Making an Appearance at Major Poker Events

While we are all internet marketers it is extremely important that we don’t miss out on opportunities that the brick and mortar world presents to us. I bring RakeTracker and PAS business cards to all live poker games and have easily given out 100 business cards in Deadwood, SD, my local poker town. At least two players have signed up just from the poker games in Deadwood and there is no telling how many other new players that have signed up that I never heard from again. There is not only the opportunity to find and retain players at the local poker rooms, making an appearance at major poker events can be a great marketing and retention tool as well.While in Las Vegas last week I visited the Rio for the WSOP festivities. I was wearing RakeTracker logowear. I received quite a few hellos, several handshakes and a couple of people I had lengthy conversations with, both of which are valued RakeTracker players. One of the players was impressed by the time I gave him to discuss the business and after that player went to go play a satellite I ran into another one of our players that was very interested in my knowledge of the entire online poker industryThis player is what I would describe as very valuable. While the player requires quite a bit of support it is because he refers quite a few players and always follows up with us to make sure the player got signed up correctly and to alert us if a player is new to online poker and requires extra attention. This player signs up friends from home poker games, a very good place to recruit new players. I discussed the industry at great length with the player. We even went out for a meal. Eventually we parted ways after lengthy poker and rakeback discussions. The one thing that this player said to me that will stick with me forever is “It is great to finally put a face with the name.”While this player isn’t a high volume player this player’s word of mouth will be priceless forever, especially with how many friends he refers. He will tell every poker friend about the experience he had with me at the Rio and those players will tell their friends all the way down the line. Get out there and help your players put a face with your name.

Monday Sales Call: Vegas Baby

Byron (el presidente de PAS) and I are heading to Vegas this Friday to meet up with PAS friends, partners, and publishers. The last time I was in Vegas I went with my dad who was in town on business. I would grind 1/2 NL all day at the MGM and then hit up restaurants and shows with my dad at night. A lady of the night actually chose to hit up my father instead of me. Talk about depressing.My father is a life nit, so going with Byron will be a much different experience. He enjoys the gamble and will be an excellent trip partner. I have yet to disclose my snoring habits to Byron. Sorry Byron, it would be in your best interest to bring an ipod or ear muffs.I am playing the $1500 NLHE event this Saturday with hopes of shipping a nice score for me and my friends (I sold half of myself). Hopefully PokerAddict (PAS Player Support Rep) runs hot this week in Stud O8 cash games and decides to stay a few more days. John (PokerAddict) works from his home in South Dakota so I don’t get to see him very often (though we chat on IM everyday). He is the Rainman of online poker and I love picking his brain for info only a poker nerd would appreciate.I shared in a blog post a few months ago that I was cutting down on playing poker. I haven’t really played much in the last 8 weeks (3k hands). I used to grind mtts and sngs ALOT but with work and life I haven’t had the time or drive to play. Yesterday I decided to fire up 5 mtts (multi-table tournaments) to get prepared for the wsop. I ended up winning one and getting 10th in another (brag). I ran really well in showdowns with most of my bigger hands holding.Both mtts had at least 2.5k players so the field size was similar to a wsop event. Tournaments are all about having patience and picking the right spots to gamble. I hope I have the patience for a live tournament. Generally when I play NLHE cash at casinos I spew chips everywhere in the name of boredom.I hope to have an eventful trip report for you guys next week that involves either :a) me winning a bunch of moneyb) hanging out with an 80’s movie and/or rock star at a Bellagio craps table.c) kidnapping Mike Tyson’s tigerBe sure to check out From Busto To Robusto by 918 films. Krantz, Whitelime and a few other DeucesCracked coaches produced an amazing documentary on online poker. The film follows former McDonald’s employee Greg Lavery who made millions playing poker on the Internet before suffering a mental breakdown.Tony

Monday Sales Call: My Adventures in Retail

My father and new step-mother were in town this weekend. They were supposed to come up for a sales conference but my dad’s company had a swine flu scare! So instead of listening to boring presentations, my dad and step mom got to see the finer parts of the Twin Cities. We visited several restaurants and shops in Minneapolis/Saint Paul.As a single male, I don’t go “shopping” much. For me, shopping involves going to Super Target once every 3 months.My retail experience this weekend was down right abysmal. What happened to quality service/sales at restaurants, clothing stores, and other retail outfits?Twice when we ordered drinks at a restaurant they didn’t arrive until half way through the meal. Also, my requests for “ketchup”, “sweetener”, “butter”, and “the meal I actually ordered” continually fell upon deaf ears.Why don’t restaurants take reservations anymore? Or if they do, it’s only for certain seating within the establishment. “Sorry sir, we don’t take reservations for the patio. You can reserve a table inside and ‘request’ patio seating, but I am not authorized to reserve patio tables”. Why? I want to spend money and sit outside at the same time. It’s a beatiful day and allegedly you are in the business of making money. I will take my money elsewhere.I am a sucker for a good salesman. All I need is the slightest ‘degree of need’ or ‘want’ for what you are schlepping. Take the time to pitch me and you will probably get a sale. Apparently the clothing and furniture stores I visited this weekend hate money. It was unbelievable. Sales reps wondering around aimlessly. I was in the spending mood but I just needed a little nudge to get to the cashier. Said nudge could include:”Hi, nice day sir. This weather is great!” = SOLD”Those are a sharp pair of sunglasses. Do you want me to open the case?” = SOLD”Please let me know if you have any questions about those shoes” = SOLDBut nothing like that occurred at ANY of the retail shops I visited. So I kept my wallet closed.While this post is indeed a “rant”, I did learn something from my retail adventures this weekend. Make potential clients feel appreciated. They could have visited a laundry list of other establishments/websites, but they chose you! Thank them for coming and cater to their needs/wants. Add a personal touch to your pitch. Make them feel like they aren’t just another customer. You will increase sales and also increase the lifetime value of your customers/players.Tony

Monday Sales Call: Are you Experienced?

