The internet battle with igaming

Competing with igaming? “bring on the nerds”

Every incumbent gaming operation has had to deal with the expanding gambling landscape and new, large and well-funded competition opening down the street. The barrier to market has always been the huge expenses of buying land, building giant brick-and-mortar properties, staffing and then finally marketing against us. Well a new dawn approaches!

This time though, the battle won’t be on the strip. This battle is on the internet.

So how strong is your internet team and what are they focused on?
(please don’t say Facebook, please. lol)

The real battle will take place on the search engine. If we do our jobs right we can beat them on the internet. What every casino needs now is an expanding army of programmers, bloggers and online search engine experts. The more you understand about search engines the more you will understand the large advantage you have on the internet over the online casinos. You truly can win this fight if all physical casinos massively outperform online casinos at the search engine screen.

Bring on the Nerds!
I’m a nerd so it’s ok.

There was a story in the Las Vegas Review Journal about a current online battle the cosmopolitan is having with an international company trying to get their online business. Article Here.

What you see in the article is a typical online battle that you may all be dealing with in the months and years ahead. These new online casinos will have to create clever brands and spend tens-of-millions marketing those brands. They will try and save those millions by hijacking your brands online. It’s already happening to The Cosmo.

But, The Cosmopolitans website kicks major Search Engine butt over the hijacking site. A search engine strategy report shows newcosmopolitanlasvegas.com (the online hijack) with an SEO score of 44 out of 100 but cosmopolitanlasvegas.com (the real site) has an SEO score of 66 out of 100. The Cosmo is winning but still needs to step up their search engine strategy above that 66.

In their local market, Palms.com has a grade of 88 out of 100. They are really working their online strategy obviously. You can’t just build pretty websites folks. This is an online battle for the modern customer and one of your most valuable marketing dollars you can spend.

You can never learn too much about search engine marketing! Do you know that your own blog is worth 200x more than facebook, but many casinos have staff focused on facebook and don’t even have a blog. What is your H1-tag strategy? How about your meta-tag strategy? You even need an image and alt-text strategy too. What are the actual names of your images anyway?
What does Google think you do?

Google cannot “see” your pretty website like humans do. What is your website SEO score? More importantly, when a customer decides to plan a trip and types “Hotels in [your city]” are you on the top of the results? A successful search engine strategy pays off big! It’s time to take your site to the next level and protect yourselves from igaming too.

Attention Marketers: Facebook is Not Your Friend

Why would you spend considerable resources marketing another companies website instead of your own? Facebook is mostly an unproductive diversion of time, talent and resources. You could get 10x more value by spending 1/2 that time adding search engine content to your own website.

Sure, Feeling popular and ‘liked’ makes us smile and feel like we matter each day. There is nothing wrong with positive affirmations from random guests and strangers to start your marketing teams day.
However, you should move your team in another direction as quickly as possible.

The goal is to bring warm, paying, profitable, fun-loving guests into your property where they buy your food, stay in your rooms and enjoy your gaming experience. There is very little to be gained by getting ‘likes’ on some other companies website that is a temporary site compared to your own.

Reason #1, When people are ready to travel, they go to Google, Yahoo or Bing, not facebook:
Marketing Statistics for facebook and Google

This website visitor report shows that search engines brought 723 guests to your website and facebook and twitter only brought in 14 combined.  So don’t double your facebook and twitter time!  It’s much easier to spend 1/2 hour per day adding content to your website for much bigger gains.

Reason#2, All efforts in facebook vanish almost immediately since Facebook hides your messages.

Facebook wants to sell advertising to companies like yours so when you post something on Facebook they filter it in the timeline so a user has to seek you out on purpose which they rarely do.  People go to Facebook to share pictures, talk with friends and play games.  They quickly move past company messages and Facebook makes it easy to skip your messages altogether.

Reason #3, Facebook hides your content from search engines and uses it for their benefit.

Remember, facebook is free for a reason.  If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
Look at this nofollow screen capture where we show you the secret in their program.facebook nofollows all your links

See everything highlighted in Pink by our nofollow finding tools…
Facebook has told all the search engines to ignore all outbound links and not follow them.

