- What is An Affiliate Program?
- Set Your Affiliate Marketing Goals
- Research Your Niche and Competitors
- Create Your Commission Offer and Program Structure
- Recruit and Screen Affiliates
- Track Affiliates and Adjust As Needed
- Effective Marketing Channels for Recruiting Affiliates
- What's next?
Do you want to attract more players, create a buzz around your iGaming business and cultivate your online gaming platform brand’s reputation?
You might want to consider starting an affiliate program.
An affiliate marketing program can help grow your player base and build brand loyalty. Plus, it enables you to keep up with the competition. Affiliate marketing spend is slated to exceed $8 billion by 2022, up from $5.4 billion in 2017.
There is a movement that marketing specialists cannot ignore anymore. When we talk about bringing new players that will stay and continue playing on your iGaming platform a little longer than usual, there is no way not to mention affiliate marketing.
Affiliate partners create helpful content for their communities, they do research, show statistics and infographics, use influential marketing and build trust. But the most interesting part is – they share links and refer to relevant and reliable online casino and sportsbook providers.
This guide will help you understand what affiliate marketing is and walk you through each step in starting an affiliate program for your iGaming business.
What is An Affiliate Program? #
An affiliate marketing program offers a commission to loyal players or influencers that recommend your iGaming products or services to friends or followers.
You’ll decide how much commission to pay and other criteria that your affiliate partners must meet. Then, qualified affiliate partners receive a unique link that they can share in blog posts, reviews or social media posts. You’ll pay a commission for every sale that is made through that link.
Affiliate partners are often social media influencers, bloggers with a sizable following or even business consultants who recommend various online gaming content and services. They may be loyal players of the online gaming businesses they promote or rely on affiliate programs as a source of income.
Affiliate marketing can be a tricky concept at first, but creating an affiliate program is relatively simple.
You’ll need to think carefully about what will work best for your iGaming business. But with a little planning and the right tools at your disposal, you’ll start off on the right foot.
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Set Your Affiliate Marketing Goals #
As with any new marketing initiative, the first key step is setting performance-based goals.
Think about what outcomes you would like to see. Do you want to increase gaming revenue? Attract a certain type of players? Build players loyalty?
Your chosen goals will determine your affiliate program’s structure and the KPIs you should track to measure its success.
Research Your Niche and Competitors #
Next, you’ll need to build a deep understanding of your niche. You’ll want to research your target audience, competitors and key influencers or bloggers in this space.
When researching competitors, pay attention to whether they offer affiliate programs and how they are structured. Take note of how much they pay affiliate partners and how their affiliate programs are made up. This way, you’ll make sure that you can offer something comparable and attract effective partners.
You’ll also need to take note of the kinds of affiliates that are active in your niche. Like the online casino review site and this ranking of community online gaming platform, many research-heavy niches have a group of websites that rank or review online casino website.
If this is true of your niche, your iGaming audience will likely rely on these sites to make betting decisions. You’ll need to structure your affiliate program to entice these kinds of websites and get more exposure for your online gaming brand.
But in other niches, such as marketing or SaaS, social media influencers may be much more common. In this case, you might require your affiliates to have a certain number of followers or post about your online casino website at a certain interval.
Create Your Commission Offer and Program Structure #
With your affiliate marketing program goals and niche research in hand, it’s time to start brainstorming about what your affiliate program can offer and what it will bring your iGaming business in return.
First, you’ll want to decide how much you will pay in commission. The commission rate needs to make you attractive to affiliates while still keeping the program profitable.
Consider some of the following criteria to set your commission fee:
- How much do you typically spend to attract one new player?
- How much gaming revenue does one player typically generate for your online gaming website in their lifetime?
- What percentage of new players become repeat or regular players?
- Can you count on your sales to have a high average order value?
Answering these questions should give you an idea of the range of compensation you can offer affiliate partners.
Next, consider what your competitors are offering and how you can stand out. Think about whether you’ll offer a flat commission per sale or a percentage of the gaming revenue, whether you’ll offer cash or store credit and how long affiliate codes or links will be active for receiving commissions.
Once you’ve established what you’ll offer affiliates, you need to decide what you’ll require from them.
You could also ask your affiliate partners to include photos in their posts, add a personal note or endorsement or use certain hashtags associated with your online gaming website brand.
You can even ask affiliate partners to use a certain call-to-action and display your logo.
