I got a note on Facebook last night from Daniel Jesse Sherman who asked for my take about an upcoming event on affiliate marketing. After writing a lengthy reply, I realized that it might be something you’d be interested in, too.
I don’t know anything about the people hosting the event in question but a ticket was under $1000 and with early registration you could get in for as little as $297. The sales letter indicated there were several speakers and the pitch was essentially that you’d come home from the event armed and ready to make money whether you were an info marketer, public speaker, author, trainer, coach, etc.
Note: Some of what I’m about to say doesn’t apply to events like South by Southwest, PubCon and similar events with corporate sponsors and thousands of attendees. I’m referring to ‘make money’ seminars.
When a 2-3 day event is priced this low, it’s usually designed to get lots of people in the door and the speakers are going to try to sell you a coaching program or something along those lines. The speakers aren’t getting a fee to appear. They’re usually there on their own dime and seeking to make money on ‘back of the room’ sales. Whatever they sell is usually split 50/50 with the promoter so it’s priced accordingly.
I’ve got nothing against that and, in the past, have done the same kind of speaking gigs. The challenge is that sometimes these events are pitched in a way that leads the attendees to believe that they’re going to learn everything they need to know at the event. So they role the dice on a ticket and travel costs thinking that’s all they’ll need to invest.
While there are pitch-free Internet marketing related seminars and workshops, they’re usually priced higher and have 1-3 speakers rather than 10-12. If you’re not sure about a particular event you’re considering, shoot an email to the promoter and ask if it’s strictly content or if the speakers will be pitching from the stage.
Btw, there’s usually plenty of good information available at an event where speakers are pitching coaching programs but that information tends to benefit the attendees that already have a business because you’re getting tips you can apply right away as opposed to a complete system a beginner could use.
The first IM seminar I attended was Armand Morin’s first Big Seminar in Dallas in early 2002. At the time, I was making about $1,000 a month from a ebook sales and affiliate commissions. So, I didn’t have to go home Monday morning after the seminar and build a biz from scratch while trying to remember all the stuff I’d learned. Instead, I could apply tactics to my website immediately and see results. I was actually seeing sales come in from my site while at the event.
At that seminar, I met people that had been to multiple expensive seminars. When I asked about their website, they told me they hadn’t built one yet. What were they waiting for? Unfortunately, this happens to a LOT of people. If you may be one of them, don’t go unless you’re just looking for an excuse to get away for a few days.
As I attended more events, I discovered the biggest benefit often wasn’t what was being taught on stage. For me, the value was the people I met in the room. Other attendees can be mastermind partners that hold you accountable. They can be future JV partners. They can be valuable resources. For example, at that first Big Seminar, Ryan Deiss, John Reese, Frank Kern, Jeff Walker and Joe Vitale were among the attendees.
If you decide to attend, do yourself a favor. Don’t go to bed early so you can be there bright and early and ready to take notes. Instead, hang out in the bar. Go out for meals with other attendees and speakers. That’s usually where things really happen. If you’re in the right place, often you’ll meet the speakers and other people that know they’re stuff when you can speak to them candidly. Do a lot more listening than you do talking. Respect people’s space but don’t be shy either.
You can catch up on your sleep when you get home. There are too many opportunities to network at night. Often you’ll catch other speakers hanging out at the bar. Ask if you can join them or ask if you can buy them a beer. Sometimes, it can’t hurt if you’re the guy with the primo Cuban cigars or is a local and has a car. It doesn’t take long for the hotel restaurant to get old at a remote hotel and you can be a hero if you know the cool local places. Even if you’re not a local, it might be worth your while to rent a large sedan and do a little research on the area so you can offer others an opportunity to escape the hotel.
One last tip. If the speakers are good, you WILL be tempted to sign up for their coaching programs or whatever they happen to be offering. If so, do yourself a favor. Don’t sign up for more than one program. Unless you’ve got a team, it’s difficult to go through more than one coaching program at a time. Choose your coach wisely and then actually take action as you’re learning.