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Author: ecsouza

Here is my second post about my plans for Affiliate Summit West

Monday, January 9

This day will start at midnight at Goldcoast Lanes for the “Strike Out Breast Cancer Bowling” event. This is a fundraising event, and is sure to be a good time! For a $25 donation to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, bowlers will get a t-shirt as well as a chance to win some swag from BowlingShirt.com and other GTO Management clients. Register at http://asw12bowling.eventbrite.com. This goes until 3 am, and since the Early Bird Whiteboarding starts at 8 am, there will be little chance for sleep. No rest for the wicked.

Like I mentioned previously, the early morning whiteboarding sessions are well worth the sleep deprivation. Along with Eric Nagel’s advice, it’s a great chance to be around some of the top minds in affiliate marketing. I hesitate to even blog this, because part of what makes it great is the relatively small group setting and chance to interact and brainstorm. But at the ASE11 summit, this was one of my favorite events. This will go until 9am, at which point I’ll grab some breakfast (or as my kids call it, “breckity-breck”).

Since the opening remarks and keynote don’t begin until 10, I’ll have a little time to head to the blogger’s lounge and catch up a little on my notes / blogging. And of course, it’ll also be an opportunity to catch up with friends from previous summits, including Heather Smith, the “BlogMistress” who acts as liaison between Affiliate Summit and the press and bloggers attending the show.

I am definitely looking forward to the keynote from Jon Spoelstra. This man is a legend … once, as General Manager and Senior VP for the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team, he arranged a trade with the Pacers for a point guard. The compensation to the Pacers was one week of Spoelstra’s time, during which he helped restructure the Indiana front office. He’s written five books, including Marketing Outrageously Redux: How to Increase Your Revenue by Staggering Amounts, which features a glowing forward by World Champion Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (who just happens to be one of the richest and sharpest men in the world).

Some people skip the keynotes … that would be a MISTAKE. If you’re paying the money to attend these summits, it’s because you want to learn how to improve what you’re doing … making connections and having fun and partying is great, but take advantage of the learning opportunities, and this is one not to miss!

The first session of the morning I will attend is at 11:30 am … Mastermind Groups Exposed: Success in Affiliate Marketing will be moderated by Eric Nagel (President, Eric Nagel & Associates, Inc. – on Twitter @ericnagel), Todd Farmer (CEO, PerformStreet Media Twitter @toddfarmer) and Tricia Meyer (Owner, Sunshine Rewards – on Twitter @sunshinetricia).

Next up … lunch, and maybe a quick nap. But I’ll have to be ready by 2 pm for “Stop Doing it Wrong.” How could I skip this? Besides, it is being led by some of my favorite folks … Moderator Kim Salvino (Head of Publishers, buy.at US – on Twitter @kim_salvino), the awesome Liz Gazer (CEO/Consultant, Growthspurt Media – Twitter @lizgazer), fellow 49er fan Erik Hom, Sr. (Director, Business Development, Nextag – on Twitter @Route53), and one of the top Erics at Affiliate Summit and all-around great guy, Eric Schwarzer (President, Allspun – on Twitter @schwarzer). This will discuss why it pays more to sell with INTEGRITY … a concept sorely missing in the industry.

At 3:30, there will be another panel I plan to check out. Called 12 Out of the Box Affiliate Promotions, this looks good …with moderator Lindsey Savoie (Merchant Development Manager, ShareASale.com), Jamie Reardon (Digital Marketing, LifeLock), Jared Saunders (Affiliate Program Manager, Jenson USA – on Twitter @TurboJared) and Affiliate Summit co-founder Missy Ward (on Twitter @missyward), this looks good.

From 6 to 7 pm, I will meet the SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassadors … I’m a sucker for cute animals, and for photo ops. Besides, I have to send my wife and kids some photos of me, where I am not holding alcoholic beverages or on the floor of some club. Or both. 🙂

I haven’t made any dinner plans yet, nor am I sure which nighttime event I will check out, though there will definitely be no lack of opportunities. I figure I will probably be a little low-key, and will hit Affiliate Karaoke from 9-midnight in Neopolitan III-IV. Bring your best, though realize that the newer smart phones have HD video cameras, and who knows what might end up on YouTube.

