Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There’s a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea where many young entrepreneurs go to make millions. These young millionaires often have similar characteristics like being risk-takers, hustlers and innovators, but they also share something else: They’re casino affiliates.
The online casino and gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, and many of the most successful affiliates in this industry (myself included) made their name on the tiny island of Malta.
This country of fewer than 500,000 people has taken on the role of “Las Vegas” for the online casino industry and it’s the headquarters of huge gaming companies and affiliates. While you don’t need to live in Malta to be an online casino mogul, most of the great ones do.
I spent 10 years of my life in Malta, and built one of the largest gaming affiliates in the world, Catena Media, while earning more than $50 million before turning 30.
So, what’s so interesting about being a gambling affiliate?
The appeal of being an online affiliate
Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the affiliate industry because of its low barriers to entry. Every business has hurdles to overcome before you can launch, and some of those hurdles are shorter or taller than others.
No matter how much you like space or understand rockets, you’re not going to easily compete with Elon Musk and SpaceX. The barriers to entry into that industry are huge. Not only would you need hundreds of millions of dollars, but you’d need licensing, expertise and other non-financial assets that are difficult to acquire.
However, the hurdles to becoming an online affiliate are relatively small. You simply need to sign-up as an affiliate for a company, purchase a domain and hosting service, create a website and begin posting content with affiliate links. Most savvy entrepreneurs could create and launch an online affiliate site in one day for under $20.
What’s appealing about the online casino space?
The online casino and the entire online gambling industry in the United States is one of the more promising sectors at the moment. In fact, the U.S. online gambling industry was valued at $1.978 billion in 2020 and has an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.3% over the next 5 years.
As more states begin to legalize online gambling and sports betting, you can expect to see this sector grow exponentially. This opportunity is what makes the online casino and gambling industry so appealing to young entrepreneurs.
What type of skills do you need?
When I launched my first online casino affiliate website, my partner and I had to build the website from scratch — which required some level of web development competency. However, today’s landscape is much different and anyone can launch a clean, optimized affiliate website with little to no knowledge of coding or web design.
Platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace are built around making it simple for anyone to create a professional-looking website, and their tools help you do just that.
While you don’t need a complex website to make money, you will want to create an optimized website — which is what really separates you from other casino affiliates.
Getting started with website optimization
While many industries are built around pay-to-play marketing tactics like Google Ads, Facebook Ads and other paid advertising, the online gambling industry is very much built around organic search — specifically, on Google.
For example, if someone lived in a state with legal online gambling like New Jersey and decided they wanted to gamble from home, they might search for “best online casino in New Jersey”, which would display a list of web pages related to that search.
As an affiliate, your goal is to be the top result for a given search term, which typically has a 31.7% click-through rate. The higher up your result on the page, the more traffic your website gets, and the more traffic your website gets, the more affiliate revenue.
Fortunately, there are several easy tips to practice good search engine optimization on your casino affiliate site.
Write quality content, often
In the world of SEO, content is king. But, more important than just creating good content is posting content regularly. Google is yearning for compelling, relevant content because its entire model is built around displaying searchers with the best result for their queries.
If you can consistently deliver better quality content than your competition as it relates to casino reviews, gambling news or sports betting insights, Google will eventually realize this and display your content higher in its results.
Zig while others zag
A lot of online casino affiliates go after the same main search terms. While these might be some of the most searched, they are often the most competitive, which makes it hard for new casino affiliates to rank highly.
Fortunately, there are millions of terms people search and you don’t have to always compete for the hardest search terms. If you want, you can optimize your website for more specific searches like branded and long-tail keywords.
While the market for secondary or long-tail search terms might be smaller, they are less competitive. This gives you a better chance of earning the top result.
Don’t neglect technical SEO
Creating ideas and content are great ways to improve your SEO, but there are other technical areas of your site that must also be optimized if you want the best chance for success. From your page load speed to mobile optimization, don’t neglect to build a technically sound website.
Know your target audience
The goal of any online affiliate is to attract specific people to your website so that they can click your affiliate links. Therefore, casino affiliates should understand their target market intimately to deliver the best results.
In most cases, casino players land on an affiliate site for a few main reasons.
They are looking for the best casino: Since “best” is subjective, a good affiliate will provide rankings of online casinos based on different measurements like promotions, game library, customer service and reliability.
They are looking for the best bonuses: Online casinos use bonuses to attract new players or entice more gambling on their platform. Players might visit an affiliate because they want to quickly and easily see active casino promotions.
