Playnbrag – We’ve built a Sports Betting Platform, where friends can Play Fantasy Football for Fun or Cash, & 8 other Sports…….Now for the hard part – Marketing it 🙂
We recently launched a sports platform – Playnbrag.
The essence of our site is to engage friends and sports fans with each other where they can have banter & interact with each other.
One of Our Unique Features
We have this unique feature where you pick teams rather than players to make up your team, and invite friends to do likewise. To date the response and feedback has been great. People love the psychology of it.
You follow your selected teams on any given gameweek, streamlining and enhancing the user experience.
We believe that we have created a special sports platform. The real issue were facing now is not one related to our product offering. But rather than how to get a boot strapped start up to the mainstream market in what is a competitive and saturated online market.
Creating something Great
We always thought that if you create a great product that differentiates enough from your competitors that it would grow organically and exponentially as people shared it on social media.
As Steve Jobs once famously said “Build it and they will come”.
The reality is that we were well off the mark. The market we entered was incredibly saturated.
A journey that started back at the end of March in 2016, the 19th of March 0f 2016 to be precise, when we went live.
Where I thought this marketing would be a cake walk, how wrong I would be……
What’s not included in this article are strategies that we are currently and actively seeking such as approaching local football clubs and acquiring partnerships with larger sports organisations and sports media related organisations.
Our Marketing story so far for Playnbrag
Below is an account of our story so far, the do’s and the don’ts!
Some tips on things that worked for us. But more importantly what was a complete waste of time and which will apply to the majority of online businesses.
I used all of the usual marketing techniques –
Offline marketing for Playnbrag
Handing out Playnbrag promotional cards at the Barcelona Formula 1 Grand Prix , the Irish Golf Open – & a Premier League Football Match. All of which was a complete waste of time.
Posting Playnbrag posters up in the Gents Toilets of all of the busiest bars in Dublin & Belfast (Ireland). Interestingly, this was much more effective than most other things we did. As there was little or no noise (ads) and it was directly targeting our audience.
Hanging custom made branded (8 feet x 4 feet) Playnbrag.com signs up on pedestrian bridges over motorways. To be honest we have no idea how effective this was as it was impossible to gauge the metrics.
Getting students to fill out a 4 question (Yes / No) Questionnaire.
Then if they were interested they would give us their email at the end of it and we would send out a Free University League which they could join.
This also proved somewhat effective.
There were proportionally a large number of students that would be willing to engage and give you their email address. The problem though was that, the vast majority of them would not follow through and sign up & join the league.
Probably because the leagues were simply too broad in their scope. And if I had added an extra incentive such as drinks vouchers for the winners @ their student union then it would most lightly have mushroomed.
That said, these (opt-in) emails may prove of great value in the near future for future promotions and getting the word out. Such as when we go to launch the Playnbrag ios app for the English Premier League.
It also proved that there is a really significant appetite and opportunity for peers and friends to engage with each other in their favourite sport for friendly banter and fun.
Pitching to marketing students
I visited some of the largest Colleges and Universities in Ireland, & the U.K. and pitched to marketing students. Both final year under graduates, and post graduates (Masters students). They included the likes of Queens in Belfast, Trinity in Dublin, & Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester.
The objective was to give them a presentation of what we do. To see if they would be interested in getting involved with us. Either on a part-time basis or where they could incorporate their course work into helping us bring it to market.
The best performing students would either get placements or full-time jobs at the end of the year with Playnbrag.
It also gave us the opportunity to showcase our sports betting platform and what it is we do. Essentially getting the site out to a wider audience.
This for me was probably the biggest disappointment. As I anticipated more students seeking to get involved, but the interest was minimal.
For sure a lot of the Guys loved the concept and what we were doing, but very few followed up with us.
It also didn’t help that proportionally marketing students are generally made up of much more women than men. And as you are probably aware that few Irish and British women are into main stream sports like their male counterparts are.
So when presenting to them, I was often met with these blank, clueless expressions.
I think what I learned from it was that I was once a student also. Students will be students, they like either getting drunk, laid, and sometimes study in between. Not that I got laid much at college though, as I was somewhat dazed and confused for that period in my life.
It also made me question the format of our presentation, and our landing page. Was it strong enough, did it create a buzz? Was it optimized enough?Did it convey a clear enough message? Was it creating a strong enough call to action?
