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10 Ways to Reduce Friction in Your Purchase Process

This post was written by the Web Marketing Ninja—a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger. Curious? So are we!

The harder you make people work to order your products, the less people will buy. This basic knowledge has been proven both on and offline. Unfortunately, we’re all not blessed with same level of brand loyalty and scary desire for our customers to line up for our latest ithingy like Apple is, so we need to take a serious look at how much friction we’re causing our customers—and find ways to eliminate it.

There are lots of different ways to go about fixing friction. Here are some easy wins to get you started.

1. Capturing information that’s only necessary for the sale

You might want to know everything you can about your customer so you can help service their needs. But the checkout is not the place to ask for that information. Until the money has cleared, don’t ask them for anything more than you need to make the sale. After the sale has been made, quiz them all you like. The same goes for setting up accounts and passwords: think very carefully before you ask someone to create an account and password—even if your intentions are good.

2. Including direct order links from your emails or blog posts

This might not work for all products, but it’s worth a try. When you’re promoting a product or offer in a communication (such as an email or blog post), don’t send readers to a sales page—send them directly to your checkout page, with the product already in the cart. You don’t need to re-sell to them in a sales page if you’ve done a good job in your communication piece.

3. Recalling the information you know about the customer

If you’re running your own checkout process and you’re (securely) storing customer information, when it comes time for a customer to purchase their second product, fill out as many details as you can for them. You need to allow for them to update the information if required, but many will just sail straight through.

4. Minimizing cross-sell and up-sell messages

In the past, I’ve been guilty of creating friction by attempting to increase my average order value with up-sells or cross-sells. There’s a very fine line to tread when it comes to balancing these two needs. Personally, I limit myself to one up-sell message of one product in an entire checkout process. Any more, and you might risk reaching the friction tipping point.

5. Avoiding bouncing customers to unknown third parties

For some, this might be something you can’t avoid, as you don’t have an internal checkout process. But if possible, keeping the checkout process consistent in terms domain, aesthetics, and style will reduce the shock associated with bouncing to a third party. If you do need to ship your customer somewhere else, make sure the customer knows what’s about to happen. My only exception to this rule is PayPal. It’s such a recognizable brand, the effect can actually be positive rather than negative.

6. Making your process usable, accessible, and cross-browser compatible

For me, this one’s a bit of a given: the lower the number of people who can access your checkout process, the fewer sales you’ll make. It’s a pretty easy calculation, yet so many people fail to make their checkout processes consistent for everyone. Google Analytics, when configured properly, will make it easy to identify whether people with specific browsers are converting a lower rate than everyone else. This will help you quickly identify any problem areas.

7. Using smart and intuitive data validation

Even after you’ve reduced the number of fields you’re asking your customers to complete, people will still make mistakes. If you’re not giving people a clear message about what they’ve done wrong—and what they need to do to resolve it—the sale is going to very quickly be thrown in the too-hard basket. Make sure your error handling is smart and intuitive.

8. Doing what the big guys do

The reality is that the big guys, with the big budgets, are going to be better informed in terms of what constitutes the ideal checkout process. If you want to see a seamless checkout processes in action, be sure to buy something from the likes of Amazon so you know where the benchmark is.

9. Tracking checkout drop-offs

This is all about being as informed as you can about what’s actually happening though your checkout process. My favorite piece of free web software, Google Analytics, is the best place to start. You can thoroughly integrate your ecommerce pages with Analytics—some of the insights you’ll gain might even scare you a little. How you do that is another post in itself, so if you want me to step you through the process, be sure to let me know.

10. Asking people why they’re leaving

Another obvious but seldom-used method to gain insight into why people don’t order your products is to ask them. On-exit pop-ups and light boxes are a great method to quickly ask your customers why they’re leaving. This detailed information will show you very quickly where your friction points are.

When you think about it, if someone abandons your checkout process without completing it, you’ve only got yourself to blame. You’ve done all the hard work to convince the customer that they want to buy your product, then managed to talk them out of it with a poor checkout experience. Reducing the friction in your checkout process is one of the easiest ways to maximize your revenue.

