The Business of Betting Podcast launched its latest episode looking into marketing and affiliates.

The episode, which starred Fintan Costello, CEO of Bonus Finder, kicked off with a discussion on what customers really want when it comes to a sportsbook experience. 

Giving an example from his time at PokerStars, Costello stated there was a rule in place in which the customer support department had to answer every question sent to the team online: “it actually became a running meme on the 2 + 2 forums where people were sending in stupid questions and then sharing the answers they were getting from the sports department.”

“It would be things like ‘what should I have for dinner tonight and can you give me the answer in the form of a haiku?’ and they got it.

“What would end up happening then was somebody comes on to the forum and starts ‘poker stars is rigged’ and pokerstars never had to reply to those answers because the forum users themselves would jump all over it and just shut it down.”

Stressing the importance of brands being transparent, Costello stated that this is of great value to customers: “If a company makes a mistake or the terms and conditions on something aren’t super clear and they just do the right thing. I would always say it’s those little moments that are more important to do than the big headline ‘we’re best odds’ or ‘we’ve just signed some celebrity to be the head of our brand’.

“These kinds of things, just doing that consistently while providing a great product experience, just making it super easy to place your bets, is what you need. If you look at the backlash Bet365 is getting later over their upgrades and stuff, people do take those types of things super, super seriously. That’s what i’d be most worried about and not always being the best price or the sharpest odds or taking the biggest action.” 

You can click here to listen to the complete episode, or find the video embedded above.

Later in the interview Costello talked of how to make a successful affiliate business, highlighting some three key points that differentiates the successful affiliates from others. The first point being traffic: “If you can’t get people to your product in a cost effective way it doesn’t matter. It could be SEO, it could be paid media, it could be social, it could be an email list, whatever it is, it actually doesn’t matter. It’s just you need to be able to do it well and you need to be able to do it on a positive ROI basis.

“You do need some sort of advantage there that you can leverage to get the traffic in.”

The second point was for brands to offer a value added service: “You need a value added service. There does need to be a why to your product.”

Costello’s final point centered around affiliates, specifically how they should create a brand community to keep returning traffic: “That value added service of solving a customer problem is key as well and then ideally you build a kind of community, some sort of brand loyalty where your product is so good and you’re offering so much utility that people want to hang around, they want to come back to your website, so you’re kind of getting that returning traffic and they will tell their friends about it or recommend you to somebody that they know.

“If you’ve got two of those, you’ve got a business. If you’ve got three of them then you’ve got a great business.”

When asked on the argument that affiliates are essential to the industry and why marketing approaches can’t sit within the sportsbook as opposed to with affiliates, Costello responded with: “The operators can’t do it. If the operators were good at SEO there would be no affiliates. An operator is not going to run an odds comparison product as an example or they’re not going to compare and contrast their bonus vs everybody else in a fair way. If we take the UK market as an example, how many brands are there that are actually active in the UK market? To navigate that as a consumer is actually incredibly difficult to do.

“They do provide value, they are helping people make purchasing decisions. They are warning people about bad sites or bad experiences. There’s obviously always the hand-full to give everybody the bad name but I think overall it is a positive.”

You can find the latest episode of the Business of Betting podcast on their YouTube channel here.

The Business of Betting Podcast: What makes an affiliate business stand out?