Finding quality programs to promote will ultimately be the key to your long term success. I like to build my sites around quality programs. As I’m sure you are aware from my other posts I prefer to opt for revenue share working with well known UK brands. You should never simply select a program to promote just because someone tells you so. You should spend at least a little time doing your own research not from just an affiliate’s point of view but a player’s point of view also.
Here are the processes I go through when testing out a new program.
Program Landing Page
As an affiliate my job is to push my visitors to the operators landing page. The operators landing page should be well designed, have great calls to action plus of course do it upmost to entice the reader to sign up with perhaps special deposit offers etc. If the landing page is poor then of course it is going to affect my conversions.
Sing Up Process
I will always sign up to the program as a player so I can simply check out the sign up process. The sign up process should be smooth and easy. At this stage though I will not make any deposit.
How the program handles new sign ups is of great importance to me. I would expect a welcome email but perhaps also a great offer to entice me to make my first deposit. I also expect the program to email me again within a couple of days if I have not made a deposit. I don’t want the program to bombarded new sign ups with daily emails but I do expect the program to do their upmost to tempt me to do so. Great programs will email long term no depositors at least on a monthly basis to entice them to sign deposit.
Testing The Actual Game Play
Prior to making a deposit I will always log in to the site simply to see what the site has to offer for those who have not yet made a deposit. Poker sites will offer free rolls, casino will offer free play slots whilst bingo sites may offer free bingo games at certain times. If the program is engaging those yet to have made a deposit at least some of these players will convert at a later date. Many programs even have software triggers so that when a non depositor returns to their site even to play for free the site will again email them.
Real Money Play
After a week or two I will make deposit at the site. I will test the real money play plus I will take a good look around the site. I will also contact support to see how long it takes to get a reply. Remember I’m looking for quality. I’m happy to leave the sites with poor marketing, poor game play and support to other affiliates.
A good operator will do a great job marketing existing players. I would expect that at least once per month the operator will email all players on their database informing them of the sites latest promotions. Remember I always prefer a revenue share deal, so if the operator is doing a great job getting players to redeposit then they are in effect making money for me.
When one of the operators I promote runs a TV ad campaign this always results in my sites getting increased traffic which of course leads to increase conversions and revenue. One of the sites I promote ran a two week TV ad earlier this year. My signups for that site alone, increased to over 200 for that one month. You simply do not get that from some of the smaller programs.
I will be honest and say that many affiliate programs have poor support. Ask any affiliate and they will tell you that they have been frustrated time and time again trying to get hold of their account manager. The simple truth is that great account managers are few and far between. The turnover of staff on some of the smaller programs can be extremely frustrating. You build up a great working relationship with one account manager only to find out he has moved on elsewhere. Great account managers though are not going to be leaving the industry so I tend to follow them as they progress up the ladder. I’m very loyal to both great affiliate programs and of course account managers as I realise just how much they are worth to me.
I only work with UK affiliate programs. These are tried and trusted so I don’t have to worry about them going under like some of the affiliate programs that accept US players. I also don’t have to worry about being screwed. I know many US affiliates prefer to stick to their own demographic so they on the whole bypass UK programs as UK programs do not allow US players. I believe this is a mistake as there are many emerging markets in Europe far easier to target than the US or UK. It is also clear to me then when the US regulate online gambling the UK sites will be amongst the market leaders in the new US market. Remember I’m in this industry for the long term.
I will also say I don’t like to work with programs that have a negative carry over policy. Most UK sites apart from Bet365 have a no negative carry over policy. Sorry but whilst Bet365 retain this policy they will never be one of the main sites I promote.
Another important factor to check out before deciding on a site to promote is what charges will be made against your revenue share. Of course in most cast players bonuses will be deducted but also there may be charges for deposit and withdrawals. I’m happy for these deductions if they are reasonable and of course as long as I secure a better than the standard advertised rev share deal. You need to keep an eye on any charges so you can calculate your net rev share income.
If I’m unable to contact my account manager then the alarm bells start to ring. I do realise that account managers have a tough job looking after hundreds of affiliates, but It only takes a few second to send an email stating that they are busy and will get back to me later. I have a great solution to account managers that are difficult to get hold of. I simply don’t work with them! It’s as simple as that!
So as you can see I’m very picky about which sites I promote. If an operator does a poor job emailing their client base, then I will lose money. If the operators landing page is not 100% then I will lose money. If the operator’s player support is poor then this will result in player moving on to another site, so again I will lose money. If the operator has a poor marketing strategy then I will lose money. I’m looking for the maximum ROI possible so I don’t want to throw money away working with poor operators.
Smaller programs may offer me a higher rev share deal but long term the big brands simply will always make me more money!
So before even building your site do your research as a player and of course as an affiliate. Good affiliate managers will be happy to answer your emails before you sign up to their program.