This is a guest contribution by Jeremy Olson, a poker expert who’s been working alongside 888poker on their latest interactive piece. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
A decade ago, drawing online poker traffic was as simple as writing a few blog posts, running some freerolls and offering a solid game selection.
Unfortunately, we’re no longer in the mid-2000s and poker sites must work harder than ever to draw traffic.
So where should you direct all of this hard work?
Here are 5 marketing tips to focus on as you try to boost your traffic in the modern online poker landscape.
1. Social Media Has Never Been More Important
If you’re still diverting a large portion of your advertising budget to Google AdWords and link-building campaigns – stop!
Social media is just as important as search engine marketing these days because it not only drives traffic to your site but also engages players.
Facebook is by far the most effective social media tool for reaching players because 1.6 billion people use it. Twitter (320 million users) can also be beneficial for poker sites, but just not to the degree of Facebook.
When using social media, draw engagement with interesting material like poker strategy questions, breaking news and interactive quizzes.
Does your operation have an online casino and/or sportsbook in addition to your poker site? If so, it’s critical to promote across channels when you offer multiple types of gaming.
But when should you do this?
Let’s say, for example, that you’re advertising poker to a sports bettor. Studies have shown that bettors are more likely to play poker after a big match has ended, when they’re looking for something else to do.
Timing is everything with cross-promotion, so think about your customers’ habits and interests. Once you can think like your customer, it’s easier to attract them to other channels.
3. Have Cool Players Represent Your Brand
We’re long past the days when sponsoring some guy who wears a cowboy hat and does neat chip tricks will pay big dividends. But that’s not to say sponsoring players is totally useless, especially if you use a calculated, measured approach.
If you can develop a team of brand ambassadors that appeal to a wide range of players – without breaking the bank – then you’ll have another powerful marketing tool at your disposal.
Here’s one example of creating an effective mix of brand ambassadors: sign a couple of strong online pros, a notable live tournament player, a pro from a new region that you want to target.
4. Give Your Money Away
It’s no secret that the industry is putting its focus on recreational players these days. And there’s no better way to do attract recreational players than with a large no-deposit bonus.
Gaudy sign-up bonuses no longer seem to be the ticket to attracting large numbers of players. But no-deposit bonuses are really effective these days because many recreational players feel like they’re getting free money – even though they need to meet lofty wagering requirements first.
With enough players taking your free cash, you’ll be able to convert more visitors into real-money players.
5. Keep Rolling Out Fresh Promotions
Free money is a great way to attract players to your brand, but how do you keep them?
One of the best answers is to continually offer new and exciting promotions every month.
Daily prize tickets, monthly gifts, jackpots and live tournament packages are just some of the promos that you can rotate between each month.
It also helps if you can occasionally add new products too. The latest trend that poker sites have had success with is lottery style sit-and-go’s. Before this, it was fast-fold poker. Keep an eye out for the next trend you can jump on.
In summary, you may not be large enough to do everything that we’ve discussed here, especially with regard to signing players. But the 5 points that we’ve discussed are good to keep in mind when you’re trying to break through this poker recession and grab more customers.
Jeremy Olson is a poker expert who’s been working alongside 888poker on their latest interactive piece. He’s also been covering online poker for 10 years and has been featured on PokerNewsDaily, PokerUpdate and PokerWorks.