Stay tuned from most posts by the secretive Web Marketing Ninja—a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing more of his tips undercover here at ProBlogger over the coming weeks.

A Visual to Illustrate Why I Use Newsletters to Promote My Posts

This is a graphic that I shared on Twitter late last week that illustrates, in part, why I use email newsletters on my photography blog.

The graphic was taken 12 hours after I sent my weekly newsletter and shows the traffic (visitor numbers) to a single post. The initial spike in traffic occurred when the post went live (that traffic was generated largely by RSS, Twitter, and Facebook). The second spike was almost completely achieved through the newsletter.

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In reality, the second spike was the larger of the two, as the screen shot was taken after only 12 hours, and I find that traffic increases following a newsletter mailout tend to last for around 36 hours.

Keep in mind that this graphic reflects traffic to a single post—each newsletter promotes between 20 and 30 links across the site (you can see this week’s newsletter here).

The actual traffic levels you achieve will depend on how many newsletter subscribers you have, but the principle remains. Email is not dead; in fact, it has the potential to drive a lot of traffic if you work to grow your subscriber numbers.

I use Aweber (aff) to drive my newsletters and I recommend that you consider them, too.

Blogging Tips from Pro Triathletes

This is a guest post by Mike CJ, co author of Beyond Blogging.

One of the businesses I consult with organizes triathlon events. Although my work is based around their blog and social media presence, I also enjoy getting stuck in as a general volunteer on the actual events.

The triathlon we run is called Ironman, and it consists of a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride and finished off with a 42.2km marathon. Our triathlon is renowned as the world’s toughest, as athletes have to endure our searing heat and a mountainous bike course.

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know several world-class, professional competitors, and it was while talking to one of them that the similarity between what they do and what bloggers do dawned on me.

It’s the details that count

Steve was explaining to me that the difference between being a winner and an “also-ran” in triathlon is about improving a wide range of factors, bit by bit, over time.

He said the mistake most amateurs make is to focus on what he called “The big one”— the biggest challenge. In triathlons, that’s almost always the bike discipline, or the marathon. Amateurs tend to work hardest on those areas, believing that there is a lot to be gained from the two longest legs.

He told me that they’ll work and work on one area, and then lose all the time they’ve gained in those legs on other parts of the race.

As a pro, he told me the secret to his success was to focus on improving every single element of his race by a small amount every week. As well as the obvious key phases of the race, he also concentrates on small details:

  • the swim start, running into the sea and getting into a stroke fast
  • stripping his wetsuit off while running to the transition area
  • getting sun cream on quickly
  • leaving his bike shoes strapped to the pedals and doing them up while riding
  • changing his seat height for the final few miles to get his legs ready for the run
  • dismounting from the bike and racking it fast
  • putting his running shoes on while running
  • planning his fluid intake during the race.

These are just a few examples, but he told me that he seeks to improve the efficiency of each of those factors by several per cent every year. In real terms, he may make up only a few seconds on each, but when they’re all added together, he improves by minutes every single year.

How to blog like a pro triathlete

We bloggers love to focus on the big stuff—changing our themes, writing an epic series of posts, or perhaps creating a new ebook or course.

But actually, it’s all the little things that add up to improve our traffic, increase our conversion rate and really move our blogs forward over time. Lasting progress is achieved in many small ways:

  • revisiting old posts to add internal links and improve them
  • adding new follow-ups to keep our email lists engaged
  • testing placement of adverts or calls to action to improve response rates
  • taking the time to follow commenters back to their blogs
  • creating sneeze pages to help new readers find relevant stuff
  • adding links to relevant past posts when we write new ones.

None of these tasks are interesting, fun or sexy, but find me a successful blog and I’ll show you a blogger who does them. All the time.

Mike CJ is a full time blogger and writer who lives in the idyllic Canary Islands. He’s co author of Beyond Blogging and you can find out more about him at Mike’s Life.

Five Ways to Prevent Email Overload

This guest posts is by Yael Grauer of http://yaelwrites.com.

