Conferences are the heartbeat of the affiliate marketing world. In an industry that is defined by its fast pace and ever-evolving landscape, conferences stand as reliable beacons of collaboration and opportunity. For those few days, attendees enter a networking bubble where everyone is there to do two things - work hard and have fun.
Anyone can host a good conference, that’s easy, but it’s about going that extra 5 or 10 percent. That’s the difference. That’s what turns a good conference into an unforgettable one, and TES Lisbon promises to be just that.
To some extent, an unforgettable conference is to be expected from TES, seeing as they have been perfecting the formula since way back in 2009, when Europe was still a niche market in the affiliate world.
They’ve Come A Long Way
Back then all the action was taking place in the bright lights of the United States. There were a handful of events held around Europe, but only national ones. The conditions were ripe for a pan-european gathering, and Andreas Birchoff, TES founder, was in a unique position to capitalize on the opportunity.
In terms of contacts, Birchoff had unparalleled reach. At the time, he was working for a French company, based in Spain, managing the German and Eastern European markets. Pretty eclectic mix, right? Perfect for getting something like this off the ground.
The first conference in June 2009 had around 300 attendees, and it’s been steadily growing by about 200 a year since then, mostly due to word of mouth.
Location, Location, Location
The first TES conference of 2024 is located in beautiful Cascais, near Lisbon, Portugal. It takes place from the 24th to 27th of February and although it is growing every year, it still keeps the same relaxed, intimate vibe. This is a very important aspect of the conference that TES are eager to keep. The bespoke, village atmosphere is what makes this particular conference so popular with its attendees.
Getting the venue right is one of the biggest challenges. Finding somewhere that can accommodate 1,500-2,000 people but also feel like an intimate setting is not an easy task. The Oitavos Hotel, a 5-star luxury hotel, lends the conference a stunning backdrop of open sky and amazing sea views, along with plenty of bars to top up your ‘refreshments’.
Some conferences need big city infrastructure, like the TES conference in Prague later in the year, for example. That is a bigger, more large-scale operation where you can immerse yourself in it as much action as your body can handle, whereas Cascais is more suited to those who want to get a drink in their hand, meet some interesting people and talk business.
Even though the February conference is returning to the same venue, TES work hard on keeping it fresh and exciting by hosting different events, bands and DJs. Partners bring original ideas each year and the hotel does a great job in getting into the spirit of things.
The Year Of AI
There is an extensive list of topics that will be covered in detail during the conference, but unsurprisingly AI are the two letters on everyone's lips.
2023 was the year of AI. OpenAI released ChatGPT to the world in November 2022 and in the year and a bit since it has taken the industry by storm. The challenge is finding the right tools for your workflow and using it only when practical and purposeful, not just for the sake of it.
Where AI takes us this year is anyone's guess, but the Lisbon conference will be the perfect place to not only get to grips with the AI boom, but also learn how to take advantage of it. Meet and talk with people in the know, and get a handle on what to expect from AI this year.
Everyone’s Talking SEO
One area where AI is already having a huge impact is SEO. That’s why this will be another prominent topic during the conference. The SEO landscape is moving fast as Google's algorithms attempt to keep up with the generative AI boom.
In a news story last December we covered some tips SEO experts had for making sure your content is optimized correctly now that algorithms are trying to adapt to AI. This involved strategies like a shift back to focusing on SEO fundamentals that you can rely on, and how Google’s Helpful Content System is rewarding helpful content now more than ever.
The conference will provide the opportunity to dig much deeper into the nuts and bolts of the current SEO landscape, so you can turn it into a powerful weapon in your arsenal.
The conference in Lisbon is an intimate experience that values person to person networking and has a family spirit at its core. The weekend is likely to host between 1,500-2,000 attendees (the majority of which have had their tickets since last year), but even with that number, the organizers manage to keep that village atmosphere.
Other conferences may focus more on big brands and name dropping, and even though TES Lisbon has its fair share of impressive speakers and events, that’s not what the conference is all about. In fact, TES Lisbon could be described more accurately as a networking event than a conference.
After years of experience in running events like these, the organizers at TES began to recognise a trend at these more bespoke conferences. Often, they were trying to push people into keynotes and seminars, when all they wanted to do was hang out, network, make connections and enjoy themselves. People were doing so much business with their peers around them that they barely had time for seminars.
That’s what TES do so well in Lisbon. They provide the perfect setup for you to sit at a table with a drink in your hand and make business connections.
That’s not to say they don’t provide some fascinating seminars and speakers for those who want to avail themselves of them.
We already outlined how AI and SEO are two of the big focuses for affiliates this year, and Michael Melen, co-founder of SmartSites, is hitting two birds with one stone in his ‘10x Your SEO with Generative AI’ seminar. This seminar is one of the must-attends of the weekend and takes place on Sunday, 25th, from 2:00 - 2:50 pm in Room 1.
Here is what TES themselves have to say about the seminar:
“From content creation to coding, from image generation to product copy, Generative AI has exponentially increased the productivity of organic search engine optimization efforts. A major shake-up in the industry is happening, and those who effectively use AI will come out as winners. This session will reveal specific AI applications that your business can start using right away. The speech will be presented by Michael Melen, co-founder of SmartSites, a seven-time Inc5000 fastest-growing marketing agency.”
If you're into email marketing and want to know how AI can revolutionize your workflow, there is another seminar on the 25th that is perfect for you. ‘Open, Click, Convert: Supercharge Your Email Marketing With Integrated AI’, in Room 4 from 11:00 to 11:50 am, is where Ashley Ismailovski will give you a rundown of everything you need to know about AI in email marketing. Ashley is the Director of Email Marketing at SmartSites and the perfect person to equip you with all the knowledge you need.
Take a look at the full TES Lisbon schedule here.
An important aspect of TES Lisbon is that you can really do your homework before arriving, to ensure you squeeze every last drop out of the few days.
Firstly, the full participant list is on the website. You can check out not only the name and company of every attendee, but also what market, GEO and vertical they work in. Everyone attending the conference provides a description of what they are looking for and what they are offering, which is super helpful when you're trying to link up with the right people.
This provides you with a great platform for planning your event. Take a look at who’s going, who you’d like to connect with, and start planning so you’re ready to go once you walk in the door.
The bespoke TES networking app and emailing platform means that you can fill your itinerary with quality meetings and networking plans before you even get there. You can download all this info and organize it yourself, so there is really no excuse for not arriving with a jam packed schedule.
Some other events can be a little secretive about their client list, perhaps because the figures may not be that reliable. TES have no such fears. You can rest assured that each name on the participant list belongs to an alive-and-kicking industry peer, who is just as excited about getting to know you as you are of them.
The affiliate marketing industry continues to grow, and this growth attracts fresh, exciting talent. If you are new to the affiliate game and looking for a conference to get to know people and make connections, TES Lisbon is the place for you.
The cozy, inclusive, relaxed atmosphere is great for striking up relationships and getting to understand the industry.
Entering on the first day can feel a little daunting, but try not to be intimidated by it. Everyone is there for the same reason you are, so don’t be afraid to approach anyone. Come with a plan and identify a few key seminars you’d like to attend and people you’d like to talk to.
Approach people, ask questions and start networking. If you haven’t picked up a ticket yet and this sounds like something you’d love to be involved in, there could still be a few left if you’re lucky. Check their availability here.
Kick-off for the first big affiliate conference of 2024 is just around the corner. Time to start filling up your itinerary and making plans for the big weekend. Check out the participant list and the networking app to have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the weekend. That should give you the best recipe for success, and have you flying home from the conference exhausted and happy, knowing you made it count!