Cost Considerations for Affiliates

Things like cost and developing a strategy should be at the top of your list of considerations

If you are thinking of becoming an affiliate in the iGaming industry, you have to assess what it will take to achieve a successful business venture. Things like cost and developing a strategy should be at the top of your list of considerations.

THE REALITY is that there is no magic formula and no exact timeframe that will guarantee financial success in affiliate maiieting. What you also need to consider in order to calculate costs are the tools that ave at vour disposal, your marketing channels, your knowledge of the industry you are in, and how much time you are willing to invest in developing your affiliate business.

Your tools

.Ail beginner iGaming affiliates need a website. There are a variety of affordable options when it comes to launching your own site, which can vary from free templates to a new domain name that has newer been purchased, even to acquiring an existing URL. Next, you'll need to register for a web hosting account, which can be free or commercial. Some aspects to consider when choosing your web host are rekability. speed of access, bandwidth allotment file type and size limitations, FTP access and the amount of web space allocated. It's not that free is necessarily bad. but you will need to think of your long-term goals if you are to ensure that your web host can sustain your business as it grows.

In terms of your design budget, this is going to depend on whether you will be doing it yourself or hiring a designer and/ or a programmer. If you will be designing your site on your own, there are a variety of free and commercial web editors out there with an abundance of free tutorials to help you. Keep in mind at this stage that the design elements, navigability and basic attractiveness of your website are important considerations both in terms of how well your site will rank and how it will attract and, more importantly, retain visitors. The question to consider here is how much value will a professional website designer bring to your business? If you have no programming or design skills, this investment could be money well spent.

The real challenge here is not launching your website, but gaining and retaining traffic. The cost of this really comes down to time and you can safely plan on six to 12 months to get a healthy position in the search engines. Your content needs to be relevant to search terms most used by your target market. To find what people are searching for, relative to your niche, you can use tools like Google's AdWords Keyword Tool. Here, you can enter the topic of your website, and it will display keyword phrases that are relevant, as well as the intensity of the competition for those terms.

To get the most out of your chosen keywords, they should be used in several places. First, use them in your meta description and the title of your page. If you have a blog, you can often download plug-ins (depending on the type of blog software you are using) to help you accomplish this easily. Secondly, they must be used in the text of your copy. Use keywords or keyword phrases once every 60 to 80 words for best results. Search engine optimisation is also based on how many links point to your site. It is good practice to connect with other affiliates to share links. Remember, the higher their pages rank, the more clout links from those sites carry.

Your marketing channels

In the last section, we quickly touched on the value of SEO. While SEO is time consuming, it's free if you do it yourself, and can save you from having to spend as much on paid advertising, if you do it well. It can be strategic to have a varied marketing mix, especially when you are a beginner and are uncertain about what works best for you and your skill set.

"As an affiliate, time is one of your greatest resources and assets. Your business is only as successful as the time you dedicate to making it successful."

The cost of marketing will depend on the marketing mix that you explore. To create an affordable balance, it is a good idea to combine free marketing with paid marketing, at least while you get your affiliate feet wet. In terms of paid marketing, pay per click (PPC) tends to be one of the more expensive options available but, at the same time, may provide faster results when done right. Unlike investing in a good SEO strategy, however, where the time and effort you put in can have a long-term impact, with PPC, once payments stop, so do the benefits. In the iGaming industry, bidding on keywords can also be expensive and as an affiliate there are strict rules to follow in order to launch a campaign.

If you are exploring the area of email rnarketing, you will have to consider creating a database. As a beginner, you may not have a mailing list, or you may have a limited one, in which case, you can do what some companies have done and purchase a list of names. This can be very pricey. Make sure you create an opt-in section on your site so you can eventually have a targeted list of users who are confirming that they are eager to receive your content.

There are a number of Tree' marketing strategies available to bring traffic to your new affiliate site. They include things like social media, Hogging and forums. As you consider these options, make sure to keep in mind that while there may be no cost to using these tools, the time invested on your part can be significant.

Your marketing options can certainly go far beyond what has been suggested here, but testing and tracking is the key to analysing your performance. Knowing how well your marketing campaigns are doing is vital to the survival of an affiliate marketer. Without the proper information on where campaigns are succeeding or failing, it will be impossible to know where adjustments need to be made. So whether you are into PPC, SEO, bonus codes, rakeback, blogging, social networking or emailing, one thing that can't be overlooked is measurability and ROI. On this note, while a marketing channel like PPC may be expensive, if it's bringing you an incredible return, then the cost is relative. The same is true of free marketing endeavours like blogging, for example - while there is little cost here, if you're not converting players with your copywriting skills, then 'free' begins to look pretty expensive.

Your knowledge

The knowledge factor is twofold: how much do you know about affiliate marketing and how much do you know about the vertical you are promoting? These two considerations go hand-in-hand, as it is easier to start marketing something that you are passionate about, rather than promoting something simply because it is lucrative. Stick with what you love, and the money will follow.

That being said, there is a wealth of knowledge at your disposal that you can leverage as a member of an affiliate community. The iGaming space is renowned for its forums where both rookies and experts are welcome to exchange ideas, ask questions and get an abundance of information on the industry. Conferences are another great place to attain more knowledge in your vertical. They provide you with an ideal meeting place to find expert affiliates who have combed the same grounds that you are now navigating as a new affiliate. And finally, when choosing an affiliate program, make sure to keep your affiliate manager top of mind, especially when you're just starting your business. A good affiliate manager is critical to your success, especially in the early stages. So while you may be tempted to choose programs based on their commission structure only, keep in mind that it is the affiliate manager of the program that has the ability to develop meaningful relationships and support their affiliates that can make the biggest impact for your start-up.

Your time

As an affiliate, time is one of your greatest resources and assets. Your business is only as successful as the time you dedicate to making it successful. It is what allows you to monitor your campaigns, measure the effectiveness of your marketing channels and make enhancements as you progress.

In essence, time is the one thing that allows you to continue repeating the efforts that generate a strong return on investment. It also helps you learn to steer clear of campaigns, programs, marketing creative, designs, calls-to-action, etc, that just don't work. Without time, you can have all the money in the world, but if you can't create continuity, your traffic will eventually dry up and your affiliate business can end up being a financial drain instead of a financial investment.
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