The revenue generated by the casino industry in the United States was $43.6 billion in 2019, up nearly 4% from a previously reported high in 2018 and the highest value it has ever held. 2021 is well on its way to shattering that record.
If you’re involved in the casino industry, you’ll know how lucrative it can be, but also how fierce the competition is. That’s where casino marketing comes in.
The only way to ensure that your casino business keeps pace with its competitors is to invest time and funding into an effective casino marketing strategy.
Read on to learn the essential skills you need to be a great casino marketer.
Casino Marketing 101
Industries vary, but working in a casino might be the most exciting job you’ll ever have. A casino is a very distinctive business entity. It is different from almost any other kind of enterprise. This means that marketing approaches for casinos are markedly different from those of other types of companies. Your target markets, expected returns, and many other important considerations are unique to the industry.
For a beginner to casino marketing, knowing the language of the casino is hugely important. You need to know what terms like ADT (a measurement of expected winnings on a given day) and CMS (casino management system) mean.
Databases are critically important for casino marketers. By understanding and analyzing how your guests make their bets, you’re giving yourself a much better chance of enticing them to visit more, extend their time, or increase their betting.
A key factor here is the identification of types of gamblers. Although the games might seem the same, there will be wide diversity in terms of the kind of guests you will see on the floor.
Some bettors go to the tables with $50 to lose and nothing more. No amount of smart marketing is going to squeeze much more money out of a player like this. However, the person sitting next to them could drop hundreds or thousands in a night without batting an eyelid. For a variety of reasons, both could be valuable to your operation. Database assessment is key to identifying and targeting your most valuable guests and maximizing your investments.
Segmentation & Direct Marketing
When it comes to casino marketing, the battle is won and lost at the mailbox. There is no argument on that point.
As mentioned above, you will have a wide variety of guests visit you. They may differ in how much they spend. They may vary in how they visit.
The process of identifying and categorizing these guests is called segmentation. Once you have identified the segments you need to target, your next step is direct marketing – allowing you to focus your marketing resources on those targets by, for example, emailing them offers or invitations to special events.
Whether you are the direct mail manager or the advertising coordinator, segmentation is a critical skill in the arsenal of a casino marketer.
Understanding the Customer
It would be best if you had an understanding of what brings a casino guest in the first place, what persuades them to stay, and what will motivate them to return. You then need to maximize these attributes relative to your competition.
A key consideration here is the use of the human touch.
As automation pervades some areas of customer service, it can be tempting to let yourself get swept away in it. Machines don’t require training, holiday pay, or lunch breaks; they can, therefore, cost you much less over the long term than a human employee.
However, there are certain things that you should never leave to a machine. Greeting and recognizing guests, especially in a competitive market, can be the differentiation that sets you at the top of the visit list. You should always have someone to welcome guests to the casino.
Even to an expert in the field of casino marketing, this can sometimes feel like a costly strategy. It is difficult to justify the investment of money and time in a human employee when a machine could provide the same service at a much lower price. We’ve seen some of our brethren use robot bartenders and devices to deliver requested items to guest rooms. They are all fun to experience, but humans will always crave human interaction. Nothing makes people feel welcome like the human touch; if you don’t give this to your customers, they might seek it from one of your competitors instead.
Automation for the sake of only saving costs here could do massive damage to your brand in the long run. We must balance these decisions with the desired (and expected) guest experience.
Social Media & Managing the Customer
We live in an age where social media rules the marketing roost. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook grab the attention of billions of people every day, and the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have only created more interest in them.
As casinos were forced to close our operations and then reopen, we received further proof that social media is no longer simply nice to have.
To keep people interested in your casino, you need to be making use of these online channels. We must be present. We must be engaging. We must be responsive.
Additionally, as our use of these channels evolves, we must consider our brands and how we are portraying them. The next time, you happen to be on your Instagram profile page, scan through the images, and ask yourself, “Does this look like my brand?”
Develop an Online Presence
Recently we spoke to a potential client about a possible marketing project. He was involved in e-commerce and didn’t have a website. He was doing 100% of his sales through his social media channels. I realize we just finished extolling the importance of social media, but owning your online presence is crucial in any business.
Owning your online presence gives you the freedom to organize your information in the way guests will be able to navigate easily. It allows you to create a history of your company. More importantly, you will never have to shift strategy when someone decides you cannot post something anymore.
Additionally, as operators continue to expand into social and online gaming, you will have a way to engage current customers and attract new ones who may discover you online and then visit you IRL. Gamification should be a tool you use regularly.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most essential marketing tools there are in 2020. The higher you rank when people are searching for a casino, the more chance there is your site will be the one they chose to examine.
Getting found online is not as simple as building a website. Casinos are competing for top ranks in search results, Google Maps, directories, and more.
With nearly 1000 commercial and tribal casinos in the US, the competition to be found online is fierce.
Content marketing is a concept that is closely related to SEO. The two are usually used together in successful strategies.
Rather than relying on the manipulation of search engines to drum up business, content marketing focuses on the creation of dynamic, eye-catching content that people want. The idea is that potential customers see it and are compelled to explore it further.
Both content marketing and SEO are known as inbound marketing strategies. Rather than pushing a customer through your door (with an offer as an example), they are drawn in because of the content.
Content writers achieve this through a deep understanding of their customer personas and the questions they are trying to answer through an online search. Keyword placement, structured linking, and a focus on readability are also variables to be considered. A casino’s SEO strategy might try to rank for search terms like “casino near me” or “how to play blackjack.”
Give Players a Chance to Win
You wouldn’t think casino marketers would be involved in the chance to win. But operators can choose to establish a winning or losing experience. As the person responsible for drawing guests in, you want to ensure the gaming experience matches the communications.
Successful casino marketers will be as involved with the gaming operations as they are with the offers they put in the mail.
Making the Right Bets as a Casino Marketer in 2020
Casino marketing is going through a challenging time right now, much like marketing in other industries. The COVID-19 pandemic has left the industry in disarray, with movement restrictions and physical distancing requirements leaving many gamblers unable or unwilling to go to casinos.
Any successful marketing approach will have to recognize this difficulty and make allowances for it.
To learn about how we can help you with this, as well as other aspects of your casino marketing approach, contact us today.