Are your casino players getting your direct mail?

Are your casino players getting your direct mail?

You might find that not all of your good players are getting your casino direct mail offers.

If you have great players you might automatically assume that your casino is mailing direct mail offers to them. However, there are some really common reasons why your offers might not be arriving in your customers mail box.  Let me spell out for you at least common reasons why they are not.


Patron SQL Reports

Patron SQL Reports

In some player management systems you are able to maintain several “names” of the player. This includes Primary Name, Preferred name, Nick names, Alias etc. When this feature is available you must also select the ‘Preferred name’ in your direct mail queries or the person will not be included in your mailing lists.

In IGT Patron Management for example, try this query:

SELECT PN.playerid,DateEnrolled,max(cast(ispreferredname as int)) as TopPref
FROM PlayerManagement.dbo.PlayerName PN
JOIN PlayerManagement.dbo.player c on PN.playerid = c.playerid and c.Status = ‘A’ –Actives
GROUP BY PN.playerid,DateEnrolled
HAVING max(cast(ispreferredname as int)) = ‘0’

How many records do you get?

These players are not getting direct mail of any kind from your property.

Go into each players account and update the player record so they have a preferred name.
We have queries for our clients to fix these records and eliminate the problem.


Usually 5-10% of your player management system if full of addresses that the US Postal Service says don’t exist or they cannot deliver to. You query these records and send them to your direct mail printing partner thinking they are going to get delivered.

They are not getting your mail.

You need to have this list of bad addresses provided back to you. There are many ways to clean these records. Many address errors will be very obvious when you look at them directly. Typos, numbers, spacing and extra typing in the address fields are usually half the problem.


When you mail presorted standard (3rd class) up to 17% of your mailing list may be going directly to a trash can.

Its OK to have your print and mail partner update your mailing list before it goes out, but it is NOT OK to leave the old address in your player system.

These days there are also many ways to update your entire player system with cleaned addresses instead of keeping dirty data and having your print and mail partner cleaning it each time.  If you are not handling this low hanging fruit than you are wasting your time building new promotions that your players may not receive.

We can clean your entire database and usually import them back into your player system for you or assist you in the process.

We’re here to help!



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.

Average Casino Database is only 76.5% deliverable

On a typical monthly casino mailing, that’s up to $3,500 in cash gets flushed down the drain.

Not sure how deliverable your casino database is? Let’s make you the hero with your CFO this month, and save you some money on your next mailing.

First, how did I come up with the number above?

Printing for 30K                  $0.18 each
Postage for 30K                 $0.26 each
Mailing Services                 $0.06 each
Average Cost Per Piece   $0.50 each

Second, where did I get the 76.5% number from?

Direct Mail Deliverability

Third, the ugly truth
Multiply total cost per piece (.50 X 7,050) times the 23.5% that did not get delivered. This is how much money you can then be flushing down the drain that month: $3,525, which totals to $42,300 per year. This is high-value, low-hanging fruit.

Finally, the SOLUTION (and you become the HERO)

How hard is it to clean up your database BEFORE you mail? Not hard at all. As a start, you need to enlist your direct mail provider by cleaning up your database through NCOA quarterly updating. Seventeen percent (17%) of the US moves each year. The real trick is to get that data back into your player tracking system.

How much your direct mail provider will charge you for this always depends on the size of your database and if you want it uploaded back in to your system. It can typically range from $80-$1,800.

While they are scrubbing your list, have them run an off-property “near-duplicate” report to help you find the Mikes, Michaels, and other obvious duplicates.

Bonus ways to save even more

The 76.5% number above just includes errors in your address database. It does not take into consideration internal database maintenance practices you can be doing now:

Return mail
Appropriately code all returned mail in your database so that you don’t continue to mail and waste resources. Make efforts internally to get correct information.

NO MAIL requests
ALWAYS respect your guests’ requests to be removed from your marketing distributions. THEY WILL STILL PLAY!

86’d client lists
You don’t want them in your property. DON’T INVITE THEM! Code your database appropriately. You can always change it if you have made amends with the previously barred guest.

Duplicate accounts
Install procedures at point of intake to make sure duplicate accounts are not added. Ask questions …
~   Ask if they have ever visited before.
~   Ask if they have ever had a club card before.
~   If the same name appears, check the DOB.
~   If the same name and DOB appear, ask if they have recently moved.

Linked accounts
Two people living in the same household may share one disposable income. Do they get separate offers or one offer together? Establish a policy and make it clearly known. Don’t waste resources — make a plan that works for your guests.
Bottom line, be sure you are not flushing money down the drain, when the “fix” is pretty simple.

Attention Marketers: Facebook is Not Your Friend

Why would you spend considerable resources marketing another companies website instead of your own? Facebook is mostly an unproductive diversion of time, talent and resources. You could get 10x more value by spending 1/2 that time adding search engine content to your own website.

Sure, Feeling popular and ‘liked’ makes us smile and feel like we matter each day. There is nothing wrong with positive affirmations from random guests and strangers to start your marketing teams day.
However, you should move your team in another direction as quickly as possible.

The goal is to bring warm, paying, profitable, fun-loving guests into your property where they buy your food, stay in your rooms and enjoy your gaming experience. There is very little to be gained by getting ‘likes’ on some other companies website that is a temporary site compared to your own.

Reason #1, When people are ready to travel, they go to Google, Yahoo or Bing, not facebook:
Marketing Statistics for facebook and Google

This website visitor report shows that search engines brought 723 guests to your website and facebook and twitter only brought in 14 combined.  So don’t double your facebook and twitter time!  It’s much easier to spend 1/2 hour per day adding content to your website for much bigger gains.

Reason#2, All efforts in facebook vanish almost immediately since Facebook hides your messages.

Facebook wants to sell advertising to companies like yours so when you post something on Facebook they filter it in the timeline so a user has to seek you out on purpose which they rarely do.  People go to Facebook to share pictures, talk with friends and play games.  They quickly move past company messages and Facebook makes it easy to skip your messages altogether.

Reason #3, Facebook hides your content from search engines and uses it for their benefit.

Remember, facebook is free for a reason.  If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
Look at this nofollow screen capture where we show you the secret in their program.facebook nofollows all your links

See everything highlighted in Pink by our nofollow finding tools…
Facebook has told all the search engines to ignore all outbound links and not follow them.

When you invest marketing staff and resources into producing content and promotions, you don’t want it to be completely invisible or useless 24 hours later (no longer seen by guests or found online). Your efforts in your own website will bring you 50x more guests for a lot less time invested.

Your Top Priority for online marketing should be: go to your favorite search engine and type the words your guests would type when looking for a property like yours.  Type “Southern California Casino” or “North Dakota Hotels” or “Places to Stay” and see if you even show up in the results.  This is when a new customer is actually planning the details of their coming trip.  This is when you want to interact with them and book that reservation.  This is where you want to win in the online world.

The Solution is to add new content to your website daily in an event or community blog in your site. Search engines see this as new content and come back daily with new guests.  Your content remains active in your site and a magnet for guests on the internet ~ forever.

Once you get your blog up and running in your own website where guests can post, reply and interact with you directly (cutting out the middleman), we’ll show you the next steps to automate your social media campaigns and really move up in the search engine rankings which is what matters most online.

How to Get Your Direct Mail Opened

Direct-mail is one of the most powerful marketing tools a casino has!   Getting the highest direct mail response should be the goal but there is usually a lot of pressure to keep the 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 to make them curious about your mailer

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

Any box place inside your customers mailbox is the most important thing in the mailbox. If we are talking strictly open-rates than 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.