivate Sign-ups ...................................................................................................... 67 #16. Staying Focused & Organized ....................................................................................................... 69 #17. Finding Networking Opportunities ................................................................................................ 71 #18. Things You Won't Pack, But Will Need ........................................................................................ 73 #19. Let's Talk Chicago ........................................................................................................................... 75 #20. Recruitment & Promotional Ideas ................................................................................................ 78 #21. Making the Most of Networking .................................................................................................... 81 #22. Analyzing Conference Success ...................................................................................................... 84 #23. Favorite Conference Memories ..................................................................................................... 86


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#ConferenceSeason is upon us - One Tip Per Day As the summer season of conferences approaches us - ShareASale's Daily Blog will provide you with 1 major preparation tip every day in May. You can find the posts in our #ConferenceSeason category.

#ConferenceSeason Tip #1 - Set Your Schedule You can't very well put together an entire strategy for the season, without figuring out where you want to be. When putting together a schedule, it is important to look not only at the conferences and shows that you regularly participate in - but also to look outside your comfort zone and find a few that can benefit your business in incremental ways. Due to the nature of our industry, just about any conference can and should be considered! Here are some tips:

For Merchants Think about your audience. With the wide variety of blogging conferences, you have the opportunity to get in front of content producers with the same audience.

For Everyone Don't fall into the trap of just going where your competitors go! There is much more variety and opportunity out there.

For Affiliates Conferences can be huge learning curve moments - especially for the Beginner/Intermediate Affiliate. They can propel you to even larger levels of success just by attending and sharing stories with other attendees. Think broadly, and don't be afraid to take a chance on a show! You can't go to them all but you can go to one!

If you've never attended a show, take a look at the schedule below and try to pick one close to your area, easy for you to attend, and I can just about guarantee that you're going to be looking for more to attend!


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The "Big Ones" - Consider these "Must-Do" at Some Point Internet Retailer Conference - June 4-7, Chicago, IL For Online Retailers - billed as the "World's Largest Exhibit Hall" this is an absolute must for any retailer. The exhibit hall covers everything from how to build a better cardboard box, to how to better effectively utilize online marketing tools. Huge variety - should be on every Retailer's list. Come meet ShareASale there, we will be exhibiting and look forward to seeing you! via: www.internetretailer.com

BlogHer '13 - July 25-27th, Chicago, IL BlogHer '13 is open to anyone and everyone who considers themselves part of the social media landscape. All genders, ages, ethnicities, and levels of blogging experience are encouraged to attend! There's something for everyone. This is one of the larger blogging conferences and definitely comes recommended. This is a fantastic show and ShareASale will be there as an Exhibiting Sponsor. via: events.thepulsenetwork.com


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Affiliate Summit East 2013 - August 18-20, Philadelphia, PA Affiliate Summit is an absolute must for anyone in the Affiliate Marketing community or those looking to take their blogging to a new level of monetization. Packed with speakers - and an amazing exhibit hall, you will come away with a different feeling of "tired" than you've ever experienced.... and you'll also have a brand new and exciting "to-do" list for your business! ShareASale has attended all of the Affiliate Summit shows in the past and we are proud to be the Titanium Sponsor of the show. Do not miss the following keynotes: Rae Hoffman, CEO, PushFire (Twitter @sugarrae) and Wil Reynolds, Founder, SEER Interactive (Twitter @wilreynolds) via: www.affiliatesummit.com

A List of Niche Blogging Conferences by Month Conferences in May SOBCon May 3-5 - Chicago, IL SOBCon is a 2-day interactive business “think tank� that moves ideas to action. During the conference, attendees increase their business IQ in an engaging and positive learning environment. They take away an actionable and measurable business plan, along with invaluable business strategies and skills, increased confidence, and a network of connections to drive their companies forward. via: www.sobevent.com


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Alt Design Summit - ONLINE May 16 - 18 We're excited to announce our very first completely-online conference: Alt For Everyone! We know not all of you can travel to our events in New York, San Francisco and Salt Lake City, so we're bringing all the benefits of Alt to your laptop. Yes, you'll get the informative classes, the world-class keynote, social meet-ups — and even a goodie bag delivered straight to your door. And you won't even have to stress about what you're going to wear! Alt for Everyone will take place on May 16th, 17th and 18th. Three full days of programming. You can spread your classes out like you would at a traditional conference, or pack them all into one day if you need to manage your work schedule or babysitter availability. via: www.altitudesummit.com

BlogPaws - May 16-18 Washington DC - The Pet Social Media Resource BlogPaws is Social Media Company focused on teaching pet enthusiasts how to use social media effectively. We also work year round to connect our bloggers and micro-bloggers to the brands they buy every day. Our online community site is for pet bloggers, pet enthusiasts, pet people on Twitter and Facebook and brands eager to tap into a growing, vibrant, vocal community of serious writers, bloggers, tweeters. via: www.blogpaws.com

The Blog Workshop - May 17 - 19 ONLINE "Where Blogging Meets Business" The Blog Workshop is a teaching community for bloggers and vloggers. Our goal is to provide information that will help bloggers and vloggers take their ventures to the next level. Through our workshops, annual conference and community, we are working hard to facilitate blogging education and help bridge the gap between influencers, brands, PR professionals and more. We are honored to be a part of providing information, resources and opportunities for bloggerpreneurs and future blogging scholars. The Blog Workshop is "Where Blogging Meets Business." via: theblogworkshop.com


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Camp Blogaway - May 24 - 26 - The Original Bootcamp For Food & Recipe Bloggers - The Mountains of Southern California REGISTER NOW! The FIFTH Camp Blogaway will take place Memorial Weekend, May 24 – 26, 2013. Join the email list for updates. Welcome to a Little Slice of Heaven for Food Bloggers – workshops, activities, panels, breakouts and more on “all things blogging” held in the tranquil mountains of sunny Southern California. Yup, this really IS camp: cozy cabins, roaring lodge fireplace, hearty chow, fresh air and stargazing, paired with a jam-packed itinerary and invaluable camaraderie! Dawn to dusk, we practically never stop. via: campblogaway.com

Conferences in June Internet Retailer 2013 June 4-7, Chicago, IL For Online Retailers - billed as the "World's Largest Exhibit Hall" this is an absolute must for any retailer. The exhibit hall covers everything from how to build a better cardboard box, to how to better effectively utilize online marketing tools. Huge variety - should be on every Retailer's list. via: irce.internetretailer.com

BlogHer Food: June 7-8 Austin, TX Today we are thrilled to announce the dates and venue for our fifth-annual BlogHer Food Conference:BlogHer Food '13 will take place on June 7th & 8th at the Austin Hilton! via: www.blogher.com


