How to Start an Affiliate Program

Starting an affiliate program is the most effective marketing method that can help a casino or sportsbook brand achieve maximum exposure on the digital scene. Affiliates help to attract potential players to your iGaming website.

While there are different ways to promote an online casino, affiliate marketing has deserved its status as the most effective. We have prepared a step-by-step guide on how to start a successful affiliate program for your iGaming project based on our experience in the performance marketing domain.

Choosing affiliate software

The first step to starting an affiliate program is choosing an affiliate marketing software provider. The actual affiliate marketing software should come complete with the necessary tools to make marketing efforts between affiliates and operators easier and more convenient for both. What should you pay attention to when choosing affiliate software?

1)Affiliate commissions

Operators should pay attention to the available settings and types of commissions the software offers. Modern affiliate management software will not only offer the standard set of Revshare, Hybrid and CPA deals. State-of-art software will allow to construct unique commission plans by combining various conditions and qualifiers, by reordering them and defining their priority next to each other, by setting up various thresholds and different reward types.

2)Payments processing

Pay attention to the payments processing options the affiliate platform offers. The software should have built-in payment processing to make payments to affiliates directly. Not all affiliate software can boast having integrated payment processing, forcing operators to seek alternative third-party payment services to pay their partners.

3)Multiple affiliate campaigns

Make sure the affiliate system allows affiliates to create multiple affiliate campaigns for different traffic sources. Affiliates appreciate flexibility and will often work across different channels. Having software that caters to this need helps convince affiliates to choose you as their partner, instead of the next operator.

4)Multi-brand management

If you are managing several gaming brands, it is important to track performance and manage each one separately, as opposed to having universal settings for all brands. You will likely need to create commissions, assets, and tracking for each individual brand. That is why your affiliate software of choice should make it possible to manage several iGaming brands in one interface.

5)Management oversight

An affiliate marketing system must grant full management control. The software should provide multiple administrator roles and ensure transparent accountability. Ideally, an affiliate marketing software platform should meet the operator’s needs regarding team functions and roles to grant safety and security.

The software should also provide detailed real-time reports to monitor the performance of your marketing campaigns.

6)Multiple affiliate levels

If the affiliate software provider goes the extra step you will likely have the possibility to create a hierarchy of affiliate tiers, which make it possible for affiliates to recruit other affiliates that will create additional traffic for the operator’s websites.

7)Competitor analysis

Finding affiliate software is only a part of beginning an affiliate program. The next step is to actually find the affiliates. At this stage, conduct a competitor analysis. The operator should study and analyze the most successful market players.

Start with the study of the competitor’s landing page to understand how they attract affiliate partners. You should focus on what they offer for affiliates, which terms and conditions they propose. It is also important to note which affiliate reward plans successful market players use. Noteworthy to explore where besides their websites the competitors promote their affiliate program.

Concept of brand promotion

Decide on the concept of your brand promotion. Make sure you have a great and appealing offer. Prepare the positioning of your brand and describe the advantages of your iGaming project. Describe why your iGaming product deserves the players’ attention and why they should play on your website. This step will also include preparing the offer for affiliates, where you should describe the benefits of working with you.

Affiliate rewards

At this stage, you need to decide on rewards plans and customize them. In addition to this, you should think about bonuses or special conditions for affiliates that’ll bring outstanding results.

Offering a good commission is a great advantage, but you also need to build a positive image: be honest and fair to your affiliate partners, make sure to keep your promises, and respond to any questions they have.

Prepare marketing assets for affiliates

Create the necessary marketing materials including email templates, videos, banners, and texts for affiliate partners. Along with the preparations of marketing materials the operator should start the process of building their own team who will work with affiliates. You should hire and educate your own team, that will perform the following tasks:

  • approve affiliates
  • keep the affiliates engaged in the program
  • respond to affiliate questions, track their effectiveness
  • negotiate terms with high-volume affiliates
  • inform them about current and upcoming promotions, etc.

Finding the affiliates

Finding affiliates is a process that combines having an excellent affiliate program and reaching out to the right people to promote your products. In this step, make sure that potential partners can actually discover your program. To do this, maximize your digital presence where the affiliates could find your offer.

Place information on your website. Place a link on your website or design a separate landing page for affiliates where they can find all the information they need about your offer, conditions, etc.

Join affiliate forums and communities. They’re free and give you the possibility to connect with potential affiliate partners in an inexpensive way because affiliates go to these websites to look for products to promote.

Use social media. Social media channels are a great way to recruit affiliates and maintain long-term relationships with them.

Take part in affiliate events. Conferences and live events are a great way to meet potential affiliate partners. It doesn’t matter if you are a speaker or just an attendee, events like iGB Live!, London Affiliate Conference and SiGMA Affiliate Conference give you an opportunity to meet potential affiliates face to face and find the ones that are a good fit.

In conclusion

When the software and affiliates are found, the operational work phase begins. It includes:

  • regularly tracking and analyzing affiliate performance
  • helping affiliates to solve their problems
  • being honest and fair to your affiliate partners
  • making sure to keep your promise and paying rewards on time to have confidence that your program effectively leads traffic to your casino.

Following these steps will help to start a successful affiliate marketing program. We also recommend checking out the SoftSwiss Affiliate Management Platform – Affilka, designed specifically for the iGaming industry. The advanced performance marketing tool to manage affiliates, track their advertisement campaigns, analyze their traffic performance, optimize marketing expenses and payout affiliate rewards.

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