The Beautiful Mind Of The Network Society — Achieving Centrality in a Digital World
In computer science, the term connectivity refers to the ability to connect with other computers. But, in reality, the term encompasses a much broader meaning than the technical possibility to connect with other electronic devices.
Today, the term refers broadly to the social connections forged through the available communication systems. And today, more than ever since the advent of the Internet era, we have to rely on web-based communication and the relationships we form digitally in our professional lives.
2020 was and still is a tough year, with conferences canceled across the world due to the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new status quo shaking up the whole gambling industry. In the affiliate marketing business, where everything is about forming personal connections, we were deprived of the possibility to explore new partnerships and strengthen the existing ties within a friendly environment we've all been so used to during the past years.
So how do we navigate ourselves in a highly competitive industry when we're missing the essential part — that of personal communication?
We have to establish ourselves as a central node that attracts other networks within the same business environment. In other words, we have to position ourselves as a go-to resource within the modern network society.
Our Very Own Network Society Is Dominated By The Big Dogs
The term network society is defined by the communication and informational society theorist Manuel Castells as a society whose social structure is made up of networks powered by communications technologies.
Think about it — the whole affiliate marketing business follows the idea of the network society. It is conducted online and refers to a relationship formed between an operator, the affiliate program behind the operator, and the affiliate network. All these stakeholders can all be seen as information nodes.
Some nodes are more significant or better, more attractive than others, and, therefore, have a bigger reach, just like some affiliate networks manage to attract more players than their competitors. In essence, the importance of a specific node within the network society grows proportionally with the number of players visiting a particular affiliate network. If an affiliate network acts as a central node within the gambling industry, affiliate programs try to convince them to engage in a business partnership and rarely vice versa.
This tendency, however, raises an important question. How do the smaller nodes, or in this case, affiliate networks manage to reach the influence of the big dogs that dominate the industry?
But Smaller Dogs Can Bark Too
It is crucial to realize that the nodes you choose to connect with by entering a business relationship will essentially define your image within the industry. That’s why it’s crucial to identify the central nodes, and why the more prominent affiliate networks continue to dominate the industry, while the smaller networks find themselves hitting the doors of affiliate programs asking for the possibility to represent their brands.
Think about it — connecting with ten central nodes in the industry will most likely grant you more results than connecting to one hundred smaller nodes or networks. In our business, the centrality of the node is defined by two principles: a quantitative one — which centers around the reach of the node, or how many people visit the particular affiliate network, what's their average conversion rate, etc., and a qualitative one — which evolves around reputation.
Based on this, your strategy as an affiliate network should focus on the quantitative and the qualitative elements which have the power to transform your affiliate network into a central node.
Given that today you don't have the opportunity to pitch your product face-to-face, you need to create a strategy that will guarantee you to be noticed in the digital environment. Affiliate representatives from brands don't have the time or the patience to examine your website from scratch. They will most likely run it through a website that will give an estimate of your monthly traffic. Therefore, your focus lies in optimizing the content on your website so that it ranks high for the keywords of interest within the search engines.
Moreover, you have to work hard on building trust among players by providing accurate, up-to-date information and showcasing reputable brands on your website. With the abundance of information affecting people's attention span, you need to engage your audience from the first seconds they leave a digital footprint on your website. A neat, organized interface will already create a favorable impression and will buy you some time. If you manage to keep them on your website with the quality of the posted content and aesthetically pleasing visuals, they might as well click on the "Sign up" button and bring you the desired revenue.
It Goes Both Ways
Remember, however, that it goes both ways. It is not always the affiliate network hitting the doors of the affiliate program. Sometimes, smaller affiliate programs are also required to step up their game and approach the industry's major affiliate networks. And in this process, it's communication which is vital.
Yes, this might sound a bit cliche. But bear in mind that you do not just have to convince affiliates to promote your product or include it into their list of offerings as an affiliate program. Your end goal is to be positioned more favorably than your competitors.
To achieve that, you have to communicate the message behind your brand and provide the affiliate network with the necessary tools to fulfill your vision. Communication does not end when you activate your affiliate. If your affiliate program truly wants to become a central node, you need to continually help your affiliates reach their maximum potential, and convince and motivate them to continue promoting your brands. In other words, communication is crucial because it's never-ending and because that's what builds your reputation and helps you evolve into a central node in the industry.
Even in the digital world, which is evolving around a network society, personal communication wins the game.