In the second part of his masterclass on running white label operations, Denis Lukovkin of igaming content and software provider Innovaventis outlines how a newly launched brand can gain traction, and customers, in a crowded industry.
Each year, the gambling industry meets fresh and ambitious newcomers with a plan to launch a new market-leading brand. But let’s face it – all white label launches go live with the founders aiming to conquer the sector.
And they all look the same. They have “original” sports banners from Shutterstock’s free images, timeless characters such as a man in a hat, Gonzo and an Egyptian figure from Book of Ra. These are all marketing materials suck in the mid-noughties, which have exhausted their popularity and are no longer unique or enticing to players.
After several failed promotional campaigns, someone will have the bright idea of hiring a marketing manager. Even when a good specialist is successfully headhunted, results do not always meet initial expectations.
The need to develop brand awareness quickly will mean white label start-ups with global marketing campaigns are less effective than those which pick two to three markets and target them relentlessly.
There are many case studies with one-month worldwide test campaigns, before focus shifts to a narrower selection of target markets, taking into account the local social and economic quirks of each.
Choose your markets
Face the facts: facing 10 competitors and beating their advertising offers in select territories is much easier than competing against hundreds globally. It’s only when you can capture your entire target audience with your marketing campaigns that you should be thinking about expanding into new markets.
And which should you target? The most interesting regions for gambling tend to be split between three formats. Either they accept international licences, such as those from the Malta Gaming Authority, they are governed by local, market-specific regulations, or gambling is heavily restricted.
In Europe the Nordic region is particularly popular, though this brings its own complexities. In Sweden and Denmark, a local licence is required. In Norway and Iceland, gambling is heavily restricted.
Finland, meanwhile, maintains a monopoly on gambling and gambling advertising, but while there are strict laws to prevent international operators from advertising in the country, laws do not specifically prevent Finnish players from gambling via unlicensed sites.
If this region appeals, you need your MGA licence, then you must apply for a Swedish licence. Competition in Sweden is fierce, though this can be explained by the high lifetime value (LTV) of players. Be warned: if you want to compete in Sweden, your marketing costs will rocket.
But equally, there is scope for a company with fresh ideas to get noticed. Looking at the market today, the landscape is full of free bets, welcome bonuses, free spins and other similar offers. To stand out, you need to create some excellent content and do as much as you can with your CRM system.
Get creative with content
In 2018, content was king when it came to marketing. Unique concepts, interesting characters, a wide array of sports betting markets and casino games, loyalty programmes to boost retention and generous bonuses made customers more likely to choose, and stay, with your brand.
In future, each of these unique selling points will then help lure competitors’ customers to your offering. Industry case studies show that operators are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to content.
To ensure your white label offering has strong content, you need to do your homework on the level of functionality offered by each provider’s player management solution. It’s also worth looking at the bonusing capabilities of each product, and what sort of CRM solution it offers.
After at least a month of operations you will be well aware of the importance of a wide range of markets and events, customisable margins and the power of free bets. It’s also worth looking at how many third-party suppliers they have integrated, the promotional tools incorporated into the content, and the range of payment providers available.
Remember to ensure that the content and solutions reflect demand in your target markets. For example, it would be insane to enter a territory in the former Soviet Union without Novomatic games, or to enter an African market without any virtual sports products.
You’ve got your targeted strategy. You’ve got your localised content. But now you need to prepare your offering for marketing. You have to integrate affiliate software, set up your CRM system, incorporate a traffic delivery system, integrate Google Analytics, and any other customer tracking software you can get.
Beginners in the white label space do not foresee that these systems are required. This means their marketing budgets will quickly melt away soon after launch.
The reason is simple: there are a lot of sharks in the marketing sector, waiting for “fresh blood”. They will charge unbelievable cost per acquisition rates to sell you useless traffic at vastly inflated prices.
With the appropriate software in place, you will be able to see what you are paying for, and adjust your strategy and partnerships accordingly.
And what channels should you be using for customer acquisition? First off, affiliates, as well as webmasters, supported by email campaigns, cost per impressions, pay-per-click. Never stop working with affiliates; they drive brand awareness, and help generate organic traffic.
Without these, you will not be able to drive down cost per acquisition, meaning less money for launch and brand building costs. For a long-term strategy each of these channels are needed to decrease CPA and create additional value for your white label business.
In the third part of my white label masterclass, I will cover working with brands and partners to drive revenue while bootstrapping your business.