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FitBloggin - June 27 - 30, Portland, OR While people can spend a lifetime mastering photography, creating better photos for your blog can be easy, fun, and fulfilling. The first step is getting a basic understanding of the technical aspects of photography, such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO. With these mechanics in mind, we can consider some general rules about lighting, composition and artistic effects that go into crafting a more visually appealing photo. But the most important aspect of a photo is capturing the moment, nailing the “emotionally perfect” shot, and using the camera as a tool to see the world through a whole new lens. via: fitbloggin.com

Reviewers Retreat - June 30 - July 2, Pine Mountain, GA The 3rd annual Reviewer’s Retreat will be held June 30th-July2nd, The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens. Reviewer’s Retreat is first conference geared specifically toward the issues and challenges faced by bloggers in the review genre. Review bloggers or “online influencers” who conduct product and resource reviews on their site will converge to take part in sessions on a variety of topics including brand-blogger relations, website design, perfecting the pitch, statistics, photography and more. This brand-friendly conference welcomes company and agency representatives as building and strengthening relationships between bloggers and brands and exploring the future of influencer marketing are the primary goals of Reviewer’s Retreat. via: reviewersretreat.com

Conferences in July BlogHer '13 - July 25-27th, Chicago, IL BlogHer '13 is open to anyone and everyone who considers themselves part of the social media landscape. All genders, ages, ethnicities, and levels of blogging experience are encouraged to attend! There's something for everyone. (And in case you're curious, about 10-15% of attendees are men.) via: events.thepulsenetwork.com


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Conferences in August Affiliate Summit East 2013 - August 18-20, Philadelphia, PA Affiliate Summit is an absolute must for anyone in the Affiliate Marketing community or those looking to take their blogging to a new level of monetization. Packed with speakers - and an amazing exhibit hall, you will come away with a different feeling of "tired" than you've ever experienced.... and you'll also have a brand new and exciting "to-do" list for your business! ShareASale has attended all of the Affiliate Summit shows in the past and we are proud to be the Titanium Sponsor of the show. Do not miss the following keynotes: Rae Hoffman, CEO, PushFire (Twitter @sugarrae) and Wil Reynolds, Founder, SEER Interactive (Twitter @wilreynolds) via: www.affiliatesummit.com

BarkWorld Expo - August 22-24, Atlanta, GA The call for speaker presentations is currently open; continue to watch this page to get updates on session titles & speakers. Download the mobile app (iPhone and Android) to add sessions to your personal schedule and network with other attendees. BarkWorld Conference & Expo 2013 Schedule via: www.barkworldexpo.com

Conferences in September 9

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Mom Blogger Conference - Sept 5-7, Ft. Lauderdale, FL The conference features a workshop-style agenda giving bloggers hands-on professional development. Last year, keynote speakers included social marketing strategist and Collective Bias’ Chief Social Marketing Officer, Ted Rubin; award-winning author and photographer, Karen Walrond; Founder and CEO of Dr. Mommy Online, Dr. Daisy Sutherland; and Founder of Mom Bloggers Club Network, Jennifer James. Attendance will be capped at 175 bloggers to keep the event intimate and allow meaningful connections between attendees and brands present. You won’t want to miss it! via: www.thenichemommy.com

The Search Party - Sept 11-13, San Antonio, TX 100 carefully selected, invitation-only bloggers and other online influencers with targeted audiences and promotion channels. Representing lifestyle and technology categories, our Guests collectively represent an estimated: Learn more about our Guests Read more about our 2013 Sponsors or become a Sponsor. View our 2013 Schedule and Speakers. The Search Party brings it all together through an agenda of high-impact, targeted interaction. via: www.thesearchparty.us

Bloggy Conference - September 13-15 Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH As an extension of the Bloggy Moms Community, Bloggy Conference is first and foremost designed with community and information as its cornerstone. Our goal is to provide real and useful information to further your social media longevity, to help you build strong connections, to provide support and resources in your areas of interest. Only by increasing your knowledge of the social media and blogging world, can you then begin to find success. via: www.bloggyconference.com


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Type-A Parent Conference - Sept 27 - 29, Atlanta, GA Type-A Parent Conference, in its fifth year, is the world’s top conference for mom and dad bloggers. The conference has a well-established reputation for outstanding learning with actionable takeaways. It features power networking with the best and brightest parents who blog plus the major brands and firms who want to engage them. Type-A is where the power parents grow their business and connect. via: typeaconference.com

Conferences in October FinCon: Finance, Blogging, and New Media October 17-20, St. Louis, MO A peer conference for financial bloggers. Learn to blog and discover the latest trends in the financial world. via: financialbloggerconference.com


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#2. Get those Business Cards Ready! Business cards have come under attack recently - but I find them an extraordinarily important piece of any conference interaction. They set the tone for "who you are" and can often make the difference between an immediate dismissal and an interested party. First impressions, after all, are immensely critical. Some ideas about business cards: 1. Get a photo on there. I personally wade through over 100 cards every time I come home from a show, often much much more from a larger show. Pictures are worth a thousand words. 2. Leave room for notes. Avoid glossy finishes that don't allow for notes to be written on the back or sides of the card. Use a flat finish, and leave plenty of whitespace. 3. Leave whitespace!!! As a carry over from point 2 - don't fill your card up with dark colours that make it impossible to write notes. 4. Put some thought into it. Check the page below that has some reactions to various types of business cards received - by Shawn Collins. The video is interesting - although I don't recommend the approach unless you have the personality to back it up!

Business Card Ideas - Affiliate Marketing Blog How are your business cards, or do you even have any? I know some Internet marketers don't care for business cards, and don't bother with them. And then others have lame cards - terminally plain or really low quality. Anyhow, here are some of the cards I've liked from the past year to help you‌ via: blog.affiliatetip.com

Affiliate Opportunity! For Affiliates - there is also huge opportunity any time of the year to promote these types of products. Businesses are in constant need of marketing materials, and ShareASale has dozens of retailers who sell these products - check out a few examples below!


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Deluxe Corp - MerchantID 22559 10-30% Commission on ShareASale The Deluxe Affiliate Program encompasses several brands owned and managed by business enterprise solutions company, Deluxe Corp. Since 1915, Deluxe has led the industry in providing everything from business checks and forms, to promotional products, enterprise services, and more. Start earning now! Simply publish our links on your site earn up to 30% commission for each completed sale you refer to our store. Marty brings a seasoned perspective to the Deluxe team supported by years of industry leadership in e-Commerce management, web development, and online marketing. Marty's affiliate successes date back to his management role at Desktop Labels in 1999. Marty joined Deluxe in 2010 and has been actively engaged with all Deluxe affiliate programs. When not optimizing on emerging online strategies, Marty enjoys playing the piano, spending time with his wife and walking his dog Mel. via: shareasale.com

PrintPapa - MerchantID 25636 15% Commission on ShareASale PrintPapa.com's Affiliate Program is a great way for website owners, online marketers and bloggers to make money promoting our products. As a member, you’ll earn very competitive 15% commission on all monthly sales. Selling PrintPrint products is easy. Our quality printing and fast turnaround times make our products very appealing to both consumers and businesses. Our 30 Day Conversion rate is healthy around 3.60%, 30 Day EPC is typically $65 and the average sale is usually $191. We recently had a huge valid order come in at $980! via: shareasale.com

