a4uExpo 101

I’m still recovering and while I’m still in a position of not being able to string sentences together. Here’s my own personal a4uExpo 101.

  1. Drinking until 5am
  2. Full English Breakfast served late (oops missed the opening)
  3. Smoothies with Cat
  4. Jame’s Little saying I should get to Barbados (those sales are already trickling in)
  5. Seeing the London scenery by night
  6. Sunshine.co.uk’s new WordPress travel site
  7. Free Towel from Zanox
  8. Existem raffle swimming goggles, chocolate, spoon, …
  9. Hero Grigoraki presenting Effective Voucher Code Implementation
  10. Sunshine.co.uk bag to put all freebies
  11. Sky HD bloody mary’s
  12. Joost de Valk‘s wealth of wordpress SEO plug-ins and useful urls
  13. Caboodle Design talking design
  14. Katie from Zanox discussing Kodak
  15. Webgain’s served Peroni
  16. So much fun
  17. Chris Frost on the Voucher Code panel
  18. Conversion Rate Experts on the art of persuasion
  19. Free Web cam from Zanox
  20. Smoothies with Jess
  21. Dozens more Facebook friends
  22. Staying in the hotel with the late bar
  23. Mark Russell protecting me from OMG (can’t remember)
  24. Discovering new opportunities
  25. Chris Kamara from Middlesbrough
  26. Blagging Hong Kong rugby trip (fingers crossed)
  27. Doug and his promotions
  28. Charity auction that nobody could hear
  29. The Pink Patch
  30. Jo from Stream:20 converting me to rugby
  31. Afternoon sushi
  32. Jackpotjoy’s Claire and Jasper. Always a pleasure
  33. All those people at 4am I upset
  34. Hannah from Existem for being Hannah
  35. Extreme SEO
  36. Shak and his Viagra story
  37. Arriving with 1 full bag and leaving with 3
  38. Doug’s workforce wearing Doug tshirts
  39. Kirsty’s Duncan not just being Kirsty’s Duncan
  40. New drinking partners
  41. Dan Morley and his new plans
  42. Vodka Luge
  43. Jo from Superbreak (won’t ignore you next time)
  44. Conference agenda with notepad at back
  45. Pens – can never have too many
  46. A4uExpo mugs
  47. Double bed for being there at the end
  48. 12 noon checkout
  49. Being bigger than last year
  50. Meeting my blog readers
  51. Getting excited when the person talking to me realises I’m ‘Befuddle’
  52. Vodka Luge with sambuca
  53. New friends
  54. Talking about Soccer Saturday with Matt Le Tissier
  55. Pirate hour
  56. Existem bean bag to sit on (but the one thing I didnt blag)
  57. Lammo for drunken chats
  58. The Zak and Graham double act
  59. New Exclusive codes
  60. Negative SEO – come on admit it who did it?
  61. Free bars
  62. Kirsty disappointed there was no sexual gossip
  63. Teresa for the Sky VIP room pass
  64. All the beautiful people who work in marketing
  65. People taking photos to remind me of the carnage
  66. Lunch bags with apples (too healthy for my liking)
  67. Kieron saying I didn’t need ContentNow
  68. New business contacts
  69. Joe Connor’s lodger Dan asking questions that weren’t answered
  70. The chip waitress who kept winking at me
  71. Kirsty’s prize winner Rich Harper offering me his voucher domain
  72. The Benny Hill style chase for chips
  73. Bryant Hussey for keeping his restraint
  74. Joe Connor’s Cantbarsed business card
  75. Sleep which was bliss whenever it happened
  76. Redcar’s Elaine and Dave
  77. People not present, were their ears burning?
  78. Clarke Duncan and his mobile plans
  79. Lee Bradshaw giving me advise on the ladies
  80. Sneaking out of the hotel bar at 2am on the second night
  81. Matthew Wood and Claire for great organising
  82. Laura pushing up the bidding price in the charity auction
  83. Those people who I chatted to a lot and I can’t recall your name
  84. Liane from Linkshare complimenting my watch
  85. Matt Bailey telling me he told a merchant not to work with me
  86. All those stands and people that I didn’t approach
  87. Kirsty McGubbin getting through the champagne before I clocked it
  88. Kevin Sutton upset that I’d not remembered him from a few weeks back
  89. Paul Wright going missing
  90. Twittering whilst twatted
  91. The London Eye at night
  92. Buy.ats Hayley who gets to the same events I do
  93. Meeting Fraser for the first time
  94. The grey man playing with his balls
  95. The Super Affiliate session which shows that we’ve all got room for improvement
  96. The people waving at us from the London bridges
  97. Kirsty borrowing Hannah’s camera
  98. Claire from Existem singing Sweet Caroline
  99. My site being hacked whilst I was in London
  100. Not remembering much really
  101. Have you heard about Promotions?

… Ok, I can’t even string a list together. This is taking longer than I thought. The rest will be added a little later whilst I now head off to get a smoothy or shandy …

Is mobile still not 4u?

Affiliates at the a4uexpo 2007 were generally negative and unconvinced about marketing on mobile but with several now owning 3G iPhones will their perception change of this new sales channel?

I started planning running my own mobile version of ShopCodes a year ago but that project is on hold.

