We caught up with Irish Bookmaking brand Mintbet.com Marketing Director – Thomas MCBride, at Affiliate Insider’s Bootcamp event yesterday at Stamford Bridge. We asked how they are bootstrapping their marketing strategies in order to grow their sport betting brand and why Affiliates play such an important role in their development.
AI: Tell us a bit about mintbet.com and where you and your brand differentiates from other sports books here in the UK?
T: Being a smaller operator in a big competitive market is a challenge, however we have tried to find our own niche to develop the Mintbet brand by being innovative and reactive with our player promotions. This business is all about customer service – keeping our customers engaged and answering their queries in real time , is a part of that. As a big sportsbook – you lose sight sometimes of what punters want and you are not agile enough to pivot to deliver what they need. I think this gives us the edge and it is keeping our customers active so it’s got to be working! Our back office team are working round the clock to retain and deliver value for customers despite our budgets being a lot smaller than the bigger players. Our marketing team is efficient – data driven and work hard to build the brand out into the public domain. We are small but efficient and a lot more hands on than other operators – which gives us an edge and this is what our punters really love.
AI: You recently attended the Affiliate Insider Bootcamp, what were the key factors that influenced your time there and how will you be taking innovation forward in your business?
T: Our affiliate programme is key to helping the brand expansion. As a new operator we value the relationships we can build in the affiliate channel. Therefore going to these kinds of smaller focused conferences means we get to meet the people behind the affiliate businesses that support our growth. We’re committed to building long term relationships with partners that are invested in our business, just as much as we are. People buy people at the end of the day and we believe our passion for the business is best expressed in person. The Affiliate Insider Bootcamp also offers some great digital workshops and allows our team to learn better marketing practices from the real experts.
The online betting sector is evolving all the time, we will be adding some exciting add ons over the next few months like live in-play stats, more racing content and better payment options to name a few so we want to be out and about talking about these with our partners. Our key take away was learning how to use video for social in the first interactive workshop. That was a great challenge, and we’re using these tools now to give our social channel a visual boost!
AI: What have you found are the biggest challenges that smaller betting brands face and how are you overcoming these? Conversion and retention are so important to a new brand when working with Affiliates. How does your team ensure punters keep returning to wager?
T: It’s really not rocket science, and sometimes the simplest of things give you the best results. Giving value and rewarding loyalty are our main priorities, we want to service a serious punter. Someone that is looking for value odds and excellent service is where we’ve positioned our brand. When you’re faced with such stiff competition the customer betting experience must be spot on. Our team are dedicated to looking after customers so they return again and again – which in turn helps build our affiliate business as affiliates love a longer lifetime revenue share and we’re focused on delivering that.
AI: How is your business currently bucking the trend to expand and innovate to provide value odds for serious punters?
T: Best odds guaranteed is now a given at most sportsbooks, however still well appreciated by serious punters. We take that a step further and offer VIP status where you can expect great monthly cash back and unrivalled hospitality early on based on our own player assessments which have been built over years of bookmaking expertise. Punters get the VIP treatment the minute they display quality betting behaviours. This is part of our agile customer service. We value our customers and give them the respect they deserve and the bigger brands can’t always do that at the start.
AI: As a white Label partner of FSBTech – what advantages does this give you to promote your brand and engage better customer innovation than bigger more established providers. How are you differentiating your product offering to compete in an already crowded marketplace?
T: Working with FSBTech is likened to working within a Co-Op. We all have our own ideas and together we work closely to develop new innovative products. I think this is actually an added advantage that we have over bigger sports books who’s dev cycles are more slightly more cumbersome. We are obviously playing catch up to the more sophisticated sports betting platforms, but the gap is closing all the time giving us more opportunity to be competitive in a much more even playing field.
AI: What tips can you give other smaller brands – such as affiliates who consider becoming a white label operator starting out that may help them overcome challenges and get ahead of innovating their marketing strategies to build an efficient business?
T: Starting an online betting site or an affiliate site is not a job but a way of life. Plan carefully and makes sure you know who you are , and what you’re targeting. Niche your service right down and focus marketing efforts accordingly. Expect long hours and little sleep (lol). It isn’t for the faint hearted however if you are dedicated enough you can have some great measures of success. Get as much expert advice and help as you can even if you think it may be expensive – as you will benefit from utilizing the knowledge of others in the long run.