As the US continues to place greater restrictions on payday loans and other short-termlending options, many affiliates that focus on consumer finance are looking for other markets that offer just as much opportunity and potential for profitability.
The United Kingdom is just such a market. The Globe and Mail recently reported that in the next year, more than 3.5 million Britons are expected to take out a payday loan or similar product. For affiliates looking to make the jump into international waters, there’s never been a better time.
When making this change, it’s just as important to work with offers that are tested for quality and maximum performance. Blue Global Media recently released 100DayLoans UK, a high-performing UK payday offer, and here’s how they recommend affiliates make the transition to the UK market.
1. Get to Know the Financial Climate
Although there are similarities in the financial climates of the US and the UK, it’s best to focus on the differences. Both countries have seen better economic times, and since 2008, Britain has seen its share of economic woes, just as the US has.
According to Reuters, country officials have said that the UK will avoid a recession in 2012, but consumer spending is expected to grow conservatively. The country’s use of payday loans, then, is expected to continue, and though things could perk up with the Olympics and other events this year, many Britons will be forced to use these loans to get by.
Where to start: When you’re considering making the jump to the UK, learn as much as you can about the economy: where it’s been the last few years, where it’s expected to go. When you have a better understanding of the economic direction, you’ll have an easier time successfully position your affiliate offers.
2. Know the Local Laws
Though the UK does not currently restrict the interest rates that can be charged to payday loans, there are other laws and regulations that you’ll want to know. Lenders do have to state the overall annual percentage rate, and as an affiliate, you may be required to do the same.
Where to start: The Office of Fair Trading oversees the licensing of lenders in the UK. This is a great place to learn about the local laws so that you can keep your marketing legal. And of course, check with your advertiser to find additional restrictions that may apply.
3. Cater to a New Audience
Aside from cultural and financial differences, you’ll be working with a completely different audience in the UK. Take, for example, medical bills. In the US, many families take out payday loans to pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance.
But in the UK, they don’t have this problem. Their insurance system doesn’t leave families in the same situation, so using medical expenses as a selling point for your loan simply doesn’t make sense.
Where to start: Look at your competitors’ sites, read as much as you can about the UK market. Find the practical, lifestyle differences that could alter your marketing strategy. There’s nothing worse than approaching an audience from a completely irrelevant perspective.
4. Create UK-based Marketing Campaigns
Whether you use content marketing, search engine optimization, social media or email marketing as your main strategy, you’ll want to craft an approach that’s specific to the UK. At the most basic level, you’ll want to use UK lingo. This means using pounds instead of dollars, paycheque instead of paycheck, and generally reworking your content to meet the needs of your UK audience.
The more UK-focused you can make your campaigns, the more legitimate it will seem to potential customers. You can even get your website hosting from the UK, giving you the advantage of having “local hosting” if you’re trying to rank for keywords with Google.co.uk.
Where to start: See how UK companies are marketing themselves. If you’re into SEO, start getting links from UK sites. If you’re into social media and email, start getting contacts in the UK. Realize your geographical limitations and do what you can to seem like a UK-based, valuable resource.
5. Reprogram Your Expectations
With a different market comes different expectations. Earnings, conversion rates, visitor demographics – these will all change significantly. Because of this marketing differentiation, you can’t expect to use your US-based statistics and data as a benchmark for your UK efforts.
Test what you think might work, but don’t get stuck with tackling your marketing from a certain angle, especially if it’s the US-based angle you’re most familiar with.
Because the market size, number of lenders and number of affiliates is smaller than the US, these will also affect your earnings per click, conversions and so on. If you look at the UK market as its own niche altogether, rather than an extension of the US payday market, you’ll have an easier time adapting to the needs of the market.
Where to start: Avoid setting unreasonable expectations at the beginning of your pursuit. Once you’ve done some testing and established a realistic idea of what you can achieve, focus on those channels that seem to be the best uses of time and financial resources.
Making the jump from the US to the UK isn’t easy, but it’s a worthwhile move, especially for those affiliates who seek opportunities away from the saturated and ultra-competitive US market. Affiliates willing to take the leap across the pond are opening themselves up to a world of potential, one that could eventually rival the US in terms of pure profitability.
Dustin Christensen is the Content Director of Blue Global Media, an affiliate network specializing in consumer finance offers.