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Turning uncertainty into opportunity: Preparing for U.S. market changes, Part 2

We’ve spent the week here at the CAP Blog exploring how the U.S. market will likely change after the recent “Black Friday” crackdown has run its course. Experts predict new U.S. licensing or regulations to hit the market in the next 12 to 24 months.
Background: Read what the experts think will happen in the U.S. market.

But affiliates want to keep making money now, not just in 12 or 24 months. What can affiliates start doing today to keep our poker affiliate business alive now, and best position it for greater success in the years to come?

Adapting to a new reality
“Being able to adapt well and being good at relationships are the two critical things that affiliates need to consider,” Aaron Gerdes of recently told CAP.

As CAP pointed out Monday, Americans are still extremely interested in poker. And if your site can no longer direct them to poker rooms and collect commissions, it’s time to focus on other points of interest in poker and start earning that way.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon your niche, or water it down. Far from it. What the experts are recommending is that you keep focusing on your niche, but figure out how to approach it in new ways.

A better name for all this adapting is diversification. And that’s a key word in building an online business, in general. In other words, make sure you’re earning money from more sources than just your affiliate commission.

“Those affiliates who have diversified within the affiliate space are more confident and in a better position to move forward,” Poker Affiliate Solution’s Herb Jenkins told Casino Affiliate Programs.

“For poker affiliates that are not operators or not training sites but strictly driving traffic to the poker sites, I think it’s without question these guys have all taken a tremendous hit,” agrees Jeremy Enke of Poker Affiliate Listings.

“If you can’t offer a product, then you have to find another product to offer if you’re going to stay in that business,” concurs Dan Fleyshman of Victory Poker.

These affiliate pros recently joined CAP in a Black Friday webinar on the topic of how poker affiliates should be moving forward. Here are their tips on diversifying your online business model.

1. Give your visitors more things to do on your site. Offer poker education or a news blog to give people a reason to keep visiting your site, even if they can’t convert.

2. Build and nurture stronger relationships with your visitors by offering guidance, not just the same old promotional pitch every other site offers. Implement an email marketing plan based on info your visitors volunteer. Learn how to do that here.

3. Explain the situation to players, letting them know where they can still play, what payment processors are still available. Many players aren’t sure whether they can play on non-U.S. sites, and may be still willing to convert to other, lesser-known affiliate programs.

4. Move into new affiliate marketing verticals. Casino is the obvious alternative, but don’t rule out retail, either. An online poker site can be tied to other types of affiliate marketing: Travel affiliate marketing could fit nicely into coverage of WSOP or international poker tournaments, for example.

5. Focus on other online marketing skills. Take some of the skills you’ve acquired as a marketer and offer them to others outside of our industry. Whether its your design skills, SEO know-how, or PPC power, if you’re a serious affiliate marketer you can probably find another marketing angle you’re good at.

6. Learn more about EU and markets outside of U.S. and how to convert players into those rooms. We’ll tackle this topic on Friday at the CAP Blog. Stay tuned!

In conclusion
Focus less on getting deposits today, and more on leveraging future marketing — building a list, for example, to be ready when legalization and new affiliate marketing models do appear.

“Traffic acquisition is not the only thing that people need to worry about now, it’s having the kind of relationship where your players will listen to what you say,” Aaron concludes.

Do that, and you won’t have to worry about tragedy when you lose one income source. It’s the best way to ensure a profitable future, in poker affiliate marketing or any other vertical.