Fotis Gkotsoulias, CEO & Co-founder of FSMEDIA, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam.
Fotis Gkotsoulias and his team at Foxbet, FSMEDIA, have the advantage that they are all players and they can make useful reviews and observations. They also know the latest SEO techniques and they create high quality content that gives actual value to players – follow his story below.
How did your affiliate business take off? And, is iGaming your only vertical?
As I started up my business with my business-partner in 2011, we had only a few websites, while managing over the time to create many more due to hard work. Up to now, we have only been interested in the iGaming Sector, as we specialise in this field, and to be honest we are currently not thinking of expanding into another field.
What were your biggest challenges when first starting? What do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out?
When you reach the decision to start a business in the middle of the economic crisis you are prepared to face huge difficulties that you can easily imagine. I strongly believe, though, that if you are not afraid of sacrificing personal time combined with high quality work, there is no fail option available. I really enjoy this journey up to now and I think I will not change a thing because we created a successful company based on our past mistakes which I am proud of.
What helps make your performance successful? What motivates you to promote more, and what helps you boost your motivation?
If you like your work and if you do not hesitate to interact with the members of your team, you will surely succeed. Every day I wake up having some ideas which I discuss with my partners, trying to turn them into a concrete project. It follows a discussion with our skilled and smart developers who are able to develop management ideas. Thus, the key for success is working with the right people in the right mood.
What aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
Due to current regulations, the iGaming sector in Greece is almost stable but we have already made some important steps to establish our position. We try to establish strong bonds with our clients and provide them with high quality services that will ensure long-standing collaborations.
Which markets are you eyeing up as a priority and why?
The Greek market is definitely our main target. We have already invested a lot of our resources during the last years that brought about great progress. Thus, we are going to extend our influence in this market but we simultaneously keep an eye on the market of Cyprus and ROW with our international sites as well – projects that grow too.
The iGaming landscape in Greece is changing. How will the new regulations and reforms affect your business? What are the pros and cons?
We are ready to adjust to the new regulations and reforms. It is true that it will affect our business but we think of that as an opportunity because those changes will lure important brands of the iGaming sector. Moreover, it will give more choices to players and the constant competition will create a better product that will provide more services to bettors.
As a disadvantage, I have to mention the tax increase at 35% in gross profit. This is indeed challenging because that rate is the biggest in Europe and it will maybe cause important losses.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
We try to have everything in house. We prefer to invest in our employees with continuing education (like training and seminars) than to outsource the job. Actually, we have to spend more time or resources, so as to handle all these, but at the end of the day our employees’ efforts contribute to our company’s growth. Apart from our main expertise, we have some collaborations with outsourcing companies to strengthen our business (like audit, or accounting).
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business? How difficult is it with Google’s constant updates?
Our main expertise is definitely organic traffic but if we want to maintain and develop our current growth we have to expand in many other fields like social media, etc. We have a presence on almost every social media and we try to adjust to every change. Except for social media, Google updates can totally change all your plans in a single night. It is difficult to manage all your content in such a short period of time but this actually makes the difference between a successful and a less successful company.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable?
We are trying to put all our efforts into every market and our positions. With that way we’ll be more flexible in the changes of the iGaming Sector. At this moment, the most profitable niche is our Casino sites.
What makes your traffic proposition/traffic sites unique?
Our unique characteristic is the high quality of content. We are not just Copywriters, we are players and we are trying to explain and express our thoughts through these articles. We want to make our users play with caution and wisdom. So if you read our articles you will find experienced players who want to teach you how to play until you become a pro.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
As I mentioned before, our competitive advantage is that we are all players. We know extremely well our product and we can make some fruitful reviews or observations. On the other hand, we can apply the latest SEO techniques and create high quality content that can give actual value to players.
How do you manage relationships with multiple operators? What can operators do to increase support with affiliates and vice-versa?
At the moment, we have a lot of different operators and communication is a major factor of our relationship. We are trying to inform them in real time and be extremely specific about our work before our collaborations. To maintain our communication we communicate daily with their affiliate managers and set common goals that will guide us to thrive. Actually, we are trying to make friendly relationships based on understanding.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
It’s tempting to sell or bring investors to your business but it’s not in our goals. We have to learn and give a lot to the iGaming sector and our users. A lot of important offers have been made but we remain strict to our beliefs and we will continue to our primary plan.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Technology these last years had an extremely rapid evolution. We have to be adjusted to those changes and make it priority. These are daily challenges for us and we are trying to gain the maximum benefit from them. To be more competitive we invest in updating our computer systems and we use the latest editions of e-tools.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
If you want to be the best in affiliate business you have to have a combination of skills. First of all, you have to understand the product palette and afterwards combine it with SEO techniques and make a luring content based on your expertise. Moreover, it’s important to have developers, graphic designers and back office employees to construct a completely appealing product.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Affiliates have to understand that they work for users. Except from SEO, you are evaluated from users and at the end of the day these are the people who want to be pleased. User experience, quality of content, and expertise will tremendously influence the affiliate companies the next years.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
The sector will have continuous growth. More and more people replace their old habits with online gambling. The convenience combined with evolution of technology will raise the competition between affiliates and bookmakers/casinos.
What are the benefits of attending large iGaming events, and what can they do better?
Having the opportunity to participate in large iGaming events give you the chance to communicate with important people who either corporate with or you will corporate in the future. You can share your experiences and throw a bridge across with other people. Those events are the main reason that the iGaming sector continues to expand and provide higher quality of services to their users.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas – which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
I have been several times to SiGMA in Malta because I was living there in the past. I am looking forward to attending SiGMA in Asia in 2021 if circumstances are favorable.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into Gaming yourself, etc.
Actually, I spend a lot of time in business but in my spare time I enjoy travelling to exotic destinations. When I want to relax I usually read books or spend quality time with my loved ones. My favourite book is The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky.