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Building Relationships with Affiliate Managers

Special thanks to Mark who is the owner of Slot Machines Online and a long time Poker Affiliate Listings Member who wrote this article. Mark gives some great Poker Affiliate Tips on how Building Relationships with Affiliate Managers is key to long term success! 

On my first conference, few years back, I was extremely surprised to hear that many affiliates don’t actually talk to their affiliate managers. I have to admit that they were similarly surprised that I do.

The purpose of this article is to elaborate how, in my opinion, we can “use” the AM’s to improve our results, get new ideas and generate additional value. This business is about establishing relationships.

I assume that most of the readers here are experienced affiliates, probably much more than me, I’ll mention only briefly some basic things that AMs can offer and then focus on more interesting aspects.

The Basics

  • Content ideas: AM’s can generate a wide range of content ideas – special promotions, new games, other news and more. Some you can get by signing up to casino newsletters, some you won’t.
  • Marketing materials: I’ve noticed that most affiliates, when they sign up to a new program – they would pick the marketing materials themselves without asking their affiliate manager. I find it a bit strange… Each program and affiliate manager knows on some level which banner performs better than the other, which link is better to use for slots traffic and which for blackjack.

It’s true that the traffic of one site is not similar to any other and you will have to test things for yourself, but not to use this information is just a waste of opportunity.

Getting “Inside” Information

If you ask almost every Affiliate Manager (AM) where it’s better to place their brand – the answer will be on #1 spot on every page. That’s why most of us will never ask that question. That is a shame because almost every affiliate manager, except the really new ones, can estimate from which pages they will convert better and the other way around.

In my opinion, the way to solve it is by asking to name specific pages of my site where he or she expects the best results. If the answer is “everywhere”, then my answer will be that I can’t place them everywhere and he needs to choose. Sometimes I’ll ask to choose a market, sometimes a game type and sometimes something else, but the idea is the same. The moment you take “we convert well everywhere” of the table- they will search your site and figure out the pages where they can do well.

Of course it’s not perfect science, but there are no cons against it and in many cases, it will save few months testing things yourself. It’s all about gather “intel” and keeping a conversation going with your affiliate managers.

Keeping In Touch

It’s pretty simple: from time to time, drop and email to your AM and ask what can be done to improve the results, but instead of a general email, try to be a bit more specific , otherwise you might get a “Place us on #1 spot” type of reply. Make the AM’s work for YOU, after all they are here to help, we are the ones doing the hard work!

Naturally, not all comments will be relevant and worth your time, but it might surprise you how many will. I had affiliate managers point out that I have them on game pages that they no longer offer, expired offers,  letting me know that one of the brands on my US online casinos page that left the market and even not related things, such as broken links, mobile appearance and of course the latest promotions.

* To get additional benefit, you can send the email just before going to a business trip or a vacation. That way someone will pay more attention that everything goes well while you are away.

For example:

Hey, I’m going away for a week. When I come back I would like to discuss if we can somehow improve the results. (short version)

Can you please take a look at the stats and your listings and suggest what we can do better.  I have you on a dozen of inner pages as well, but I am not sure those are the best ones for your casino. Any suggestions would be welcome. (longer version)

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for More

This point is pretty straightforward, but decided to mention it anyway because it took me almost 2 years to find out that it’s an option: From time to time, you can ask your affiliate manager to do something special in order to convert your signups. I have had great luck in getting special things just by asking. These include:

  • Custom Landing Pages
  • Faster Clearing Bonuses
  • Special Freerolls
  • Monthly Player Drawing

Just drop an email to your AM, ask him or her if maybe they can send some special promo to convert your signups, or send out a special email to my players to get re-activate older players tagged to me.  Naturally, not all programs will do that for you and it mainly depends on the size of the brand and how important you are to them, but you will be surprised how many will agree. Every time it was done to my signups, I saw an immediate spark in conversion for 2-3 days. Do that 3-4 times a year and it will get you +5%.

Help Your AM with Feedback

In the past, I was working in a big company with many clients. With some, I felt that they are open to comments and ideas, and would spend hours thinking on how I can make things better. With others, I felt that they are not interested in any input. (but I have it anyway)

Some affiliates develop close relationships with their affiliate managers, talk to them on daily basis, share details about their personal life and more. Some keep it strictly business. It’s natural. Each one of us is different; we connect to different people and have different ways of doing things. It might seem that I recommend all affiliates to become friends with their am’s. I’m not. It’s nice to become friends with people you work with, but it’s really not the point here.

The point is, that it really doesn’t take much to gain all the benefits of this relationship. All you need to do is “to keep the door open”.

With strong affiliate managers, you really don’t need to anything. Just reply from time to time and say “Thank you” if the suggestion is good. Other might need an “invitation”, which will set the base, letting them know what you expect and how they can assist you.

In either case, it doesn’t take much. And the best part is that you can use all those ideas and comments with other programs and other projects as well.

Final Thoughts: Relationships Can Make You Money

It’s not a secret that the size and the amount of traffic you bring, in general and to the specific program, has a major effect on how much time the affiliate manager will invest in you.

If I had to summarize things up (and probably I should…):

New/smaller affiliates: You can get much more info from affiliate managers than you think. Naturally, it won’t happen if you don’t have anything to offer. Nevertheless, if you ask the right questions, you can get valuable information that will help you develop. grow, and make money. Don’t be afraid to try to negotiate better rates, you may not get anything better, but there is nothing lost in trying.

Big/Well established affiliates: In many cases, you probably need to fight the affiliate managers to leave you alone and let you do your work. However, despite the fact that you know your job, succeed and make a lot, there is still valuable info that affiliate manager can give you about their specific brand, which will make you even more successful. And it really doesn’t take much time or effort.

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