One sure sign that your blog is getting more successful arises when you find yourself barraged with email from readers. The down-side to this attention is that it can take a very long time to answer individual requests for help.

Bogged down in too much email? Here are some suggestions for helping you find your way to a clear inbox sooner rather than later.

1. It’s all about the FAQ.

If you get asked the same questions over and over again, it’s a good idea to include it—along with any other common queries—in a comprehensive, well-written FAQ page. You can direct people to the FAQ in your contact page, cut and paste from your own FAQ as needed or, if you use Gmail, use your FAQ to take advantage of the tool’s canned responses feature.

2. Keep it short and sweet.

Who says a good email response has to be a novel? Seth Godin, who I’m sure gets more email than most of us could ever imagine, does a great job of responding to everyone who writes to him—often in a sentence or two. Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing fame took this a step further. “If this message is brief, it’s because I care,” his sig file reads, along with a link to a blog post explaining just that. Timely and concise emails may be just the trick you need to plow through that inbox.

3. Give answers for the masses.

Find a way to answer common questions publicly. Whether you schedule a free introductory conference call, have regular “open office” hours or twitterchats, answer questions in a podcast or video, or use reader questions as blogging or newsletter fodder, use techniques that allow you to spend time crafting an answer that reaches more of your audience. Others may well have the same question.

4. I have an ebook about that.

Develop or promote a product that will help answer your readers’ questions. This could be an ebook, paid consultation offer, or any of a number of products that will allow your readers to explore their questions in depth—and get the help they need. Don’t hesitate to mention the product if you think it would be helpful.

5. Make a referral.

If you’re too slammed to do consulting, you’re getting asked questions outside of your area of expertise, or you otherwise don’t have the type of product or service available that would really help your readers, be sure to pass them along to someone else who can help them. Your reader—and the person you refer them to—will likely be grateful for your recommendation.

What email management techniques have worked best for you and your blog?

Yael Grauer is a freelance writer and blogger who was thrust into the world of independent media when she started self-publishing at the age of 12. Find her at http://yaelwrites.com.

Win a BlogWorld Expo Pass Here Today!

Update: this competition has now ended. Winners are announced below.

Do you want to win a pass to Blog World Expo this year?

I have two – just for ProBlogger readers that the team at BWE have kindly offered. One even comes with a voucher to go towards your flights to BWE with South West Airlines!!!

Please read the following carefully to make sure you’re eligible and able to attend – we want these passes to be used by people who need them.

The prizes

There are two prizes as follows:

  1. A full access pass to the whole of Blog World Expo (worth $1195) – that’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s sessions, the exhibit floor, all the parties and the social media business summit. This one also comes with a voucher to go towards your flights to BWE flying with South West Airlines ($300 value).
  2. A Weekend Pass to Blog World Expo (worth $495) – this one gives you access to the sessions on Friday and Saturday as well as all three parties and the exhibit floor.

Important Notes:

  • BWE is on from 14-16 October – please only enter this if you’re able to attend!
  • in both prizes you’ll need to arrange your own accommodation.
  • with prize #2 you’ll need to arrange your own travel.
  • the competition is open to people around the world but to international readers you’ll need to make sure you can get there under your own steam.
  • please note that these prizes are for those who have not already got tickets. We’re not able to organise refunds on previously purchased tickets but this is to get a couple of extra ProBlogger readers along.
  • You can enter both competitions but only once per competition.

How to Enter

I’m going to effectively run two competitions here. One for each prize. I’ll draw the winners in 36 hours time so this is a quick competition. You can enter both competitions but only once per competition.

Competition #1 – to be in the running to win prize #1(full access pass with the travel voucher) you need to tweet out your desire to win a ticket.

The tweet needs to include a shout out to @blogworld and @southwestair as well as the hashtag #PbBWEPass. I’ll randomly choose someone tweeting that and notify them via Twitter (so please make sure you follow @problogger so I can DM you).

Competition #2 – to be in the running to win prize #2 (the weekend pass) simply leave a comment below. Please include the word ‘blogworld’ so I make sure none of your comments get caught in my spam filter. I’ll notify the winner by the email address that they leave with their comment.

