WEB WATCH: What's in your marketing arsenal?
October 1, 2009
Casinos are starting to expand their marketing mix to incorporate newer trends. This change is crucial to help marketers engage with their consumer base; online user behavior is continually advancing so advertisers need to adapt with it. Here is a brief look at areas where casinos can boost their current efforts.
Search Engine Optimization - The key to search engine optimization is content. HTML and some Flash-optimized text are crawl-able by search engines. Essentially this means that almost every word on a Web site can drive visitors to a site. Use your tracking capabilities to identify how converting visitors enter your site and emphasize those keywords. Look at “long tail” keywords - meaning multiword phrases - because while they might not generate a large volume of traffic they likely convert at a higher rate. Lastly, do not neglect non-traditional types of content like video, blog posts or consumer reviews. All of these forums contain keywords that can drive or deter visitor conversions. In short, leave no stone, or keyword, unturned.
Search Engine Marketing - The great thing about search engine marketing is its adaptability and time sensitivity. Campaigns can be turned up, turned off or adjusted on the fly to make sure that advertisements are producing results. To make the most of this digital marketing tactic marketers must continually review their keyword groups and optimize around consumer behavior. For most this begins with deep personal research. By getting into the minds of your potential customers a search marketer can make smarter bids and drive reservations. I also urge marketers not to look exclusively at cost per clicks; while you may gawp at the price, if the clicks convert, the cost per action is worth the investment.
Coordinating search engine marketing with search engine optimization is also extremely helpful for marketers to maximize their efforts. For example, if a particular keyword performs well during a paid search campaign, incorporate it into your search engine optimization strategy. Share intelligence and make recommendations that impact both. This way, marketers can continue to reach their target users wherever they are online.
Affiliate Marketing - In most cases this is a pay-for-performance model so casino marketers are not liable for leads that do not come in (even if the affiliate marketer is still running advertisements). Try to partner with relevant marketing outlets that target your consumers and reflect your brand accurately. If it makes sense, look for affiliates that use a wide range of tactics like paid search campaigns or e-mail marketing. This will help cultivate relationships with potential guests and not just bombard users with advertisements. Especially for the casino hotel industry I think e-mail marketing can be a great affiliate marketing tactic. It affords marketers a great forum to follow up with guests, ask for their feedback and promote new offers to encourage repeat visits.
Web Analytics - Conversion funnels are keys to the success of a casino hotel marketing team. By creating various paths to conversion, marketers can direct users down relevant routes that ultimately lead to a reservation or booking. Conversion funnels tie SEO, SEM and analytics together because in most cases search tactics are the gateways into a conversion funnel. Once visitors are at a site its time for Web analytics to take over and make sure on-page traffic translates to sales. To do so, first make sure your tracking code is implemented correctly. No matter what analytics solution you’re using, there is nothing more frustrating than a partial analytics report.
Social - Social media marketing is all the rage right now, and for good reason. It helps connect brands with their consumers in personal terms to allow real-time, two-way interactions. There is still some hesitation about how to actually implement a social media campaign, but I think the casino industry is in a great position to offer value to its consumer base on these forums. Announce deals, comment on users vacation plans, push out event pictures and share travel tips. Brands tend to struggle using social media when they are strapped for timely, interesting content. This is not the case with hotels and casinos. Marketers can create fan groups, monitor user status updates and encourage discussions. This will illuminate user sentiments much like a focus group and create brand fans who can promote on your behalf. The key to a social media plan is to make sure resources are available to manage and monitor activity. It does not do any good to set up properties that look lifeless and inactive. Be engaging, inviting and interactive, and you should fare just fine.