Tip 26: Learn from the Competition

Learning from other websites is one of the most important, and most misunderstood, tools in your development arsenal. There is emphatically a right way and a wrong way to use what others have done before you to get a leg up. Failing to scope out other products is a mistake, blindly adapting techniques used by other websites can be an even bigger one.[B]Don’t[/B]

  • Steal graphics or text. Stealing is using anything without the creators explicit permission.
  • Mimic something just because it looks impressive.
  • Emulate tools or techniques that you don’t have a good understanding of.
  • Make a ‘poor man’s’ version of a site with better designers and more resources.
  • Limit your examination to a narrowly defined type of website(s).
  • Assume a website is a model for success just because it does one thing well.
  • Adapt technology, images or techniques just because you can. Use another companies success as a blueprint for your business plan and goals.

[B]Do[/B]

  • Note good practices, habits and techniques designed by successful websites.
  • Keep a bookmark library of websites that inspire and interest you.
  • Use many websites in collages or mood boards for inspiration and color palette development.
  • Spend time contemplating why something works before trying to emulate or build upon it.
  • Learn from websites and materials that are in an industry very different from yours.
  • Look for what is not there. What did the developers forget to address or what should they improve upon?
  • Look at the source code of other websites (even if you aren’t very familiar with it) for insights into their underlying structure.
  • Use the work of others to influence and inspire you so you can continue to build upon past success and push the affiliate marketing industry forward.

Tip 25: Partner Up

The daily operation of PAS requires a team effort in which each individual plays a critical and fairly specialized role. To the best of my knowledge there is at least one very important thing that every employee does better than everyone else. In many cases, there is something that a person does that no one else can really do at all!Partnerships aren’t the right answer for every person or every project, but you owe it to yourself to consider the potential growth you might encounter by teaming up. Not only does a good partnership create a broader pool of talents on which to draw, but it serves to motivate everyone involved. Many people make the mistake of concentrating on the initial and potential cost of a partnership rather than the often much greater long term potential. PAS owes its existence to a partnership and the success experience by many (if not most) of our largest partners is owed to good old fashioned teamwork.Just as PAS allows you to reward your referrals in many different ways, there are countless ways to structure a good profitable partnership. If the idea of a partnership hasn’t occurred to you give it some thought, if it has be sure consider how beneficial partnerships can be and how important forsight and planning are in choosing a good partner.

Tip 24: Just the FAQs

Hopefully as an avid reader of the daily tip column you now know that the forums are full of very useful information, as well as immediate answers to many of the questions you may have.I strongly recommend everyone take a moment to browse the forums we offer and take a moment to read all the stickies and FAQ posts.How It’s DoneVisit the Discussion Forum and Open up on of the sub forums. Near the top of most forums you will see some threads labeled “Sticky.” Taking a few moments to browse through these may save you hours of frustration in the long run or open your eyes to features that have the potential to bolster your revenue stream.I’ve included some of the best below for you:

TIP 5: Contact your users!

You may not be able to compete with larger, more established sites on design, marketing or SEO budgets, but you can absolutely equal or out perform anyone on personal service.

Your objectives when making contact with your audience should be to:
– Improve their overall experience at your site
– Encourage them to refer others to your site
– Encourage them to be active, winning poker players
– Increase participation in special promotions
– Ensure that they get fast, reliable support when they need it

How It’s Done

Welcome your players personally
On your dashboard, in the Quick Stats table, is a notification of new users, click view to see them in detail. You can then view these users and take a moment to send them an email welcoming them personally. If they haven’t yet signed up for a tracker, you might want to offer your assistance to do so. If they have, you can suggest similar sites they might like, tell them about bonuses or special promotions and tell them about the great rewards they can get for referring friends.

Customize your Sign up Email
In your CMS, in the Sign Up Pages folder, is a file called Sign Up Email. Take a few moments to customize this page, making it a unique greeting from your site tailored to your target audience.