Prizes will be drawn 36 hours after this post goes live to enable winners to make their travel arrangements. That’s 4pm Melbourne time on Sunday 3rd October.

Good Luck Everyone!

Update: Thanks to everyone who entered – I’m closing this now and will get in touch with the winners shortly. Congrats to @jenwilsonphoto and Alison Golden who won!

How to Assess Blog Content Submissions

When Darren announced he’d hired a Content Manager, one fan commented that she hoped this would ensure greater consistency in the quality of guest posts published on ProBlogger.

That comment points to a conundrum that every blogger faces: how can we assess guest submissions objectively? We probably find it easy to differentiate between a fabulous post and a terrible post, but it’s the gray areas that are more challenging.

Often, we’re too close to our content to be truly objective, and we can spend ages trying to workout what to publish and what to reject. The frustration associated with that can see us throw up our hands and decide to accept any submission that isn’t an absolute shocker.

Obviously, that’s not a great approach—if your guest posters aren’t up to scratch, your readership is likely to be disappointed. Over time, this can make it very difficult to maintain loyalty and, in the long run, it can damage your brand.

Who are you to judge?

If you’re early in your blogging career, you can take the approach that you’re not really experienced enough to judge others’ work. You’ve only been blogging for x months; who are you to reject someone else’s writing? After all, you’re probably trying to submit guest posts to sites yourself at the same time, and you’ll want them accepted. Should you be rejecting the work of bloggers who are in the same position as you?

I once faced precisely this dilemma on a site I was running. Who was I, I asked myself, to sort the good from the bad? There were plenty of approaches to writing that I didn’t like, but that didn’t mean they weren’t good, or valid, or worthy, right?

There was one author in particular who could clearly write, but I didn’t enjoy her work. It was nothing personal; it just was not my thing. I published her anyway—multiple times. The opportunity she gained through my site helped her to obtain book deals, and she’s now an internationally published author. She’s commented to me many times that her publication on my site inspired her to keep going—it gave her faith that she could succeed and helped increase her exposure to peers and publishers.

That might seem like proof that we should publish everything that’s not overtly awful, but it’s not. That one fabulously fulfilling success story is offset by the multitude of bad publishing decisions I made that reduced the overall standing of that site over time. It was the only site in its niche, yet it couldn’t lead the market, since it didn’t represent the best. True, it did include the best, but it also included a lot of less-than-best content.

Getting serious about submissions

If you’ve been less than stringent with your submissions acceptance policy, it’s probably time to get serious about guest submissions to your site.

The first step is to stop seeing your site as a channel (for the sake of this exercise, anyway), and start seeing it as a product in itself. Every piece of content you publish augments that product—for better or worse. Stop thinking “well, this post could interest my readers” and start asking if it will positively, actively develop your product.

In this context, it doesn’t take bad content to undermine your site. All it takes is content that doesn’t agree with your philosophy, support your direction, or speak to your readers the way you want to.

It might seem like this perspective will expand the gray areas of submissions assessment—even the good submissions can be bad now?!—but the fact is that having this as the foundation of your assessment process makes the job much easier.

Now that you’re thinking of your blog as a product, work out, in very specific terms, what it is about your product that people like. Perhaps it’s your practical focus. Perhaps it’s your emphasis on a certain specialization within your niche. Perhaps it’s your personality.

Once you’ve identified these aspects, you’ll effectively have a checklist that you can use as a very basic means to assess every submission you get.

Every time you receive a coherent piece of writing, you’ll get out your checklist. Does it have a solid, practical outcome? Does it address your specialization, or is it too broad? Does it have personality? If you answer yes to all three questions, you could be onto something.

The other great thing about this approach? It makes it easy to identify submissions with potential.

Perhaps you’ve got a good submission that just doesn’t quite have a strong enough focus on practical outcomes. Great. Now that you’ve identified this, you can write back to the blogger and invite them to add more practical information—you’ll probably even be able to suggest ways they might achieve that.

