Entrepreneurs and small businesses probably don’t realise it, but there is a lot they can learn from the fairly simple game we know as bingo. Once upon a time, playing bingo was simply something you did by going out to a hall, but the internet has transformed this completely.
It may be quite an unusual choice to look at bingo, but it’s a brilliant case in point of taking a product that wasn’t fashionable in the past and adding technology and the internet specifically to transform it to a popular pastime. What lessons can we learn from bingo’s online success story?
Online now key to consumers
With recent research by Vistaprint Digital Services revealing that more than a third of internet users tend to discover a small business through online research, it is clear that many companies may benefit from some advice on how to get the most out of their online presence.
The survey of 2,000 internet users in the US found that more than a third of those polled tend to discover a small business through online research, while 36.4 percent also said they would look at a website before even setting foot in a store.
But for bingo, going online meant much more. Taking a game that was traditionally played in bingo halls by a certain demographic and making it digital meant that there was an opportunity to update the product in more ways than one. Faster games, 21st-century aesthetics and celebrity ambassadors are some of the new elements that have helped elevate bingo, which would have not been possible had it remained only a real-life game.
So what does this mean for small businesses? Well, it clearly highlights that failing to have an online presence could ultimately be harming your chances of success, combined with the fact that going online can actually transform your products and services into ones that your consumers are more happy with.
Having a Social Life
The way bingo companies reach out to customers has been transformed. For example, bingo promotions from bgo – such as deposit bonuses and free spins – are regularly marketed not just on their website but also via social media. The online medium allows for different promotions, as visitors of the promotions page can find the one that’s tailored to their playing style.
Many small businesses have already embraced social media trends, with a LinkedIn study in 2014 revealing that 82 percent of SMEs have generated leads via such accounts. However, if you’re yet to use social media, it may be worth spending time considering which platforms are the best for getting your message across.
In addition, the word ‘social’ in online bingo terms means allowing players to get to know each other, whether that is through banter in the online chat rooms or by checking out each other’s scores on leaderboards. The constant availability of the game means that players are not only able to play at any time, but will also find people with at least one shared interest to interact with.
Think about how you may be able to utilise chat options or social functions, perhaps in relation to customer services, or even by making your customers feel they’re part of a group.
Going back to bgo, their use of Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer is a clear effort to ensure that the company’s products are both accessible and appealing to their target audience. Troyer also appears across their gaming strands, whether players are accessing bingo, casino games or other areas of the bgo website, bringing a real brand consistency to their offering.
So what do we learn from this? Well, businesses should work to ensure that their online presence doesn’t become a mish-mash of ideas and conveys a single, consistent style throughout.
A Range of Services
While accessibility in relation to bingo has changed, as people no longer have to leave their home to play the game, players now also have a range of different variations of the game at their fingertips. For example, Fluffy Favourites and Twinkle are just two of the variations promoted on the Lucky Pants Bingo homepage, while Bingo Today also offers Rainbow Riches and Deal or No Deal Bingo.
This shows that being online is not necessarily just about placing your current business in an online setting, but considering how the internet can lead to a better experience for customers which will keep them coming back for more. After all, the creation of virtual products and services is, in some ways, easier and allows for more diversification than the creation of tangible products.
The likes of bgo and other bingo sites have also cottoned to the fact that smartphones mean people are always able to get online, so they have ensured their sites are compatible with mobiles and accessible while on the move. Other gambling companies also use mobile apps to ensure that their subscribers can always get access to their products on a mobile or tablet-friendly interface.
With this in mind, think about whether your site is optimised for mobile use or whether your services could be adapted into an app format. After all, Google will not like your website if it’s not optimised for mobile platforms.
Ultimately, even on a very basic level having some form of online presence can make a significant difference to businesses. As the world of bingo shows, there is much to think about when considering how to make an impact online which benefits both your business and your customers.