They are looking for entertainment or information: Someone might land on a casino affiliate website if they are looking for more information or because they are interested in a specific topic. For example, if someone wants to learn how to play slots, they might visit an affiliate’s resource on playing slots.
Not only should casino affiliates better understand their target audience, but they should also coordinate their site so that players who visit for different reasons can quickly and easily navigate to the information they want.
How do casino affiliates make money?
Making money as an online casino affiliate is pretty straightforward. In fact, most online casinos have a seamless process for becoming an affiliate that can be done in a single day.
The process is basically:
Create a website or digital asset (social media page could suffice)
Apply for an online casino affiliate program from the casino’s website
Get accepted into the program and receive a tracking link
Use this tracking link on your site or social asset
Someone clicks your link and signs up at that casino
They make a deposit and begin playing
You receive a commission based on the agreement
The process is structured so that affiliates only earn money when they are successful at sending active players to the casino. This relationship benefits both parties and is low-risk for everyone. The casino gets more players and the affiliate earns money by sending players to that casino. The affiliate can work as hard as they would like and the casino only pays when results are positive.
How do casino affiliates get paid?
Casino affiliate software will ask you to input your bank account information for direct deposit payments or they may send you a check in the mail. These commission payments are based on how the affiliate deal is structured between you and the casino.
Generally speaking, there are two main payment structures:
- Revenue Share: You earn a percentage of your registered players’ losings.
- Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA): You earn a set price per depositing player.
Should you become an online casino affiliate?
The online gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors today. In the coming years, more and more states will legalize online gambling and new casinos and technologies will enter the space. It’s not hard to see why so many entrepreneurs are considering becoming online casino affiliates.
There’s definitely money to be made in this industry, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. However, if you can stay focused and commit yourself to delivering quality to your visitors, you might be the next young millionaire looking at condos in Malta.
During COVID, Affiliate Marketing Is Emerging As a Cost-effective Channel For Brands
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
With the outbreak of the pandemic, going for performance-oriented channels has become a prerequisite for stability. Several advertisers are struggling with low marketing budgets and a pressure to drive return on investment (RoI) through limited spends, especially owing to current times. The most common dilemma for companies is to decide where to focus their marketing budgets on, after investing in one’s own in-house paid channels. “Affiliate channels’ often provide desirable solutions, as the performance of such activities can be assessed and paid for. When the budgets are lower, investing on a marketing channel where one gets to pay per lead or pay per transaction, could be the safest bet during the current crisis compared with other marketing channels.
With the ongoing challenges of customer acquisition and the pressure to get RoIs, the advertisers have tried to come up with the online business approaches in order to depend less on offline means.
Despite the evolution of marketing practices and strategies, amid the big quantum of content available online today, brands are finding it difficult to reach out to their target audiences in an effective manner. Taking the current health crisis into consideration, customers are more concerned about health and safety, thereby influencing their choices with respect to financial services such as in the insurance segment, over the others.
This holds especially true for brands operating in niche segments, such as the banking and financial services sector which offer specialized products and services. Their marketing content, essentially, is about communicating “what’ the brand is offering, “why’ the customer must opt for it and “how’ can the customer acquire the same. It’s not easy to convince people to trust someone to deal with their money and life’s savings.
Why companies in the BFSI sector must opt for affiliate marketing
FinTech has transformed the BFSI sector drastically. From payments, loan applications to insurance, almost every service in the banking sector is going digital at a rapid pace. Apps, banking services and products are also updated regularly to enhance user experience, and make financial services easier and more convenient for consumers. The digital shift reflects prominently in the adoption of digital payments as well. A 2019 KPMG report showed that non-cash transactions are growing at a CAGR of 12.7 per cent. The number of merchants accepting digital payments has also skyrocketed, growing from around 1.5 million in 2016-17 to 10 million in 2019.
However, due to COVID-19, investor sentiments are at an all-time low and this is likely to cause severe disruptions in the banking industry all over the world. Banks will now have to regroup their departments and teams to chalk out counter-strategies to maintain good assets and earnings.
To tap into the growing digital opportunity, BFSI brands must leverage innovative marketing strategies in order to increase their sales by targeting the right customers. Working on an affiliate marketing strategy could be one of those options which could aid the financial services sector with cost-effective solutions, while driving up traffic. In an affiliate marketing setup, publishers cannot treat the BFSI brands’ products and services like other commodities.
