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Football is Coming Back: Here’s Your COVID-19 CRM Exit Strategy

Some major sports leagues are restarting. This should trigger your post-corona plan. That is, if you have it in place

After two months of coronavirus-inflicted restrictions, and without any major sport event taking place, some European football leagues are taking the first steps and returning to our lives. The first will be the primary German league, the Bundesliga, scheduled to return on May 15, with others to follow.

Among the bored, frustrated, and mainly churned sports (real-money gaming) players, some are keen to visit your site again and some might have forgotten you.

What marketing retention measures can you take to win back your players?

The General Guidelines

The fact that football is back is great. Still, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should switch back to our old automated marketing funnel. We might also have to adjust our regular ad-hoc and manual campaigns – not only design-wise but also strategy-wise.

Re-launching our automated marketing strategy fully, with content, up-sell promotions, and bonuses, before the players have a sufficient number of betting opportunities – might be too early.

To give you an idea of where to begin, we split this ‘Return of Sport’ period into 2 – ‘Short-term’ and ‘Mid-term’ periods. We will cross the line between these two periods once we think there are enough sport betting options for our sports players (so, watch this space).

It is important to note that there is no right or wrong when determining where to draw the line between these periods. You can asses it by the usual number of bets open, the number of active players, or even by the number of leagues opened.

But, whenever you decide to split it, follow these steps:

The Short-term: Create a short series of ad-hoc campaigns building-up to each match day, gradually enhancing your offers.

The Mid-term: Reactivate automated cycles, like Risk of churn, Upsell, and Onboarding strategies for your active sports players.

Reactivation with Short “Countdown” Campaign Series

To create excitement around the revival of the major leagues, we recommend using a campaign series – to try and reactivate players at lower costs – and to gradually enhance the offers as the matchday gets closer. This steady series will allow you to save some expensive bonus costs that might be generated by massive reactivation strategies.

“Football is Back!” and other such creatives might be useful phrases to emphasize the emotion of excitement. Along with the chosen wording, different content may allow you to create more attractive and exciting communications.

  • Leagues fixtures dates and times can make your comms a source of information
  • Countdown-timers may assist with a sense of excitement and urgency
  • News and updates about the leagues or expert tips may help to encourage players to place a bet
  • Live-streaming options (in case you have any)
  • and Bonuses, Don’t forget your bonuses!
  • Working with a daily updated events calendar may also be beneficial to prepare everything in advance

Yes, a single target group (like in the above example) could work fine. And it would be hard to use too many groups as long as your work on ad-hoc campaigns is mostly a manual one.

Still, you may want to segment your sports churn players further to optimize the bonus spent and to ensure high reactivation rates. Additional splits of the target groups can be defined by the players’ potential or worth, with enhanced offers for high-value players.

Segmenting according to the time since the player’s last activity may also be useful. A breakdown of players who have churned before the COVID-19 period or during it, may give you a good estimation of the likelihood of a player to reactivate (we assume players who churned during that period will have higher chances to reactivate as the reason for churn was external – no bets).

In the example below, we combined the two splits, reaching six target groups of churned sports players – and 18 campaigns in total. Note the main principles: (a) enhanced offer as match day is getting closer, (b) stronger offers for more valuable players, and (c) enhanced offers for less likely to reactivate players (churned before COVID-19):

Your Active/Reactivated Sports Players

As mentioned above, we suggest not to revive your auto-cycles during the short-term period and until you have a sufficient number of options to offer your players. Yet, we do recommend communicating with your active sports players on (at least) a weekly basis.

While churned players will receive most of your attention, resources, and most likely drive the lion-share of your bonus cost during this period – a weekly match reminder for your active/reactivated sports players may be enough.

To treat your active players at risk of churn with higher sensitivity and encourage them to be more active using a modest promotion. Try to keep your ‘at risk’ criteria simple, since calculations like frequency or other factors might have been impacted due to lack of events during the last period.

A “days since last activity” measure, on the other hand, can work just fine. Here is an example of this straightforward split:

In case you do have the resources, further splits can be applied. An interesting angle to look at can be “other products activity” during the last period. Thus, trying to encourage low risk of churn sports players who tried your different products for the first time lately, to increase their activity on other products. And you can incentivize them with a sports bonus if they do.

More segments should be taken into consideration when planning your “Exit Strategy”, such as “active players with multi-product preferences,” “new players,” and others. Try to think about the most relevant communications for each group and what groups can be merged to spare some valuable time and resources.

To conclude, just like the health ministers around the world during these days, we need to take slow and gradual measures to make sure we are reaching our objectives. While the easy “way out” for the “exit strategy” could be to spray-and-pray, a short brainstorming, and smart segmentation will make the difference.

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