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Affiliate Interviews: Luke Eales, Founder of Seven Star Digital

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Affiliate Interviews: Luke Eales, Founder of Seven Star Digital

Seven Star Digital (SSD) was founded by Luke Eales in 2016 with the aim to provide better gambling comparison services to consumers in the UK and beyond. Since then, SSD’s first website TopRatedCasinos.co.uk has consolidated a very strong position in both PPC and SEO channels within the UK Casino industry, delivering thousands of FTDs to licensed casino operators every month. With a vision for creating a truly comprehensive global online gambling comparison site across all verticals, the company launched Compare.bet in October 2017. Seven Star Digital currently employs a dozen talented marketers and technologists in its London HQ.

 

Name: Luke Eales

Age: 32

Hometown: London

Living in: London

Favorite Food: Italian

Must Read Book: The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten by Julian Baggini

Job title: Founder & CEO

 

GAV: Hi Luke, tell us and our readers as well, a little bit about yourself, we want to know who Luke really is. How did your career start in the industry? What was your first job?

Luke: This is my first real activity in the gambling industry. But if we’re talking digital marketing, I got started back in 2003. Personal SEO projects made for a nice side earner while studying – at the time I had no inkling that it’d become a career.

 

GAV: Do you still remember when you first heard about gambling or online casinos?

Luke: It was probably about fifteen years ago – I set up a very small and unsuccessful affiliate site with my brother called Bonkers Betting! It’s hard to avoid the industry when working in digital. Partly because it’s an incubator for bleeding edge acquisition tactics.

 

GAV: Since there are thousands of websites and portals in this niche out there, where do you think your websites stand at this moment and what is that plus that the other comparison portals don’t have?

Luke: One of our strengths is we’ve come from outside the industry with a fresh perspective. Our inspiration also comes from outside the industry – the big travel and insurance comparison sites for starters. They’re a long way ahead of gambling comparison, but we’re aiming to catch up fast – in terms of content, user experience and brand.

 

GAV: Tell us about your team a bit!

Luke: We’re based in Shoreditch – hipster central in London. The area has a great buzz, full of startups, as well as vibrant bars, restaurants and galleries. There are currently around a dozen of us at the company, spanning marketing, commercial and tech. We’ve got a great bunch of people all striving to take gambling comparison to the next level. Also, we’re hiring!

 

GAV: What kind of SEO, digital marketing or affiliate techniques do you follow this year, and how about any new upcoming trends?

Luke: For us, the definition of good digital marketing doesn’t necessarily change monthly or even yearly. Paid search, paid social, organic search – the platforms and behaviours evolve, of course. We’re less focused on the next new thing, tactical marketing trick or short-term win. For us the differentiation is in execution, organisational agility and deep understanding of our lines of business. This allows us to adapt to the evolving landscape, including from a regulatory perspective. Of course, the big change happening right now for data/permission marketers is GDPR. We’re hopeful that this will succeed in ensuring users’ interests and personal data is protected.

 

GAV: What are the challenges that you and your team face in regards to affiliate marketing in 2018.

Luke: Put simply, the ever-increasing ferocity of competition in the sector. Everyone wants a piece of the pie – we are acutely aware that in order to maintain and grow ours, we have to earn it. This keeps us at the top of our game. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

GAV: How do you manage to keep the websites fresh and relevant, when a lot of fluffy and nonsense appear on the Internet non-stop?

Luke: The crusade for ‘fresh content’ has created a cottage industry of content churners who prioritise volume over quality. We take a different approach – while we do aim to create vast and comprehensive sites, we’re not fans of expansion for expansion’s sake. We find that writing for people rather than search engines acts as an automatic fluff filter.

 

GAV: We are pretty convinced that you receive messages from Affiliate Managers on a daily basis showcasing their best products. You, of course select them by the brands they work with. What are your thoughts on how a real Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationship should be built, and how not?!

Luke: Trust, transparency and sharing of insights. When you’re providing a quality service and valuable traffic, there is no need for smoke and mirrors in the partner relationship. This honest and open approach makes everything easier and is best for all in the long run.

 

GAV: Next to the UK market, which are the other ones that you already target or want to expand into?

Luke: We have our eye on several regulated/soon-to-regulate markets in Europe. We’re also growing Compare.bet with a global scope – the recent US news creates great potential, but we expect to pick up traffic from a real long tail of geographies.

 

GAV: How do you see the Nordic market?

