HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON DIRECT MAIL

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON DIRECT MAIL…   BUT DON’T JUST LOOK THERE!Tami Jones

As someone who has spent the better part of the last 20 years working in, around and with casinos regarding direct mail, I am often asked about the best way to cut costs from the direct marketing budget.  So…here’s my top 5 places to check costs.

1.    Re-investment – What percentage of theoretical win are you re-investing in your players?  You must look at your entire re-investment budget to answer this one.  What about special events?  Promotions?  Merchandise awards?  Direct Mail?  Others?  Are you considering all of these?  What are you getting back from your players in tracked play? If you don’t have the tracked play to justify your entire re-investment level, it’s time to make some changes.

2.    Target Audience – Are you mailing to the correct people?  There is a large portion of your database, on the high and low ends of play, that just shouldn’t be included in your regular direct mail loyalty programs.  Need to know who they are?  Call Amy at Raving and she’ll send Nicole Barker out to help you find them.

3.    Inactive Players – Are you going back too far in your database to find “active” players?  You know your property better than anyone else.  Are you a locals casino?  A regional drive-up destination?  A national stop-over?  Define an active player and include only those people in your monthly loyalty program.  Move inactive players into a recovery program and mail to them accordingly.  If you don’t get them back from there, they now become your best prospects.

4.    Mail Piece Type – Are you sending a 12 x 18 self-mailer with 16 coupons, scored, perfed and folded 6 times?  Is that the most cost-effective mail piece for your purpose?  Do you require your players to bring in coupons?  If not, why are you spending the money to print and perf coupons?  Is there a lot of fluff copy and graphic content in your mailers?  If you cut that down, could you accomplish the same outcome with a smaller, easier and less expensive to produce mailer?  If you want to know the answers to these questions, ask your guests.  They’ll tell you, trust me.  Also, ask the opinion of co-workers outside the marketing department, they’ll tell you too!

5.    Liabilities – Do your players earn points? Comps? Freeplay? All of the above?  Cut yourself some slack.  Don’t keep your liabilities hanging out there without an expiration date.  Liabilities affect your budgets.  Keep it manageable.  If they don’t use it, they lose it, but you have to tell them…no secrets!

6.  Bonus Savings –  We are now in the information age, in case you missed it.  We’ve been here a while now.  Hopefully, you are gathering email addresses?  Start using them for people who want you to (sshhh, don’t tell my boss).  You may not be able to eliminate the physical direct mailer altogether, and I don’t believe you should, but you might be able to reduce the quantity somewhat if you have permission from the player.  Whatever the method of delivery, keep the data up-to-date and you will save money by not sending out offers that won’t ever get there.

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Recapture Inactive Casino Customers

Recapture InactivesCasino Direct Mail Man
There are three primary areas in your player database that we all focus on in different ways. Those three areas are NEW MEMBER, ACTIVES and INACTIVES. Most properties understandably spend the majority of their time nurturing the ACTIVES portion of the database since that is the bread and butter of most casinos. These are your regular on-going guests.

We have programs for each of these major categories of players but we have a special passion about the INACTIVE portion of your player database. I’d like to tell you why and perhaps re-ignite your passion to dig into your database again as well.

New Member vs Inactives
Getting new members can be the most expensive part of your marketing budgets. Deep advertising budgets on billboards, radio, television and direct mail acquisition programs usually bring in less than 1% response but we have to keep bringing in new guests. Dollar-per-guest this can be quite expensive.

Our record on an acquisition mailing was just under 7% on a list we built of 20,000 potential guests. We had an 85% once too but gave away free buffets to a special list of locals. Kind of cheating if you ask me.

THE QUESTION IS… why did these new members move through your entire new member, active and inactive marketing programs and eventually go inactive?

There are a ton of reasons. Life Happens! They may have moved, divorced, changed jobs, married, lost a job, relocated jobs or were perhaps a 1-time gambler that just wanted to try it.

