Niche and Brand

Are they the two most important things in Internet Marketing?Hard to say – online poker affiliate marketing has so many components that dictate the level of success. But niche and brand are certainly foundations.When we started marketing poker online five years ago, rakeback was actually quite a niche business. And we used our knowledge of the business, our first to market position, and our communication skills to excel in the niche. If you are going to dominate a niche, you need to know everything there is to know. We literally educated customers about rakeback one by one via email, IM, and private messages. (It’s that whole educating versus selling thing. Educating is better.)Now, of course, rakeback is, if not the standard of poker affiliate marketing, certainly a staple. It’s no longer a niche business. There are many providers. Reliability, accuracy, statistics, knowledge, on-time payments, and good deals are now absolutely necessary just to get your foot in the door. But there have become niches within the rakeback industry, and there are many more yet to be developed.

The more specific – the better the conversion. aka Niche.Niche turns into Brand by continually doing something in a consistent way. Raketracker has paid rakeback to customers every month for the last 52+ months – it’s how we became one the strongest brands in rakeback.If you were starting from scratch in rakeback today – make sure you think brand from day one. Make sure your friends, people you play with, your friends friends and the people they play with all know that you’re the rakeback guy or the rakeback gal or the rakeback place. Then make sure you are consistent in your actions. Maybe you send personal notes with payments or call your top five players. Do something unique and do it consistently.And keep niche and brand in mind.

How to be a Good Customer

We have all heard to axiom, “The Customer is Always Right.” There is, of course, some truth to this statement. At Poker Affiliate Solutions we bend over backwards to give our customers whatever they need to succeed.But we have learned a lot from being customers ourselves. And the most important thing we have learned is: In order to get a deal done, we expect to put in the work to succeed.For example, we have just had a major redesign done on one of our “retail” properties. We needed to provide thoughts, mock-ups, feedback, and some technical work promptly. We were the customer, yet we did things not on our timetable. We did things when we were asked. We of course could have said, “Next week is better for this bit of work. We’ll get back to you then.” But then, when the process slows, do we have any right to say, “Hey, why isn’t this done yet?”We like to be the one who has done our part the best, the fastest, and the most complete, even when we are paying someone else for their part.To succeed in Poker Affiliate Marketing, you need to get deals done. A partner for accounts, a link exchange, content for content, feedback for feedback, a successful relationship with your affiliate manager, etc. The need to work with other people is endless. Our approach, and it has worked for us, is proactive. What can we get done? What can we give?Because every time you make a partner better, you make yourself better.

Promoting the Promotions

Our Raketracker division is constantly running promotions to make things new and exciting for our existing customers and bring in new customers. Freerolls, giveaways, rake races, and free memberships to coaching sites are just a few of the things we do. We have no shortage of good and often unique ideas. What we have is a problem – how do we promote the promotions?The answer, I believe, lies not with gimmicky viral marketing tactics or linkbait. It certainly doesn’t lie with spam. The answer has to do with the fact that promotions should not be looked at as a frilly extra. Promotions should be looked at as our business. In fact, anything we do as part of our business is our business.This means marketing. Any promotion we do must follow the same format as the rest of our business. Simple. Consistent message. Timely reporting. Timely customer interaction. Don’t expect overnight success. Make it worth talking about. Add value.If we follow this formula, our promotions will be a success.

Project Management

Ryan and I usually dont need to speak to eachother. We can go through a series of grunts and half read email exchanges to understand what one another is working on, where there are problems, and where we are headed. This works when the two individuals that started a company understand how one another works after four years of building something from scratch. It doesnt work when the business starts growing and new people join our team. Other people cant read my mind!!! Preposterous I know.I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the ideal project management software. We have an office in Nashville, an office here in the Twin Cities, and an employee in California. Ideally the PM software would have some type of calendar syncing feature and a platform for the eight of us to collaborate, share, and manage our own ever growing task lists. This is my third time *seriously* looking into project management software. I really wanted a Microsoft product since it could sync our outlooks and the office products most of us use between the desktops, laptops, and windows mobile phones we all use. Getting information on the servers, the software, and the interactivity of the two from the microsoft website was atrocious. Talking to someone on the phone from microsoft was worse. The cost of project server was prohibitive, and getting a clear answer from microsoft on what or wasnt available or appropriate for our situation was a torturous process. Ryan and I can be perfectionistic. We want the optimal solution and spend valuable time pondering the merits of something, playing it forward in every way imaginable. If the solution isnt perfect we dont like it. This is a good thing(to strive for excellence), but it also stunts the growth of our businesses. Byron is here to help us recognize this and to just plain old GET SHIT DONE! So with his help and decisiveness we settled on basecamp. Better to spend time actually using a product to see if it fits, rather than hypothesizing what will happen when and if we use it……Action, action, action!At the end of the day Basecamp is really not cutting the mustard for us and i am using it less and less as the time ticks by. I am sitting here with 854234141 ideas, tasks, goals, thoughts….etc…to manage, prioritize, delegate, and execute. I am back to the drawing board to find project management solution that will alleviate keeping all those responsibilities tucked away in my head, on post it notes stuck to my computer, in my 17 notebooks, or from being on the almighty MUST GET DONE LIST(which gets written on my hand) . If anyone has any suggestions of a solution that you think could help out our company we would be much obliged.