Luke: Having been a fairly stable and attractive region for some years, things are starting to change – with regulation in Sweden and moves to restrict in Norway via payment blocking etc.

Our first step into Scandinavia is with our Swedish comparison site ToppOnlineCasinon.se – we already work with most of the top operators in the region but are being very careful not to make assumptions about user behaviour and what will work over there. Our eyes and ears are open to the requirements of Swedish players and operators alike, and we expect the user experience to diverge from our UK sites based on what we learn about specific local needs over time.

 

GAV: Tell us one change that you want to see in the online gambling industry?!

Luke: We want running a ‘gambling affiliate site’ to be as well respected as running a ‘finance comparison business’. This will only happen with the industry taking more of a user focus and thinking bigger. There are certainly signs that this is starting to happen.

 

GAV: Do you have any advice for newbies who are looking to venture into this majestic industry!?

Luke: Get into the data. Not only will it allow you to improve your own metrics, but it will create transparency with partners and the opportunity to work together to grow based on real insights.

 

GAV: How about iGaming/online casino/gambling conferences, do you attend any of them? If so, which one is your favourite and what is your most fun experience?

Luke: We try to attend as many as possible. It’s rare to leave without a killer insight or two, at least. Face time with partners is also invaluable We’re looking forward to Lisbon this autumn – the weather should in theory be better than Berlin, which is a plus!

 

GAV: Where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, any favourite country or region?

Luke: I haven’t seen much of it, so I’d have quite a long to-do list! In particular, I’ve heard great things about Slovenia.

 

GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?

Luke: I wouldn’t rule anywhere out!

 

GAV: How about a favourite celebrity or a mentor, do you have one?

Luke: I’m not a big follower of celebrity. I have however been fortunate enough to have worked with a range of experienced and knowledgeable senior colleagues throughout my career, all of whom have had a great influence.

 

Affiliate Success

3 Things To Consider Before Starting A New Casino Affiliate Business

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3 Things To Consider Before Starting A New Casino Affiliate Business

 

There can be no question that the online casino business is flying right now. It seems that nothing can stop the rapid rise of this exciting industry!

Individuals across the globe are looking to get in on the action, creating gambling affiliate websites to tap into the lucrative wealth that the industry can provide.

Although seriously competitive and ever-changing, the affiliate biz is an exciting one that brings endless possibilities. Whether you are looking to strike out as a review and information portal such as newcasinosites.me.uk, or prefer something slightly different, the affiliate industry can be truly exciting.

In this article, we will take a look at 3 things to consider before starting a new casino affiliate business. From research to the importance of tech, we will cover it all.

Let’s get going with the foundation of any career in the affiliate industry.

Know your stuff: The importance of research

If you are serious about launching a new casino affiliate business, you’re really going to have to know your stuff.

Online gambling is a lucrative yet complex world, packed with variables and jargon and more that can leave newcomers bewildered. If you are looking to launch a new casino affiliate business, you will need to research the industry heavily. Of course, the best way to do this is to play some casino games yourself! Sign up to a few different sites and get playing, practice makes perfect after all!

You will need a strong grasp of modern technology

If you are serious about starting a new casino affiliate business, understanding the tech behind the industry is also key. You will save plenty of money when building your website if you can learn basic HTML, not to mention you will gain total creative control of your project. After all, this is your project!

When you know HTML, you can constantly revamp and polish your site to keep things fresh for new players. Image is extremely popular in the new casino affiliate business and so you should not underestimate this aspect.

Another key tech to understand is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In fact, this is more a type of marketing than anything else, which functions by using keywords, interlinking and meta titles to ensure that a given site finishes as high up as can be in search engine results. If it sounds simple, then that’s because it is, at least on the surface. There is no end to the ways you can manipulate SEO to ensure that your new casino affiliate business gets plenty of airtime.

Consider using gambling affiliate programs

If you are still interested in starting a new casino affiliate business, well done! One of the best ways to do so is to join a program, which removes plenty of the burden on you at first.

Basically, these programs show new casino affiliate businesses how to drive traffic to their site, thereby getting your foot in the door of what can be a seriously tough industry to break into. You should really consider joining a program if you feel that your site is not getting the coverage you desire.