Tuesday morning brings another round of Early Morning Whiteboarding with Eric Nagel at 8 am, and at 10 am, the Pinnacle Awards and Keynote with Eric (ET The Hip Hop Preacher) Thomas, the author of The Secret to Success (on Twitter @Ericthomasbtc) I am not sure which panels I might attend Tuesday … I might hang out and network a little, and will probably spend a little time blogging in the lounge.

More to come as plans are updated …

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To people in the Internet marketing industry, it’s no secret that in early January (just over three weeks from now), Affiliate Summit West will be held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Nearly 5,000 people are expected to attend this event – a three-day conference bringing together affiliate marketers, merchants, networks and agencies. Usually held twice a year in Las Vegas and New York (though 2012 will add Austin, TX, to the mix for a third summit in May), this is a great opportunity for marketing professionals to network, learn, and not surprisingly, to have a little fun.

This will be my fourth summit, and for the first time, I will be attending as a presenter, for the “Affiliate Improv!” session, along with Daniel Clark (@QAQN), Mike Buechele (@mikebuechele) and Trisha Lyn Fawver (@TrishaLyn). I also will be blogging and tweeting from the conference.

Since there are so many sessions and events, many attendees will rely on social media to find which sessions were the most popular and helpful. Attendees with Gold passes and above will be able to access video recordings of all sessions after the conference, so it’s good to know what other people found helpful.

I also followed Twitter to see what sessions (ahem … and parties …) others were attending. Everything associated with the summit typically is tagged, so look for hashtag #ASW12 to see what’s happening.

Here is a basic breakdown of what I expect to do for this conference … this is definitely subject to change, but I’m a planner, so here goes …

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE:

I’ll make sure I have enough business cards, and will have meetings planned in advance with people whom I hope to meet and possibly do business. I will also have my clothes picked out for the events … typically business casual, though many affiliates take liberty to dress very casually. My advice … don’t judge any book by its cover. Many of the attendees who look like kids in their high school hoodies could end up being awesome affiliates. On the same note, those wearing a nice suit aren’t necessarily stronger candidates for business partners. But in any case, I plan to dress business casual.

I will be arriving in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 7, at 6pm … I booked early and got a good deal on my flight – even got a nonstop from Southwest. I will probably get to the hotel around 7ish, and then off to dinner with my associates, and hopefully my brother-in-law, Carlos, who coincidentally will be in town for a friend’s bachelor party.

I always try to get in the evening before the conference to take advantage of the networking opportunities that inevitably precede the actual event. Also, that way, I’ll be fully prepared to dive right into the conference on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning at 10am will be the First Timer’s Guide for Affiliate Summit, led by summit co-founder Shawn Collins (on Twitter @AffiliateTip). This will be great for anyone looking to get tips on how to best take advantage of their time at the summit. And if you’ve already been to a summit, it’s still a nice idea to meet people and pick up ideas you might not have considered.

I will be there, since I am participating in the Newcomer Program for the first time. Led by Daniel Clark and Jen Goode (on Twitter @jgoode), this is an opportunity for first-timers to get advice and make contacts from people who have been there and feel comfortable with how the summit works.

The first educational session of the day will begin at 11 am, and there are four options. I will probably go to “the Future of Content Monetization and Publishing” with Murray Newlands (@murraynewlands), John Chow (@JohnChow), Ian Fernando (@ianternet) and Steve Hall (@stevehall).

After this, I will likely stop by the Blogger’s Lounge to say hi to my blogger friends and try to write up a short review of the first session. I know the Meet Market will also be open by this point, but the first day on opening, it’s always so packed that I usually avoid the crush of t-shirt and pen seekers.

Another session will start at 12:30 pm, and I will likely stop by the “SEO – Ask the Pros” panel, though the other ones look good as well.

