iGaming voice by Yeva: Casino Mpire
In a recent extensive interview with AffPapa, Santi Cruz, owner of Casino Mpire, reveals his start in the industry, explains the key to success in the affiliate world and describes the hardships he’s faced over the years.
Yeva: How did you first start in the affiliate industry? What were the initial challenges?
I actually first started as a e-commerce business owner via Shopify back in 2016, so in order to get sales I needed to learn on how to run paid adverts because without advertising or marketing there is no sales or revenue lol. I became skilled at paid adverts, SEO, content and social media marketing and scaled that website to 6 figures per month via Facebook ads and YouTube advertising. I lost a lot of money in the be-ginning until i began to understand the importance of SEO and content marketing/paid adverts. I then dwell into click bank, JZVOO & more e-commerce sites and affiliate networks etc. which eventually brought me into the gambling industry in 2019.
Yeva: Do you think that affiliates are superior to operators? If yes, what makes affiliates superior to operators and why?
Yes I do. If you are running an online casino, you’re not even allowed to run paid advertising on google via google AdWords or Facebook ads through white-hat methods. You need special authorization to run paid adverts on Facebook that can cost the operator upwards of $50,000. Search engines are very strict when it comes to adult and gambling offers. The solution for operators? Is using affiliates! Not only do we generate the content, rank the brand & provide social proof among potential prospects but we also continuously manage the brand awareness to the community. Without affiliates the casino brands wouldn’t even have a business! Remember an online business success is dependent on customer acquisition. A retail store or land-base casino can simply have foot traffic coming into their establishment. An online casino or online business needs to spend money on acquiring the customer and spend money on retaining the customer. Affiliates solve that problem for operators.
Yeva: What is the key to a successful affiliate business?
To be successful as an affiliate marketer you need to be skilled at generating traffic or have a following of some sorts. It truly is a numbers game, for example a typical conversion rate for a good offer is 1 per-cent, so if you have 100 clicks or 100 visitors and you convert at 1 percent you will get 1 sale. With gam-bling the conversion rate is actually higher, at least for us. We convert at over 3 percent because we are hyper targeted so for every 100 clicks or 100 visitors we get 5 signups and usually 1 FTD, so if we get 1000 clicks 1000 visitors we get 50 signups and 10 FTD. You need to be skilled at getting traffic and converting that traffic and that is done through content marketing and copywriting. Your ability to influence your website’s visitors will dictate on whether or not they want to follow you. It is a symbiotic relationship, though if the casino brand has a poor landing page or poor retention rate that can also screw up your conversion rate. It needs to be synchronized. If we see that the casino has a trash landing page, then we will design one ourselves and launch the marketing objective.
Yeva: What approach would you suggest to operators in the beginning stages of a partnership?
Operators needs to understand the difference between an influencer and an affiliate. We at casi-nompire.com are not your average affiliates, we do this for a living so clearly we know what we are do-ing and we make enough to support ourselves. An influencer is someone with a proven historical track record that has generated revenue to the brands they work for and has ranked them up. An affiliate is someone who signs up for a program and wants to make money. An influencer is someone who is ranked. An influencer is someone who has the traffic. An influencer is someone who does this professionally. If an influencer is asking for a pre-paid fee upfront then don’t be cheap and pay the influencer, too many operators wants to only offer Rev Share & CPA deals. No established ranked influencer is going to generate the traffic and direct their fans and subscribers without some type of compensation upfront. The reason for this is because many affiliate programs like to burn their affiliates by doing unethical shady business practices like changing terms, not paying, stealing players, or being non responsive etc….. In order to combat this so it won’t be a waste of time for the influencer, they charge an upfront fee….
Yeva: Has Covid19 had any impact/effect on your business?
Yes, it has actually increased our revenue because many people are at home, so there are many degenerates gambling away their money at home. Our revenue skyrocketed during the pandemic and that also means many of these online casinos saw big jumps in revenue too.
Yeva: What are the main differentiating aspects of your affiliate business?
