March 17, 2019

A marketing strategy that hasn't worked. Yet.

One of the cool things about Premium Poker Tools is that it is a web app. All of the other apps out there in this space are desktop apps or mobile apps (basically). There are a lot of advantages to being a web app, but the one I want to talk about here is the ability to have sharable URLs. Let me explain.

Suppose that you're playing poker and you look down at pocket jacks (JJ). Your open it up with a bet, a bunch of people fold, and then someone else re-raises all in. Do you call?

This is the kind of thing that people discuss on poker forums like TwoPlusTwo. And the decision of whether or not you should call depends on what your opponent is re-raising all in with. If they're only reraising all in with stuff that beats you like QQ, KK and AA, you're crushed and you should fold. But what if they start shoving with TT? 99? 88? Ace-king suited (AKs)? Ace-king offsuit (AKo)? Premium Poker Tools' equity calculator can answer these questions.

And back to the point of this post, with Premium Poker Tools, you can post something like this to the forums:

I think that they are on a range of QQ+/AK when they shove on you, and with JJ, you only have about 35% equity, so you should fold."

Notice the link. People reading your comment could click on it, see that you indeed only have 35% equity, and play around with the assumptions. Maybe they think that their opponent is also shoving JJ-88, so they add those hands in and see that against that range, their JJ has 51% equity. They can reply and say:

I actually think my opponent is shoving wider, maybe something like 88+/AK. Against that range, I have 51% equity, so it seems like a call to me.

From there, the process continues. Anyone reading that comment can click the link, see that JJ does indeed have 51% equity versus 88+/AK, and then play around with things some more.

Anyways, my app is the only one that lets you use these sharable URLs. Poker players spend tons of time in forums discussing hands, so I figured that this feature would be very appealing to them. And what's really cool is that there is a viral element to this. I start sharing URLs, two people see my URLs and decide to start sharing URLs in their posts, then four new people see theirs and also decide to start sharing URLs. So this is something that is exciting to me as a marketing strategy.

However, I haven't been having any success with it yet. I spent a bunch of time on two different poker forums - TwoPlusTwo, and the poker subreddit - discussing hands and sprinkling in those sharable URLs. Lots of people read my comments, some of them liked them a lot and thanked me for my contribution, but the viral explosion hasn't happened. In fact, it hasn't really driven any traffic to my site.

I'm not sure what to make of this. One theory I have is that I chose the wrong poker forums. That people on TwoPlusTwo and /r/poker are very casual and aren't interested in taking the time to analyze things thoroughly or click links. Many of the comments are things like "easy call", not multi-paragraph discussions.

Of course, it's also possible that my vision of this as a marketing strategy is just wrong. My gut tells me that it isn't, but we'll see. I plan on finding some more serious poker forums in the future and trying it out there, in addition to talking to users and getting their thoughts on this.

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