The Ten Best Tools for Customer Acquisition

 In Topics of Interest

This article was written by Tino Magnatta, Managing Partner with GT Advertising.


The Ten Best Tools for Customer Acquisition

Have you tried all of these techniques?

There are a lot of different tools out there to acquire new customers at your property. So which ones should you use? Here’s an analysis of what’s out there and how to use it.

  1. Google Search

Google (Paid “Adwords” as well as “Organic Search”) is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for customer acquisition. It is highly effective and inexpensive, if used properly. Google is especially effective for getting hotel room bookings and filling other non-gaming venues, such as restaurants and concerts/events. Once the campaigns are set up, you can also optimize them even more.

  1. Behavioral Targeting

Online advertising utilizing behavioral targeting is very effective and especially powerful since people tend to shop around for hotel rooms, and don’t make their decision immediately. Behavioral targeting allows you to “follow” these potential customers online when they leave your site and serve them ads for your property on different websites. These programs are highly cost-effective and scalable.

  1. Prospect Direct Mail/Email Campaigns Using Profiling/Modeling

This is the technique of profiling your best customers who have responded to offers, and modeling their traits and matching them up to opted-in 3rd party databases to find “look-alikes.” For instance, in simplified terms, if your best customer lives in a 40-mile radius, enjoys golf and has household income of >$200K, then those are the parameters that are used to find the new prospects. Of course, modeling is more complex than that, but you get the idea. The DM or Email campaigns are designed specifically to get customers in for the first time, so it’s best to offer these customers more value. This process is a little costlier as you have to pay for profiling/modeling, list costs, creative and DM/Email costs, but it is extremely effective if done properly.

  1. Facebook/Social Media Advertising

Most social media platforms have advertising that you can buy to acquire new customers, however the Facebook platform is the most effective. Facebook possibly has the most relevant data on customers, so you are able to buy ads and target people who fit into your customer profile. Facebook allows you to also target customers who have visited your website, as well as those who are on your email list so that you can serve them ads on Facebook, and even further, allows you to build broader customer audiences that match the profiles of your current customers. Other platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest can also be utilized, but Facebook definitely is the most effective.

Also remember on social media, that content is the most important. All of your staff should be taking photos, showing people the staff and how happy they are and all the activities at the casino, as well as encouraging customers to post on their favorite social media sites. It is then up to you to get the user to your website or on your email list so you own that relationship.

  1. Affiliate Marketing

An often overlooked marketing tool for customer acquisition, Affiliate Marketing provides hotel/casinos a network of publishers that promote your offer on different websites and online media channels. One thing to remember about Affiliate Marketing is that it is performance-based advertising, not just Cost-Per-Click (CPC), but Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), so the better the commission for the advertiser, the more they will promote you. Sometimes this can be more effective than other online advertising channels. This channel is again most effective for hotel rooms, shows and concerts/events where an online sale can be tracked.

  1. Email Marketing to Customers of Travel-Specific Websites

There are not a lot of prospect email databases that work, but there are a few travel deal websites that have collected responsive email databases, upwards of 20MM+, and they work very well when good or “exclusive” deals are provided. These programs are also great for hotel bookings, restaurants, shows, and other non-gaming venues. No specific company is endorsed here, but most ad agencies or direct response marketing companies will know about these options.

  1. Prospect Gaming Database

Most of the customer acquisition tools that have been listed in this article are for non-gaming, since there is no database out there for casinos that has the ADT or true gaming worth of a customer, unless that list has been stolen! However, there is one prospect direct mail database out there where you can extrapolate the player value by reviewing their Credit Card Cash Advances made at competing casinos. The volume of cash advances, average amount and frequency can give you a general guideline for their expected ADT. This database isn’t available to everyone, so contact your ATM provider to see if this is available. This program is the only true gaming database that’s legally available, and although it is somewhat costly, the ROI is tremendous when done correctly.

  1. Strategic Partnerships with Casinos

Strategic Partnerships can be a great way to leverage your player database and another company that has a similar database, but that you don’t really compete with. Case in point – most people who gamble in casinos around the country go to Las Vegas at least once a year, so it makes sense to partner with one of these casinos to exchange players. Make sure that if you do a program like this, that it is mutually beneficial and that your casino is getting the best value. Specifically, this means that you should be able to select players from the partner database who reside close to your property, but haven’t played there. This program shouldn’t have any additional costs besides the mail costs, but opportunity costs may have to be evaluated.


  1. Strategic Partnerships with Credit Card and Other Related Companies

Strategic Partnerships can also be created with other companies, such as credit card, hotel, rental car, and other travel-related companies. Many of these relationships will only apply to bigger properties, such as in Vegas, but there are certainly many Indian Casinos and other commercial properties outside of Vegas that can take advantage of these partnerships. For example, a partnership with a credit card company’s marketing division can get you access into their database of customers who have made hotel transactions at competing properties. And sometimes your credit card partner will even give you marketing dollars in order to do this, since they benefit from the additional volume of credit card transactions. Yes – this is possible! You just need to be a little creative.

  1. Reactivation of Your Inactive Customers

Believe it or not, your best Customer Acquisition option is sitting right in your own database! How is that possible? Well, most casinos only market to their active database, so basically 80% of their database doesn’t get marketed to. The reason we don’t market to these customers is that direct mail has become too expensive, and some databases are well over 1MM+ and you certainly can’t send DM to that many people. The solution is to perform an email append to these customers, so that you get the email addresses of all these inactive customers. The cost of sending an email is so small, that you can send an email to 1MM+ customers without incurring a major cost. The ROI on this is tremendous, as it’s always easier to get an old customer back than getting a new customer in.

In conclusion, most of the above Customer Acquisition programs are tried and true, and they all generate ROI. Most of them are also very easy to implement and maintain. Of course, you will have to experiment and see which ones work best for you. Now go out and get some new customers!


Hear more marketing expertise from Tino at our Tenth Annual Tribal Casino & Hotel Development Conference on May 7-9 at the Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, CA. Click Here to register!

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