Just as often some of them are spending their money at a different property they like, is closer to home or someone in their family likes or where a friend works or something similar.

With the right approach, marketing to inactives can be much more fruitful than trying to get new members. Here are some tricks of the trade for you to consider.

WHERE DID THEY GO?
17% of the country moves every year and due to the inconsistent database updating capabilities of most gaming systems, we lose a large number of guests this way. We have been importing entire NCOA updates into casino systems for years but they don’t make that easy.

Unless you have a huge data entry staff or are uploading complete change of address information quarterly most of your database is going inactive at around 17% per year.
They don’t get your offers.

Don’t just have your direct mailing vendor update your mailing lists for the mailing. Have them update your entire internal database as well. Updating the mailing list off-line doesn’t help you!

Compare your player database to the USPS change of address records directly and regularly!

WHO’S STILL GAMBLING?
Find out which of your inactive players are known-gamblers at other properties. That cuts a huge list down to a manageable size right away. If you find in your 300,000 inactive customers that 30,000 of them are known-gamblers at other properties you can increase your offers and your response rate incredibly. So do it.

This is a common service we perform all the time and I am sure others do too. Using todays advanced consumer databases and the tracking of credit card transactions and spending categories you can find out all kinds of things about your guests. There is nothing illegal or unethical about doing research using public available databases. It’s inexpensive too!

PROFILE FREQUENCY
Everyone enjoys your property differently. Some play annually, some monthly, some weekly and some daily. Why do we treat them all the same? Build a frequency index.

Most people consider an inactive guest someone that has not been in for X months. Usually in 12 months of no-trips everyone is grouped together as inactive and treated like a single group tiered by play value. This is inconsistent with the varying style of guests themselves.

Send increased value, special-offers immediately as someone breaks their individual trip frequency instead of 12 months later. If guest Nancy comes in weekly but hasn’t been in for 3 weeks. Trigger an increased offer right away. If guest Bill comes in monthly but hasn’t been in for 3 months trigger him an increased offer too.

Try and keep them from breaking their individual pattern to keep them active.

Building a frequency model helps you keep guests active longer. You can automatically trigger off direct mail, email and text to these guests which keeps more people active without doubling your workload.

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Increase Direct Mail Response

Don’t just get a quote for your next direct mail marketing program, find a direct mail marketing partner! A real direct mail marketing company knows simple ways to increase response rates and reduce expenses. There are also a ton dynamic add-ons you can get for the exact same budget. Don’t just ask for a direct mail quote, ask for free advice.

Direct-mail is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have! Getting the highest direct mail response should be the goal but there is a lot of pressure to keep costs down. These can be conflicting goals. If we don’t get our mailer opened and read we will get a poor response rate so let’s focus on getting customers to open our direct mail today.Get-Direct-Mail-Opened

Here are a few tricks to get your mail opened.

  • Use a shocking or awe inspired headline

There is a reason why every band does their “last tour” every few years. It creates shock to their fans and creates deep interest in the event. Find something spectacular about your event worth creating some drama about like “biggest jackpot ever” or this is a very rare event or last of it’s kind.

  • Use mystery and curiosity

Curiosity is a powerful tool. If you use some lead-in text on the address side of your mailer (the primary side they see), you can tap into their curiosity and get your mailer opened. Try a snipe like “You’ll never guess who is coming” but make them open the mailer to find out. Your mailer open rate will increase incredibly. They could guess, but its more natural to open the mailer and see the answer. It is a similar technique as a scratch-off for getting your piece opened.

  • Use a scratch-off on the outside to compare on the inside

If you design your scratch off with a compelling offer and easy to understand design they work very well. You can create a nice scratch-off on the outside and have them check the inside of the piece to see what they have won. You can create scratch-offs with variable numbers too so make a game of your mailer and it will have a much higher open and interaction rate than the rest of the mail that day.

