Affiliate Grand Slam by SiGMA
Niek van Alphen, CEO of Marketeers.nl, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Niek van Alphen and his team at Euro Casino, Marketeers.nl, are constantly adapting their sites to be inline with the current rules. They are also focused on content because, as he says, search engines love websites with a lot of content - follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
My hobby was creating websites and 15 years ago, when I first started, it was quite easy to create websites and get decent rankings in Google. When I found this out, I also noticed that you can earn good money on this traffic using affiliate offers. We are active in the iGaming vertical but also travelling (at the moment down 99% due to Covid-19), dating, and e-commerce. What got me excited the most about being an affiliate is being the boss of your own time, projects, and plans; you can decide how many hours per day you put in.
We work closely with operators with offer selection, for example the best conversion and payouts get the best advertising spots on our sites; this is why we like to talk to our partners on a regular basis. I have to add that working with SEO on affiliate partnerships can be very hard the first weeks/months - traffic comes very slowly, and new affiliates can quickly be in a position in which they need money to invest in a good domain, backlinks, templates, superfast hosting (logo) design, and other stuff. Even when you have some conversions, the payout can take 1 to 3 months, so keep that in mind when you want to be an affiliate.
Personally, at first I tried CPC revenue offers and got paid by click but I quickly moved on to CPA and lead generation. Our focus on the iGaming vertical is strong because of the high payouts.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
I started on my own company 15 years ago and worked alone the first 10 years, after that I rented an office and hired some smart (SEO) guys to build our current website empire. I always try to delegate all the work so I have my own hands free for new projects.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
I am a big fan of face-to-face meetings to see who you are working with, that is why I visit tradeshows events all over the world as much as possible; your network is your net-worth.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
During my tradeshows' visits, I met other affiliates with good ideas and with some of them we did a venture project, and we actually now have profitable businesses with several other affiliate entrepreneurs. I would definitely recommend affiliates to come out of their comfort zone (addict/office) and meet people in the same industry for fresh insights and contacts.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
In the iGaming vertical we focus on emerging markets, for example countries where gambling has just been legalised or where it will be in the future (for example: Netherlands); in these fresh markets there is low competition at the start.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Our focus on content is strong, content is king so our winning websites get a lot of content. Besides that, search engines love websites with a lot of content, do not be afraid to invest in content!
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
As we have multiple profitable projects no investor is needed, we invest in other ventures/projects and partnerships and are always on the lookout for more, we are still very hungry!
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
It's very important that your team goes along well. We often do teambuilding events and with this I do not just mean a dinner; with our team, currently 3, we went to Bangkok and to Vegas. If you have a strong team, the success will likely follow.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
I find it more important to have fun and to put effort in the team than making money. Our office is very laidback and very often we close early to have some beers at a party somewhere.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
We see big search engines like Google using AI & big data in the algorithm and evolving very fast. Moreover, upcoming trends like voice-search cannot be ignored. It is very important to follow trends and research new markets, don't be afraid to spend time on research, it's more important than building.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority in 2020, and why?
We are open-minded, you never know what comes up, we are a small team and can create a new business plan or website within days.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
We are constantly adapting our sites to be inline with the current rules.
How is the Asian market shaping-up for affiliates?
We are not active in the Asian market (yet).
What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
Never put your eggs in one basket, divide your time over multiple projects and give winners more effort.
What’s been your biggest nightmare to date?
Definitely the Google Algorithm update of March 2020, some of our traffic sites got hit pretty hard and are still not recovered now 6/7 months later.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
Before Covid-19 we attended many tradeshows to have a drink with the operators, hope the events will come back in 2021!
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
The benefits are obvious: talking to your partners, getting tips and better deals. I hope there will be more events in more countries.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
My team has attended SiGMA in Malta three times, we will go to Manila and other events for sure.
Tell us a bit about yourself - after all, business is done with people, not just companies!
I'm a dog person.
Which quote do you live your life by?
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” — Mahatma Gandhi.