Panel selection will basically come down to individual preferences and finding what suits your specific skillset the best. While I participate in all aspects of my business, I am usually working on the technical website aspects, and a session that helps me strengthen my SEO (Search Engine Optimization, for my non-technical friends) will likely benefit me personally more than a session aimed at merchants or affiliate marketing beginners.

At this point, I’ll probably grab a bite to eat, and then will  go to “Community, Conversation, Conversion – Social Tips You Need” led by Justin Rondeau (@jtrondeau) at 2 pm.

My “Affiliate Improv!” Session starts at 3:30 pm … with audience participation, we will brainstorm marketing ideas for products and services and will hopefully have a little fun in the process. I hope we have a good turnout … this will be the third “Affiliate Improv!” panel, and they’ve gotten great responses at previous summits.

This will bring us to 4:30 pm, at which point we’ll break. I’ll probably hang out and network (read: drink) a little before going to the newcomer meetup from 6:30 to 7:30.

There’s no rest for the wicked at these events … after dinner, I’ll likely head to the Paris Hotel for Share-A-Sale’s “Under the Stars” party in the Chateau Nightclub. These parties are usually a great time, and you get to meet people in a more relaxed (read: drunk) environment.

I plan to get back to my room fairly early, though, because I don’t want to miss Eric Nagel’s Early Morning Whiteboarding session at 8 am Monday morning.

At the ASE11 summit, the whiteboarding sessions were great to get practical advice and discussion on attendees’ sites … Eric’s advice was always spot-on, but the feedback from the panel attendees was also impressive. I met quite a few people in those sessions, and don’t want to miss them at the upcoming summit.

Also Monday morning, the keynote address and opening remarks will be held at 10 am.

I will have a new post with the rest of my planned schedule, but for now I will post this as Part One of my ASW12 planning! Getting excited … just 23 days away …

We’ve made it through Thanksgiving and Black Friday (not on to Small Business Saturday!) and now the season is in full swing! I feel like the holidays start toward the end of October … Anya’s birthday is October 24, so that’s kind of the kickoff for me.

Santa with the kids at the Shops at La Cantera

Santa with the kids at the Shops at La Cantera

Tonight is the Boerne Dickens on Main Street festival … we had a great time out there last year, and I am hopeful that the weather holds out for us. It’s been beautiful lately, but thunderstorms today and supposed to get quite cold tonight. I don’t mind the rain … we’re on our 8th year of drought … but if we’re going to spend an evening occupying a small-town main street, I want to make sure it’s going to be enjoyable.

Behind me, the kids are watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas … one of our favorites, though Prep and Landing
has been getting lots of requests.

Another thing … Anya wrote a list to Santa yesterday, and one of the items on her list was “Real Magic.” Sweet girl … we’ll have to see what we can do about that.

I haven’t been as active blogging as I would like to be, but I have been doing some work on the new landing page (you can check out the new refinance landing page … about to roll out to affiliates and on FB) … also working on a redesign of the Niche Report site. It’s good to stay busy!

Also, looking forward to Affiliate Summit West in January. If you are interested in affiliate marketing or internet marketing, this is a must-attend – sign up today and I’ll see you in Las Vegas!

 

OK, trying to do new things today … using WordPress as a CMS (content management system) for a website I am working on for refi lead generation. I want to be able to use WordPress plugin functionality on the site while maintaining the creative control … this means creating new WordPress templates. I haven’t done this before, but I think I have a pretty good grasp … rolling up the sleeves.

I’m feeling ambitious about this project! Taking it to the next level with the widget-style data, and preparing a private label eBook on tips to getting the best mortgage deals as a download incentive for email submit.

IN OTHER NEWS! Just purchased airfare and booked hotel for ASW12. So I’ll be heading to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in early January for Affiliate Summit.

Caesars Palace Casino-Hotel (Las Vegas, Nevada...

Image via Wikipedia

 

In other news … I’m using too many links in my blog posts. Damn this content recognition tool, Zemanta. I suppose I don’t have to use it if I decide not to, but it’s so damn easy.