  • A box-mailer always gets opened

A box place inside your customers mailbox is the most important thing in the mailbox. If we are talking strictly open-rates there is no higher interaction rate than a box mailing. Higher open rates translate into higher response rates. You should definitely do some box mailings throughout the year and compare the post forma math to your other mailers. You will be very pleasantly surprised by the increased response which can more than justify the additional expense.

  • Send relevant offers about things they like

The difference between direct marketing and junk mail is if you’re sending relevant offers to someone about what they like or want. If you send a country and western invitation to a rock ‘n roll person you are pushing that client away with things they don’t want (aka junk mail).

You want to be a property that has the things they like so you are their favorite place to go. Code your database well so you can personalize relevant offers to the right person and you’ll always get your mailers opened and higher response rate too.

get-a-quote-at-Casino-Direct-Mail

Casino Direct Mail Articles related to Casino Marketing:

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Digital Variable Laser Printing

One of the coolest technologies to catchup with CSG Direct is how we use Digital Variable Laser Printing Technology.  We can digital variable print absolutely every component in your mailers including background art, photos, offers, text, return addresses, logos and more.

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How to easily implement modern marketing technology into your casino

Your team is only so big. You need to handle all your marketing options but new social media and marketing tools are becoming available way faster than any team can keep up with. How do we choose where to focus our attention for the highest gains? What is the best approach to getting everything running smoothly quickly and inexpensively?

In this workshop we will walk you step by step through the most important steps of Search engine and Social Marketing and show you how to get the absolute most done with the leas effort.

This is not an IT Class, it is a marketing Class, but IT is the data engine of marketing so bring them too.  We’ll be teaching practical application of all these new services and how they apply to Casino Marketing.

Implementing modern technology

There are so many marketing platforms we need to manage and each one has strengths and weaknesses. E-mail, billboards, direct mail, radio, television, social media all have the same purpose (bring guests in to play) but they all have different ways to track response and measure results.  There is a lot of pressure for you to win the day with social media but there is a great chance you will will go overboard and distract from your real goals.  Social Media is a great promise and the largest time waster ever created at the same time.  Our workshops will keep you focused on what matters and help you get the track-able results you need.

All marketing should bring in guests, and they all do when done right.  We will show you whats most important towards revenue so you don’t waste time and valuable resources.

) QR codes – what is the best use for these and who is using them

) Social Media – Blogging, RSS Feeds, social marketing, twitter, facebook, linkedin. Which ones bring in guests and how do we get this automated.

) Social Coupons – Groupon, Living Social and all other forms of online couponing. ( marketing unsold inventory to unrated players )

) Your website and SEM – (Search Engine Marketing), why is your website the most important thing and what are the simple steps to winning at search engines marketing.

) Email Marketing – well show you how most people are doing it wrong and how you can get the best results.

) Personalized printing – digital printing is one the fastest growing technology related to Casino Marketing. This is the new frontier in creating a personalized experience for your clients.

) Text messaging – This is not Spam 2.0. Your message needs to feel relevant to a guest or you can make them mad and they may ignore you forever. Done right text is a very effective tool.

) Data Capturing / Data Append – The best marketing uses more information about your guests besides coin-in.  What is the lowest hanging fruit for outside customer data and how to use it.

) Mobile apps - Expensive? Effective?  What is the purpose and should you spend the money. Learn exactly what you would like out of a mobile app to keep your customers engaged and wanting to come back in.

Michael Hemphill from CSG Direct Mail has hands-on experience in building and implementing campaigns using all of these tools. His no-pitch classroom environment along with the Raving casino experts panel will have you burning up your notepads and going home excited.  You will know exactly what you need in order to inexpensively implement and manage all the modern technology your team has to succeed.

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Marketing Automation article in Solutions Magazine

This months strategic Solutions Magazine is out with a marketing automation article from our team here at CSG Direct Mail.  Lots of other great solutions as well so check it out.

automatea link to the entire publication is here.

