Lee-Ann Johnstone is a digital marketing expert, affiliate marketing strategist and has worked with many and various companies in the iGaming sector.
Please tell us something more about yourself. How did you get into the affiliate space and were you always focused on the iGaming industry?
I’ve been in online marketing for almost two decades. That seems a long time, but really this industry is in its infancy still. I was a media planner and buyer and gravitated more towards affiliate marketing because I love working with people. The job itself is complex and requires a good mix of account management, customer service and digital marketing skills, so having a coherent background in media planning and buying has helped me a lot over the years. I came from a traditional marketing background so I understand how digital channels all first together above and below the line and that has helped me develop the frameworks I have used these past two decades to grow the programs I’ve managed. I have a plethora of experience managing retail brands and gaming brands across a number of verticals and have enjoyed a good career in iGaming and Payments (I used to manage Neteller and Skrill’s Affiliate program) prior to starting AffiliateINSIDER, a JV partnership with SBC Events and of course launching my private affiliate marketing consultancy: www.leeannjohnstone.com
How has the year started for you and what is your feedback – now almost 6 months after the world COVID-19 situation?
This year has been complex. It started with a refresh – of my ideas and goals on the back of the trip I had to Bali. That was a game changer for me. As an entrepreneur sometimes you can get a little overwhelmed trying to do too much, too fast and you forget why you started. That trip had been the first time I took out a bit of time to relax, down tools and get perspective since starting out on my own. I had already planned to do a lot of things differently, and then COVID-19 hit, and it’s all changed again. I’m incredibly thankful to be in a position where I’m experienced in a digital medium that most brands now want to use more in their marketing strategy. I’m also happy to be able to help people work through this period with insight and community support which is why I’m hosting the events I am, for free. I think now more than ever, people need to connect, they need to be networking to find new business opportunities, and I can help facilitate that.
Event industry is reorganizing rapidly. Are you planning to “attend” some upcoming digital events? Which one? Tell us about your online party plans as well.
Events lead to connections, connections to people, and people to sales. It’s the oldest way to do business, so right now I’m going to all the events I can. I’m speaking at two events in May and hosting one of my own – the Digital Marketing Mixer which is open to anyone in the Affiliate Industry to join. Whether that’s an affiliate entrepreneur, affiliate program manager or SaaS or agency service provider – everyone is welcome to come and join me, have some fun and get networked to get business done. We’ve got some amazing things planned for those who give of their time to attend. I’m incredibly conscious of ensuring we can give value to anyone that attends. Whether that’s socially connecting or creating a platform for new business to be gained. Both are important and I want to encourage anyone reading this to come and join the fun.
What are the biggest challenges for new affiliates to join the industry? Which 3 best tips you can share with our audience about smooth and successful start in this industry?
1) Competition – know yours. You have to have a good brand, and be optimised and clear on your marketing strategy to succeed.
2) The riches are in the niches – Know your customer and get laser focused on giving them what they want and ensuring they have a good experience at your site.
3) Focus on building good connections, in this industry relationships matter. Be kind, courteous and professional -that gets you a long way to being a preferred partner to work with.
I have to say I’m loving esports right now. I have been immersed in it for a while now and I think it’s on an upward trend. I think poker and social games are going to make a comeback especially now with COVID-19 playing its part on our economy and lifestyles. People need and want real life entertainment. They want to be immersed in exciting experiences, and they want to be part of a social group virtually and in real life. I think these products lend itself well to these traits.
In the #StayAtHome situation, content is more than ever The King. What advice would you give for iGaming brands in order to strengthen their brand image?
I’ve actually just released an isolation guide for Affiliate Managers, which is jam packed with information, tools, tips and mini trainings. I think every brand needs to be working more closely with their affiliates right now to power through this period and help them to pivot strategy and pricing to see them through. I see a lot of programs already looking at removing quotas during this period and trying to help affiliates keep afloat during these uncertain times, and that’s positive to see. I also think affiliates should remain focused on the things that are important in their business and use this time wisely to tackle the projects and plans they have been putting off and get them done. Getting more visible in social and crafting more value and authoritative content to engage partners and customers is the best way to do this right now.
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