So – I will keep you guys up to date on the new refinance project. Here is an early draft of a widget form that Mike Greene and I put together. www.RecordLoanRates.com/refinance2011 … the next one will be better …

 Also, if people want to check out a forum on affiliate marketing and learn lots of the tips and techniques used to market online, check out Warrior Forum. Very educational – sign up and just read to learn how things are getting done.

 I’ll probably just update this post later as I am making progress …

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OK, progress report …

Just visited the PLR Store online and now have a wealth of content to arrange a private-labeled mortgage-related eBook as the free download with email newsletter sign-up.

WordPress coming along too … just needing to finish the template frame in php and then will do the backend stuff.

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While at Affiliate Summit East (#ASE11) in New York this past August, I sat through a panel led by Dave Cupples, an Australian affiliate superstar who runs FatCowBusiness.com. I went through the slideshow on his site, and pulled out links that I thought would be helpful. Below are the links … many directly to posts on his site, but many others directly to sites and services that he recommended.

Here is his slideshow, and a list of the links.

 

 

I’m not talking about go shopping and pick up the dry cleaning. I have put together a couple of to-do lists … one for work, and one for personal.

WORK:

  1. Expand verticals and grow traffic sources and buyers. Expanding into insurance and more … working on site specifically for all offers and deals.
  2. Continue to work on affiliate offerings for products through ShareASale, CJ, Amazon, Google, other … also want to utilize development to take advantage of companies’ datafeeds and APIs.
  3. BLOG EVERY DAY. Whether on this site, Delta Leads, StateOfTheCampaign.com, or affiliate sites. CONTENT IS KING. It takes writing the original pieces to get traffic to the sites. This also includes optimizing the images.
  4. Take advantage of Social Media. Facebook and Twitter, sure, but I also am going to lump in live broadcast and video. I did my first live broadcast the other night (for State of the Campaign) and had fun with it … just time to expand and really establish a presence.
  5. From a geeky perspective, I need to learn more devel0pment and grow my CSS skillset. Mike Greene has been a huge help in guiding my programming, which has been a lot of fun. Website design is great, but getting the site to perform functions and interact with the user is what really sets a site apart. I also want to learn more about Thesis (the WordPress theme I am using) and try to implement the new tech skills.

HOME:

  1. Work with the kids on all activities … sports, school, home, all of that. They’re doing great – I just need to make sure I’m doing everything I can to make sure they stay happy and on the right track. Eric Anthony is now doing soccer and is enjoying third grade (he’s liking it more than second grade, I’m happy to report); Anya is still ice skating and is the little queen of her kindergarten class; and William just started ice skating as well, and is still doing TOTS basketball through his preschool. He’ll start kinder next year.
  2. Help Emi however I can with her work, and with her job search for when she finished her fellowship. She completes her NICU fellowship in June 2012, at which point she will be an”Attending” physician in the NICU. She’s currently looking at opportunities around the country, and I’m helping however I can with that. There are lots of opportunities out there, and we’re just going through the process! It’ll be interesting … we’ll have to pack, sell the house, find a new one in whichever city we end up in, and then move … it’ll be a bit of a whirlwind, but it should be fun and exciting. The kids are excited about it too, since we’ve promised them each their own room (and a little bribe) when we get wherever we go. Eric Anthony wants a pet, and is leaning toward a lizard (a green anole to be exact … I had a couple of those when I was a kid, too!) … Anya wants a goldfish or a beta fish … and William wants a dragon. We’ll have to work with William to find a more appropriate treat.
  3. Get back on fitness regimen … I’ve fluctuated a little bit with my weight, and I want to stay on top of that. The main thing is making sure I don’t eat between meals and then to consider portion control. Plus, little things like limiting beer consumption and switching from sugar to splenda in my coffee helps. 
  4. Stay on top of housework! Working from home is great, but it also gives me the opportunity to do more things around the house. Maintenance things mostly, but also I’ll need to do a lot of little tinkering things to help prepare the house for sale early next year. I have about five months or so before we’ll start the sale process, and there’s lots to do. Especially since this awful drought, our yard – both front and back – is no longer the lush green it’s been in the past. I’ll need to touch up places around the house with paint … and I’m sure I’ll find other things.
  5. Finally, sticking to the budget … especially with the move looming, we need to stay on top of this. We’ve done pretty well not spending out of our means, which is good, but coming up on a time when we’ll have to pack up and move God-knows-where, needing how much for a new down payment on a home … every penny counts.