As all of their offerings revolve around money, it is integral for brands to prioritise generating a need for these services among their target audiences. The key to effective brand communication, in the BFSI domain, is transparency in information delivery. To cater to this marketing requisite, opting for affiliate marketing can prove to be highly useful for the BFSI sector. By signing up relevant publishers as affiliates, BFSI advertisers can reach out to their target consumers in a trust-based ecosystem for communicating their key brand messages.
Affiliate with whom and where?
For affiliate marketing programmes, BFSI brands require those publishers who have the required ingenuity for curating relevant information in the right category of the sector. With everything going online from doorstep delivery of daily groceries through just a click, to getting the health checkup or tests done at home, users are now more aware about such needs. The probability that they will go searching online for services and also transact online is very high. It would be an opportune decision to reach out to the target audience in such a manner, as it is likely to generate faster results and direct interaction with a user looking for a service.
Furthermore, countless other possibilities open as affiliate networks facilitate revenue sharing mechanisms between the service provider and a publisher when one’s link gets clicked. Compared to several other digital marketing options which depend on user accessibility and high costs between corporations for using certain platforms, affiliate marketing’s targeted content is more likely to fetch dividends. The post-pandemic growth reality will be a difficult pill to swallow and affiliate marketing solutions can make the changes positive and palatable. This will not only be an economical option, it will also help companies acquire customers who are looking for a particular service, while simultaneously incentivizing the publisher too. Beyond sales and on-boarding of new customers, the average time spent by an Indian working professional or Internet user has increased multifold due to pandemic. This goes to show that people will continue to look for their necessities online across multiple websites and portals. It shall open up opportunities for brands to increase awareness about one’s services across several sectors without the need to remain confined to one’s own market segment. Below are some of the platforms where companies in the financial sector can join affiliates to target more consumers:
Blogs: Online blogs are one of the most trusted platforms for the BFSI sector. Specialized content publishers who demystify financial services and products such as loans, insurance, credit cards, overdraft protection for consumers, are the most sought-after ones for the BFSI brands in affiliate marketing. They cater to an audience that actively seeks out experts’ advice before making all financial decisions. Bloggers also get an opportunity to drive traffic to specific services offered by different BFSI verticals. Bringing publishers on board who operate in this domain helps the brands drive high-impact marketing campaigns which deliver fast results. Some of the websites that feature such content are Cashoverflow.com and Goodreturns.in.
Business news websites offering guidance on personal finance: Various news portals such as NDTV Profit, CNBC TV-18, etc., feature content that consumers can avail to manage personal finance, insurance policies, etc. These websites are regularly accessed by keen observers on finance and banking, who are one of the primary target audiences for brands in the BFSI sector.
Comparison sites: Comparison sites invite immense traffic of consumers who are interested in getting the right deals in financial services which are most suitable for them from the budget and consumption point of view. Brands dealing with financial services such as personal banking, insurance policies, credit card policies can avail these sites to target potential customers.
Contextual advertising: Contextual advertising is a marketing model where affiliates or publishers can target consumers based on their specific interests. These platforms provide relevant content, targeting a particular set of audience for whom unnecessary features are eliminated based on their past browsing behavior, making it one of the most effective platforms for brands in the BFSI sector. The companies can also get their products featured in specialized content meant to meet specific ends.
E-mail inventories: Brands can supply relevant information to potential and current consumers via newsletters in their email inboxes. Information on latest offers, new updates on products and useful information on services can be relayed to the customers who otherwise find ads, SMS-marketing intrusive and use ad-blockers on their devices. BFSI companies can tie up with content affiliate sites that send out value-based articles and ideas with other exciting information about the brands, promoting more subscriptions and sales.
A win-win for both: the brands and the affiliates
By making the most of the growing digital presence of consumers, affiliate partnerships can prove to be one of the most cost-effective ways for banks and financial institutions to convert consumers online. The fast and approved online transactions help the BFSI brands acquire more control over their businesses than the other conventional marketing practices. Moreover, in creating affiliate marketing campaigns for the brands in the BFSI sector, the publishers also have more opportunities to earn big commissions compared to the other e-commerce campaigns. Brands operating in the BFSI sectors generate more sales and earn more profits on their products and services as compared to the non-financial brands. For every customer gained, the publisher gets an opportunity to earn a couple of times more commission on it than it can from, say, when a consumer buys a stationery product. Big banks pay commission basis the pay-per-scale model. Most financial institutions offer commission of this type to bloggers.
And last but not least, players in the BFSI sectors can get a fair chance to incorporate multiple marketing tactics and test innovative strategies in an affiliate marketing programme without the slightest worry, since rewards are paid only on a performance basis which is well accounted for.
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