Send a Newsletter
Sending a newsletter to your players can be very simple. Just click on the Export item in your control panel, select player data, then include Email. You now have a list of the emails of all your sign ups. You can then send them a quick note reminding them of special promotions and informing them of new features. If your list of emails starts getting very large, we suggest using iContact to effectively send out mass emails.

Publish an Instant Message Address
Make a new Skype, AIM or other chat client account for your website and give your users a way to contact you personally if they are ever confused or have difficulty. It’s usually not much trouble to answer a few questions whenever you happy to be online, and your users will appreciate it immensely whenever they can get immediate assistance.

Set up a Forum (Advanced Users)
A forum can be a great way to get users involved and for you to maintain an active, public dialogue with them. If you also happen to be a good poker player, you can encourage them to post hands and discuss strategy. You can also have active and ongoing discussions about bonuses and promotions. Remember successful players make the best rakeback partners!

Keep an eye on frequently encountered problems/questions
Even if you let PAS manage customer support for you, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what sort of questions your players are asking and how often they get asked. Keep an eye on this by visiting the Player Support center under the Support menubar item in your admin. Address frequently asked questions in the sign-up process or on your website before they encounter the problem or ask the question!

TIP 6: Sign up for Analytics

Simple tip for a Monday. If you haven’t done it, take a moment to sign up for Google Analytics. We’ve made this free service easy by allowing you to post the code right into your CMS.

TIP 7: Go to print!

Using print material to advertise your site is probably both easier and more effective than you think. Selling something 1 on 1 and in person has tremendous advantages over marketing blindly on the internet. Every single customer can be a huge asset to you, it is to your advantage to mix up your tactics.

How it’s done
I’ve used vistaprint in the past and was pleased with the results. Also vistaprint and similar sites often have tools/templates available for beginners.

Contacting a local printer, even a chain like Kinkos/FedEx may have the advantage of helpful sales people who can advise novices

What to print?.
Business cards work well and are easy to carry around and hand out. If you’d like to squeeze in some more material, I have used post card sized cards in the past with great success. You can even get post card style stock for your home printer, but I find its often more cost effective (and much more convenient) to use a printing service.

Pamphlets can be challenging, and I don’t recommend these unless your a bit more experienced or have the time and patience to experiment.

Many printing companies have large catalogs of items that you can have your logo and company name printed on. If you can give your audience something they might actually find useful, like a pen or USB key, then it’s far less likely to end up in the trash and more likely to catch the eye of passerby.

Finally, T-shirts are easier to have printed than you might think, and often don’t cost much more per unit than retail. I’ve designed T-shirts, hats, polos and hooded sweatshirts for PAS and most of us still wear most if not all of them on a regular basis. People love free clothes and will happily showcase your logo to thousands by the time they wear out!

TIP 8: Amass an army!

If your an avid reader of our blog, you know that a rakeback customer is worth over $500. A less impressive number in the same article is $223 – the value of a referred customer. I assure you, $223 is a big number, much more significant that the first $500. How so, you ask in desperation for my patient guidance?

Consider this scenario. You gain a new customer. He refers two people. Each of those people refer two people, then those four new customers each bring in another recruit for a grand total of 10 customers. If your doing the math now, you’ll know that our referrals are worth over $2,000, four times the original $500. Furthermore, you have 10 loyal customers who may find another friend at some time – and can be advertising your site with no investment from you!

That admittedly long-winded explanation is to support a simple call to action. Make it easier for your users to refer their friends! Way back when Party Poker was active in the US, they sent me a nice box of business cards and pamphlets in what I thought was a surprising act of generosity. It was, in retrospect, a very clever and cost effective marketing strategy.

The refer a friend page could really use your personal touch. You could also add some custom banners that your customers could put on a blog or other personal website. You could add downloadable printer friendly business cards. Send your players emails reminding them of how much they can make for refer a friends and how easy it is. Explain to them why referring friends to you, instead of using the poker site’s refer a friend program, is a much better deal for them. Add an anecdotal example of someone who referred a winning player and has earned hundreds or even thousands. Make a video showing how to set up a personal landing page and demonstrating how easy it will be for others to sign up from there.