Franklin Covey - MerchantID 43722 10% Commission on ShareASale Organization products for conference goers - Planners, Binders, Bags, Tech Accessories, and more. via: shareasale.com


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PrintingForLess.com - MerchantID 12982 18% Commission on ShareASale PrintingForLess.com is proud to sell more full color printing online than any other commercial printing company in the USA! With over 70,000 customers nationwide, we provide a superior printing experience to every customer by offering award-winning customer service, high-quality printing and fast turnaround. Easily earn high-dollar payouts with our industry-leading commission offer of 18% on every order and high average order size of over $460 – that’s over $80 per sale! via: shareasale.com

PsPrint - MerchantID 22819 8% Commission on ShareASale PsPrint is a different kind of online printing company. By combining the very best in web technologies with state-of-the-art production facilities, PsPrint is able to deliver online printing convenience combined with competitive prices and consistent quality. PsPrint is more than just an online printing company. With our expert Mailing Services, PsPrint is also your direct mail partner, with the marketing solutions you need to make your promotional mailings a success. With the PsPrint affiliate program, you’ll earn a generous commission on everything we sell, including initial and recurring sales. You’ll enjoy high conversion rates (up to 12%) from our easy to use website and commissions per order! What's more, selling PsPrint products is easy. Our quality printing and lightning-fast turnaround times make our products very appealing to both consumers and businesses. via: shareasale.com

TinyPrints - MerchantID 12808 7-10% Commission on ShareASale Tiny Prints has an assortment of styles that can be customized, whether you’re looking for a special format or a stellar design. Explore our extensive library of themes, and utilize our professional design services to help create your business cards. Find custom styles for adding your logo, photos and accents, and modern folded or square formats that distinguish you to partners and clientele. Establish a memorable first impression with your associates by handing out distinctive business cards. via: www.tinyprints.com

Here's a Preview of Our Business 14

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Cards for this Summer!


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#3. Prepare for the Parties One of the most anticipated ingredients of the #ConferenceSeason is the networking party. Not only are parties fun and a chance to unwind from the long day - but they offer some of the best networking opportunities to be found. Figure out which parties are for you! Stand out!!! If you are new to conferences, this is a critical element. To grow your stock in the industry, sometimes you have to do something to get people to remember who you are. If there is a karaoke party, get up there and sing! If there is a costume party - make an effort to find a costume. It isn't just more fun, but people remember other people who have that type of charisma ... trust me, you'll end up with a lot more people remembering who you are when you make follow up calls. Be respectful of the host and other guests. Stay in control - remember, first impressions are critical... don't be the out of control party-goer. If the party has an invite list... don't crash it!

Some Photo-fun Blasts from the Past! ShareASale has had a great history of parties - which have all been a ton of fun to be a part of. For #FunFriday - I'm going to offer up some photos of parties past .... comment if you remember them!


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#4. Selling Your Boss on Conference Attendance You have found some very exciting looking conferences to attend this year and now your waiting for the big moment to sell it to your boss. I know it can be hard to convince management on the benefits of face to face networking events, especially if conferences are not typically in the budget. So your task is to illustrate the solid return you'll be bringing back from the conference based on time and money spent. The first step is to put together a realistic expected expense report. Be sure to include all the line items that may come up while traveling in addition to the conference registration.

There are many travel deals to be had out there. Be sure to plan ahead so you can thoroughly research any deals on air fare, car rental, or hotels. Conferences will also often have an early bird rate for registration, so be sure to check out the conference website and any related social media for any other special promotions. Once you know what the cost is going to be, you can provide full disclosure on the expense and present the key benefits that you will reap from attending the show. You can lay out exactly what you will be able to contribute to the company in return for their investment. This can be a bit difficult to quantify. However, if you are able to point to specific skills, contacts made, or knowledge gained you will be able to follow up on that once the conference is complete and the extra business starts rolling in. Skype, WebEx and audio calls are convenient and create the illusion we’re actually having a meeting -- but nothing beats the power of a truly personal, face-to-face connection. from "5 Reasons You Need to Meet in Person" by Rene Shimada Siegel via Inc.com There are many benefits to attending conferences and networking with business partners face-to-face that you could emphasize. I've listed three that I feel provide the most value to businesses: Sessions / Education: Conference sessions can provide some great education on any new technologies, issues, or techniques in the industry. These are all items that can help an organization grow. They also often are full of best practices and training on


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processes that can directly benefit job tasks. Networking: The power of personal face-to-face communication is undeniable. The ability to find commonality and bond through small talk and read body language are two benefits that are difficult to replicate via email. Meeting individuals in person also gives you the benefit of: - Keeping a pulse on the industry. Talking with people will help you get a gauge on any hot topics and the current buzz in the industry. There is a knowledge gained when people are able to exchange ideas, feedback, and experiences. - Establishing a presence. The more events your company is represented at, the greater the likelihood that people will start to recognize you and your network of contacts for potential business opportunities will continue to grow as well. Exhibit Hall: Meeting with potential vendors can lay the ground work in identifying prospective partnerships. Often times there may be competing vendors, so you can easily compare different organizations within one space. Once you have carefully weighed the expenses and benefits of conference attendance, you are now ready to present and sell your proposal to management. Best of luck, and we hope to see you at an upcoming show!


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#5. Research the Conference Town One of the tasks most over looked when preparing for a conference is researching the location of the conference. I cannot count how many times I have been asked at a conference about tips on where to eat, how to travel, or where to have a bit of fun. Having this knowledge is invaluable, it allows for a more relaxing conference and in some cases makes YOU the go to person for information, which is great for beginning to network. I have put together some tools that I use to scout out the conference.

Conference Websites My first stop is the conference website. This will tell you the main location, partner hotels, specific deal for conference attendees, and who will actually be at the conference. This is a link to Affiliate Summit's website, which is always great because they add in information about the conferences way in advance. via: www.affiliatesummit.com

Hotels While most of us are great at planning ahead, I realize there are times when you might wait a bit too long and are unable to get a hotel room in the host hotel. Never fear, TripAdvisor is my go to tool for finding a hotel in a decent price range that will not give you bed bugs. It is really great to get real opinions from regular people on the pros and cons of hotels. via: www.tripadvisor.com

Transit My next step is looking into transit to and from the airport to the conference. It is so important to know if a taxi/private car is necessary or whether it is possible to take public transit. In the case of Affiliate Summit East in Philadelphia, it turns out one can easily take the SEPTA train for $7 to the conference center, as well as most of the sponsor hotels. This would also be true for IRCE, where one could take the CTA in Chicago for less than a $3 one way trip. The ability to take public transit in addition to other costlier options helps, as conferences can sometimes result in bottleneck traffic, where it is much easier to walk to a train rather than wait for a ride. via: www.septa.org


