We asked, you listened! At AffiliateINSIDER, we wanted to know how affiliates/operators were dealing with COVID-19. We put together some of the contributions from some of the experts so you could hear their view. Stay tuned to find out how you could be part of our next Affiliate Soapbox feature.
AI: Do you think Affiliate Marketing has become more important during COVID for your business to reach and engage new customers?
MR: I wouldn’t necessarily say it has become more important as affiliate marketing has been one of our most valued channels pre, during and post covid for sure. As the situation stays uncertain and players might be more careful with spending I think it is important to keep on reaching to a larger player base through affiliate marketing while making sure there are efficient RG procedures in place to protect those that are in a vulnerable state.
AI: Which vertical have you seen spike in sales (Casino, Bingo, Poker, Sports (which sports in particular), Lottery, e Sports – or other?) Has it changed since lockdown ended?
MR: We only do casino at the moment so from personal experience I can’t reply. But I’ve seen several operators having tough time as big sport events like Euros and Olympics being postponed, including several national leagues cut short. But at the same time eSports seem to have picked up lot of that hype and there’s consistent talk about poker stepping up and I think this has been crucial for the operators with strong sport focus. Then again casino has been here always and I have also seen lot of statements that operators are focusing more on their casino product and promotions to gain back losses on other products. Of course you won’t be able to turn those hard core bettors to permanently change over to other products but maybe even they enjoy being occupied with other types of entertainment until the big events return.
AI: Do you think affiliate marketing will continue to grow and play a vital role for industry and business growth in 2021?
AB: I think the majority of affiliates are finding it increasingly more difficult to acquire new customers for operators, especially as the regulations continue to tighten. Whether you’re a sports betting affiliate or a casino affiliate, there are now a number of hoops to jump through before you can publish the latest details of a promotion and it regularly means having to consult with an affiliate manager on the operator side. That said, a number of bookmakers still rely on their affiliate base for a significant chunk of new accounts. It’s not ideal that there have been mergers in recent years although there are still a healthy number of operators where we enjoy a successful betting affiliate relationship.
AI: What is your biggest pain point being experienced as an Affiliate or Affiliate Manager right now?
AB: As an affiliate is a constant struggle with Google algorithm and keeping up with the competition in a very saturated market. We currently focus on Finland and there´s also the possible regulation of the market that is looming on the horizon..let´s hope it´s done in a better way as in Sweden.
AI: What are your business expectations as we move to 2021 and how do you see the Affiliate Marketing Landscape changing?
MF: Before the Covid-19 isolation period, people used to travel to work and spend on average 1 hour getting ready for the day and travelling to the office. You would think, now with that extra free time, your potential and current clients would have more time to answer Skype, emails and social media messages. During the first 2 months of the Covid isolation period, I found great difficulty getting people to find the time to get back to me, the main reason was that many casinos found themselves with a greater flow of traffic.
Patience and perseverance paid off. I do feel that the response time has improve in the last month. I found LinkedIn to be extremely helpful when trying to send an introductory contact. I thought, since all land-based conferences have been cancelled and/or scheduled to a later date, nobody really can see me or the services I am offering. I tried to find ways to get the GPWA name out there. The Digital Marketing Mixer, virtual conferences, interviews and online panels gave me an excellent platform to make our services visible and easier to digest.
This strategy has definitely been very helpful and even if land-based conferences are back on, I will still keep my new way of networking as part of my marketing strategy. I think a key aspect that can also help you improve the relationship with your new clients is to make sure to provide the best service you can offer (customer support on steroids) before, during and after you have acquired the client. The way you deliver your services and assistance, will make you stand out and can make a huge difference. You must gather some knowledge about the client before you approach them and listen to them. This will help you prepare a custom-made proposal to satisfied their needs. Enjoy the process, because if you don’t feel happy with what you are doing, then you must find a suitable path for you. Life is too short.