I have decided to play a WSOP event this year. My reasoning in doing so is two fold:1. Take a shot at winning a bracelet and ship a 6 figure score.2. Soak in the experience of playing a WSOP event.The thought of winning a bracelet and going down in poker history excites me. Winning life changing money would be awesome as well. However, the more I think about it, it’s the WSOP experience I am after. I have played live poker several times but never a sanctioned tournament the size of Series events.Don’t get me wrong, I will try to run over my table and win the bracelet. When it comes to poker, I am fierce competitor. I am simply saying that a major part of my decision to put up the money for the event was/is the WSOP adventure. I want to be apart of something noteworthy and historic.This got me thinking. How many products/services are out there that give consumers this “experience”. Some call it “added value”, but I think it is more than that. There exists a user experience (and their later memories of said experience) which surpasses any real value associated with the product/service.The initial examples I came up with were expensive, long term investments: vacations, that dream home you always wanted, a ticket to the Super Bowl, a weekend basketball camp in Las Vegas with Michael Jordan, etc. However, there are “everyday” products being bought right now for reasons other than practicality or necessity.As marketers, we have the ability to mold expectations and impressions. Are you selling a product or an experience?- Tony

Party Poker Million Dollar Hand Promotion

Party Poker is offering its Million Dollar Hand Promotion for a second time. The first time Party Poker held the promotion they gave away over $700,000. Nobody was lucky enough to make the Royal Flush for $1,000,000 so they are giving players a second chance. Between now and June 28th players will receive a free card for every 15 PartyPoints they earn. Each card can be used to make a 5 card hand for a total of 48 poker hands. Players will win anywhere from $3 for a pair, $10 for two pair up to $10,000 for a straight flush and $1,000,000 for a Royal Flush.Players that sign up for Party Poker through PAS also get to participate and an exclusive $10,000 PartyPoint chase where players will get paid depending on which points tier they achive during the month. There is no cost to players or to publishers to participate in either of the promotions. If you have not yet added Party Poker to your PAS site and would like to please contact Tony at publishers (at) pokeraffiliatesolutions.com.

Monday Sales Call: Call to Action with Permission

I was out of the office last Monday on vacation and I forgot to post. 30 straight weeks of blogging on Mondays came to an end. My quest in becoming the Cal Ripken Jr. of bloggers is over.I went to Dallas for the Memorial Day holiday to visit my father and see some old friends. I had the opportunity to meet Randy Ray at his book store just outside of Dallas. If you don’t know who Randy Ray is and you are an online gaming affiliate, I suggest checking out his blog. Randy is what I like to call a Guru. He is a master of his domain: SEO. I had a great time chatting with Randy about gaming, his new book store, and easy living down in Texas.In my last post, I talked about Permission and Call to Action Marketing and finding the perfect combination for a website. There isn’t a standard formula for the perfect blend of these two marketing styles because affiliates market different products to different audiences. I spend the majority of my day working with rakeback affiliates and I also dabble in the no-deposit bankroll biz (YourPokerCash.com). However, I have recently been doing field research on traditional gaming sites. The target audience is quite different than rakeback. Since the player type is different, the strategies behind converting a player will need to be altered.”Traditional” affiliates like Randy Ray have made a great living as CPA affiliates. Randy does well because he can drive traffic via SEO as well as anyone in the industry. Driving massive amounts of “quality” traffic is important but converting said traffic is just as important. Converting players who are new to a room or poker in general involves more call to action than say an experienced rakeback player. They are pretty much sold on online poker and just need a push in the right direction as to where to deposit and play.Refrain from posting high level poker strategy on a site that markets to the new poker player. They have no clue what VPIP and pot equity mean. You will scare them off! Tell them about Phil Ivey’s latest tournament on TV or which poker room is the easiest to deposit on.Marketing to a rakeback player involves a lot of trust. Players want to know they are going to get paid every month (if they play at a non auto pay room) and that their affiliate will be operating a year from now. They want references from other players and often post on forums asking if a particular rakeback affiliate is reputable. The trust level between player and affiliate starts from the first time a visitor browses a site. If a player sees a bonus offer at FTP on a Rakeback site it may throw up a red flag. “Why isn’t this guy giving me the best deal at FTP and he is at Cake”, the player might say. And bam, you lose a potential client.Don’t scare of potential clients by violating their permission levels. Don’t send rakeback players newsletters three times a week. A player who rakes $1500 a month for you could care less about the $200 freeroll at “Random Poker Room on Random Network whose player base is >200”. Do not invade his inbox. You will lose permission to pitch him down the road.Know your product and know your audience. Give before you get and mold their impression of you. Put yourself in their shoes. Think like a 20 year old college student who just saw poker on ESPN for the first time. What annoys you about websites you visit during the day? “God I hate half page peels but I think poker players will like them!” Are you doing the same thing in your own industry?On another note, Spring is finally here in Minnesota. After months of little sunlight and frozen fingers, I had my yearly “This is why I love MN!” moment over the weekend. 70 degrees and sunny is something I was unaccustomed to living in Texas. It’s nice to hang out outside and not have to take a shower every 3 hours :)Tony