There are many affiliate programs in the iGaming industry. It’s become a powerful marketing tool – one which is both effective and still affordable. Yet, these programs are still one of the least understood and most abused systems available in advertising today.
One of the biggest mistakes that programs make is taking on new affiliates without considering ongoing retention. Once these connections are established, they need to be managed and made profitable.
That’s where “customer culture” comes in.
Creating positive customer culture values will benefit you and your affiliates long term. But what is customer culture, and why is it crucial?
To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it works.
What is customer culture?
The biggest misconception about customer culture is that it’s the same as customer service – it’s not. Instead, it focuses on understanding what your affiliate needs and how your company, program or brand should provide for this. Then, you need to develop a system which meets those requirements.
In other words, it’s hugely customer-centric. It demands that you match what you provide to what a customer, or in this case, an affiliate marketer wants. Customer culture is defining who you speak to and why they need to listen. It’s about ensuring that your brand recognition is carried through every touchpoint an affiliate has with your program, from the first welcome email you send to the first conversation they have with an affiliate manager in your business – whether in-person or via email. This means making sure that your brand, tone of voice and unique selling point(s) are all at the core of all you do.
You need to make affiliates feel like they’re more than just another gear in the system. Instead, affiliates should be valued members of your program and an extension of your internal marketing team. The way you engage and work together requires considering your affiliates as part of the business and corporate culture. The values you share internally need to be the same ones you share externally in your program too.
In affiliate marketing, this means establishing a solid relationship between the affiliate and manager. This relationship link must then be sustained and nurtured by both parties. Most critically, it needs to fix the disconnect between program managers and their marketers.
Why applying customer culture is important in iGaming
Building a customer culture is an art form. It’s meant to ensure that affiliates stay loyal to you and your casino. To do that, start by understanding your affiliate’s journey. From onboarding to generating a consistent flow of customers and revenue – you need to know it all.
It’s this understanding that’ll help you improve your customer culture. It’ll also create a system that keeps affiliates engaged and promoting you. However, to create a successful one, you should nurture and work with your affiliates. You can’t focus solely on driving traffic and memberships.
You need to convince them that you offer the most rewarding relationship. Constant two-way feedback and interaction are invaluable in building a sustainable culture.
Three tips for establishing yourself as a brand ambassador
If you want to set your program apart, there are certain things you can do as part of establishing your customer culture. Here are our top three tips:
1. Treat your affiliates like partners, not suppliers.
Don’t treat affiliates as content and money-generating machines. Instead, consider them as your valued partners and team members. Treat them with respect, and work with them continuously.
2. Encourage open communication and recommend campaign improvements.
Feedback should go two ways, and open communication will always be vital. Keep in mind that your affiliates may also have constructive feedback that can help improve your program.
The worst mistake you can make is to onboard your affiliates, and then leave them to their own devices to try and figure out how best to market your brands and services. Help them understand your customer values, and help them to get the right assets and information to push these messages in their own platforms to engage audiences exactly as you would.
3. Structure vs. creative freedom.
Structure and processes can help your affiliates by providing guidelines and tools that they can use to generate more traffic. However, within that structure, you need to allow your affiliates to have a little creative freedom.
While structure can help with consistency, giving your affiliates some freedom to get creative with your marketing values can enable them to create innovative content that’ll benefit you both and push your messages harder.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best methods for online casinos to establish their brands and bring in new players. Unfortunately, there are many online brands and a plethora of affiliate programs to choose from.
If you want to build a profitable, long-lasting relationship with affiliates, you need a positive customer culture. It’s essential to focus on the wellbeing and success of your affiliates.
Remember to support and listen continuously. Be open to feedback and provide advice when necessary. Treat them as a valued part of your marketing team, and you’ll find that they’ll be far more willing to invest time and effort into promoting you.
Creating a successful affiliate program requires strong business relationships. Networking events are a great place to build these; come and learn in our community at next month’s Digital Marketing Mixer.
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