What distinguishes one casino from another? The games, the staff, the clientèle? While these may vary slightly from location to location, what can really set a casino apart is how it is presented to current and potential guests.
Industries across the board are moving into the digital age, casinos included. Often, the first point of contact a guest has with a casino is through digital platforms—websites, social media and mobile content—and much of the company-client communication happens through social media.
To help your casino catch the digital marketing wave, use the following 10 tips. Any casino can follow them to build an online presence, interact with the community and engage users to step into the physical casino.
1. Use the Four Platforms of Digital Marketing
Every casino should have a website, optimized content, social media marketing, and mobile compatibility.
A casino’s website is the most informative platform of the four, and can be considered the foundation for the other three aspects of digital marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way to increase the ranking of the website and drive viewers to the casino’s pages. SEO can also be applied to any content that goes out on the web, including press releases, articles, blog posts, etc. Each of these can link back to the site and further increase search rankings.
Social media marketing gives casinos a way to interact with their clientèle on a casual basis. The casino can run promotions or ads through social media sites in addition to creating dialogues with current and potential guests.
As smartphones increase in popularity, optimizing a site or creating an app for Android and iOS will help users interact with the casino and find important information on the go.
2. Have Consistent Tone and Branding
Decide on a tone for the casino’s online presence and stick to it. The tone might be friendly and casual, formal and professional, or somewhere in-between. Whatever it is, create content across the website, mobile platform and social media that will convey this tone, creating consistency that viewers can expect.
3. Write Original, Insightful Content
Bored with the content on your casino’s page? Then viewers probably are too. Sticking to the tone established in Step 2, write original content that users will care about. What would be interesting for a potential guest? What kind of articles or stories might they want to read?
4. Optimize Digital Platforms for Usability
Each digital platform should be clear and simple to use. If a user gets confused by the layout of a website or application, that digital platform is not meeting the needs of the customer and can ultimately result in the loss of guests. Websites should be visually appealing while offering the most important information, either at the top or in the sidebar, that users can easily find.
Keywords (discussed in Step 9) should be used in the website, blog and mobile site with 3 to 5 percent saturation. Any less than this will not benefit the site for SEO and any more will make the content difficult to read—and may read as spam, resulting in a ban from search engines.
Tailor mobile sites and apps to the mobile user. Create large buttons and a clean, simple design that users can easily access.
Social media platforms each have a distinct style and tone that works best for their viewers. Create a plan for each type of social media that fits with the needs of both the platform and the casino’s outreach goals.
5. Create Facebook and Twitter Campaigns
Social media is one of the best ways to communicate with potential guests. To maximize its effectiveness, outline a plan for each type. Have an overall goal for both Facebook and Twitter. Implement analytics to track viewership and interaction with both, and to see how they change over time. If the numbers aren’t where they should be, it might be time to change the social media campaigns.
Twitter allows for more frequent, shorter posts throughout the day. Limited at 140 characters, Twitter allows casinos to send up-to-the-minute announcements and reminders.
Plan one to two Facebook posts per day, focusing on interesting topics that fans can comment on and leave feedback for. An example of a weekly Facebook campaign plan might look like this:
-Monday: A photo from the casino, restaurant or hotel that shows the experience a guest might enjoy.
-Tuesday: Fill in the blank. (e.g., My favorite table game is _______.)
-Wednesday: Post a photo and ask fans to create a caption. Pick one winner and post it later in the day or week.
-Thursday: A gambling tip from a pro.
-Friday: A quote about casinos, dining or gambling from a well-known person.
6. Encourage Conversation
Create opportunities for people to interact through social media, blogs and reviews. Ask questions, request feedback and respond to users’ posts. If a guest ever posts about a bad experience at the casino, be sure to respond to it, rather than deleting or ignoring the comment. Offer a complimentary drink or discounted dinner on their next visit to encourage the guest to come back.
7. Simplify Everything
Less is more when it comes to digital marketing. Leave plenty of white space on pages so as not to overwhelm viewers, and keep web pages under 500 words. In a mobile site, white space is particularly important as it allows users to easily click on an item without accidentally clicking another button.
8. Create Visual Appeal
Just as the content and voice should be consistent across platforms, use consistent branding and imagery to create a predictable user experience. Use graphics to create the desired mood for users. Avoid placing important information in graphics though, as search engines cannot read this information. Instead, place the more important information and keywords in simple text, which the search engines can read, and use alt tags for graphics that do contain information. Sites built in Flash are unreadable by search engines.
9. Optimize for the Web
SEO is a method for helping sites rank higher on search results by making the site readable to the search engines. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! use programs called crawlers or spiders to index each page on the web. These spiders look for ethical keyword implementation, metadata (except for Google) and backlinks to determine how relevant a page is to a user’s search. For example, the more words about casinos and casino-related keywords that are on a page, the more relevant a search engine will probably find that site to someone searching “casinos in my area.”
The first step to SEO is determining the best keywords for the site. Look at your competitor’s sites to see what kind of keywords they are using and draw inspiration from those to create a specific set of keywords for your own. Webmasters can also look up common keywords through a site like Google AdWords or consult a digital marketing company to find customized keywords based on research and experience.After the keywords are established, organically weave them into the website, alt tags on images, metadata, blog posts, press releases and any other material that may draw visitors back to the main site and ultimately the casino itself.
10. Don’t Forget Mobile Users
Create a mobile site for users on the move. Highlight important information like the location of the casino, directions and a map, a clickable phone number, and current events and shows. Most mobile users are actually mobile. Having these items available as soon as users enter the website will increase the likelihood of them finding the correct information quickly, which may in turn result in more guests in the casino.
Another option for mobile users is the creation of a mobile app. This is a button that goes on the home screen of an Android or iOS phone and sends the user directly to an application with all the information about the casino.