We do casino streaming, have over 50 niche casino sites, mobile apps, we have online casino games, we are strong with social media and therefore we have strong social media presence. If you’re not social nowadays you will get nowhere. We like to engage with our fans and subscribers we know how to de-ploy our content throughout the internet. We are professional digital marketers, we run a digital marketing agency as well. One of our main niche is casino offers…
Yeva: Which are your strongest markets? Are you planning on expanding your scope?
U.S.A! Operators that are not in the U.S.A are losing a shit load of money. When it comes to business, you always want to be the first to market! 25 states have legalized online gambling/betting, and by the time the U.S.A completely legalizes it, you definitely want most of the customers to be gambling at your brand. Our main geos are U.S.A., U.K. Canada, Australia & Russia & Germany. A lot of our high rollers come from Canada and Germany. If you are an operator and you don’t accept U.S.A players, you will lose a lot of money and potential growth. Many casinos are now accepting bitcoin because they want to reach the American market. This is a very good idea, as mentioned before, and I have the stats to prove it. Do your best to acquire U.S.A customers because they are the highest valued of them all….
Yeva: How important is it to build a community within the business? Are you trying to be friends with your customers?
Social proof is the most powerful element you can have as a business. There’s a reason why McDonalds is number 1 and there’s a reason why Amazon is number 1 etc. Without social proof no one will trust you or your brand or the brands you market. Many of these online casinos have weak social marketing presence. I’m not talking about just ranking on Google, I’m talking about being omnipresent. You need to be or find a way to make your brand be EVERYWHERE on all social platforms and all broadcasting platforms. This is truly a numbers game. The bigger you are, the easier it is to get business.
Yeva: Are you planning to become an operator at some point in the future? Please explain why in case of both negative and positive answers.
I have thought about it but it’s a lot of headaches. Managing over 50 sites is al-ready a big enough headache as it is. Maybe someday in the not so distant future.
Yeva: Are you planning on integrating more technological solutions in the future?
We are highly technological. We have many apps and casino games where users can visit and play. This increases the retention rate and engagement rate. We use pre-roll video ads of the brands we promote and therefore this increases our conversion rates. We also use many different techniques and strategies we won’t mention, but as the world moves forward you must execute and implement technology in your marketing campaigns.
Yeva: Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out in the iGaming industry?
Outsource & delegate, don’t be afraid to spend money. It takes time to build something sustainable and every action has a reaction whether negative or positive. Also, there are many unprofessional and shady casino affiliate programs so don’t be afraid to drop them if you see any irregularities in your stats or payouts etc… At the end of the day they need us to drive business not the other way around.
Yeva: Tell us about your biggest lesson learned throughout your journey.
We’ve gotten burned by many rouge/shady casino affiliate programs. They think we are stupid. As mentioned before, we are not average affiliates, therefore we don’t operate in an average way. Nowadays, we are quick to drop an affiliate program if something occurs that we don’t like. We are big enough that we choose who we want to work with, not the other way around…. Biggest lesson I’ve learned is don’t waste time on shitty programs and put a price for your hard efforts.
Yeva: What are your main priorities regarding business in the upcoming year? Expansion! I want 100 casino niche sites by the end of 2021 and I want to be bigger and broader. Any brands we are behind, I want every single person in the gambling community to know about! We want to be the Amazon of casino affiliation.
Yeva: Tell us a bit about yourself as a person. What are your hobbies? How much time do you spend on you project in average?
I like sports & the outdoors. I don’t like hunting because I am an animal lover. I’m very athletic and that makes me highly competitive by nature. I do like studying internet marketing strategies and methods. I enjoy this a lot because you are basically setting an intention and reaching your goal. I use multiple social media man-agers and a programmer and 3 virtual assistants to scale up operations and buy me time, everything costs money in life. Attention flows where money goes, so if your attention is in scaling up, you will scale up.
Website link: https://www.casinompire.com/
Interviewee: Santi Cruz