This is how I approach submissions acceptance for any publication I work with. What techniques do you use to work out which guest posts you’ll use?

15 Tips for Getting the Most out of Blog World Expo

Blog World Expo (aff) is approaching and I’m getting really excited about heading to Vegas for the third year running to do some teaching, meet some amazing bloggers, and learn from some of the best in the business.

Last week, while on a Ustream Live Chat, I was bombarded with questions by first-time BWE attendees who wanted to know how to get the most out of the conference. I thought it might be helpful to jot down a few tips for the first-time BWE attendees among us.

1. Create a Twitter list of people going to BWE

I did this earlier in the year for SXSW and it was very helpful. Simply identify people in your current network—and out of it—who are going to BWE, and compile them into a Twitter list (it need not be public).

The benefit of doing this is two-fold:

  • You’ll be able to get to know people who will be attending before you get there. Perhaps this is just something that appeals to me as a shy guy, but having some sort of connection with people before you rock up does make the real-life interactions you’ll have a lot easier.
  • You’ll be able to find people a little more easily once you’re there. There are times where BWE can be a little overwhelming: hundreds of faces, and no idea where to go or what to do. Being able to dip into your Twitter list at these moments can help you get a sense of where your people are and what they’re doing.

Your Twitter list is also handy after the event, to keep in touch with those you meet. If you do this, make sure you add @problogger which is the ID I’ll be tweeting under at BWE this year.

2. Follow the #bwe10 hashtag

This has similar benefits to the point above. Dipping into this tweet stream gives you a snapshot of what’s going on at any moment of BWE, but in the lead-up, it also gives you a sense of who else is going—perhaps you’ll want to get to know them before you get there.

3. Take your business cards

It might seem a little strange that people going to a conference that’s focused on virtual relationships would still use business cards, but they do.

You need not spend a fortune on business cards. Even a simple business card with your contact details gives you something to hand to those you meet. If it leads to just one fruitful relationship at the conference, the expense of having them printed could easily be covered.

If you’re feeling creative, try a card that’s a little different. As I look back on the last few conferences I’ve been to, it’s often those with creative cards that stand out to me. I’m not sure whether it’s just me, but a card that makes me look twice usually helps to cement an interaction in my mind.

Having said that, one of the cards I remember from last year was a photocopied card with a guy’s story and photo on it. It was very low-budget and basic, but the story made me laugh and got my attention.

Oh, and try to include Twitter (or other relevant social media) handles on your card. Also get in the habit of following people as soon as you can after meeting them. I generally go through cards at the end of the night and do a mass follow of those I meet to reinforce the relationships.

4. Consider why you’re attending

Blog World is many things for many different people. Some attend to network, some to learn, some to build their profile, some to be seen, some to show off a product…

Think about why you’re attending before you get there. What are your goals for the event?

Time flies at BWE, so knowing what your goals are will shape the way you use your time. Not being clear on your goals could mean that you go home having achieved little.

Your goals will lead you to attend certain teaching sessions. They could help you to identify which people you want to meet, and what meetups and events you’ll want to hang out at.

If you goal is to go to BWE to learn something, come up with a list of things you want to discover before you go. I did this two years back, and it helped me to find sessions that were relevant to me, and gave me good questions to ask in those sessions. It also helped me in conversations to learn from others there.

5. Think about how you’ll introduce yourself

This one comes from the “shy guy” tip archive. Something that has always helped me at these kinds of events is to do a little thinking about how I’ll introduce myself. How will I take that opportunity that often comes at the start of a conversation when people ask what I do?

Some might call it an elevator pitch, but having a sense of what you want to communicate to people before you even get to BWE can be helpful. As a blogger, it may be that you want to get word out about your blog, for instance. Having a sentence or two that explains what your blog is, and what problem it solves, could be useful.

6. Organize your first meetup

This is another shy-guy technique that I’ve used a lot over the years. The anxiety of showing up at an event like this and not knowing anyone can really get to some people. What I learned is that if I tee up a couple of face-to-face catch-ups early in the conference, I more quickly find myself getting involved in the event.