I do believe the site can work and be profitable but I’ve got to get my infrastructure in place first so that I am more efficient in how I manage my codes. As a tester of mobile Internet sites I know how technically challenging it can be to get the user experience right.

So that’s why I’ll be keen to listen to mobile expert Peter Glaeser, at the 2008 a4uexpo, at Excel London, 14-15 October 2008.

During his time as Associate Director for online marketing technology at Jamster, a joint venture of News Corporation and VeriSign, Peter launched a mobile tracking solution and one of the world’s first ringtone affiliate programmes for the mobile internet.

The mobile affiliate marketing pioneer willl be talking about how you can embrace mobile within the affiliate channel.

The session will cover business models, monetisation methods and traffic sources and will be aimed at both affiliates and merchants and concludes with a Q&A.

With over 40 other sessions including Landing Page Optimisation, Developing Profitable Websites with Mash-ups & APIs and successful Voucher Code Implementation, this year’s a4uexpo Conference will provide delegates with best management practises, complementary channel activity, useful tools as well as expert views on the market and its future potential.

Matthew Wood, organiser of a4uexpo, says:

a4uexpo is all about learning, not sitting through sales pitches. This year’s agenda has been driven by the delegates, debated by the 20,000 members of affiliates4u and responds to the real issues facing everyone working in this dynamic industry.

Hmm, ‘Successful Voucher Code Implementation’. Guess I should take a sneak peak at that session too.

top secret 5 point post-a4uexpo plan

Between my massage on the first day of the a4uexpo and the bar closing at the post-party, I’d already made my five point plan to keep me busy and profitable over the next six months.

It wasn’t a hard decision to come to, as I’d already started talking to a few people close to home about my future plans. It was just that the sessions at the Excel and the subsequent chats at the Fox and Novotel hotel bar, confirmed my ideas.

So this is what I’m doing in the coming weeks and months to enhance my business, which is currently focussed on Shop Codes UK.

BRAND

Shop Codes is 18 months old and is now known around the affiliate industry by my presence on the Affiliates4u site. It was clear to me though that some people at some networks didn’t know much about me or my site.

At the moment I have three brands. There is “Ray Theakston”, the cheeky little Northern chap. There’s “Befuddle” which is my company name, pseudonym and name of my celebrity site that made its first affiliate sale on 25th October 2000.

Then there’s “Shop Codes”. You wouldn’t think that would be a difficult brand to master but in this post already I’ve used both “Shop Codes” and “Shop Codes UK”. Did you spot that? I have recently experimented with targeting non-UK merchants and so the brand will be important to tie down. Especially for where I want to drive the site in 2008 and 2009.

DESIGN

I’ve a designer working on redesigning my site to make it more professional whilst keeping the flavour of it’s ‘back-bedroom’ roots. Only last week he showed me a printout of a potential new home page. I liked what I saw. The design is not too different to where the site is today.

I didn’t want it to look too corporate but importantly I didn’t want to lose its good conversation rate. It was only the first draft too and so I look forward to further iterations.

CMS

I manually edit my site by hand and whilst it’s built using php, I still have to manually edit the files when the voucher codes expire. With the growing number of codes, I’ve found this is too time consuming, particularly at the end of the month, when typically 10% of existing codes expire.

So, I’ve had a meeting with a developer and talked through my requirements for a content management system. The plan is to have a simple solution in place for the first pass so that we can see what content is delivered by automated processes. As a part time affiliate, a CMS system will provide a lot of ease and will move me forward to my fourth and fifth plans.

MOBILE

If only I knew session 10 existed I wouldn’t have had to chew so many ears for the first two nights and day about lack of mobile advancement by the merchants and networks.

I was amazed by some of the negativity about mobile but PriceRunner seem to be doing well out of it, according to Gary Goodman, MD of ValueClick.

Many are clearly not thinking about mobile in 2007 and I bet when I see them at a4uexpo in 2008 they won’t be thinking about mobile for 2009. However, in those ‘lost’ years consumers are spending millions on mobile phone content and services.

I’m staking my claim for a bit of the plot as I type. I’ve a company working on developing my Shop Codes website for mobile. I took the opportunity to speak to several networks on how I can monetise the platform and extract revenue from my exclusive codes. These talks will obviously progress more seriously, rather than over a beer, once I’ve launched on that platform.

UGC

I’ve currently no interactivity on my Shop Codes site and so I shall be expanding on User Generated Content. I don’t just want methods for users to submit codes that I can then approve but I want it for B2B purposes. I often get sent emails from merchants to promote codes. However, they don’t have affiliate schemes and so sometimes I don’t promote them.

With mobile there will be plenty of opportunity for user-generated content too with text messaging of codes.

BRAND (20%), DESIGN (20%), CMS (20%), MOBILE (20%), UGC (20%)

There’s a lot of work to be done. Isn’t it the case that If i make a start or improve on each of those by 20%, I’ll see an 80% benefit?

There’s no timetable for the work to start and end but if I can have them all in place by Spring 2008, that will give me 6 months to assess what improvements they’ve brought me in terms of traffic, loyalty, revenue, exclusive content and industry respect.

I’ll then go into a4uexpo 2008 with a pad ready to draw up my next five-point plan. See you there!

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