Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
“Oh, marketing. You’re kind of cute. You know how you don’t, like, mature and move with the times? But this really has to stop”.
Or so goes a dialogue that wouldn’t sound too inappropriate in a soap opera.
The truth is that some marketing terminology hasn’t changed within the last 100 years or so since its existence. Here at Translation Royale and our sister agency WeGotGame, we like to shake things up a bit.
Rather than using a funnel allegory, we view the customer journey stages as more of a donut. In space. A galactic donut, if you will.
Are you ready to take a trip through the iGaming marketing funnel – ahem – galactic donut?
What is a Marketing Funnel?
The marketing funnel was created by Elias St. Elmo Lewis, born in 1872. The funnel is used to describe the different stages of the customer journey and is segmented into:
- TOFU – Top of funnel aka Awareness Stage
- MOFU – Middle of funnel aka Consideration Stage
- BOFU – Bottom of funnel aka Conversion Stage
Some marketing nodes like to tag on another two stages to the funnel – loyalty and advocacy, making it look like this:
The problem with the marketing funnel for iGaming operators is:
a) It’s outdated
b) It’s not accurate
The allegory of a marketing funnel suggests something along the lines of a trumpet, Venus fly trap, or Tupperware. It’s absolute – a funnel is something you’d fall down and never return from.
As we know, the iGaming marketing funnel and customer journey look very different, and from the awareness stage, customers can take more than one route to the conversion city.
Our answer to the question, “what’s a marketing funnel?” is to show you this:
Of course, we’re exaggerating here and although our approach may not be scientific, it highlights the fact that funnels can vary depending on where punters are in their customer journey.
Sure, they may have taken part in the welcome offer and remained an active player but hasn’t returned to the top of the funnel. Oh, and look! Here’s a player that took the welcome offer, placed a few bets, and churned.
Let’s take a look at how you can avoid churn, create exciting offers, and make a marketing funnel for iGaming operators that actually works.
The Marketing Funnel for iGaming Operators
The marketing funnel and customer journey will be different depending on which industry you work in.
For iGaming operators looking to solidify a marketing funnel for players, we should take the definition of ‘Conversion’ not to mean sign up, but to mean deposit.
So, sportsbook players will have more than one journey down the funnel. Let’s just hope they bring a mat.
Let’s take a look at some sweet sportsbook content marketing that will fill your funnel in no time.
Get Them in the TOFU (Top of Funnel)
What sounds like a directive from an Asian grandmother is actually how you’re going to attract punters to the top of your funnel.
Here, you’re basically saying, “Come and check out our funnel… Kind of alluring, isn’t it? Why don’t you come a bit closer.” Well, like that, but a lot less creepy.
The go-to iGaming marketing strategy for TOFU is blog posts, casino bonus and slot reviews, white papers, betting strategy advise, and sports news reports. Anything that doesn’t sell but instead informs punters is considered fair TOFU material.
Let’s take a look a closer look at a few content ideas you could play with.
For attracting players to the top of the funnel, we’re looking to educate. Here, ‘education’ can take on a form more like Jack Black in School of Rock than anything useful you’d find at Hogwarts. Some content ideas you might use include:
- Betting tips
- Sports personality interviews
- Event previews
Your onsite content sportsbook content marketing for TOFU might look something like this:
Nothing quite like a bit of self-promotion, is there?
Here’s your opportunity to show new and churned players what’s going on in the sportsbook world and position your site as not only the perfect place to gamble but also somewhere they can find value in educational materials.
The video streaming platform isn’t just useful for cat fails and full episodes of obscure 80s TV shows, you know.
YouTube is a platform that not enough operators are using. By channeling the power of YouTube, marketers can dominate search results for those looking for video content rather than the written word.
Social media counterparts Instagram (you can check out our page here @translation.royale) and TikTok also have the same powers of attraction but attract a younger audience, so ensure you have an age gate (or disclaimers) on your account (or in your bio) before you begin using these two channels.
And let’s not forget about Twitch – home to some of the most popular sportsbook streamers, here’s your chance to get your product positioned by a pro. Well, at least someone who sounds like one.
Making it in the MOFU (Middle of Funnel)
For sportsbook operations, the MOFU is widely considered to be the sign-up stage, where players register on your site but haven’t yet deposited.
This is where a healthy touch of competitor analysis comes in handy. Pop your head over the fence and have a look at what your rivals are offering players, and offer something better.
The welcome bonus in online sportsbooks is a seemingly done deal, holding strong with deposit bonuses, cashback, and free bets doing the promotional leg work. Here’s where you need to get your sportsbook product team together and figure out a new promotion mechanic (also, get casino involved too).