So take your research into who else is attending, and attempt to hook up for a quick coffee with someone that you want to meet on the first day. You might even come clean with them and tell them that you don’t know anyone and would love to meet them.

If there’s a group of people in a niche that know each other online, but have never met, you might try to organize a group meetup on the first morning. In doing so you could just become the “go-to” person in the group.

I find that if I get organized like this before I go, I’m much more likely to find people to hang out with for the rest of the conference.

7. Choose some sessions to attend

I hate to admit this, but last year at BWE I found it very hard to get to sessions because I was rushed off my feet speaking and meeting with people. However the year before I got a lot more out of the teaching, because I put some time aside to organize the session side of things before I went. The BWE scheduler lets you create a personal schedule pretty quickly. Use it.

Keep in mind that some sessions are quite heavily focused on the beginner. So you might want to try to assess the level of each session before you go, and consider going to sessions on topics that you know nothing about. Sometimes it’s the off-topic sessions that are the most interesting.

Don’t forget that this year I’m running a full day of ProBlogger training (with Chris Garrett) on the Thursday of BWE. If you’re coming please do mark it on your schedule to let us know you’ll be there.

8. Decide how to capture it

Two years ago I left home for BWE with a very heavy bag of gear: a DSLR, extra lens, flash, backup compact digital camera, iPhone, video camera, laptop, notebook (plus all the chargers for all the devices)… I had dreams of taking loads of photos and video that I could use on my blog when I got home.

I could also barely walk.

The reality was that I used little of the gear.

I can’t tell you what to bring, but would suggest that you try to pack light and think carefully about what you need. It’ll depend a little on your goals and workflow, but you’ll probably need something to write with, something to take pictures with, and, if you use video, something basic to record that.

BWE is a great place to create content. There are so many people from so many niches that it’s great to do interviews with people and tweet or blog live. But if you’re like me, you may find that you don’t use half of the gear you bring.

9. Preschedule your blog with content

The great thing about Blog World is that while you’re there you’re going to be connecting with a lot of other bloggers. You’ll talk about your blog and people will want to check it out.

I know one blogger last year who told me that they got their biggest days of traffic while at BWE because those attending would visit it and were linking up to it.

As a result, it’s an opportune time to have some good, fresh content up on your blog. So don’t just let your blog sit dormant while you’re at BWE—try to have a few posts scheduled to publish.

Also try to stay active on Twitter while you’re there. Lots of BWE attendees tweet during the event and it’s a great way to reinforce your relationships with people.

10. Dress for comfort

I often get asked, “What should I wear to BWE?” I remember asking it myself—and stressing about it quite a bit, too. On reflection, I don’t really remember what anyone was wearing. My only real impression was that it was pretty relaxed.

As I look back on some of the photos I took, I see there was a wide range of levels of dress. A few people dressed up, but most people were pretty casual.

I’d probably suggest throwing in something a little smarter for the evening parties, but unless you’re speaking or have a booth you can probably get away with jeans and a T-shirt or a simple shirt. I tend to stick with jeans and a button-up shirt and have never felt out of place.

If still in doubt on what to wear, head to Flickr and do a search for BlogWorld or BWE09 to see what others are wearing.

11. Create a list of action items

One of the problems with attending conferences is that you can learn some amazing things in both sessions and conversation, but then go home and do nothing. It can be a lot of fun and very informing, but unless it impacts what you do, it’s kind of empty.

As a result I recommend that you take some time out each day (or at numerous times during the day) to create a list of action items that you’re going to work through when you get home.

Last year, I created this list on my iPhone, and three or four times per day would jot down points that really hit me as I listened to other people—ideas that I wanted to put in place for myself.

Items included the people I wanted to follow up on, posts I wanted to write, tweaks to my designs, topics I wanted to learn more about, and so on.

At the end of the conference I went through the list, prioritized it, and got the tasks done.

12. Be present

A challenge that many people find at social media events is to actually be present at them. We spend all this time and money getting to the events, but then spend a lot of our time on Twitter, creating videos, live blogging… In the end, we don’t really stop and just be an attendee.

