Even though almost 40 percent of all marketers rely on affiliate marketing to help them generate new customers, a lot of them still struggle to make it work for them. This is because a lot of affiliate marketers, especially those who operate in the iGaming industry, still find it difficult to adapt to the new terrain.
Whether we like it or not, the landscape is changing. The Internet is moving so fast, and so is marketing. What’s hot now, tomorrow will most likely be referred to as a “thing of the past”. From a marketing perspective, it‘s becoming increasingly hard to find effective ways on how to engage desired customers. If you want to swim in such restless waters, you need to get your creative juices flowing.
People no longer respond to traditional advertisements. They are sick of banner ads and all other standard forms of marketing that most affiliates have been using for years to reel in customers to their partners’ sites.
Nowadays,more than 200 million Internet users have some sort of an ad-blocking device installed in their browsers. As the WSJ has disclosed in one of their articles, these blockers are costing publishers a lot of money. In 2015 alone, the blockers stole around $21 billion in revenue from people who make their bread and butter from online ads.
Having these facts in mind, iGaming affiliates are faced with a big challenge. They can no longer just continue to do “business as usual”, run ads and throw links on their blog. In this industry, the bar is constantly raised higher, which means that it’s becoming more and more important for affiliates to significantly update their playbooks. If affiliates actually want to make their efforts count, they need to reinvent their entire approach to marketing.
This is where content marketing comes to shine.
The Value of Content Marketing
Content marketing is an extremely lucrative practice for anyone who cares about connecting with their targeted audience on a deeper level. It is the only promotional strategy that can actually build authority and trust online.
Even though we live in a day and age of content overkill, the undeniable truth is: people still love content. What they hate is unnecessary fluff that doesn’t feed them with the correct and desired information. Cision’s research has confirmed that 70 percent of all Internet users prefer to learn about products, brands, and services through content, and 75 percent of them who find that content helpful are more likely to convert.
As GroupM latest study has confirmed, almost every customer journey begins with content. Their research has proven that 86 percent of all buyers conduct non-branded search queries before they narrow their interests to a couple of brands.
For those who operate in such a crowded industry as iGaming, content marketing can easily make a huge difference. Apart from building powerful networks for those who invest in it, strategically developed and promoted content can also help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and explain to your targeted audiences why should they play poker and other games of chance on your partner’s site, instead of somewhere else.
In that sense, a well-planned and executed content marketing strategy can easily tip the scales in your partner’s favor, which, for an iGaming affiliate, means earning a commission.
However, even though content marketing really is the answer to engaging targeted audiences and getting them to trust your recommendations, it is still a practice that’s not quite easy to master. As an iGaming affiliate, you need to invest a bit of an extra effort into this type of promotion because websites that provide iGaming services are often perceived as spammy. If you want to rise above this notorious stereotype, you need to put extra focus on providing true value to the users.
In order to do that, iGaming affiliates need to build their content marketing strategy on a solid foundation. Here are the necessary steps affiliates need to take in order to develop an effective strategy:
1. Precise User Personas
“Anyone who plays games of chance” is not the correct answer. In order to make their content marketing efforts count, iGaming affiliates need to dig a bit deeper into the details and create comprehensive profiles of people who are most likely to respond to their offerings. They need to know who the “ideal players” are (for the betting brands they’re promoting on their channels) and what makes them tick.
The key to developing engaging material lies in understanding users both on a group and individual level. If you don’t figure out how your audiences behave, you won’t be able to spark any interest from them. You won’t know what strategies or networks to choose, let alone how to establish the right tone in your content.
Developing precise user personas is the cornerstone of every successful content marketing strategy. Knowing just the demographics and location of your targeted users is not really enough. If you want to get the most of your content, you need to make sure that you know what are your targeted users looking in betting sites and what kind of perks will tip the scales in your favor and get them to spend money on your partner’s site.
2. Keyword Research
The benefits of conducting frequent and thorough keyword analysis are literally endless. Apart from understanding for which words and phrases to optimize their content in order to get more traffic, keyword research also teaches iGaming affiliates about their targeted audience. It tells them what questions they are typing into Google search and what kind of information is of interest to them.
