We were able to catch up with Katie for a chat about Katie's Bingo, which she runs with her husband Matt. Yes, we know it's another Dragonfish powered brand but it's anything but common because the owner is a real live bingo player with a passion for the game and its social aspects. She dishes on what it's like to run her very own bingo site, her favorite games, the fun design, promotions and much more. Having just launched in March 2016, the concept of 'By players, for players' immediately shines through. A big thank you to Katie for taking the time to open up to our members. She also wanted to give you theseâ€¦xx. Haha!
Q: Please tell us a bit about Katie's Bingo and your vision for the brand.
A: My plan from the start was to make a bingo site for the players not the profit. It seemed to have worked so far, our players really like the personal touch.
We actually started with a totally different brand name but as we were making the site the look and feel just didn't go! I was thinking about things that people like and I had recently been on holiday to Benidorm. Our favourite bar was 'Andy's Bar'; I mean people buy from people right? So after a long debate, mainly about me being a big head for wanting to name it after myself (ha!), I won and Katie's Bingo was born.
Katie's Bingo has been a while in the making as me and the hubby had to save up enough to launch it on our own! Bingo sites aren't cheap! After working on other sites and having to present someone else's idea of a bingo site I was really focused on having total control over what happens on the site without investors dictating what we should do.
That kinda means that our promotions are a little smaller than on other sites, but the more players we get, the more flexibility we'll have to run bigger promotions. We held off launching our own room because we wanted to make sure we had enough players to fill the room and make it a fun place to be. But the good news is that Katie's Crew Room will launch on the 11th May!! J
Q: Since launching the site less than two months ago, what have you learned about running your own site?
A: Well the company I worked for before this actually ran the whole show themselves from the software to the support team. As it was just me and my husband running it we were really keen to work with a software that managed as much as possible so we weren't run ragged!
We're still both working on the site a lot, but it's good to just focus on the players and the promotions! Without having to worry about technical issues, the Dragonfish team have all of that under control!
Q: As a bingo player yourself, how does this give you an advantage?
A: I think it makes me more aware of what a real player likes, although I'm definitely not a high roller slot player so I'm trying to push my boundaries a little on that one!
Based on my experience a lot of people who run UK sites don't interact with real players on a daily basis, unlike me. All my family like a game of bingo so it's easy to keep up with the trends and get ideas of things people would like as prizes.
I think a lot of other sites think that it's all about the welcome offer. Of course it is a big part of it, but for me it's about finding a site that offers loads of on-going promotions and actually rewards your loyalty.
For example we've only just sent out our first batch of founding member mugs but our players are already posting them to our Facebook group!
Oh and we make sure that we have at least one 300% bingo reload bonus every month for all of our players, it's not fair to get that just for newbies or people who haven't been to the site for a while. We want everyone to come back and play with us at least once a month, so we reward that with good reload bonuses.
Q: What are your personal favorite games when you play bingo in your free time?
A: I just like a busy room, with about 20-40 people in there. You can chat and have fun, and still win a decent prize. When I'm running low on funds I like a room where you can win something on 1TG or 2TG.
I also love Fluffy Favourites, that's why I offer 10 free spins on Fluffy Too for all new players. When I get a win and that little pink elephant shakes her butt I can't help but laugh! I've done a video on it on our YouTube channel I loved it that much haha!
Q: Cute graphics are featured throughout the pages of the site and the colorful scheme has quite a feminine touch. Was this done to attract female players and would you say they are your target market?
A: Well there was some actual 'research' behind our theme. Months before launch I set up a lot of Pinterest boards with different themes, pop art, art deco, cartoons and Kawaii. And my Kawaii board got so many more pins and follows than the other boards.
My experience is that 70% of the players on bingo are women so it allowed me to go all out on the Kawaii theme without being too worried about alienating men as they are a small section of the bingo market, and it's my experience that men love a bit of pink and cute characters just as much as women! (or maybe that's just my husband who makes all the graphics for the site lol!)
tbf I'm probably a bit too much of a girly girl, but hey if you can't be girly online then when can you! My sisters would laugh if I wore pink and purple all the time lmao!
Q: Bingo is most loved in the UK so what do you think it is about the game and the culture surrounding it that makes it such a popular activity?
A: There are few activities that you can do which actually spans generations. I remember playing bingo with my Great Granny and cousins in her flat in Newcastle, we all loved it! To be fair it seemed to have skipped a generation in our family as my Nanna and Mam don't like it that much, but me and my two sisters, plus our partners, can be seen down the local bingo hall about once a month. (And online a lot more than that!)
It's fun to get out the house all together and do something that doesn't revolve around having a drink down the toon (Newcastle); although that is brilliant fun too we're trying for a baby at the moment so getting mortal drunk like the guys off Geordie Shore is a thing of my past haha! (and yes, I never ever wear a coat when I go out drinking in Newcastle lol!)
Q: What do you say to players that may be discouraged by a couple of common terms associated with Cassava Enterprises run sites such as 24 months to payout jackpots of £20,000 or more and the cashouts for select countries limited to the sum of their deposits?
A: To be honest, at the moment we just focus on the UK market, so I didn't look too much into the conditions for other countries.
In terms of the pay-outs on bigger jackpots I actually think this is a good thing for some players. Having access to the back office shows that sometimes players do have issues with control when it comes to their spend and I would really hate it if someone got £20,000 added to their account and spent it all. I've seen it happen on other sites I work on so I think this is a good way to manage it.
Also from a site manager's point of view it makes it much easier for us to manage the business on a day-to-day basis without having to worry that we're going to be wiped out by one big winner. I know that's probably not what players want to hear but something like that could kill a small site like ours. Maybe when we're bigger and have a little more sway we can see if Dragonfish can cut the time scale a little so people get more over a shorter time.
Q: There several good promotions available, which seem to be the most popular among your players?
A: Our mugs are going down a storm at the moment. We were keen to only give them out to players who were giving back to the site. So they're not a welcome bonus, but they're available to any player who gets to loyalty level 'master'. We sent out around 100 last month and it's looking to be the same this month. They all get personalised with your username so they're a nice little memento. I use mine every morning J
As mentioned we're also really excited to be adding our own exclusive room from May 11th! Our players in our Facebook group give us some feedback on what they would like from the room and we've taken it all on board.
I can't wait!! Even if I am a little scared of hosting for the first time!! Hehe!
Q: What is most unique and important for players to know about Katie's Bingo?
A: I think the most important thing to realise is that I am a real person!
When I share something on Facebook or add a comment or reply to players that it is 100% me.
(Okay sometimes when it's a weird reply it's my husband Matt, he seems to love putting 'ha!' at the end of all his posts, so when you see that you'll know when it's him lmao!!)
I think my end goal is for players who like playing on Dragonfish software to choose Katie's bingo as their number one, go to bingo site.
Support the site that actually cares about players, rather than another random site, I mean who wants to play at a site called lucky pink bra bingo ;-) haha!
Author: Glo Wood
8th of July 2017
2nd of July 2017