It has been more than 20 years ago, but it still feels like yesterday when I was asked to manage an online selling team, aka affiliate program, that opened my eyes to a rising industry that changed my career.
After setting up the affiliate program, lots of emails, online messages and phone calls from all around the world started coming from people contacting me to coach them on how to make money online with my casino brand.
Some of my customers were online casino players themselves, others were brick and mortar entrepreneurs who wanted to be a part of the new tech generation trend of making cash by building sites right away!
Technology has allowed new business opportunities like these to become more advanced, the building and maintaining a healthy relationship with affiliates has not changed – just like it is with a marriage 🙂
In this way, a relationship with each one of my affiliates started; as I learned about their own strengths and personalities to provide them a special customized service. So, how do you specifically keep a relationship with your affiliates for a long time? Take a look at the following tips:
- Keep an open mind
- Discuss, but do not argue
- Keep your word
- Be flexible with your ideas in order to reach your goals
- Keep a positive attitude at all times, even in the hardest situations
- Find common connections (hobbies)
- Be open minded with new ideas
- Talk their language (i.e formal/informal)
- Find a time just to talk about life
- and more…
Besides ensuring affiliates receive their commissions on time and accurately, what do you think are other important elements to keep a long lasting affiliate relationship?
More than anything, affiliate marketing Is about keeping long-term partners!
For more than 20 years, Jeff and I have been building relationships with the top affiliates, meeting a lot of them when they were just starting out. We keep things real as we are both very down to earth, no nonsense, business minds, and have experienced all the ups and downs in the iGaming industry since the beginning. We are also both parents so we have developed a lot of patience over the years.
A while ago, I had a discussion at a popular iGaming forum called GPWA who opened their doors to me in 2002 to interact with some of my affiliates. I asked, “What qualities do affiliates look for in an affiliate manager?” We made a list and I wonder how or if anything has changed with everything the industry, world and economy has gone through.
Here is the list:
- Trustworthy – above all else, there needs to be trust.
- Pay on Time – Affiliates are running a business. They are counting on payments to keep things running smoothly.
- Easy to contact – Affiliates are busy and when the time comes to work on your brands, you need to be available to them.
- Don’t be too pushy or demanding – Be patient. Things take time to develop.
- No endless e-mails and questions – Get things settled quickly. Don’t waste time with too much back and forth.
- Be to the point and transparent – In other words – be honest. Even if something negative happens, put it on the table. It will get sorted.
- Be realistic and fair – Affiliates are people and they are open to compromise and fairness, especially in iGaming.
Since these are qualities partners look for in any industry, we expect they hold up pretty well and are just as important today.
What do you think?
Ever since I started interacting with affiliates, I made the decision to keep that interaction in my own style. Growing up in a business environment, I learned from my parents that customer service is such a high priority for maintaining long-term business relationships.
They told me that if you give them good service and treatment, nothing matters if there are changes in your business. They will always follow you. Your customers will look for you anywhere because of the treatment you give them. So, with that concept in mind the service that an affiliate should get from a program should always be VIP. I learned to never judge them by the amount of business they bring. I give each of them the support they need to grow their business from day one. Remember – small businesses today can be large businesses tomorrow.
The most important thing for me is to have open communication and always make room for discussions and compromise. Give them the tools they need for their audience. Prepare promotions where all affiliates can participate. The connection you make today will surely follow to continued success with partners for the long-term.
Over the years, there are affiliates that I have personally met. Some of them were casino players looking for business opportunities. Some were my program rep at large affiliate businesses. Others were just young business minds that just needed the guidance and support to make affiliate marketing an established business for their families. But no matter who they are or what background they enter the industry from, I am always ready to support them and help them build their business through open and honest communication. This has paid off for me personally and professionally and is evident by the friends and colleagues I have been working with for over 20 years.
I’m so grateful to read testimonials like from Greg who I have known since the early 2000s and with whom I am still working with even today.
“I have had the pleasure of both meeting Connie Burstin and getting to work with her since the early days of Online Casinos. In that time period, I have become a committed follower of Connie for a number of reasons which I will expand on below.
I have mainly worked with Connie in the Online Gambling sphere where competition is cut-throat. Connie is an intelligent Digital Marketeer. Whatever project she works on is inevitably supercharged due to her digital skills. I have always managed to convert & obtain excellent ROI with limited effort on my part due to her eye for detail in this niche.
What I like most about her is the manner in which she treats her marketing partners. Initially when I was not sending much traffic, Connie found the time to make suggestions to improve my business and to take it up a level.
I would recommend Connie Bustin for any Digital Marketing role simply due to the advice and help she has provided me with over the years in growing my web-based gambling business. There is without a doubt in my mind a wealth of experience and transferable skills lying in wait for a Media Company”.