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Food Here at ShareASale, we are foodies. So one of the first priorities is finding great places to eat when we are at a conference. I generally use Yelp and OpenTable to navigate this process. Yelp will allow you to see where the local folks eat, which is so important, and OpenTable allows you to easily make a reservation to avoid a wait. As we all know after talking and standing on your feet, the last thing you would like to do is spend a long time waiting to sit down for a meal. via: www.yelp.com

Entertainment While the majority of a conference is spent networking, learning, and generally working; I always like to look at potentially fun and easy things I might be able to do outside of the conference. In order to find these activities, I navigate to Metromix. Metromix has a page for pretty much every city in the United States where a conference might be located. It also includes activities that range in price from Free to really expensive, so there should be something for everyone. via: www.metromix.com

Weather The weather is one of the subjects that seems like a no brainer, but a number of us were regretting not checking more thoroughly at #ASW13. Las Vegas was much colder than my hometown of Chicago that weekend and it made for some slightly under dressed conference attendees. Definitely do check the weather and double check it the day before you leave for the conference, so that you will be set for any weather eventualities. via: www.weather.com These are some of the most important tools that I use to prepare for conferences, but they are only a start. I am sure some of the conference veterans could provide so many more tips or warnings when it comes to conferences. In fact, I would love to hear them so feel free to comment on the blog post with your Best Tips.


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#6. What to Pack Packing for me can be a headache in itself... especially when I am not the world’s most orderly occupant due to a severe shopping binge problem. (Guilty) While I love traveling, I’m also the traveler who likes to have everything with her, which makes it complete chaos when trying to meet baggage weight requirements. Something I've learned from past conference experiences...

You won't be changing as often as you think you will. Chances are your schedule during the day will be supremely busy. Once the conference wraps up for the evening, you’re usually only allotted a short amount of time to a.) take a power nap, b.) down a 5-hr Energy (or your energy drink of choice), and/or c.) change for the night’s festivities. I've put together some quick tips, which will hopefully help ease the burden of getting your suitcase in order: Transition Pieces. I’ve become a big fan of transition clothing – pieces that can shift from day to night to avoid packing heaps of different outfits, aka outfits that won’t ever have a chance to be worn.


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Give yourself a shoe limit. If you're thinking this is the opportunity to show off your brand new pair of shoes, think again. Aside from comfort, you also should be packing based on versatility, for instance what will give you the most use or what will match with most everything. At least one sweater or jacket. Convention centers are quite similar to the weather in Chicago actually - unpredictable. Sleepwear, socks and unmentionables. Probably the most essential but the easiest to forget. Make sure you count your days correctly! Statement pieces (optional). Bringing individual statement pieces not only reflect your personal style and personality, but can also act as great conversation starters...


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"You have a more interesting life if you wear impressive clothes. - Vivienne Westwood" Have a great conference season!


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#7. Get Marketing Material Ready Marketing Material can make or break a conference. Although as the Marketing Manager, I may be biased. But seriously, it can. There are four major pieces to prep prior to attending or exhibiting at a conference: The The The The

Information Document(s) Business Cards Giveaways Booth

Let's talk a little best practices.

1. THE INFORMATIONAL DOCUMENT Make It Interactive - Everyone is going to have the standard one-sheeter. Get interactive with surveys, forms, drawings, tear-off sheets, etc... It Should Provide Value - Tell us more than who you are and why you are awesome. Address the real life questions or scenarios that your business/service will solve.

Change the Shape or Size - Pay a little more for the thicker paper, create a colorful postcard, produce a catalog or magazine or maybe even try out a flip book! Make It POP! - A good design goes a long way. It should be eye catching and jump off the page. Less Text, More Pictures - With the creation of the infographic, this should be a no-brainer. But, I still see companies with text heavy documents. Have a lot to say? Use bullet points!


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2. THE BUSINESS CARD The Paper - Get paper people can takes notes on. As slick as shiny, small or black business cards look...don't do it. A Picture - I know it sounds a little cheesy, but add a professional photo to your business card. It helps people remember you. Personalize It - We are all human, we have quirks, specialties, etc ... let it show on your card. Add something to make you less static, and more real.

#2. Get those Business Cards Ready! | ShareASale Blog They set the tone for “who you are� and can often make the difference between an immediate dismissal and an interested party. First impressions, after all, are immensely critical. via: blog.shareasale.com

3. THE GIVEAWAY Packable - It should be reasonable in size and weight so attendees can actually take it home. No giant cookbooks please. Edible - Or make it edible! Who doesn't love a nice snack at a conference? Think energy bars, refreshing juice or fruit cups! (or just candy...) Something for the Kiddos - Attendees love bringing home gifts for kids! Think toddler t-shirts, stuffed animals or race cars.


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4. THE BOOTH Keep It Simple - Don't overwhelm your booth design. The design should focus on one or two talking points. Make It Pop - Most attendees have already hand-picked vendors to visit. Make your booth stand out with bright colors, big images or something totally out of the ordinary. I've seen someone throw a ping pong table in their booth! Above the Waist - These booths are big. Don't waste time designing anything below the waist line. You'll have chairs, tables and giveaways blocking it.

-- Finding Your Marketing Material -Online Printing - Mimeo.com Mimeo is a leading online printing company, offering digital distribution and online printing solutions. Services include, warehousing, kitting and more. via: www.mimeo.com

Trade Show Displays - Epic Displays™ Complete selection of portable booths, pop up displays, signs, banner stands, tabletop displays, flooring and more. via: www.epicdisplays.com


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Trade Show Exhibit - Event Supply Our inventory includes event supplies for every occasion, from trade shows and conferences to weddings and concerts. via: www.eventsupply.com

Carson Wrapped Hershey's Personalized Hershey's promotional chocolate for corporate business gifts, tradeshow giveaways with logo, and thank you gifts. via: wrappedhersheys.com

Custom Plush Toys Manufacturer We work with industry professionals to design cutting edge, custom made toys and stuffed animals to fit your vision with a 100% money back guarantee! via: www.customplush.com

Flashing Blinky Lights Custom Flashing Pins and Light-Up Products with your logo can be made to order in just 5 days. via: www.flashingblinkylights.com


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#8. Things You'll Pack But Don't Need As you know by now, our blogposts this month are focused on all things conferences including tips on networking, working the booth, hitting the party trail, and what you'll need to bring. In my experience as an attendee of many conferences over the years, I have learned that knowing what NOT to bring is almost as important as knowing what TO bring. Let’s run down the list on ways to keep your luggage lighter as you're packing up your stuff heading to the next conference. Here are my top 6 items as far as what NOT to bring:


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Be smart when you’re packing and think hard about the chances of you actually using the item once you get to your conference destination. If it feels like a stretch then that’s a good sign that it’s something to leave at home. Keep in mind, it’s not just about cutting out the extra weight and saving room. In some cases it can be depressing to bring these items that you’ll never use because they will be sitting unpacked in your suitcase serving as a reminder of the fun stuff you never got around to doing on your trip. Save yourself the mental anguish and just leave it at home so you can stay focused on the real goals of your conference trip


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#9. Things To Do On the Way To the Conference Whether you’re flying, driving, training or busing to your next conference, I have compiled some ideas of things to keep you busy and make your commute less painful!