Follow the campaign! Eric C. Souza, @ECSouza on Twitter, shares his positions, views and more Wednesday nights on his “State of the Campaign” live broadcast on MIXLR. Tweets for the campaign can be followed by searching for the hashtag #ECSouza2012.

The inagural broadcast will be Wednesday, October 5, at 9pm Central time.

While in New York recently at Affiliate Summit (an international online marketing conference – #ase11 on Twitter) I sent some tweets while sitting in breakouts and keynotes. One that got a couple retweets was this …

So I figured I should follow my own notes and make a to-do list … I still need to get this put together, but one of the items will definitely be to do a better job at blogging. I think I will break my list into work and personal sections … the hard part will be narrowing down the selections to five …

Stay tuned – to-do list will be coming soon …

Now that I’ve been home for a full day, hugged and kissed my wife and kids, I want to spend a few minutes going over my trip to New York, where I attended Affiliate Summit East (Twitter #ase11) and LeadsCon (Twitter #leadscon).

For both the networking and breakouts, this was a terrific trip. Internet marketing, according to one speaker, “is still in the bottom of the first inning” … but the game is being played and I’m glad I’m on the field.

The moods between Affiliate Summit and LeadsCon were night and day. ASE drew a wider variety of marketers, ranging from suit-and-tie merchants and advertisers, to flip-flop-and-tank-top types who publish and drive traffic. It was a great atmosphere where tons of relationships were made at all hours of the day. Some of the best conversations I had were across a breakfast table or in line to get into an event or breakout.

The breakouts were great. On two days, early morning whiteboarding sessions with Eric Nagel gave people the opportunity to share their site with attendees for critique and feedback. Many of the people in these sessions were top pubs who really knew their stuff, and gave great constructive criticism. Anyone going to future events, I highly recommend this to see case studies of what experienced web marketers have to say about your site. And even if you don’t share your own, to see the discussions and glean tips based on reviews of other sites, it’s a great chance to learn.

With so many different possibilities and companies needing web traffic, it’s now time for me to reconnect with some of the people I met while at these events, and continue to build and grow on the relationships.

Also, if you’re not already, please follow me on Twitter @ECSouza … I’ve been really getting into this, and enjoying many of the threads and discussions on there.

More later!

It’s that time of the year again … when hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Opening Day!!

This is like a holiday for me … I grew up glued to the radio, daydreaming the sights, sounds and smells as Lon Simmons, Bill King, Hank Greenwald and other greats painted the game so vividly. Of course now we can see every game on TV or on the computer (or iPhone) but to me, baseball is beautiful when broadcast by someone who loves the game, and can capture the feel of it.

There are a few things that I love about baseball … but it’s strange that one of the things I first think of is the smell of the dirt. It’s a distinct smell … freshly raked and sprayed down … there’s nothing quite like it.

Part of the excitement about opening day is that every team is starting with a level playing field. Everyone is in first place. Any player has the opportunity to step up and establish himself as a hero. Every city gets behind its club (well, except in Oakland) and vibrates with the optimism that this might be the year …

The Giants won it all last year. It was thrilling to see how it all happened, though admittedly unexpected … these castoffs and characters didn’t scream out “1927 Yankees” but they played as a team, and came together with great performances from young pitchers and team players. And they won. So, who will it be this year? Could it be the year for the A’s, with their great young arms? Or will the Red Sox blow everyone away with their new superstars? Philly will be tough to beat with their rotation, and of course the World Champion Giants look stronger this year than last.

So here we go … just a few more minutes until the first pitch of opening day …

Play Ball!


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