When you invest marketing staff and resources into producing content and promotions, you don’t want it to be completely invisible or useless 24 hours later (no longer seen by guests or found online). Your efforts in your own website will bring you 50x more guests for a lot less time invested.

Your Top Priority for online marketing should be: go to your favorite search engine and type the words your guests would type when looking for a property like yours.  Type “Southern California Casino” or “North Dakota Hotels” or “Places to Stay” and see if you even show up in the results.  This is when a new customer is actually planning the details of their coming trip.  This is when you want to interact with them and book that reservation.  This is where you want to win in the online world.

The Solution is to add new content to your website daily in an event or community blog in your site. Search engines see this as new content and come back daily with new guests.  Your content remains active in your site and a magnet for guests on the internet ~ forever.

Once you get your blog up and running in your own website where guests can post, reply and interact with you directly (cutting out the middleman), we’ll show you the next steps to automate your social media campaigns and really move up in the search engine rankings which is what matters most online.

2012 Casino Marketing Conference Returns to Paris Las Vegas


July 24-26, 2012!
Marketing insiders know that Casino Marketing is a hard-hitting, straight-talking, no-holds-barred senior-level conference that addresses marketing challenges across all facets of the gaming industry, including commercial casinos, tribal casinos and racetrack casinos – virtually any gaming venue around the world.

More than 100 different gaming operators and other companies involved in the gaming industry attended the 2011 event, and they came from throughout North America – and beyond. Many companies sent their entire marketing and promotions teams, so they know the value of this unique event!


July 23-24, 2012!
In 2012 the Casino Marketing Conference is offering the popular program Drive Revenue and Grow Business: An Advanced Sales Model for Your Host Department. This one and a half-day program will run on July 23rd and 24th; separate registration is required.

If you are a senior host and player development specialist, General Manager, Player Development Senior Executive, or Marketing Director, you want to attend this program that will focus on:

• Developing and segmenting qualified sales leads from your database
• Creating compensation and specialization in a new player development model
• Managing reinvestment properly and measuring the sale
• Understanding the true value of a player through mathematics
• Acquiring the skills to complete the sales cycle

This is the advanced training you have been looking for! The program delves deep into sales skills, database management, analytics and the math of player value. This isn’t theory and a whole lotta talk — these are takeaway tools you can apply as soon as you return to your property. This is the 21st century groundwork you need to create an advanced host department.

To learn more about this conference or to register click Here.

the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012

The US Senate voted 62-37 yesterday to pass S. 1789 (as amended), the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012, as amended. Sixty votes were needed to pass the bill.

About S. 1789
S. 1789, as amended, works to refund the USPS billions of dollars in overpayments to the Federal Employees Retirement System, streamline its structure and operations, adjust an onerous retiree pre-funding requirement, and seeks compromise solutions on controversial issues like facility closures and Saturday mail delivery. The bill does not include legislated rate increases on first class/standard mail above the current rate cap tied to the Consumer Price Index. While S. 1789 is not a perfect solution to the USPS crisis, Printing Industries of America supports this bipartisan bill as the legislation best suited to reform the USPS.

Action on postal reform now moves to the House The House version of postal reform (H.R. 2309), sponsored by Reps. Issa (R-CA) and Ross (R-AL), has been heard, amended and approved out of committee, but no floor vote has yet been scheduled. The House GOP leadership and bill sponsors said that the House had been waiting for the Senate product and will likely move postal reform legislation this spring/summer. There are a few procedural avenues this could take, but the current expectation is that the House bill will go to a full floor debate/vote. It would then need to be merged with the now-passed Senate bill in a conference committee in order to receive final approval and be sent to President Obama for his signature. Keep in mind that the House legislation takes a dramatically different approach to postal reform than does its Senate counterpart. Printing & Mailing Industries and its allies will continue our work in the House and put pressure in that chamber to achieve legislative success as soon as possible.

– Printing Industry of America

Casino Direct Mail Romero Awards Deadline April 30th

Direct Mail Romero AwardsGuest Blog from Dennis Conrad at Raving Consulting. The Casino Marketing Conference at Paris Las Vegas and the highly coveted Romero Direct Mail Awards are fast approaching.