Review your conference checklist to make sure you are as prepared as possible prior to arriving at the conference. This will help you to hit the ground running once you get to the show. Look at the conference agenda and map out your conference game plan. Research the attendee list to see which companies and which speakers have sessions that you don't want to miss. Map out the conference and find booths to visit. Identify which companies will be exhibiting and who you would like to meet. Finalize and practice your elevator pitch so you are ready and prepared when someone asks what you do. Conference pro and Affiliate Summit Co-Founder, Missy Ward, has written a great article with some ideas on how to craft the perfect pitch. If you have the ability, get caught up on as much daily in-office work as possible. Once you are at the conference, chances are you will want to take advantage of as many networking opportunities as you can. So you may not has as much down time to check in at the office as you usually do.


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Get educated on the current events and issues in the industry. This way you'll be familiar with a lot of the conversations, questions, and concerns that are likely to come up. As an added bonus you will also have a nice arsenal of topics that you can use to start a conversation as well. ShareASale's Merchant Catalog FeedFront Magazine, Official Magazine of Affiliate Summit Geekcast.fm, Affiliate Marketing podcasts PMA Blog, The official blog for the Performance Marketing Association * reading not recommended for drivers

You're going to be on your feet for the next several days talking to dozens, if not hundreds of people. So take it easy and rest your voice before the chaos begins! If you are looking for some ideas on how to kick back, you could: Listen to your favorite jams. My own personal favorite road trip playlist


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always includes: Jake Owen, Luke Bryan and OAR. Watch a movie. What better way to kill a few hours than to be engrossed in a belly aching comedy or a glued to the edge of your seat suspense thriller. If you have a travel buddy, play a game! There are some classic crowd pleasers out there that are easy to pack too, such as I Spy, 20 questions and Mad Libs are oldies. You also can never go wrong with a deck of cards. SLEEP! - something you may not be getting much of at the conference. So might not be a bad idea to squeeze in as many zzz's as possible. I wish you all safe and fun travels, and hopefully I'll be seeing you at a conference this summer!


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#10. Dress to Impress #ConferenceSeason Tip #10 – Dress To Impress Conference Season is upon us, and with so conferences in different locations around the country, you should be thinking about the wardrobe you will be bringing to help put your best foot forward. My number one dressing rule for any conference is WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. You will be walking and standing for most of the day. Plus, at many conferences there maybe a long walk to get from your room to conference center. A pair of uncomfortable shoes can leave your feet in shambles causing you to not have the same energy you would usually to mingle around a room or explore an exhibit floor. When talking with a prospective client, you want to be able to focus on what they are saying and not on how much your feet hurt. You will also want to look into the location and time of year for your event to an idea on how to dress. For example, Affiliate Summit East will be held in Philadelphia from August 18-20. The average temperature in Philadelphia at that time is mid 80s. Now granted, most of one's time spent at a conference will likely be indoors, but still you want to be sure that you are cool and comfortable when meeting prospective clients. Look sharp, feel sharp, and be sharp.

Try to stay away from things like worn jeans, shorts, or anything that may look fine for hanging at a local bar. How you dress will definitely be a part of the first impression you give to those you are meeting with. So it is best if you give them the confidence that you are a professional and run your business in that manner as well. We have a saying here, that if you look sharp, you'll feel sharp, and therefore will be sharp. Meaning, that even if you dress professionally that tends to have an effect on even the way you feel. You may feel more confident and ready to take on new business deals when you are polished rather than when you are coming from the gym for example. How you dress could play a big factor in a prospective client's decision to engage in conversation with you about your business. If you show up to a professional conference in a t-shirt and some sandals, they may wonder how serious you are about your online marketing business and have doubts about the possibility of a mutually beneficial relationship. Now, I'm not saying you need to run out to the local tuxedo rental store and get a spiffy tux for the next show. In fact, many conferences in our industry are a little more casual than what I would image a conference for actuaries might be. There are not a lot of suit and ties on conference floors for example, but business casual is usually always acceptable. You can always take a look at some photo galleries on the website for the conference you will be attending. Typically, you can get a good sense of what the "dress code" will be for the conference based on past photos. So remember, dress smart, smile, and you will be ready to talk to prospective clients and start building solid business relationships!


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Today's takeaway: Wear comfortable shoes, dress to impress, and you will have a successful conference season!


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#11. Keeping Conferences Organized Conference season‌the craziest time for any event planner. You have endless things to organize: contracts, payments, booth designs, promotional items, contractor paperwork, hotels, flights, transportation and dinners - to name a few. The majority of your day is spent looking at paperwork, answering emails and making phone calls. It can get pretty crazy! I am an organizer extraordinaire around the ShareASale office. Therefore, when I became more involved with helping to plan the conferences, my compelling need to organize kicked in and it started with making binders for each event.


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Each conference was given a blue binder. Why did I choose blue? Because black binders seemed a bit drab all lined up and I wanted to pick a ShareASale color. Yellow was a bit over kill in the anti-drab department, so blue it is! Then, of course, these binders had to be named. Given their color‌"Ole Blue" was suggested and quickly stuck.


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So what is the purpose of these binders? What do they do? Here is their Job Description: Before the Conference: Keep me sane Prevent my desk from getting cluttered with conference papers Help me organize paperwork


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Central location for everything needed for that specific conference During the Conference: Still keep me sane Go along to that conference Hold all important documentation, contacts, confirmation numbers, scheduling, etc. Quickly help me find whatever paperwork I might need Look professional Don’t get lost! (very important!) Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. –Murphy’s Law


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I suggest this for any conference planner. I promise you that something is bound to go wrong – the hotel might only have record of 5 rooms for your group instead of 12, the driver doesn’t show up, your booth received the wrong number of monitors, etc. – but this binder will help you remedy the situation and double check anything that isn't going to plan. You will have it ready to show the hotel the confirmation numbers, to find the appropriate number to call the driver and to show the contractor that you ordered one more monitor. Maybe you have another way of having all this information on hand. So, if any other event planners have ideas


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or thoughts, I’d love to hear them!


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#12. Success at the Booth What do employees who work a company's booth at a conference and marathon runners have in common? The answer is unflappable endurance. Turning on the charm and keeping your wits sharp on little to no sleep can be hard. The key to functioning under those conditions is to plan ahead so you don't have to sweat the small details when you are busy representing your business. Here's a list of things to bring to survive working the booth.

