Survival guide to affiliate events — how to get the most of your first event
You have finally decided to attend an affiliate event. Congrats to you, it’s no small business. Affiliate events are organised all over the world and give you outstanding opportunities of meeting new business partners as well as following up on your daily activity with present partners.
But before even arriving to such an event, you already need to make some vital preparations.
Booking hotels and buying tickets are obvious bullet points, so I will skip that part, and focus more on the business and marketing side of the preparations.
1. Planning your calendar
Always think in advance about the events and their planning. Usually a month before the event partners are already starting to book meetings, so if you want to have the most convenient time for you — don’t wait until last minute to book it! It’s also always good to share your WhatsApp or phone number to find the person you are meeting — affiliate summits are big events and if you don’t have your own booth for the meetings — try to think of the most characteristic place possible but bear in mind that others might also select it as their meeting point, so then the phone comes to action!
2. Thinking of topics to discuss
Being prepared for a meeting is what creates a very professional image of you. Having bullet points to go through during a meeting is always good, especially if you don’t know your business partner yet. Introduction, current business discussion, understanding your business partner expectations and needs — everybody will feel that they are dealing with a professional if you have points to discuss ready and pay attention to their words. Additionally, interlocutors often appreciate people that are straight to the point — they tend to take you more seriously and you simply don’t waist your or their time! Going through a list of specific topics is always faster than trying to make topics up on the spot. Unless you are a great speaker ;)
3. Advertising your presence
Social Media are your biggest friends! Post entries about your attendance to an event, contact directly your partners by your selected communication channel, check groups and websites dedicated to marketing and the specific event you attend. Most of the big affiliate events and summits have their dedicated apps with networking functionality — don’t hesitate to add people, message them and get the most business opportunities out of the event.
Also groups and events on Facebook provide you often with additional social calendar that includes all networking possibilities, pre-parties, afterparties and more! Apply to as many as you can, it’s always good to connect with people on a less official level and the amount of profitable deals done during those networking events would surprise you.
4. Tools: business cards, notebooks, pens, gifts
Want to make a good impression? Don’t forget your business cards! It’s the most basic way to remember the people you meet and so they remember you as well. You can make some basic notes on them if you don’t have a notebook and not loose the contact. Plus, if you forget business cards to a business event — you might be viewed as sloppy and not trusty.
If you have a booth during an event, consider bringing some small gadgets that can be given away — USB keys, T-shirts, hats, sunglasses or simply notebooks and other things — it always leaves a nice impression if you hand such a gadget to a potential or existing business partner. You can also always request a bunch of easily portable gadgets from your company even if you travel alone or without a booth. And if you meet a key partner, you could bring a dedicated gift for them (just remember about restrictions in terms of food transit) or invite them for a drink/lunch. Those gestures help to build very strong and lasting cooperations.
5. Optional: Investing in a local SIM card with prepaid internet access and getting around
If you live in EU and the event is in EU zone — communication is not a problem. But if you travel to countries that have unreasonably high communication fees, you might consider investing in a local SIM card. This way you don’t have to worry about internet access costs if you get lost in the city. Also sometimes during events the provided WIFI might be tricky and not always working correctly or cutting the connections — prepaid SIM cards avoid all the trouble of being disconnected and as we know — being online is what make us roll!
As I wrote before, I will not focus on booking the hotel — on that part I still won’t do that, but I would like to mention that it’s good to know your neighbourhood. How to get to the event, what are the places to see or eat at and potential party places. Estimating the travel time and distances definitely helps to organise in the most efficient way your time and activities during the event!
6. Positive attitude!
Don’t forget to smile and be approachable! People tend to answer more willingly if you approach them with a smile and positive attitude. Even if they run to another meeting they will often agree to quickly exchange cards and meet later if you seem amicable.
I hope this small guide will help you, as a beginner, in taking your first steps during Affiliate events and Summits. It’s an amazing experience worth going through and that can get you addicted somehow! The amount of interesting people and personalities you can meet, business opportunities to create and social events to explore open a whole new zone of marketing for you! So what are you waiting for?