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Near Field Communication in Marketing

Near Field Communication

I really dig Near Field Communication (NFC) and your customers will too!  Instead of scanning a barcode with your phone you wave your phone in front of NFC printed tags or stickers.  People will be looking for these just like they do QR codes today, only much more fun.

NFC tags and stickers are programmable like a flash drive is. They are also reprogrammable or lockable.  With NFC tags, stickers and paper you can do things like:

  • Change the phone settings
    Ringer volume
    Turn Bluetooth on/off
    Turn Wi-Fi on/off
    Set an alarm
  • Join a Wi-Fi network
  • Launch an application
  • Display a message
  • Send a text
  • Open a web-page
  • Show an address or location
  • Social Media, foursquare, facebook, twitter and more

Imagine if your guests waved their phone at your front door when they entered and it automatically signed them onto your Wi-Fi, displayed a welcome message and then logged their trip on foursquare.

You could also provide them with a sticker in their direct mail that displayed their Freeplay offer in a message and set a date on their personal calendar if they let you.  These can be highly personalized but like a USB flash drive it would take time to personalize a bunch of them.

Today NFC is most popular with transferring pictures and business cards between 2 phones.  People are told to ‘bump’ their phones to transfer videos, pictures and contact information.

Tomorrow they might be used everywhere to set entire experiences by turning off peoples ringers as they enter a conference, set alarms, calendars upload course literature, pictures and much more.
As Casino Marketers we can make them more useful than most people.

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Augmented Reality in Marketing

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a new image recognition protocol that can launch a mobile device to your website, social site, search tool or shopping system.  Think of the QR Code and how you use it now.  Well that ugly black QR Barcode square is replaced by your logo or any picture you so desire.

Because it can be ANY picture, you usually have to tell people to scan the picture in some way. Where the QR barcode was obvious, augmented reality is not obvious unless you make it that way.

Augmented Reality is very cool and it will be trendy in the future so don’t be afraid to play with it!  Creative marketers always find a fun way to use these special interactive ideas with their guests. You can do anything with augmented reality that you could with a QR barcode and the future is bright in image recognition with cell phones.

In Conclusion, Augmented Reality (AR) is a programmable image that works much like a Quick Response (QR) barcode

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Casino Technology Conference

I had the pleasure of attending the Casino Technology show last week at the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas. I never miss anything casino direct mail or casino technology.

In one of the casino marketing sessions we got into the topic of new emerging technologies that could be used in direct mail marketing. Needless to say, questions were flying and many people don’t immediately understand exactly how they would even apply these technologies.

I can break this down real easy for you, I’m from the future.

As a direct mail and technology nerd I thought I should share with you two cool emerging technologies for casino direct mail in case you missed the conference.  We have already been working with these so feel free afterwards to reach out with questions.

Near Field Communication

I really dig Near Field Communication (NFC) and your customers will too!  Instead of scanning a barcode with your phone you wave your phone in front of NFC printed tags or stickers.  People will be looking for these just like they do QR codes today, only much more fun.

NFC tags and stickers are programmable like a flash drive is. They are also reprogrammable or lockable.  With NFC tags, stickers and paper you can do things like:NFC Sticker

  • Change the phone settings
    Ringer volume
    Turn Bluetooth on/off
    Turn Wi-Fi on/off
    Set an alarm
  • Join a Wi-Fi network
  • Launch an application
  • Display a message
  • Send a text
  • Open a web-page
  • Show an address or location
  • Social Media, foursquare, facebook, twitter and more

Imagine if your guests waved their phone at your front door when they entered and it automatically signed them onto your Wi-Fi, displayed a welcome message and then logged their trip on foursquare.

You could also provide them with a sticker in their direct mail that displayed their Freeplay offer in a message and set a date on their personal calendar if they let you.  These can be highly personalized but like a USB flash drive it would take time to personalize a bunch of them.

Today NFC is most popular with transferring pictures and business cards between 2 phones.  People are told to ‘bump’ their phones to transfer videos, pictures and contact information.