1. Comfy Shoes - Working the booth involves a lot of standing. It's important to select the right shoes that will allow you to be up and on your feet in comfort for hours. In general, make sure to dress up and be weather appropriate. A wool suit in summer in Las Vegas is not the best choice as sweating during a client conversation doesn't engender confidence. 2. Coffee / Tea / 5 hour Energy - A little pick me up isn't a bad thing, but don't overdo it or experiment if you don't normally drink coffee or take 5 hour energy. Caffeine shakes won't go over well with clients. 3. A Fully Charged Phone - You never know who you are going to meet at a booth or what will come up in conversion. If something time sensitive comes up, you don't want to lose out due to a dead cell phone. 4. Cell Phone Numbers - Keep the phone numbers of other conference attendees from your company so that you can reach everyone without trouble.


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5. Altoids / Breath Mint - You're going to be talking to a lot of people. Don't let bad breath leave a bad impression. 6. Hand Sanitizer - A lot of conference attendees are flying in from all over, operating on little sleep, and partying it up at after hours events. This is the perfect cocktail to weaken an immune system. Working a booth means shaking hands with a lot of people. Keeping your hands clean can make the difference between a happy flight home or catching a cold on the road. 7. Healthy Snack - Standing all day will burn a lot of calories. It's important to bring a snack, preferably not sugary, to avoid an energy crash. After a long day of working the booth, your next survival kit is how to grab some quality zzz's so you can get up and do it all again the next day!


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#13. Be Prepared for a Change In Plans Now that #ConferenceSeason is here, it’s time to start going through my mental checklists to make sure that no matter what happens, I’m ready for it. I was not always like this though! In the last few years, attending the numerous conferences with ShareASale I have lost luggage (twice), been a victim of food poisoning (twice), gotten incredibly sunburned (to the point where it hurt to bend my arms), and have forgotten a few important articles of clothing (belt, shoes – yeah…shoes). I have since learned that I simply need to prepare for the absolute worst case scenario. I imagine that most people are similar in that they often have the “I forgot something” feeling. I hope that after reading this #FunFriday post, you will say that no more!

Scenario #1: The Lost Luggage

Have you ever been sitting in the window seat of a plane and been able to watch the baggage handler load the luggage? What is your first thought when the plane starts to taxi and you realize that you never saw your bag get loaded? Most of the time, the luggage arrives safely and on time. There is always that one time though…or in my case, two times with ShareASale and three times without ShareASale.

How to Prepare It seems obvious enough, that after having luggage lost 5 times one would learn how to prepare for that. Unfortunately, it has taken me quite a while to learn! NOW, to prepare for the inevitable lost luggage, I pack two FULL days worth of clothes in my carry-on/backpack. Usually, a nice pair of jeans and a shirt or two will suffice. Additionally, I always pack my toiletries in my backpack as well. This way, worst-case scenario, I can be clean for two days!

Scenario #2: The Stomach Bug


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Have you even been in a new city with colleagues, and been told that a particular local food (street meat) is legendary and that you NEED to have it? Or, have you been at a conference party and stopped by said local street vendor (street meat) on the way back to the hotel? I have, and I paid for it!

How to Prepare Unfortunately, the only thing you can do to prepare for this one is make sure you pack any and all possible over the counter stomach medicines (i.e. Imodium, ibuprofen, Pepto, etc). Often times at conferences I feel like a walking over-the-counter pharmacy, but at least I know that no matter what bug comes my way, I will be armed and ready.

Scenario #3: The Forgotten Articles

Most of us have probably seen “Home Alone”, more notably the scene with Kate and Peter McCallister where they are on the plane and she feels as though she forgot something. It’s also probably safe to assume that most of us have had that feeling at least once. Usually, when I travel that feeling is almost a guarantee. You might be asking, “WHY” and “HOW”. It’s because usually I do forget something. There have been times when I somehow forget to bring shoes, a belt, or an additional pair of pants.

How to Prepare Again, a lesson that I’ve not learned until recently. After having this happen a few different times, I have a new method to packing. For my toiletries, I actually have all travel sized things, i.e. toothbrush, deodorant, etc. After traveling, I simply do not unpack my toiletries bag . I leave it in my suitcase for the next trip. That way, I know at all times that if I have to leave on a whim, I’m set to go. Clothes are a different story though. I’ve now turned into an


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“over-packer”. I literally write down a checklist for each day and each possible scenario…then pack from there. It is always better to be over prepared than under prepared. That way, I ready to combat the next unexpected hurdle that might come my way at future conferences.


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#14. Four Best Shoe Buys for Conferences The look he shot her was incredulous in the extreme. "You have a filing system for your shoes?� ~Wilson I should start out this post by saying I may be one of the most if not the most shoe obsessed person here at ShareASale. In fact, the quote above only slightly fits my obsession. My "problem" has gotten so bad that I am contemplating moving to a larger apartment just so I can have a room where I can see all of my shoes lined up and not to have to hide a few in my closet. Based on this "problem" I have, it should come as no surprise that I seriously consider which shoes to wear to conferences and more importantly where to buy the shoe. When thinking of conference shoes, I am normally trying to accomplish a few things. First, I want to have a shoe that is professional but retains my own sense of style. I am usually the person who has on some really "wicked" oxfords about which I have received a few compliments. I will note that in after conference hours, I like to dress it down so there needs to be an alternate pair of shoes for those occasions. The second really important factor is comfort. As we all know, the conference floors seem not to be made for comfort, so a really high quality shoe is a must. This leads to the third factor which is quality. Due to my obsession I do buy a lot of shoes, but I want them to last. So, I pay really close attention to the brands I buy and the reputation of that brand. After doing some research, I have found the 5 best brands from which to buy shoes for conferences.

1. My first choice for either men's or women's shoes is Johnston & Murphy. The brand has released a collection of both classic shoes, as well as some newer, brighter color lines that are really interesting. They also have a very long history of high quality, craftsmanship that should result in you loving your purchase long after the conference has ended. You can sign up for the Johnston & Murphy program here.

2. My next favorite place is Altrec. Altrec has a number of great brands but what attracts me


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to them is their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. They really take into consideration the customer, which is something that I value in the merchants I frequent. Sign up for Altrec here .

3. One of my go to pairs of shoes when traveling back and forth from conferences is a pair of comfy gym shoes that are easy to slip on and off. For this, I love Reebok shoes, because the price point will fit anyone's budget and they are uber comfortable. You can sign up for the program here.

4. The last place I would suggest checking out for conferences is Shoedazzle. This is more for the after conference times, where you might like to let your hair down. Shoedazzle allows the customer to design a great, unique looking show that will set them apart from others. Sign up here. This is my list of Merchants who will provide you shoes that will navigate you through all of the various aspects of conferences from networking to the well earned after hours cocktail. See you at the next conference!


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#15. Organize & Motivate Sign-ups The task of organizing and motivating all the new Affiliates you meet at a conference can be very time consuming. So today let's talk about how you can make this process more efficient and effective with...

Auto-Tagging & Rule-Based Commissions!

Do you want to know which Affiliates sign up for your program from this particular conference/event? Yes, of course you do! Here is how.

