Q: What are the main challenges operators face when marketing an online casino to players in the USA?
A: The challenges to operators in the US are the same as any other country that permits online gambling. Governing bodies usually have regulatory guidelines in place, with varying degrees of restrictions and related fines. Compliance rules are in a constant state of flux, making it more difficult to ensure you are meeting the latest parameters, and this includes marketing. Investing in a compliance team that focuses on keeping abreast of these changes can help operators avoid increasingly steep fines.
Q: How hard is it to build trust among players in markets offering regulated online casino for the first time?
A: As with almost any industry, a few bad apples can easily spoil the bunch, and that applies to online casino operators, too. That’s why I encourage full transparency to anyone getting involved in the space. Let players know what they can expect in returns, share the odds of winning clearly, make terms and conditions easy to understand, and make sure you have customer support staff on hand to help them when they need it.
Q: Is the success of a marketing campaign linked to the size of an operator’s budget, or do marketers need to be savvier than that?
A: Bigger budgets inevitably mean bigger reach; there is no question about that. What makes a campaign truly successful, however, is the uptake on the call to action. That is where smaller operators can make an impact. They can offer free spins, promote a competitive bonus or create their own bespoke game that no other operator has. This will help them stand out in a crowded market. They can also use social media to engage regularly with players, which fosters loyalty and can build an army of brand ambassadors for their site. It’s not always about who has the most money, but who is the better marketer.
Q: What key messages should they focus on? In new states, is education more important than bonuses and promotions?
A: The key message that every operator should focus on is responsible gambling. Online casinos are designed to be entertaining, and the majority of players approach their wagering as a way to have fun through a variety of games. However, some players get caught up in gambling and start to take dangerous risks in an attempt to win back losses. Every operator is responsible for monitoring player activity and identifying potential gambling addiction. Offer help to the player and encourage them to self-exclude. Take care of your players.
Q: Will different states face different challenges, or will they be mostly the same?
A: Just as in the global landscape, each state will have their specific regulations imposed. Operators just need to adapt if they want to accept players from these areas. Now that PASPA has been repealed, sportsbook operators should be careful about cross-selling players to a lucrative casino offering, because casino and sports regulations will vary from state to state.
Q: What platforms/channels are the most effective at reaching players?
A: Social media is an excellent channel for reaching out to players. If operators can nail the correct tone of voice and engage with their fans, they will reap the benefits when it comes to brand awareness and driving organic traffic to their site. Facebook is a notoriously difficult channel now for non-publishers, so marketers should consider Instagram and Twitter to increase engagement.
Video content is extremely popular, so YouTube is the obvious choice for operators who regularly create unique video content; this can be shared across other social media channels, too. Paid social is a great option, but restrictions for each social channel exist, so marketers must check the rules to understand if and how to use them to promote their online casino.
Q: What role can affiliates play in the US market? What do operators need to consider when working with affiliates?
A: Our affiliate programme, ActiveWins, operates in several countries that permit online casino marketing. It’s the channel we founded our business on five years ago, and it remains a highly effective and profitable option. The key to success in affiliate marketing is understanding what the averages are for first-time depositors, the lifetime value of players and how to set up a deal that works for operators and affiliates alike. It can be a tenuous relationship, so acting as a moderator between both parties has worked incredibly well for our programme.
Q: For operators looking to build their in-house marketing teams, what key roles do they need to fill?
A: They should seek out a marketing director that is comfortable on all digital channels, from paid search through to affiliate marketing. Content is still king, so invest in copywriters that know how to write with SEO in mind and are familiar with social media to share the content. If they want to improve the lifetime value of players, they must have an experienced CRM manager on their team. A financial analyst should closely monitor the ROI of all marketing activity to ensure they are investing in the right media. Finally, we live in a visual world so great designers can make or break a brand.
Q: Where can operators find this talent? Should they look to recruit from within the industry or from outside?
A: Talent is in demand for any digital marketing role, so they should focus on trying to get referrals from employees by offering a finder’s fee for candidates who complete a probation period. Peruse LinkedIn for people who are commenting on the industry, as there could be someone trying to branch out into online casino marketing but hasn’t had a lucky break yet. Post roles on social media channels too; it’s free and effective. Other options include established recruitment firms such as bettingjobs.com and consultant specialists such as findmyexpert.com.
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: If operators want to succeed in this space, they need to invest in a great platform, promote incentives that are good for players and their brand, consider their visual appeal when designing their creative, keep a sharp eye on profits and above all, engage with players regularly.
If you would like to speak with Warren Jacobs about any aspect of customer retention, he can be reached via www.activewin.co.uk and quoting the reference iGUSA.
This article was originally posted here.