From a content marketing perspective, this data is invaluable. If you analyze the keywords correctly, you will be able to develop content that directly aligns with your audience’s needs and desires, in a way that they prefer it. This will, of course, immediately spark interest and encourage them to engage with your posts.
In this day and age, keyword research no longer revolves just around words and phrases. If you want to correctly target people on the modern Web, you need to focus on intent and context as well. As the semantic search continues to evolve, the importance of intent and contextual meaning picks up more steam. Modern affiliates need to research keywords based on their foundation and how it aligns with their targeted phrases.
3. Competitor Analysis
By doing a thorough competitor analysis, you can truly polish your output. You can familiarize yourself with your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and then find lucrative opportunities that will help you rise above your rivals and prove to your targeted audience that you offer better deals than anyone else.
Conducting a proper competitor analysis is all about asking the right question:
Who are you direct and indirect competitors?
What kind of products and services do they offer?
What’s their market share?
What are their past and current strategies?
What’s their unique selling proposition?
What’s the best/worst part of their business?
How and where do they advertise their business?
How and where do they generate most of their sales and leads?
Once you collect the answers to all these questions, you will be able to locate and exploit your competitors’ weaknesses and position yourself as a solution for those who are still struggling to find deals that perfectly align with their preferences.
4. The Content Itself
Now that all the prep work is done, it’s time to produce the actual content. Doing content marketing without a plan is just plain ol’ dumb. In order to make the most out of all the prep work they did in order to get to this point, iGaming affiliates need to take the time to develop a functioning content calendar and fill it with relevant ideas that will resonate well with their audiences.
The key here is relevancy and frequency. You don’t want to bombard your audiences with thin articles every single day. That kind of behavior will drive them away. If you want to maintain a healthy relationship with your desired readers, you need to put quality above quantity. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should publish new content every two years until you get it perfect. No. It means that you need to develop some sort of balance that gives you enough time to create something with what you can actually work with.
You can do so much more with one comprehensive post than with a dozen fluffy ones. Developing relevant, useful content is a good investment for your content marketing. For example, take one topic that you know (from all the prep work you did above) your audience finds extremely useful and produce content that responds to that subject in a unique way. Find out what others are writing under the same topic and do your best to make your post even more informative and relevant to your audience.
As an iGaming affiliate, you can benefit a lot from producing detailed reviews, comparison posts, explainer videos, educational guides, long-form articles, list roundups, and educational webinars. These types of content have the potential to turn you into an authority figure in your niche, and thus help you establish trust within your desired networks. Once you figure out what your audience is searching for and what kind of information they still struggle to find online, you can easily use this data and turn it into a working content calendar that will keep your readers coming back to your domain and pages for expert advice.
Promotion is the step where most people who invest in content marketing fail. Just because you have published an article doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re done with it. Users won’t magically find in on their own online. Especially if you don’t already have an authoritative domain with a lot of active followers.
If you’re a fairly new and unknown player in this game, amplifying the content you produce will require a lot of effort on your part.
The modern Internet is oversaturated with content. According to MarketingProofs’ study, more than 2 million articles get published every day. Having these numbers in mind, it’s quite easy to see why so many marketers fail to generate any traffic from their content.
In order to make sure that their work gets seen by the right audience, affiliates need to invest some extra efforts in content promotion. Sharing articles on their social channels is not really enough. In order to build engaged followings, affiliates need to partner with influencers to help them promote their brand and build authority online. They need to actively contribute to content sharing communities, refurbish and republish older posts, invest in link building, guest blogging, host webinars with influencers, participate in link roundups on top-tier websites, speak at conferences, etc.
Content promotion is an extremely important part of the process. Quality content means nothing if it’s not adequately promoted. In this day and age, content promotion is a far more sophisticated process. It needs to be dynamic, which means that you need to constantly tweak and improve your approach to promoting articles. Once you exhaust one channel and approach, you need to think of ways how to breathe some fresh air into your process and make your content attractive from a whole different angle.
Over to You
Thank you for taking the time to read this article from the beginning ‘till the very end. We hope that it helped you see why iGaming affiliates need to update their marketing playbooks and think of content marketing as their golden ticket to the land of riches. Of course, this is just a rough overview of all the necessary steps affiliates need to take in order to develop an effective strategy. In our upcoming articles, we are going to go better into the subject and write about each and every one of these steps individual.