GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 40- February 2018

ive years ago, little did I know that soon I would be entering the world of iGaming and affiliate marketing. At 49 years old, I had hit a crossroads. I had been made redun- dant frommy role in IT, something I’d been doing for 30 years, and I just didn’t fancy doing the same thing for another 15. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. It was only after a friend, who was already a very successful affiliate, explained what the industry was all about that I decided to explore the opportunity with his help. I had enough money in the bank to last about a year, so I needed to succeed or it was back to the world of gray suits and office politics. My transition into the industry happened very quickly. My last day at work was midday on a Friday, and by 2 p.m. that same day I was being introduced to my first operator at the 2013 London Affiliate Conference. To be honest, the two days I attended the conference were a bit of a blur. I was being introduced to lots of people and given a lot of advice. I didn’t know one end of a website from another, I’d never heard of SEO before and the workings of rev share vs. CPA were a complete mystery. I left with handfuls of business cards, some swag, pockets full of pens and some ideas. My years in IThad givenme some good, but rusty, technical skills and a lot of experience in how to run a business.With that and the support of my mate, I felt confident I could meet the challenges of starting a new career and developing a whole new set of skills. The major piece of advice I’d received at the conference was to choose a subject that I liked and would enjoy researching and writing about. The second piece was to work in a niche. So, here’s what I’ve discovered during my first five years as an affiliate in the live casino niche. The niche bit is important. It’s given me the opportunity to build a business in a very competitive industry. I’m carving out my own particular path, and I’ve been able to make a living because it’s less trodden than other, more general topics. Don’t misunderstand me – competition is still tough, and you have to work hard to get something out. WHAT IS A NICHE? A niche is one subject or a subset of a subject that appeals to a specialized section of the population. In iGaming terms, a niche could be just slots or table games. It can be one level lower, like a type of slot or an individual table game, or it can be even lower and be a particular slot game feature or a playing rule in blackjack. In practice, it means your potential audience will be smaller and generally more knowledgeable about the subject. If you get it right, traffic is more likely to convert. The transition from IT veteran to iGaming affiliate hasn’t been an easy one for Neil Walker. But the GPWA member credits his success to his bold commitment to specializing in live casinos and becoming an industry authority in that niche. BY NEIL WALKER Finding your NICHE FINDING YOUR NICHE F W W W . G P W A T I M E S . O R G 42