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Affiliate Success

The Digital Marketing Mixer delights with SEO MasterClass and a Mad Hatter Themed Summer Networking Party

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The Digital Marketing Mixer delights with SEO MasterClass and a Mad Hatter Themed Summer Networking Party

 

The 3rd iteration of the Digital Marketing Mixer  a FREE business networking event will kick off the British Summer Bank Holiday weekend in style. Guests will enjoy a Mad Hatter Summer Themed, virtual Tea Party on Friday the 28th August between 4-6pm (GMT) via live Zoom.

The virtual networking event, hosted by AffiliateINSIDER CEO and affiliate industry veteran, Lee-Ann Johnstone – is designed to help connect suppliers , brands, agencies and affiliates together virtually to kick start new commercial conversations whilst physical conferences are delayed.

Join the party – Learn the latest SEO Insight and enjoy the show!

“The Digital Marketing Mixer is about making new personal connections virtually in a structured setting. This month we are privileged to also have visiting lecturer Matthew Hughes from the Arts University of Bournemouth (AUB) in the United Kingdom, which offers leading digital media courses. Matthew will be giving an exclusive SEO Masterclass – which shouldn’t be missed!”  mentions Johnstone.

The event offers hosted speed networking sessions where a variety of industry topics are discussed in groups along with fun ice breaker games (with great prizes to be won) and themed entertainment. The Mad Hatter Tea Party will also offer guests a mind boggling display of “Alice in Wonderland” style visual trickery delivered live by Canadian entertainer and magician, Ray Anderson.

The focus of this event will bring digital and affiliate marketing businesses together to start new commercial discussions.

Sarafina Wolde Gabrielle, VP of strategy at Income Access, a Paysafe Company, said The Digital Marketing Mixer offers affiliates, suppliers and operators  a chance to connect in-person and enjoy a fun, short and structured virtual networking session” , whilst Lloyd Richman, the founder of iBet Directory said:  “The Digital Marketing Mixer offers guests a great opportunity to make new contacts and gain an inside view on current changes taking place in our industry. This is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses, publishers, agencies and operator brands to come together and get new business done!” 

 

RSVP FOR FREE and enjoy the next Digital Marketing Mixer HERE

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Affiliate Announcements

Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

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Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

 

 

Last month saw the launch of the first Digital Marketing Mixer, a FREE business networking event created by Lee-Ann Johnstone which hosted over 150+ iGaming and Affiliate Marketing professionals in attendance.

The event which received outstanding delegate reviews, will be hosted again on Monday 30th June between 4-6pm (BST) via Zoom. The aim of the speed networking event is to bring together affiliates and digital marketers, technology providers , agencies, experts and marketing service providers together to promote their services virtually.

With limits on travel and attendance at physical events still in play opportunities to network for new business have been limited. That combined with increased remote working has had a natural impact on business development slowing in the short term.

The Digital Marketing Mixer has been created as an open platform for professional social networking to take place in a structured but relaxed virtual atmosphere. The event has been created to support new business and continued lead generation for all businesses operating in the Affiliate industry.

Lee-Ann Johnstone, the event host commented: “The Digital Marketing Mixer is a key event for digital and affiliate marketing businesses to get better connected during this uncertain time. The objective is simple, bring people together to talk, to collaborate and ensure new business and service opportunities continue to thrive. I’ve created this FREE networking event for EVERYONE to benefit from in the affiliate industry to help get new business deals done.”

The mixer remains 100% FREE for delegates to attend and is open to any vertical. Once again the event is held in collaboration with founding collaborators GPWA.org, iBet Directory, and AffiliateINSIDER collaborating to deliver this event.

“The toughest part of the conference experience to replicate online was always going to be those oh-so-important conversations in the bar. I was delighted to find myself in just such conversations at the Digital Marketing Mixer – top marks! “  said Sue Dawson from bestnewbingosites.co.uk who attended last month’s inaugural event. 

The Digital Marketing Mixer will offer a host of  fun networking games, speed selling challenges and enable delegates to enjoy discussing the latest industry trends whilst providing a platform to market their goods and services. The focus of this event remains on getting digital and affiliate marketing professionals quickly connected, getting new deals – done!

Lloyd Richman, founder of iBet Directory commented: The Digital Marketing Mixer Party is a great concept and offers all delegates the option to contribute unlike other webinars and conferences. It had a good mixture of natural event speakers, experienced iGaming professionals and new people to the industry. A great event which was highly successful.

If you are an agency, affiliate, consultant, operator, digital marketer, payment provider or saas product owner, everyone working with or in the affiliate industry is welcome to attend.

RSVP FOR FREE and join the Digital Marketing MixerHERE

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