Understandably, rejigging your welcome bonus is easier than it sounds and requires input from multiple stakeholders. It’s a CRM-heavy affair and needs to be completed with consideration, care, and accuracy.
MOFU can be completed once a player has signed up on the site, so give them a reason to play on your site. This could be as simple as minimizing your wagering requirement or bringing players the next big thing in sportsbook bonuses. Also, here, players sub-consciously assess your site for viability.
Indicators that MOFU players evaluate include:
- Site design
- Payment methods
- Licensing accreditation
- Customer service options
- Software partners
This is precisely why you need to ensure that everything is in tip-top order to ensure your potential new punters don’t falter at MOFU. Working closely with UI/Front-end designers is essential to ensure that you look as good as you actually are.
Terms and conditions also play a surprisingly vital role during the MOFU stage, as this is when punters will give T&Cs a quick once over and check for wagering requirements, cash-out limits, and any other key terms that might seem slightly odd, or not favorable to the player.
It’s best to have terms and conditions at the footer of your homepage. This is an easy-to-find spot for players and could make or break the punter completing MOFU. Make sure your T&Cs are professionally written and well presented, as this is an element of player behavior that should be tracked.
Bring on the BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)
Congratulations, you’ve got to the boss level. But it’s far from over.
Once a player has made it through TOFU and MOFU, you still need to convert new players at the bottom of your funnel to take home the BOFU medal. Here’s where existing players need to be targeted to deposit and stay with you.
Gone are the days of bonus representatives reaching out to players and asking for a cheeky deposit to enjoy a deposit bonus with 50x playthrough. So, you need to create promotions that are going to encourage a deposit.
Unfortunately, the betting world has quite limited scope – or technical ability – as to what it can offer. This is when analysis of player data can help you secure a sportsbook conversion.
Of course, all of your offers have been split tested and you know what works for each and every slice of the demographic pie, right? Well, probably not and that’s okay. But testing is crucial to understanding player behavior.
Take a Deep Dive Into Data
Depending on which CRM system you’re using, it’s entirely possible to create code that can pull data from a player’s account so that a message sent via email could look something like this:
It’s a [TIME]pm kick-off between [TEAM1] and [TEAM2].
Enjoy a [DEPOSIT_CODE] with 30x playthrough for this afternoon’s match.
Are you game?
While this won’t win any awards for copywriting, it’s an example of how a few easy-to-code words can personalize your BOFU approach and convert. By knowing who your target usually bets on, or even just the games they wager on now and then, you’re offering your prospect something with more value than just a generic send-out.
If your iGaming marketing strategy is still floundering, it might be time to sit down and analyze.
Funnel analysis is used to find key events during the customer journey and improve conversion metrics. Great, but how do you use it?
The analysis will show precisely where they’re dropping off along the trip down the massive trumpet. This is vital in solving where exactly you can make improvements that will influence your bottom line.
To effectively analyze funnel data, you need to break the journey down into more steps and then A/B test with subsets. It might look something like this:
From the chart above, we can see that 60% of first-time visitors vanished after visiting the site, while only 2.86% of returning visitors dropped out of the funnel.
Funnel analytics are worth their weight in gold in discovering what part of your sportsbook or casino customer journey needs to be improved. The data above indicates that the problem could lie in loading times, site navigation, design, or other creative and technical aspects of your website.
The Marketing Funnel for iGaming Operators – Solved
Marketing funnel case studies can only help so much. The funnel theory is probably one of the best-known marketing approaches there is but it doesn’t quite apply to every business. It needs to be adapted.
For iGaming professionals, the funnel is more of a loop-the-loop style structure whereby you’re attracting new players, hence the rise of the galactic donut. It’s more of a circle than a funnel.
St. Elmo created the concept of the marketing funnel in 1898, over a hundred years ago. Things have changed since then, as have humans and our behavior. Aside from the invention of quick-release ski binding, the bra, pop-up toasters, and the Moog synthesizer, the internet has changed human behavior forever.
In the funnel’s defense, its simplicity still holds value – as long as it’s applied accurately. This means taking the three stages of the funnel and breaking these down into smaller sets so that you can use the data to encourage a deposit.
Spaceage fried dough might not be your thing, but it does help illustrate that the funnel is overly simplistic and not suitable for every industry. Every sportsbook platform will have a unique funnel (or donut, if you’d prefer).
What does yours look like?
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “The iGaming Marketing Funnel? It’s Really a Galactic Donut!”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