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AFFILIATE MARKETING

How One Industry Made Me a Millionaire

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How One Industry Made Me a Millionaire


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.

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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.

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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.

Related: 8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting Affiliate Marketing

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Related: This Is Why Teenagers Are the Affiliate-Marketing Experts

See also  10 Alternative Affiliate Networks to Clickbank

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:

  1. Create a website or digital asset (social media page could suffice)

  2. Apply for an online casino affiliate program from the casino’s website

  3. Get accepted into the program and receive a tracking link

  4. Use this tracking link on your site or social asset

  5. Someone clicks your link and signs up at that casino

  6. They make a deposit and begin playing

  7. 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.

Related: 3 Tips to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing



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How Brands Can Use Affiliate Marketing to Increase Their Marketing ROI

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How Brands Can Use Affiliate Marketing to Increase Their Marketing ROI


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Getting a strong return on a marketing investment: It keeps a lot of people up at night. How will the money spent on that PR firm translate into sales dollars? How will that huge advertising campaign that cost a million dollars impact your brand? For most marketing initiatives, determining ROI is an unpredictable waiting game with no guaranteed outcome.

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There’s one marketing model that plays by a different set of rules, however — rules based on paying for performance after results have been driven. Affiliate marketing, once viewed as a shot in the dark, is driven today by sophisticated technology, transparency between partners and compensation tied to specific, measurable results.

Related: How This Affiliate Marketer Learned Enough About His Craft to Strike Out on His Own

That said, a successful affiliate program requires the right experience and partners. Whether you’re looking to start an affiliate program or take an existing program to the next level, you need a strong team behind you. Here are the five players you need to ensure you’re driving the affiliate ROI you want:

1. An Agency

Unless your company has the resources and bandwidth to build a team of several people with extensive affiliate marketing knowledge and experience, hiring an agency is the best option. Agency marketers are experienced at handling the multifaceted complexities that come with building and growing a high-performing program.

Make sure you’re clearly looking at the agency’s setup, ensuring it’s based on performance. I once saw a speech by Robert Glazer, the CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global affiliate marketing company. He wrote a book called “Performance Partnerships,” which focused on aligning any affiliate program with performance. It’s easy to fall for the trap of working with a company that says it will bring you sales, but make sure it puts its money where its mouth is. If it doesn’t deliver in the short term, chances are high it might not be able to meet long-term expectations.

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2. A Scalable Network or Platform

Whether it’s an affiliate network or SaaS platform, all affiliate marketing programs need a technology platform to run on. Your platform should be able to support your growth plans and offer you the right features and geographical coverage, particularly if yours is a global brand.

Awin is an example of this type of platform. The firm provides technology that helps address industry challenges, such as third-party tracking, data light tracking, attribution and advanced commissioning. These types of data weren’t available years ago, but with new tech advances, you can identify what works, as well as when and why. It’s not just valuable for the affiliate program, but for also learning what works so you can apply that knowledge to different sales channels.

3. Loyalty Partners

If you want to scale your program quickly, you’ll need to partner with players who are focused on establishing loyal customers. Ebates is one of the bigger players in the loyalty sector operating on a performance basis. The brand is actively expanding its markets and its categories beyond retail to include travel, dining and ride-sharing for cash-back rewards.

It’s important to determine whether these types of partners will truly create loyalty or attract the wrong types of customers. If you pick the right type of loyalty partner, it can result in the strong, loyal customer base that’s key to long-term brand survival.

Related: How Loyalty Programs Are Emerging as Effective Marketing Tools

4. Mobile Partners

Customers are increasingly spending time on mobile devices and apps, so it’s imperative to have partners within your affiliate program who dominate the mobile ecosystem.

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Ibotta is an example of one of these apps in the U.S., connecting consumers with grocery, retail and lifestyle brands and rewarding them with cash for buying things they need. I used the app pretty easily when I was standing in line with customer service after a purchase. I simply took a picture of the receipt, and the app applied the cash back to my account. With a lot of mobile user growth, it’s good to look at partners who have developed a mobile user experience that makes things easy and accessible for the customer.

5. Tech-Driven Publishers

The affiliate space has grown well beyond coupon and deal partners. To drive incremental revenue on a performance basis within your program, consider partnering with publishers who are advanced in e-commerce technology, including deep website integration and artificial intelligence.

RevLifter is one example: The company helps brands deliver more conversions, incremental sales and customers by personalizing deals for advertisers across marketing channels. Available worldwide on a pay-per-performance model, it uses AI to understand real-time signals from users’ on-site behavior and deliver the right deal to the right customer at the right time.

Related: Partner Programs Turn Competitors Into Collaborators

Whether you’re new to affiliate marketing or simply needing to step up your game, checking off these boxes will help you develop a strong affiliate marketing program. ROI is hard to manage when you’re running a bevy of marketing programs, but the right team can help you take the reins — and get the outcome you want.



