iGaming Voice by Yeva – Affiliate INSIDER
AffPapa recently conducted an interview with CEO of AffiliateINSIDER Lee-Ann Johnstone, who is a veteran of iGaming affiliates. In this interview, the CEO explains why she decided to branch off and start a business of her own, predicted what is in store for the industry in the upcoming years and revealed her adoration for water sports and activities.
Yeva: You have started your path in the iGaming affiliates industry on the operators side and now after many years you have turned into one of the most popular mentors of the industry, how has that happened?
For more than two decades I’ve worked in digital marketing, working both client, agency, network and now media and events. I have a full 360 degree view of what it takes to launch, scale and grow successful affiliate programs across multiple verticals and around the globe. I guess it’s a natural progression of expertise that leads you to want to teach, coach and train others to know what you know and have spent years learning. I get a kick out of helping people get the best results from this channel, because I’ve enjoyed getting it for the people and places I’ve worked with over the past few decades too!
Yeva: Why did you decide to start teaching young affiliate managers and hold their hands while they take their first steps in our industry?
When you feel confident and comfortable knowing that you’re making a difference and adding value to your company or role or team. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that dynamic. I enjoy helping people learn where affiliate marketing has come from and why we do things the way we do them today. This history has not been written about much yet and much of what we do in this channel is learnt on the job through doing it. I feel it’s my duty to pass on this knowledge to the next generation of marketers coming up through the ranks and help them get a sense of where we’ve come from to understand where the future of digital is heading and how affiliate marketing will evolve beyond today.
Yeva: How did you decide to start AffiliateINSIDER after such a successful career? What inspired you to go down that route?
There comes a point when you know what gets you excited to go into work each day and you get a “calling” to do more of what you love. The time had come for me to create something of my very own – a legacy of support to help new entrants fast track their learning and that’s now exactly what we do with our agency, training and content hub quite successfully. I consider myself very lucky to have a team that loves affiliate marketing as much I do and to work with customers and clients that “get” who we are and what we do best.
Yeva: What do you personally enjoy the most – to train affiliate managers how to do iGaming affiliates or to run affiliate operations for that company yourself?
Truth is – I love both. They are one in the same. We can train because we are continuously learning and helping our clients to get better at affiliate marketing so it goes full circle and helps to do both together.
Yeva: We can see quite often that many operators launch affiliate activity on their own – without any consultation. They choose an affiliate system and start off. How important is it to consult with a mentor when commencing affiliate activity?
Ever heard of the saying “if you need a car fixed take it to a mechanic as a plumber won’t do it” – if you want something done properly go to an expert. It may cost you more upfront but believe me it saves you so much time and aggravation later. Often we are brought the remnants of a broken affiliate program to try and fix things like infrastructure that isn’t allowing you to scale or relationships that aren’t commercially viable. The truth is we often have to strip it all out and go right back to the start which for the client – can be a big expense, and time consuming.
Yeva: Do you think textbook learning matters when it comes to business growth and marketing? Or can all skills be acquired through experience and time?
Absolutely not. There is nothing I have read in a marketing textbook that ever applied exactly as written in real life. We work in a constantly changing digital world so strategies and ideas need to be applied based on common sense and experience to work accordingly. Whilst theory is always good to have if you don’t put it into practice you’ll never get to learn what really works and what doesn’t. As an affiliate marketer you are constantly learning and trying new ideas, tactics and campaigns to get the best results. It’s a vital part of your job spec.
Yeva: What do you believe is in store for the affiliate marketing industry within the next 5 or so years?
This is a great question, and I’d like to look back at all the things I’ve said in the past 5 years to see what’s come to pass just to know if what I said was accurate. So here’s what I think we’ll be looking at in the next 3-5 years:
- Better insight and data / compliance tracking tools
- Stronger emphasis on partner discovery and relationship management (otherwise known as marketing automation and personalisation)
- Relevancy – watch my next article about Affiliate Relevancy to find out more 🙂
- A bigger chunk of the marketing budget being directed towards content and engagement via affiliates and influencers (or micro influencers)
Whilst I don’t have crystal ball, I do like to look to the future a lot to understand where and how we can progress our client strategies, so watch this space and tell me if you think I’m right by linking in with me on LinkedIN when I share this. 🙂
Yeva: As one of the veterans of iGaming affiliates, what advice can you give anyone who would like to grow their affiliate marketing program?
PLAN – before you set out to begin. Know who you are targeting, what your price points need to be and what you offer that is totally unique to anyone else.
BUILD – invest in tech that allows you to scale – and doesn’t only get you out the door. Your technology is the foundation of your program, and it is the one thing you should invest heavily in to support your program growth. If you need help – ASK AN EXPERT and start things off on the right foot (it will only save you a lot of time and tears later on)
GROW – promote your program like you promote your site. Relationships are built over a long term not overnight, so treat your affiliates like you treat your customers and invest in helping them to help you grow your business.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t need to be complex. It just needs to make sense.
Yeva: Setting work aside, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m a massive fan of being on, near or in the water, so I like to swim, scuba dive and recently took up stand up paddle-boarding (Not all that much good at it yet – but hopefully this summer I can practice some more). I’m also a big fan of reading and I consume a LOT of marketing and digital literature in the course of a week to keep ahead of industry trends and on top of new ideas for growth marketing for our clients too.
Interviewee: Lee-Ann Johnstone