Since then we recently took steps to modify the landing page, and bring it to life more. Making it more emotional, and encouraging people to take action and getting them involved.
We realised we needed our landing page to represent what it is we are all about – Playnbrag. Where you play with friends on fantasy sport for Fun, Beer or Cash. In an essence, we had to present that image – Make it fun, make it exciting – Get friends involved.
Free Playnbrag Pub Leagues
The last and final thing we did with offline marketing was we decided to test the water with creating Free Pub / Bar Leagues. We targeted bars/pubs within a specific area.
Basically we gauged to see if there was any interest with the regular customers in the bar. Then if there was, we set up a private league for them and sent them out the link and they joined it.
The conversion rate here proved very high and was hugely effective as you had a captive audience. That had opted in and wanted to compete against other people that they knew, and that has similiar interests.
Online and Digital Marketing for Playnbrag
As you can imagine – this is incredibly effective, when done right.
Third Party sports Media outlets that we used
We did a compaign with The Sports Bible & Balls.ie. We used both of these sports media outlets to push our site for our EURO 2016 campaign. Both proved effective and gave us good traffic but it was quite an expensive return on investment for the money spent. The traffic generated was significant but was far to expensive at €2.01 per click. That said our conversion rate was decent at 8.48% but the campaign as a whole was far too expensive.
Sports Bible platform proved very effective for driving a buzz and traffic. While balls.ie which was nowhere near as effective in driving traffic, did a PR release for us which was very effective. It helped give us credibility and turned those visits into users, showing really that PR releases are a brilliant way to convert traffic into users / customers.
Social media & the Elephant in the Room
By far and away the most effective online marketing channel, nothing simply comes close.
But that said it must be done right, and absolutely optimised for what your objectives are, and of course you now need to pay for it to get eyeballs on your posts.
Facebook ads & Boosts – For me the most effective way to convert new customers. Paying for someone to click on your url (website link), for us proved more effective than the Sign Up Call to action button. But the paid boost I think is probably the most effective approach to get additional sign ups. As it gives you increased exposure for what is essentially the same copy and people can still click through on the url without you getting charged each time.
That said paying for clicks every time everyone clicks on your url is also good, as our cost per click was usually averaging in at approximately €0.45.
Call to action Sign Up Tabs were fine, but you would find a lot of people not follow through once they land on the Sign Up page. But of course if you include a competition or promotion then the conversion would dramatically increase.
Of course you need to pay particular close attention to who you are targeting, and run the same ad multiple times but set different targeting variables to see which ad and metrics work best and that are most effective.
We also implemented Facebook Pixels into our site to track our conversions when running a conversion campaign – this is where Facebook finds your ideal customer increasing the possibility of a conversion – in our case – Sign Up.
We are in the process of learning how best to use and apply this, but it does definitely seem to have great value.
Now this was an interesting one. I thought with so much attention and talk about everything going to video that this would work a dream. So we produced a series of 28 second videos. Simple, engaging, adding a sense of excitement etc. while also conveying a simple message. We also highly targeted it to our specific audience, through the Facebook targeting tools.
In what was a simple test campaign the results amazed me.
In the following 6 to 8 hours we had 1,200 views, 550 watching it for over 10 seconds or longer, and guess how many site click throughs (and there was a Sign Up) tab at the bottom of the video ? We received approximately 20 clicks through to the site……
Now I am not sure, was this a mistake in who we were targeting (but it couldn’t have been as we had an engaged audience) ? Or they just were not interested in our platform?? Or maybe the video wasn’t good enough in realising our objective?? Or maybe the landing page was not uploading fast enough? (We have though since optimised our landing page for absolute minimum upload speed time).
One thing it does make me realise and aware of though. That your Facebook audience that you target can be flighty. It is of the absolute utmost importance that your optimise / test / optimise… before rolling out a large paid campaign.
We have got it down as low as €2.50 to acquire users on Facebook, but this is primarily through optimising and testing.
Out of all the social Media sites I think this is the most beautifully designed and put together platform……Just a real shame it’s a Ghost Town.
It’s just doesn’t seem to work….at all. I am not entirely sure of how you are meant to get user engagement on it?
A strong and emerging social platform. I opened an account 2 and half a years ago, and only started using it actively for Playnbrag 2 months ago.