As a result, we can miss a lot of the good stuff that’s said in sessions. We can also be so distracted that our conversations don’t go to the depth that they could, so we don’t make the connections with those around us that we should.

13. Mix big groups, small groups, one-on-one, and me time

Mix up the type of interactions you have at Blog World.

At BWE, there are some great bigger gatherings. The keynote sessions and parties can be quite inspiring, although some do find them overwhelming, as you realize that you’re a part of a movement that’s bigger than yourself—something I find it’s good to be reminded of as a guy who spends most of his time alone typing on his computer!

However, if you only spend time in the big groups at BWE, you could be missing out on the opportunities to connect a little deeper in smaller group interactions.

Earlier in the year I had one fantastic afternoon and evening where I had almost the perfect mix of interactions:

  • it all started with a nap in my room (as an introvert, I need my cave time).
  • Then I caught up with a group of ten bloggers in someone’s house for a few drinks and some relaxed chatting about life, blogging, and the niches we were in.
  • Dinner was with a group of about 25 people—it was more of a networking opportunity.
  • After dinner we attended one of the big big parties that happens at SXSW. I met loads of people but didn’t really get too deep with anyone.

I got home that night and felt it’d be a great combination of activities—there were lots of opportunities for deeper conversations and relationship building, and while the party wasn’t overly relational, it was good to get around and meet lots of people. I was even able to catch up with some of them again the next day.

I know some people prefer to only do the small group thing, while others are more drawn to the big events, but I find a combination of both (with some me time to keep me sane) helps me achieve the most.

Also keep in mind that while the sessions at BWE can be great, a lot of the networking happens in the corridors between sessions, on the Expo Floor, in the Blogger room, and in the evenings at parties.

14. Get out of your comfort zone

Let me finish with one last piece of advice: make the most of the few days you have at BWE and get a little out of your comfort zone.

BWE is an awesome opportunity on many fronts. Where else in the world are you sharing an experience with thousands of online publishers and influencers?

The potential that relationships and learnings from BWE can open up for you is quite massive, so whether you’re a natural conference goer or not, resolve to make the most of the time you have there, and get out and meet as many people as you can.

I’ve always found people to be very approachable at BWE. Speakers aren’t whisked away at the end of sessions, and most don’t mind being stopped in the hall to chat. Even better than that, some of the most interesting people are probably sitting next to you in sessions.

They might not all have big names or be Internet celebrities, but among your fellow attendees are some amazing people who you could learn a lot from, and who you may end up having a fruitful relationships and friendship with.

So push yourself a little this BWE to meet some people who you might not meet unless you bite the bullet and say hi to somebody new!

15. Take tips from fellow BWE attendees

Lets finish with some tips from your fellow attendees—some people you might want to put on your BWE twitter list. I asked on Twitter a few days back what tips my followers would give for BWE and here are some of the responses:

Don’t try and meet everyone. Find the people you connect with and get to know them well!—@CatherineCaine

Ooh, and plan beforehand on how you’re going to use the info and business cards you get!—@CatherineCaine

Based on ur objectives, create a plan of action for the 3 days like which sessions/events to attend & who to meet—@rabeidoh

Have an idea of what you want to do ahead of time but mostly, have fun & don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new people—@LaraKulpa

stay out of conference room. mingle in the streets. seek out the conversation destinations. that’s where the real talk happens—@SimplyOptimal

if waffling between going to a panel or connecting 1:1 with someone, go for the personal connection. Better long term—@ahockley

my tip for #bwe10 is to make your own crowd—@tedmurphy

Have specific objectives b4 you arrive. Network, network, network. Follow up with a personal note when you return home—@altmarketing

carry your phone charger with you AT ALL TIMES! (If you can, an extra charger) It’s good for you & you’ll make new friends.—@Ribeezie

I’m really looking forward to Blog World Expo this year and hope to catch up with you there. If you’re still not booked in, grab your ticket today. If you’re coming, please do drop by one of my sessions and/or the ProBlogger booth on the exhibitor floor, where I’ll be spending more time this year!