From our friend Dennis Conrad…

There is only ONE competition in the gaming industry that truly acknowledges the very best casino marketing teams. Those teams that planned BIG. Those teams that drove additional visits, incremental revenue, and gained qualified players.

Is this your team? Share your success with your peers — the international gaming industry. What could be a better benchmark or motivator?

April 30th is the due date for your submissions for the 2012 Romero Awards Competition. We’ve made it even easier this year; the process is all online.

So, here’s the deal. Most of you are familiar with the process of submitting for the Romero Awards. However, if you have never entered this prestigious competition before, and you know you have done impressive work around your casino marketing this past year, then I want to challenge you to take the time to share your marketing success with your peers.

Why?

Our eight years of award winners tell us that taking home a Romero Award is about pride and dreams coming true — this is the climax for casino marketers at properties large and small across the world. It is about competing with the very best, the most dedicated casino marketers. Previous award winners stand tall among their peers.

Pick your best promotion(s) or event(s). Bring them to life on the online entry form . Comply with every word of instruction.

Please note, for 2012, we’ve also updated a few of the categories to better reflect current casino marketing vehicles:
•    Direct Mail Marketing (single or campaign)
•    Community Relations (charity, cooperative business programs)
•    Casino Floor Promotion
•    VIP Promotion (for top-rated players)
•    Online Marketing (website and social media)
•    Electronic Marketing (Email and Mobile)
Here are the key points you need to know:

•    Your submissions are due no later than April 30, 2012. Enter as many categories as you wish. No more than three nominations per category, please.

•    The awards ceremony takes place during the 2012 Casino Marketing Conference at Paris Las Vegas. Specifically, competitors will be honored at a VIP breakfast on the morning of Thursday, July 26. You will be notified if you have won a Romero about a month before. All casinos who submit can send a representative as our guest to the awards breakfast.

The 2012 Casino Marketing Conference, home of the Romero Awards, returns July 24-26 to Paris Las Vegas, and will again be produced by Raving Consulting Company for BNP Media.

Will I see you there? Are you ready to go shoulder to shoulder with some of the best casino marketing pros in the world? I hope so.
Sincerely,

Dennis Conrad
President and Chief Strategist
Raving Consulting Company
775-329-7864

How to Get Your Direct Mail Opened

Direct-mail is one of the most powerful marketing tools a casino has!   Getting the highest direct mail response should be the goal but there is usually a lot of pressure to keep the costs down. These can be conflicting goals. If we don’t get our mailer opened and read we will get a poor response rate so let’s focus on getting customers to open our direct mail today.Get Direct Mail Opened

Here are a few tricks to get your mail opened.

  • Use a shocking or awe inspired headline

There is a reason why every band does their “last tour” every few years. It creates shock to their fans and creates deep interest in the event. Find something spectacular about your event worth creating some drama about like “biggest jackpot ever” or this is a very rare event or last of it’s kind.

  • Use mystery to make them curious about your mailer

Curiosity is a powerful tool.  If you use some lead-in text on the address side of your mailer (the primary side they see), you can tap into their curiosity and get your mailer opened.  Try a snipe like “You’ll never guess who is coming” but make them open the mailer to find out. Your mailer open rate will increase incredibly.  They could guess, but its more natural to open the mailer and see the answer.  It is a similar technique as a scratch-off for getting your piece opened.

  • Use a scratch-off on the outside to compare on the inside

If you design your scratch off with a compelling offer and easy to understand design they work very well.  You can create a nice scratch-off on the outside and have them check the inside of the piece to see what they have won.  You can create scratch-offs with variable numbers too so make a game of your mailer and it will have a much higher open and interaction rate than the rest of the mail that day.

  • A box-mailer always gets opened

Any box place inside your customers mailbox is the most important thing in the mailbox. If we are talking strictly open-rates than there is no higher interaction rate than a box mailing.  Higher open rates translate into higher response rates. You should definitely do some box mailings throughout the year and compare the post forma math to your other mailers.  You will be very pleasantly surprised by the increased response which can more than justify the additional expense.