Tomorrow they might be used everywhere to set entire experiences by turning off peoples ringers as they enter a conference, set alarms, calendars upload course literature, pictures and much more.
As Casino Marketers we can make them more useful than most people.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a new image recognition protocol that can launch a mobile device to your website, social site, search tool or shopping system.  Think of the QR Code and how you use it now.  Well that ugly black QR Barcode square is replaced by your logo or any picture you so desire.

Because it can be ANY picture, you usually have to tell people to scan the picture in some way. Where the QR barcode was obvious, augmented reality is not obvious unless you make it that way.

Augmented Reality is very cool and it will be trendy in the future so don’t be afraid to play with it!  Creative marketers always find a fun way to use these special interactive ideas with their guests. You can do anything with augmented reality that you could with a QR barcode and the future is bright in image recognition with cell phones.

In Conclusion

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a programmable sticker or paper to wave with your phone. Augmented Reality (AR) is a programmable image that works much like a Quick Response (QR) barcode.

Both of these are geared around your customers with smartphones. Smartphone user adoption rates are booming so there are lots of ways to have fun with these without spending a fortune.

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Casino Triggered Automated Marketing

Everyone in the casino industry has struggled with new player signup bounceback mailers.

  • Can we send them something to bring them back?
  • How soon do we send them something?
  • How many man-hours can we spend on this each week?

Everyone wants to mail them daily but doing so is a distraction for your marketing department when you are short-staffed and have 1000 other things to get done.  So most casinos try and make sure they send them every 2 weeks or monthly.

Sadly, many casinos don’t mail them at all and lose the “Welcome to our Party” opportunity.

This is where Marketing Automation comes in

You can call it “Triggered Mail” or “Timed Mailings” but what were talking about is putting your new player welcome mailings on cruise control while still offering the same level of personalization and more.

We setup a small data transfer every morning from your player database to our data center and your personalized direct mail art merges with your data and prints automatically on one of our 9 Digital Presses.  We then cut, fold, insert and apply postage and your new member mailers go out every single day.

You also receive an email summary each morning via email of how many pieces were mailed with an opportunity to review the variables used in your mailer.  Records are cleaned and compared to the US Postal Service for accuracy as well as to make them look better in your mailer.

This is an easy service to setup and you can focus your time and energy on your more complex promotions where you need to be focused.

Once you have New Members automated, think of all the other “holes” in a marketing program we can automate.  Our automation works great for:

  • New Members
  • Birthdays
  • Inactives breaking trip frequency
  • Increased or declining play offers
  • Much Much More…

Letters, Postcards and Emails

We offer 4 different automation mailer sizes:

  • 6×9 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 6×11 Full Color Variable 4/4 Postcards
  • 8.5×11 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes
  • 8.5×14 Full Color Variable 4/0 Letters and Envelopes

We offer email triggered marketing as an add-on to any one of these too.

Variable Print, Variable Offers, Variable Images, Variable Envelopes

Nobody out-variables CSG Direct so we make this VERY EASY to be VERY Personalized.  If you have 4 letters for 4 tiers or different offers for non-locals vs locals… We build that in.

If you want Blackjack players to receive blackjack images and Keno people to get pictures of Keno, slots, etc..  We build that in.  At only $485 1-time setup this is maybe the biggest no-brainer in casino marketing.

Personalized Envelopes???  That’s impossible!  Right?

Something truly unique that our programs offer is full-color variable envelopes. This means we print your letterhead and envelopes on the fly with your offers and you can do variable tag lines and variable images, return addresses and more in the same program.

Do you want a picture of your players club card with their names on it on the front of an envelope in daily mailings of 1 piece to 500?  That’s what people come to CSG Direct Mail for…  The Good Stuff, Cheap.

All kinds of great casino services and innovations are coming out of Nevada from CSG Direct Mail. We are the Largest Digital Printer in Nevada with a reputation for better results.

Reach out to us and tell us about your new member mailers.  We’ll automate them!

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