With the legalization of online sports betting expanding all across the world, online bookmakers have a great opportunity to expand its customer bases. The problem all online bookmakers are facing is the industry has gotten highly competitive. In an industry where there used to be two or three dozen quality online bookmaking operations, there are now as many as five to six dozen quality online bookmakers. That’s doesn’t include another 25-50 smaller websites operating on the outer fringes of the industry.
Given the level of competition, online bookmakers have to do more than put forth generous bonus promotions to attract customers. The fact is most offers, regardless of the bookmaker, are similar enough to have little real impact on where new customers end up. They also have to do more than give good customer service and provide customers with easy access to bets and information like Cheltenham results from the community’s sports world.
No, what today’s online bookmaker needs to do to be successful is retain its client base while adding new gamblers in the process. Arguably, retaining customers is not an easy task. The competitive nature of the industry often drives sports bettors to continually be out in the community looking for better sports betting options. Loyalty and trust are not things that are easy to extract from sports bettors.
A solution-minded online bookmaker will likely realize they have two or three ways they can retain customers long enough to legitimately grow their customer base.
First, bookmakers that position themselves in a niche market might be able to attract a small segment of customers, who will stick around as long as the bookmaker remains loyal to that niche market. A niche market might well be a unique betting market where the bookmaker decides to continually offer aggressive odds that favor the sports bettor. Anyone interested in betting within that niche market will likely take note.
In an interview with Trafficology, Better Collective CEO Jesper Søgaard has this to say about customer retention: “For small bookmakers, becoming the best at offering great odds in niche markets, which taps into an audience that cannot have their needs met with larger operators, is a great way to drive retention in this space.”
Later in the interview, he addressed the ineffectiveness of bonuses: “There is a fundamental struggle in the bookie/punter relationship that there will always be an us vs them mentality. Users are always looking to beat the bookies and there will always be a level of mistrust from their side on what bookmakers are offering them.”
He’s right about public bonus offers. However, the other way to create loyalty is to give customers something unique to them. That entails learning a little about each specific gambler and tailoring benefits that improve the bettor’s sports betting experience. If that means better betting odds, the bookmaker needs to deliver. If it means perks like free travel or sports event tickets, the bookmaker needs to find ways to deliver while still following the rules.
As the sports betting industry continues to grow, the bookmaking industry will likely sort itself out. Over time, there will be survivors and a large group of small online bookmakers that will ultimately fail.