  • Send relevant offers about things they like

The difference between direct marketing and junk mail is if you’re sending relevant offers to someone about what they like or want. If you send a country and western invitation to a rock ‘n roll person you are pushing that client away with things they don’t want (aka junk mail).

You want to be a property that has the things they like so you are their favorite place to go.  Code your database well so you can personalize relevant offers to the right person and you’ll always get your mailers opened and higher response rate too.

Personalized Digital Variable Book Printing

We’re printing our first digital booklets! Digital variable data printing at CSG Direct Mail has never been more alive! The idea of a press that prints multiple paged personalized booklets, gathers the pages, folds, stitches together, and finally does the 3 sided trim is an incredible dream come true.

Before this investment we had to print separate pages and then offline stitch and trim. That was not a great way to do personalized mail by a long shot. Too many pieces got destroyed in the process and the offline process increased costs and timelines. We’re highly focused on quality and speed!

Direct mail is a details business. Demand quality if you want success. We’ll help you find ways to balance cost and speed from there. Knowing what you’re dealing with is half the battle.

If you are printing booklets for your organization and would like to see samples printed on our new presses get in touch with us or get a quote.

Records Break at NIGA Tradeshow Ribbon Cutting

San Diego, CA (April 3, 2012) – Although the convention has been underway since Sunday with a Chairman’s Welcome Reception hosted at the USS Midway, the 27th Annual National Indian Gaming Association 2012 Tradeshow really kicks off at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Tuesday, April 3rd.

During the meeting at the San Diego Convention Center, Tribal government gaming commissioners will get certified, and industry officials will discuss internet gaming, gain knowledge on the latest gaming technology, see gaming forecasts, and meet and surpass casino compliance.

With the organization’s Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. presiding the ribbon cutting, he shared that over 5,500 people have registered for the convention, a record-breaking number.

“Today, we have filled the 90,000 square foot floor with over 450 world-class exhibits, who are our friends in the gaming industry and Native-owned businesses who are eager to build their brands. There is a $26 billion industry behind these doors, and we welcome you,” Stevens said.

The purpose of the tradeshow and convention is to build a positive venue for Indian gaming industry professionals and foster a dialog to help reinvent and reposition their facilities to better serve their communities, better serve their customers and stay competitive at a higher level. They will discuss economic development beyond gaming.

Facing the challenging years of the recent recession, characterized in the industry by overconfident growth, and internet gaming, have taken its toll on the spirits of Tribal leaders, gaming facility managers and employees alike. Today, these challenges are facing a turnaround and the NIGA Tradeshow & Convention is the place to discuss them openly and honestly.

Joining the Chairman on the stage was Law & Order SVU Actor Adam Beach, retired U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Olympic Gold Medal winner, Billy Mills.

Michael Woestehoff
Indian Gaming Weekly
Your Membership News Source for Indian Gaming
An Online Publication Created by The National Indian Gaming Association

Raving Insider Party

Fellow ravers and NIGA attendees, you’re invited to the Raving Insider Party! Tuesday, April 3 from 9pm to midnight. At the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, San Diego, in the Gaslamp.

401 G Street, 4th Street Entrance

Enjoy a night infused with Cocktails, Cigars & cool conversation!

CSG Direct Mail and Mailing Lists

One of the most effective innovations provided by the USPS has been access to all National Change of Address (NCOA) records to update your mailing list. Unfortunately you have to twist some companies arms to do this service for you. That is why the US Postal Service has decided to make it mandatory.

17% of your database moves every year on average and when you mail Presorted Standard (old 3rd Class) this mail is thrown out by the Postal Service unless you pay to get it sent back you.

The value of recovering even 5% of your database is huge, let alone 17% for 1 year or 40% if you haven’t done it yet at all. We have been doing this so long (early adopter) that we have some very specific tools and methods to take it to the next level for you. Database Marketers know the value of the cleanest data possible and you will too.

If you want to maintain response rates from 2-7% you must be on top of your game and NCOA Link® is one of the tools we pros use everyday.

Direct Mailing Innovations and the best Variable Data Printing from CSG Direct Mail get you Better Results Fast. Find out how our newest innovations and decades of proven results make us the direct mailing services partner and variable data specialists you are looking for.

Ak us anything or give us a call at 800-881-2150.