The bottom line is that by being creative, innovative and persistent in advertising your referral program, you are increasing the potential earnings of every single customer exponentially. There is no better advocate for your service than someone who uses it, gains from it, and loves it.

TIP 9: Keep up with current events

We work very hard to provide you with helpful tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and announcements on current events and upcoming promotions. It might be easier than you think to stay on top of much of the informative information we release every day.

How it’s done

Subscribe to this thread
In the blue bar at the top of this thread is a link called Thread tools. Clicking on that will reveal an option to subscribe to this thread, meaning you will receive an email every time it’s updated. It’s a good idea to do this for other threads as well, for example the monthly promotion thread.

Subsribe to the Announcements Forum
It’s a good idea to at least subscribe to the announcements forum, anytime something happens that we really think you should know about we put it there. The promotions forum also contains many important updates, especially if you need to translate pages.

Subscribe to the blog
We update the Poker Affiliate Solutions Blog at least once a week. The blog contains helpful tips and industry news and commentary and is a must read for any successful or beginning affiliate. Why not take a moment to use the subscribe button at the bottom of the featured post on the front page so you never miss another update?

Subscribe to twitter
I don’t get the whole twitter thing myself, but apparently its the next big thing and very useful for keeping publishers up to date and/or staging revolutions. The link is at the top of all forum threads: http://twitter.com/PokerAM

TIP 10: Keep your CMS organized

TIP 10: Keep your CMS organized
Categories: Site Customization
Keeping your HTML markup clean and organized is important for keeping edits simple, tracking problems and even improving SEO a bit. You can use the folder system to neatly file pages and elements within pages.

How its done
When you create new pages take a moment to first create a new descriptive folder in either outer pages or user pages. You might call it “Poker Articles” or “Hold’em Strategy.” This will not affect the way you link to pages, but will make it much easier for you to find pages for editing, especially if your adding a lot of content.

Next use the @@include”page name”@@ token to seperate messy chunks of code into individual files. This way, your can clearly see what your bigger pages include, and you can edit any individual chunk of code without worrying about inadvertently breaking the rest.

Here is Raketracker’s Site Template page for example:

@@title@@

@@inc_css@@
@@inc_js@@
@@include:”Scripts”@@

@@include:”Image Preload”@@

@@navtop@@

@@content@@

@@navside2@@
@@include:”Nav Rakeback Offers”@@
@@include:”Calculator”@@

@@include:”footer”@@

@@end_body_include@@

@@include:”javascripts”@@

Without the includes, my Site Template page would be many times as long, and much harder to read. The way it is now, I can very quickly and easily see what items are in the left bar, right bar or center. If i need to edit the FAQs in the sidebar, I can just go to the Nav Faqs file I created in the Navigation folder and not have to search through many pages of code for the spot I need to make changes.

This way I save time, and keep my code clean and organized. Staying disciplined and organized when writing code will make it MUCH easier to learn HTML/CSS and to see what’s going on in your pages.

TIP 11: Ditch TinyMCE

The TinyMCE Rich text editor is not your friend, really.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, TinyMCE is one of the editor style options available to you in your CMS editor. This option is attractive to most novice users, as it produces something like a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. In other words, it attempts to approximate what you’ll actually see on the web page when you edit the code.

At first glance it looks pretty good, but it produces code that looks atrocious and can behave in unexpected ways. Your best bet is to use the EditArea code editor and learn some basic html. The results will be pages that behave more predictably, are styled more consistently, and are more editor and SEO friendly.

If you know no HTML at all fear not, it really isn’t as hard as it looks, and is much easier than any other ‘programming’ language. You really only need to know the basics to get started – as you get more advanced you’ll be able to supplement your knowledge a bit at a time.

W3Schools HTML Basic Tutorial

Page Resource Beginning HTML tutorials


Basic HTML and CSS Tutorial. Howto make website from scratch

HTML Beginner Tutoria

HTML Tutorial