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This $19 Course Demystifies Affiliate Marketing in Two Hours Flat

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This $19 Course Demystifies Affiliate Marketing in Two Hours Flat


Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Fire up your go-to social media feed, and there’s a good chance you’ll scroll past at least one promo code or coupon being promoted by an influencer you follow. Without even trying, you’ve been exposed to a new brand, as well as an incentive in the form of a free trial or discount that might just get you to convert. That’s the magic of affiliate marketing.

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Companies big and small are leveraging affiliate marketing to drive brand awareness and conversions, and affiliate marketers stand to make a pretty penny for their services. Of course, the field can be a bit tricky to crack. but that’s what the SEO Affiliate Domination course is for. Now only $19, this course can help you make a killing in the affiliate marketing scene; and for 90% off what it would usually cost.

In just two hours, this course offers a detailed look into the lucrative world of affiliate marketing. Jump in, and you’ll discover important strategies for e-commerce, affiliate marketing, SEO, and video marketing; and you’ll emerge with a greater understanding of how to build brand authority.

Normally $199, the SEO Affiliate Domination course is on sale for only $19, a whopping 90% off the usual price.



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Pick a Marketing Model That Lets You Pay for Results, Not Potential

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Pick a Marketing Model That Lets You Pay for Results, Not Potential


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In an era of caution, companies need to invest in marketing efforts that lead to a direct payoff and don’t require more than they can afford. Over the past week, I’ve had to evaluate all the things I’m doing at Calendar to see what’s really moving the needle. It’s astonishing the things we’re spending money on that aren’t actually driving revenue to our bottom line.

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As today’s environment forces drastic behavioral shifts in our daily lives, companies of all sizes and in all industries are evaluating the changes they need to make to stay nimble in our new economic reality. As businesses adapt to the stay-home economy, they’ll be focusing on which investments drive the best possible outcomes.

Businesses are used to pouring money into marketing channels that require upfront, flat-fee investments for promised inputs and potential outputs. Rather than invest in these marketing channels, companies can leverage affiliate marketing, which only requires them to pay partners once they’ve achieved the desired result.

Related: How to Build a Reliable (and Profitable) Affiliate Network From Scratch

What is affiliate marketing?

When managing their marketing budgets, companies should invest in channels tied directly to outcomes and avoid unnecessary risk. After all, if they pour all their funds into marketing but see no payoff, how will they afford to develop their products and services further? 

Affiliate marketing (often called “partner marketing”) is simple: A brand partners with a publisher, or an affiliate, to market a product or service to its audience using a tracking platform. Unlike marketing channels that require upfront payment, brands pay publishers a percentage-based commission for each sale generated through their content. 

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Forrester predicted that by the close of this year, U.S. ecommerce sales would total $500 billion. Combine that with predictive analytics firm Custora’s prediction that affiliate marketing will influence 14 percent of ecommerce purchases in the U.S., and that means affiliate marketing will impact $70 billion worth of sales. Pepperjam’s Adobe Summit 2017 Survey revealed that only 4 percent of are investing in affiliate marketing, meaning there’s a big opportunity. 

Related: Three Trends That Will Drive the E-commerce Sector In 2019

How affiliate marketing pays off (in more ways than one).

Affiliate marketing offers a cost-per-action (CPA) payment structure instead of a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) structure. This creates a sustainable, competitive advantage because businesses only have to pay for converted sales and leads after the publisher finalizes them. Even during tough times, brands should always want to pay for incremental revenue. It prevents businesses from throwing good money after bad — they don’t need to invest large amounts of money into marketing campaigns or ads that turn out to not convert as expected.

Instead of continuously investing money into Facebook and Google, hoping it leads to conversions, affiliate marketing enables brands to broadcast their product to a wide audience of potential customers with a pay-for-performance pricing model. It also enables them to be more hands-off, allowing their affiliate partners to use their brand standards to do the work themselves. Affiliate programs can even include partners who will share the brand via Facebook or Google; unlike traditional methods on those platforms, these will be paid based on those campaigns’ performance, allowing a low-risk entry to these channels. 

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Related: How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Marketing?

Even in an uncertain economy, this framework can scale. Because the marketing investment is only a portion of the revenue the partnership brings in, businesses just have to figure what they’re willing to pay for each transaction or new customer. They don’t have to worry about pouring excessive budget into a single channel. 

In a precarious marketplace, businesses need to stabilize their immediate future by investing in channels that they know will drive profit. Affiliate marketing is the model for this moment: It’s built on transparent and trusting relationships, where brands and partners set clear expectations and companies only have to pay for the outcomes they get.

People are at home, and that’s where affiliate marketers can capture their attention. Companies can stay ahead of the game by using affiliate marketing to maximize their ROI and make sure they’re paying for outcomes, not inputs.



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