Lastly, you’ll need to decide if your affiliates need to meet any other criteria in order to qualify for your program.
Here are some common affiliate criteria:
- Number of followers or subscribers
- Average monthly website traffic
- Player loyalty, i.e., number of purchases they have made from you
- Blogging or content creation schedule
- Presence on certain social media platforms
Your affiliate criteria can be as strict or as loose as you like, depending on your iGaming business goals. If your online gaming business has a long sales cycle or tends to retain players for years, you may want to consider having stricter criteria and longer partnerships with your affiliate partners.
Recruit and Screen Affiliates #
At this point, you should be ready to market your affiliate program to influencers, bloggers and other qualified affiliate partners.
You can approach this in several ways. One option is to use an affiliate network, which works similarly to a recruiting firm for typical hiring. The network will use your criteria to find the right affiliate partners for your iGaming business.
Affiliate networks can be an easy and fast way to jumpstart your affiliate marketing program, but they’re often expensive to work with and may not give you access to your affiliate information.
A more affordable and sustainable option is marketing the affiliate program yourself.
Announce it through your typical marketing channels to attract loyal players, but also be sure to engage in direct outreach and marketing efforts to influencers and established affiliates in your niche.
One creative yet successful method that’s been gaining popularity lately is using lead generation quizzes to attract new affiliates to your program:
You can also use these quizzes to qualify an affiliate and get them excited about the possibility of joining your affiliate program.
But don’t forget that this page will need to be found by potential affiliate marketers. You might consider working with a SEO agency to give your affiliate program page a boost on Google. You can then work with your PR team or agency to reach out to specific influencers that you’d like to personally invite to the program.
Once you’ve reached an agreement with an affiliate partner, give them your requirements and criteria and have them sign a contract agreeing to those terms.
Track Affiliates and Adjust As Needed #
Recruiting affiliate partners is an ongoing process as you work toward your goals. In the meantime, you’ll need to set up and refine your payment system for tracking and paying affiliates.
You can use affiliate software for iGaming business to manage everything related to your affiliate partners. That includes signed agreements, length of the contract, total of turnover or gaming revenue, payment schedules and more.
As you roll out your affiliate program, expect to find some issues you need to resolve. You may have to modify your commission structure or affiliate criteria to make sure you’re attracting the right affiliate partners and influencers for your iGaming niche.
It’s smart to get feedback from early recruits to your affiliate program for iGaming sector. They can let you know what’s working and what’s not so you can adjust before your numbers grow too high.
Effective Marketing Channels for Recruiting Affiliates #
Now let’s talk about marketing channels. What are the most effective ones to bring more affiliate partners? Here are some suggestions:
Start your digital marketing by creating exponentially meaningful brand experiences by making it more visible and accessible to more affiliate partners #
Find affiliates online to promote your program via Social Media, consider search ads, place banners on relevant platforms. Doing B2B marketing also requires knowing the rules, one of which being don’t rely only on SEO. Start writing helpful blog posts, build an email list and create newsletters.
Find relevant communities to build brand awareness, increase leads, and drive conversions #
You will be surprised to find so many affiliate communities in iGaming sector. Starting from big players to numerous forums, groups on social media platforms, the industry has a wide range of communities. Find your tribe by connecting and engaging with the ones which are a good fit with your brand positioning.
Visit conferences and events for more connections #
Every year numerous affiliate events being held around the world. Depending on your market you can choose and attend only the ones that fit your iGaming business the best. London Affiliate Conference is definitely the one to check. You can also add to your list iGB Affiliate Amsterdam, iGB Affiliate Lisbon, Kyiv Affiliate Conference, to name the most popular ones.
What’s next? #
Starting an affiliate program for your iGaming business is a great way to increase your online gaming business’s reach and build players loyalty.
In order to start a successful affiliate program, you need to be consistent in your marketing strategy, develop your online gaming platform, and more important – be player-oriented. With a little planning and research, you’ll be able to define your ideal affiliate partner and create a structure that benefits both you and your affiliates as well as your player.
As you market your program and recruit your first affiliates, be sure to adjust where needed to stay on track with your iGaming business goals and bridge the gap between operators and affiliates by linking the right casinos and bookmakers with the right affiliates for them.
Continue to build good relationships with your affiliates partners and players and watch your iGaming business grow.