Important Tips to Remember! Shorten the link! There are a number of URL Shortening services from which to choose. Pick your favorite, and shorten up this link. The tag needs to be set up as shown above "Signup From - DESIRED TAG" to function


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properly. Run reports by your conference tags. Next year when you are deciding whether or not to go again, see how well your BlogHer2013 Affiliates performed. Your co-branded page pulls from your Program Bio (My Account > Edit Settings). Make sure it looks nice!

Do you want these Affiliates to automatically be setup on a specific bonus or commission structure? Yes, of course you do! It will help with motivation and activation.

Now you have a dedicated link for Affiliate signups that will automatically tag them within your ShareASale Account - AND - these Affiliates are automatically setup to earn double commissions on sales within the first 30 days!

Want more bonus structures and promotional ideas? Check back next week for a Promotional Ideas Post from Sarah!


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#16. Staying Focused & Organized So you're registered for a conference and you've booked your hotel and travel plans! Now what? Preparation isn't close to being done. Conferences can be very overwhelming, especially for first-time attendees. One of the most important aspects of preparing for a conference is to create a solid game plan and stay organized, or you won't get as much out of it. The key components to every conference is to make connections and get educated. I have five easy steps to help you achieve success for every conference you attend this year.

1. Check out the sessions and speakers Build your schedule around the most important speakers and what will have the most value for you and your company. Speakers for IRCE Affiliate Summit East Agenda Remember to bring materials to take notes. In addition to sessions, be sure to also make time for the exhibit hall and other networking opportunities where you can invest time interacting with other attendees. Look at the list of social gatherings and parties after hours and go to a few this is a great way to meet people in a laid back, fun atmosphere. 2. Know who is going to be there Check out the list of companies that will be in attendance and highlight where they will be exhibiting on a map. Prepare a list of questions you'd like to ask particular companies. Companies attending Affiliate Summit East 3. Take notes on business cards It helps to write down notes on the back of the card after your conversation to help you better remember people you meet - this will help you create personalized follow ups and organize all the cards you receive. Store your all business cards in a safe place. Ideas for business cards 4. Put your day to day work aside for a couple days If you spend all day working on your laptop during the conference, you will


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miss out on opportunities to network and connect with others. Setup an auto reply email and change your voicemail to let people know you will be gone, so it won't serve as a distraction. 5. Have a presence on social media First, make sure you follow the conference organization on Twitter, Facebook, etc. to be aware of any changes to the schedule and for reminders of what to do - they often create specific accounts with tips and advice for conference goers throughout the day. Let your followers know that you will be in attendance and use the official hashtag of the conference, it's another great way to make connections. There are many tips and recommendations on how to make the most of each conference, but it starts with careful planning and organizing. Once the conference is over and you've made new friends, treat yourself to a fun night on the town!


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#17. Finding Networking Opportunities Having been to just a few industry conferences so far, I would not consider myself an Affiliate Marketing conference veteran per se, but I quickly learned from the shows I have attended that networking and meeting other attendees is essential – and fun! Whether at conference events or simply walking through the lobby, I see a flurry of interactions and meetings taking place. There are so many opportunities to meet other attendees both during and outside of the conference, so get your networking hat on and Business Cards ready! Join all Social Networks for the conferences such as Facebook, Twitter, and stay up-to-date with their blog. You may even find that there is an app available for the show too! Before, during and after you will find event announcements, information and updates.

Use the conference website to download or print the entire day or weekend Agenda. Plan which sessions, workshops, events, etc. you would like to attend.

Attend a first-timers orientation or the opening remarks for conference information and to meet other attendees. If you are a first-timer to Affiliate Summit conferences, try the Affiliate Summit Newcomer Program to connect with veterans and gain an insight on


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what to expect.

Many conferences host a kick-start event, similar to the Meet Market at Affiliate Summit conferences. These events are a great place to create partnerships and explore new opportunities. To gain the most from the kick-off events, I would suggest downloading a list of the companies exhibiting beforehand. Prepare a list of the tables or booths you plan to stop at along with any questions you might have. Be sure to attend the post-conference nightly events to continue the networking and unwind. ShareASale has been known to host a party at Affiliate Summit conferences with an array of themes such as 70’s Disco, Masquerade, Barn Dance – to name a few! Check out the ShareASale blog “Prepare For The Parties” to see pictures from past ShareASale events!

Remember: You don’t have to limit yourself to just the organized events. Take the initiative and contact the clients or potential partners you are interested in working with before the show as well. This way you can have a few scheduled meetings already set up before you even land at your conference destination!


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#18. Things You Won't Pack, But Will Need Following up on a previous post on things you will pack for a conference but won’t need, let’s go over some items you will need that you might forget to bring along. There’s nothing worse than getting to a conference destination and realizing you're missing important gear or necessities. You don’t want to waste unnecessary time and money running around town during the conference trying to find these forgotten items. Write up a quick checklist before you start packing up your stuff and make sure you include these items in your bag for the trip.

Sweaters! These conference halls and speaker rooms in the Summer are frigid. Thankfully this is the case, as the alternative is worse. Bring a sweater or wrap, or even a fleece to carry with you during the day... or the air conditioning will get you! Maybe even a sweater vest?

Vintage Argyle Sweater Vest Brown 80s Retro by colourfulclothes Price: $30.00 via: www.etsy.com

Goals! If you come to a conference just to hang out with pals and see old friends, you can skip this step. However, if you are looking to really improve your business and get a ton out of a conference - you need to come with goals in mind. Write down who you want to meet, what you want to learn, and what you hope to accomplish. Carry it with you all the time and get it done! Write down who you want to meet, what you want to learn, and what you hope to accomplish. Carry it with you all the time and get it done!

Something to Hold All of those 73

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Business Cards! Over time, the more people you meet the more cards you get, and the more cluttered your pockets get. Keep yours organized, bring something with you so that you make sure you don't lose the card of the one most important person that you came to meet!

ThinkGeek :: Han Solo in Carbonite Business Card Case What appears to be a solid block of carbonite containing a tiny Han Solo is actually a spring-loaded case that holds a dozen business cards. This is the case you‘re looking for! Grab one, then go about your business. Move along. Price: $24.99 via: www.thinkgeek.com

Eyedrops! Eye drop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia via: en.wikipedia.org

Late nights, long days, dry air-conditioned air ... this is all a perfect scenario for red-eyes. Bring with you a bottle of eye drops so those early morning meetings come off the way that you want them to.

The Agenda! I can't tell you how many times people have told me that they missed out on a great event, great presentation, or even a great party just because they did know it was going on. Take the agenda with you - read it on the plane - make sure you are aware of everything that is available! It will come in double handy when you can't figure out what room you're supposed to be in. :)

Affiliate Summit East 2013 Agenda - Affiliate Summit For example: The agenda for the upcoming Affiliate Summit East via: www.affiliatesummit.com


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#19. Let's Talk Chicago Since there are quite a few conferences this year in Chicago - and that is ShareASale's hometown, I'm going to give a brief rundown on some of our favourite places and things to do here!