The thing that stands out with Instagram, and this is important for small to medium sized businesses and start-ups, is that for these companies they have to be given an opportunity to promote and grow their brand organically, without having to pay every time.
Instagram allows you to do this with strong interaction and organic growth from your posts. Giving you the opportunity to grow your network and customer base for no cost. An absolute must for businesses at the earlier stages of growth / market traction.
We have posted a few videos up here on our channel. Our promo videos, and few of myself of recounting my experience of getting Playnbrag to market in a bootstrapped environment.
I am still learning on how best for people to find our videos through You Tube and how best to harness it’s potential. I believe that You Tube has vast potential to tap into. It’s just a matter of posting interesting, engaging content that is of value to your viewers and figuring out a way of them been able to find you.
The other thing worth noting about You Tube, it is not saturated like Facebook is, so there are better and more cost effective opportunities here to get your brand out there.
We will keep you posted on developments on here, as of yet we have not had time to focus our attention on it.
This for me is more of a complex social media platform. But I believe that if you take the time out to understand the fundamentals of it I think it is probably the best social media platform to acquire organic growth. It will just take time first though to build up that basic network to help you do that.
Regarding the above Social Media Platforms
Playnbrag is designed for Social Media Platforms. Where you bet with friends for Cash or Fun, or Beer, on sports and winner takes the pot. So as a result we will encourage our customers to send us in funny images, videos, snap chat’s etc. of them winning / losing leagues (or doing silly dares after losing) to our respective social media platform. Get them to tag us @playnbrag and we will post it on our network for them.
This will make our social media channels more interactive with our fans and customers. While also giving it a sense of fun and live feeling to our social media channels.
We will integrate Snap Chat into our social media strategy soon. We will also implement it into our site so that users can share their league links through the Group Snap Chat feature, which was launched in December 2016.
Other Online Marketing
This is what we did for the first initial few months of our soft launch, from March to Mid-May. And is by far and away the most effective way to attract new users, for nothing .
This is because you have a captive audience of something they really love doing / following. Why else would they be on a forum? When they could be watching TV, out in the pub, or better again, playing playnbrag with their mates.
The problem is though, that most forums, not all in fairness, will ban you for what they consider spamming. Even though you are just trying to let sports mad fans know about your new sports betting platform – where friends can Play Fantasy Sports for Fun or Cash.
But in some cases, not all cases, they see it as spam and will remove your content.
We will focus more on forums moving forward as it is a great way to engage with your audience.
The next big paid campaigns we do, will be through paid ads on the forums. As it so effective and it’s only right to give them some money in return for the service they provide.
All the major sports betting companies all advertise on the forums, as they too are now aware of how effective it is.
The big dark and indeed ugly world of Search Engine Optimisation.
Now this was one topic I resisted for a while, as like most people I found it intimidating, and quite frankly it all seemed a bit complicated and complex.
To be honest we have only started learning it since September of this year, and it is pretty fascinating stuff.
This is of course one of the reasons for me writing these articles, to increase our organic traffic though back links, quality content, search authority, and so on.
There is so much to it from Search Words, Key Words, Long Tail Key Words, Meta Descriptions, naming urls in the correct format so they are easier to crawl, submitting each url and site maps to Google and Bing…..
Creating multiple sports landing pages, Results, and Fixtures pages so the platform is easier to find in search etc. etc….
And then you have to think about the social media end of it which now ties into the serach alogrithims. Social media postings, blog postings, guest postings, forum postings, PR releases, 3rd party articles……. And the list goes on……and on.
It is a hugely challenging process and field. But the beauty of it is, if you are willing to dedicate the long hours and hard work to learn the craft, the results will come. The only cost is time, lots of time. It is in essence taking back control of your own destiny and been determined enough and focused enough to achieve the dream you set out to do.
Another thing worth emphasising about SEO
Is that even though it takes time to see results, once you start getting results, the results and traffic you get is of a much higher value than say Facebook ads. Or other forms of push promotion advertising and marketing – basically where the service /product is pushed in front of the potential customer.
The reason that seo and organic traffic is of a much higher value is that users that find you have a genuine interest in your product or service as they have entered the relevant keywords (Bet with friends) and long tail key words (Bet with Friends on fantasy football) to find You.
If you managed to read this far – Thank you and please feel free to check out us out at Playnbrag
Oisin & the Playnbrag Team