Marketing in tough times

Content marketing is the solution operators, suppliers and affiliates need right now.
Content marketing is the solution operators, suppliers and affiliates need right now.

Martyn Hannah, Director of marketing agency, Ghostfoundry, talks about why content will be key in helping operators and suppliers drive growth in challenging economic times.

Whether you are an operator, supplier or affiliate, marketing should and most probably does take up a sizeable portion of your monthly and annual expenditure.

Without a comprehensive marketing strategy in place, and the budget required to deploy it, acquiring and retaining customers is almost impossible.

But times are tough at the moment – the world is still in the grips of a pandemic and operators, suppliers and affiliates are all feeling the pinch.

While marketing is vital to ensuring businesses not only survive but thrive, when an organisation is forced to reconsider finances it can be tough to justify the costs associated with it.

This is certainly true when businesses are facing the prospect of having to downsize offices, make redundancies and potentially issue profit warnings.

Ultimately, organisations can find themselves in a downward spiral – by cutting marketing spend, acquisition and retention drops with sales, revenues and profits falling in line with it.

The good news is that effective marketing does not have to be expensive. Below, I explain why content marketing is the solution operators, suppliers and affiliates need right now.

What is content marketing:

First things first, let’s just clarify what is meant by content marketing. In short, it is the practice of creating, posting and distributing content for a specific audience.

Content can take several forms – written word, audio, video – but the aim is always the same, to engage, educate and entertain your target audience.

In most cases content is created in order to drive people from search engine results pages to a website, but its can also generate site visits via social media or traditional media channels.

Forms of content marketing include but are not limited to:

– Blog posts and content hubs

– Podcasts

– Videos – check out the Focus Gaming New YouTube channel

– Press releases

– Thought leadership articles – like this one

– Reports and whitepapers

Regardless of the format taken, content marketing is all about providing the information that a customer is seeking and, over time, building a genuine relationship between them and you.

Why it works and the benefits it brings:

Content marketing works because the main purpose of the content created is to provide value to the end user rather than sell a product or service, as is the case with traditional marketing.

By providing information, knowledge, entertainment, etc to the user without requiring anything in return it is possible to forge genuine and long-lasting relationships with potential customers.

While these customers may not sign up to your casino, integrate your games or click to play at one of your partner gambling brands straight away, over time they are far more likely to covert.

In terms of benefits, content marketing is extremely cost effective. Not only is it something that organisations can often do in-house, it has a much greater ROI than other marketing channels.

Unlike TV and radio, print ads and PPC campaigns which are only live for a short period of time, once content is posted or published it remains live indefinitely.

For example, an online casino operator with a content hub packed with explainer articles such as “What are Megaways slots” can drive organic traffic to their site over many years.

At a time when organisations are looking to cut costs, being able to reduce the cost of marketing spend while increasing ROI is very much a win win.

Examples of great content marketing:

Some operators, suppliers and affiliates are already using content marketing to great effect and have even ramped up their efforts over recent months.

For example, tier one gambling brand, 888, which operates sites such as 888 Casino and 888 Poker, uses content hubs packed full of guides and articles to engage potential players.

Content is created around key user search terms such as “Popular online slot games” and “Misinformation about blackjack” which is then ranked by Google.

Content is in-depth and informative and answers the person’s initial query. And while they may not sign up to 888 Casino immediately, they may return to the content hub to read more articles.

Of course, when they are ready to sign up and play at an online casino, 888 is most likely to be the first online casino that comes to mind.

Another example is online slot developers teaming up with popular streamers to showcase their games to potential players and operators they would like to integrate with.

Streamers play these games – either for real or in demo mode – and share the footage with their audiences and followers.

This helps to build awareness of the studio and its games in a fun and entertaining way and then when viewers do play online, they are more likely to search for that studio’s titles.

How to get started with content marketing:

Before undertaking any content marketing activity, you need to consider your audience, what information they are seeking, how you can provide that and across what platforms.

For online gambling brands and affiliates, on-site content works really well as a significant source of traffic comes from SEO and search engine results pages.

For some game developers, this will still work but they may also find that video content and streaming will allow them to further engage with their target audience.

For others, traditional PR and securing placements in B2B press might be the most effective platform for connecting with potential customers and clients.

From this, you can then create a content strategy – queries to address, topics to cover, interviews to book in, games to stream, etc – and a timeline for publication and distribution.

The key is to post quality content consistently. While volume is important, quantity should never take precedence over quality.

Once you have a strategy and timeline, the only thing left to do is to write, stream, record or create whatever format of content it is that you have identified as being valuable to your audience.

Just remember that content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint and that it often takes an initial investment in time to get the ball rolling.

But once you have built momentum, you will find that you can reduce marketing costs while growing engagement and ROI – just what all businesses need right now.

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