Two Major Conferences this Summer Internet Retailer Conference - June 4-7, Chicago, IL For Online Retailers - billed as the "World's Largest Exhibit Hall" this is an absolute must for any retailer. The exhibit hall covers everything from how to build a better cardboard box, to how to better effectively utilize online marketing tools. Huge variety - should be on every Retailer's list. Come meet ShareASale there, we will be exhibiting and look forward to seeing you! via: www.internetretailer.com

BlogHer '13 - July 25-27th, Chicago, IL BlogHer '13 is open to anyone and everyone who considers themselves part of the social media landscape. All genders, ages, ethnicities, and levels of blogging experience are encouraged to attend! There's something for everyone. This is one of the larger blogging conferences and definitely comes recommended. This is a fantastic show and ShareASale will be there as an Exhibiting Sponsor. via: www.blogher.com

Must-sees in Chicago Architectural Cruises -- Chicago Line Cruises This is a phenomenal experience - basically you hop on a boat and go up and down the Chicago River while a seasoned guide tells you all about this history of the buildings. If you like history, architecture, or just sun and water ... you will love this. You'll learn which buildings have secret "mafia era" features as well, which is really cool to learn. via: www.chicagoline.com


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Castaways - North Avenue Beach Bar and Grill Chicago, IL Yes - Chicago has a beach. It is packed in the summer when us local Chicago-ans come out from a long winter. Go there - enjoy - and grab a drink on the Castaways Bar and Grill... an old "boat" of sorts that sits on the beach and overlooks the whole North Beach scene. via: www.castawayschicago.com

Skydeck Chicago At the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world - they built a glass-box ledge thing that you can walk out on. Basically you are (inside) sitting at about 1,600 feet up looking over the street below. Not for anyone even remotely scared of heights! via: www.theskydeck.com

Wrigley Field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It's summer - go check out a game in the World's most famous bleachers! via: en.wikipedia.org

Things to Eat! Girl and the Goat You can't be picky about your food to eat here... but if you are lucky enough to get in you will always remember it - that's for sure! This restaurant is for foodies, true foodies. via: www.girlandthegoat.com

Gourmet Mexican Cooking - from the kitchen of Chef Rick Bayless This is great stuff, and often has lines forming early in the day just to get in for a lunch. If you want to eat here or the Topolobampo next door (even more gourmet) - you will need a reservation and likely far in advance. via: www.fronterakitchens.com


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Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse Gibson's is a Chicago place. You'll love the steaks and chops but you're more likely to remember the scene - pure Chicago. via: www.gibsonssteakhouse.com

Mastros Restaurants. Sure - they've got Mastros Restaurants everywhere... this isn't just a Chicago thing! Nonetheless, it is my favourite place here downtown and if you go in, ask to see if the chef can makeup the Chilean Sea Bass Ponzu from their Sushi-menu. It is truly spectacular. via: www.mastrosrestaurants.com


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#20. Recruitment & Promotional Ideas Before you head out to your next conference, it would be a swell idea to sit down and map out a plan for making the most of the connections and people you will be meeting to help gain as many new opportunities for your business as possible. Merchants are always looking for new quality Affiliate to help grow their program, so when you come across a great prospective partner, it is always nice to have something in your back pocket that is unique and makes a compelling argument for that individual to join with you. So let's get right down to it and discuss some promotional ideas you could use at the next conference you attend.


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Whatever promotion you decide to do at your next conference, be sure to always collect data from the Affiliate so you can not only keep track of who you talked to or who won what prize,


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but also so you can follow up accordingly. Do not be afraid to show your creativity and personality in your promotion and above all have fun!


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#21. Making the Most of Networking A lot GREAT networking takes place during the "scheduled" conference hours, but there never seems to be enough time! Take advantage of your time after hours!

Yes, the parties and events are a great time and can be a great place to network after hours, but I find them to be more of a social event. Most people at that point are trying to relax a little bit and leave "the work" for the next day. For me, this is the best time to for high quality networking!

In 2009 after attending one of ShareASale's amazing parties, Eric Nagel and I decided there was a ton of information that the two of us had learned since the previous conference. With our daytime hours being limited, we decided to sit in front of our laptops through the late night hours and share our latest discoveries. The information that the both of us had walked away that late night/early morning has now made this a ritual at every Affiliate Summit since. The size of our group has grown since inception and the information that everyone walks away


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with is priceless! I'm not saying that you should ship a couple of whiteboards to your hotel & invite 15 people to your room for an all night brainstorming session! That may be a bit extreme for most, but it has been known to happen and may of been one of the most successful networking sessions ever! #JustSayin'

What I am trying to say is, take advantage of your time! Set up your own after hours meeting or session away from the hustle and bustle with others that are like minded and looking to learn, share and contribute to your group. You never know... someone that you invite may bring along a person that could be a great asset to your group or even turn out to be a life long friend!


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#22. Analyzing Conference Success Along with creating a binder for each event, I also create a survey or form for each conference that rates my success with planning. This is not something that is measured easily. It is measured by how I or my coworkers thought the conference went and also what we thought needed to be changed. Now, this is not measuring the success of the conference in how many clients we took away. It is purely a tool for me to use in the future when planning other events. If something went bad, I want to know as to not repeat the same thing in the future. The goal of this form is to be a quick reference tool for me to use when planning the same event the following year, if we do another conference in the same area/city, planning a conference of the same size, a conference with the same contractor, etc.

Here are some of things I look at: Agenda: Was the scheduling of everything appropriate? Transportation: Service Used - Good? Bad? Would we use it again? Contractor: Orders - Anything changed? Booth: Size and Design Employees: Did we have enough staff at the event? Promotional Items: Amount of give-aways ordered and used? Enough? Too much?


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With so many conferences every year, things can get really mixed up in my mind. This form I created helps remind me of things later on and will make future planning much easier. As the conferences go on, I am sure that the form will change with the layout and I may add things that I find important to note such as restaurants we went to. How does your company measure its conference/event planning success? Don't go to a conference and then just forget about it. Finding a way to measure or reference what went well and what didn't will make you planning more efficient and easier down the road!


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#23. Favorite Conference Memories Welcome to #FunFriday! One of my favorite things about the Affiliate Marketing industry are the conferences. There are so many to choose from and to attend. They are diverse and filled with parties, networking events and great people. I’ve attended conferences for the past three years with the ShareASale team and I’ve compiled my Top 5 favorite memories accompanied by some great pictures.

My Top 5 Memories:

Every conference you attend, make sure you make the most of it and take in the different events and moments to help create memories that will last a lifetime


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Drumroll Please..........My favorite memory at a conference is:


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I could go on and on with my favorite memories from conferences. If you are lucky enough to attend the different conferences, put yourself out there, meet new people and make new memories!


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