Diversifying your marketing

The advent of the point of consumption tax in the UK means that small-to-medium operators now have to ask themselves whether they are marketing their businesses correctly. For operators that wish to engage with the regulated market, and pay their taxes, it can no longer be about flooding the market with high bonuses. Small-to-medium operators can no longer afford to give the money back to the customers, or back to affiliates for acquiring them. You have to find new ways to acquire the users, and that means diversifying. As operators we can still afford to do marketing deals, we just can’t afford to do any bad ones. There are deals out there, there’s traffic out there, and there are no reason why you can’t get a piece of that. These days, however, you might have to work harder for it. We used to work nine-to ten-hour days and now we’re working 11-to 12-hour days. You have to be more intelligent. You have to search everywhere. You have to make sure your deals are watertight. You have to make sure that if they’re good you have an opportunity to continue them and if they’re bad you have an opportunity to get out of them. It’s all about optimizing the deals you are doing. At Winner.com we’re looking at deals with a potential return on investment within a four-month period, not just a yearly or 18-month period. We’re trying to get the money back as quickly as possible, and that’s because we want to make ourselves feel as secure as possible, because we know that our margins are so much smaller. With the recent West Ham sponsorship, we had to work very hard to make sure that it represented value to us. It wasn’t a deal we could just take as it was offered, and say, “Let’s put the brand out there and see what happens.” In fact, we’re actually measuring this as a direct response campaign, which is very rare for a sponsorship deal, but if you have the right measuring tools in place you can ascertain a rough idea of the value, and that’s what we’ve done so far. The most cost-effective way of attracting the user over the long-term is SEO. At the beginning you think, “My God, this is going to take forever,” but once you get it right you can really reap the rewards. Done correctly it will bring customers and it’s good for your brand too, but it takes time and it takes patience. If you want quick results I wouldn’t recommend SEO at all because it’s extremely competitive. If you have an 18-month to two-year plan, however, then you have to get your SEO in order and you have to do it right. And make sure you’re looking at those results on a monthly basis. For us, enhanced odds are doing very well at the moment. Offering enhanced prices to most markets as an acquisition tool has been extremely effective and we’ve been very aggressive with it, and of course we’re not just giving the money away; it’s a very important balance between attractiveness to punters and a positive P&L. Marketing channels are more diverse in today’s industry, with everything from social media and media campaigns to SEO, as well as traditional affiliate marketing. Meanwhile the advance in mobile technology has also created an enormous shift in the industry and in how we go about our marketing and retention. Now more than ever, operators must focus not only on what they are offering the user, but ensuring that their many marketing channels are optimized and correct.