By Sinead Lambert P eople are walking around with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. It can only mean one thing: football (soc- cer) is back. Legions of men now have something to talk about with their friends. More importantly for sportsbook affiliates, the summer drought is over. So, let’s get down to business. Here are a few things for you to think about at the start of the season: Which bookies are you going to promote? Do you have a short list of bookmak- ers you’re going to work with? Cut the fat and only work with bookmakers you know work for you and earn you the most – bookmakers who can convert and retain your traffic. Focus all your time and en- ergy promoting them. Focus on reliable brands that offer gener- ous sign-up offers and bookies who cover a range of leagues and markets and offer live streaming across a range of football events. Don’t waste your traffic on book- ies that don’t have a strong product. They won’t convert or retain your referrals. Don’t underestimate the power of a good affiliate team. The brand may be good, but the affiliate team may be inept, and without the right support, no matter how good the product is, you won’t have the right tools to promote it. Make sure you’ll receive the full support you need to promote the brand effectively. So, before narrowing down your list, con- sider whom you earn the most from, who converts and retains your traffic the best and who provides you with the most/best promotional material and gives you the most support. You’ve got your short list . . . now, how are you going to promote them? You’ve got your list of trusted partners, so now what are you going to do? The bar- gain-basement look has well gone, where you slap your site full of free bet banners. That won’t cut the mustard anymore. How are you going to get the most out of your traffic and optimize your conversion rates, without bombarding your visitors with free bet banners? If you look around at sites you know are do- ing a good job, you’ll get some ideas. Now, I’m not advising that anyone blatantly copy other sites but there’s no harm in using them for a little inspiration. The best way to promote is a cumulative approach – a much softer approach than was common in the banner-farm days – an approach based on strong content, well-placed text links, strong creative and up-to-date informa- tion and promotions. For example: you’ve written a preview for the games this weekend. Include links to who is offer- ing the best price on certain selections: “Gervinho can be backed at 9/2 with Paddy Power whilst Walcott is available at 7/1 with bet365.” Let your readers know where they can view the game live “Watch the game live with bet365. Not a bet365 customer? Sign up here to receive a £200 Free Bet.” Tie in any cash-back offers that are avail- able on the game, and explain how readers can avail themselves of them. Tell them where they can get the best free bets. Add live odds boxes alongside your content so your readers can get the latest prices. You’re spoon feeding your readers, giving them everything they need to place a bet. All of this information is a pretty powerful and persuasive message. To keep up to date on what offers your selected bookies are of- fering, ask to be added to their PR list. If you’re looking for operators who offer the best footy prices, Betfair offers better odds than most bookies, but Pinnacle and Canbet should not be overlooked. They both con- sistently offer better odds than most book- ies and often better odds than Betfair after you take commission into account. If you’re looking for operators offering regular footy cash-back offers, there are too many to mention, but I’ll give it a go. bet365 offers a ton of great offers (e.g., their 0-0 refund offer), as do Boylesports, Victor Chandler, Paddy Power and Betfred. Finally, don’t ignore Asian Handicap bet- ting. It’s a serious market now, attracting some serious football betters. It often pro- vides lower bookmaker margins and there- fore better value for the punter. bet365 ex- cels at offering Asian handicap odds and other good suppliers are Pinnacle, Canbet, Victor Chandler and Betfair. The Drought Is Over! Football Is Back! Now’s the time to focus on making your site stand out from the crowd “The bargain-basement look has well gone, where you slap your site full of free bet banners. That won’t cut the mustard anymore.” The Drought Is Over! Football Is Back!