How to Increase Sales with Marketing Gamification: The Definitive Guide
Today, overloaded with information, we humans are incredibly hard to engage, and even turning someone's head in the direction you want becomes a challenge.
Gamification lets you do all at once: attract attention, increase engagement, and eventually sell more. In the last three years we’ve created dozens of gamified marketing campaigns for our clients. To see where results come from just walk through the step-by-step process we follow every time.
Set your goals
Before throwing yourself at the task, it's crucial to decide what you want to achieve.
- Goals must be realistic and not too distant. They can be:
- Signups on your website;
- Collecting email addresses;
- Increasing website engagement (average session duration);
- Sales increase.
Marketing gamification helps you achieve several of these goals. The most popular combinations look like this:
Decide on rewards
The main gamification principle is rewarding the user. No one will want to join the game without a clear incentive.
But here's the key: rewards don't necessarily have to be physical goods, certificates or discounts.
It's very important for people to have their achievements acknowledged – both by themselves and others. Sometimes this acknowledgement makes us do more than a physical prize would.
Most likely a combination of physical and emotional rewards will be required to create the level of engagement you want.
Why should you use rewards?
- Motivation increase
- It's one thing to just invite people to a webinar, and another – to give them a bonus or promise an interesting contest for going to one. Rewards make people's motivation their own. Everyone prefers doing things they choose to do, not ones they are told to do.
- Rewards grab attention and create interest, which means people are much less likely to disappear right before your launch or while following your sales funnel.
- Your game must lead to a clear result interesting to your target audience.
Create points of engagement
During the previous step we chose rewards for participants. Now let's talk about sustaining engagement.
they let a participant measure his progress in relation to the eventual reward. It's important that people see where they are on the road to their goal.
they provide additional motivation, approval and status. Think of any medals and badges – on the way to victory, or as consolation prizes – for example, badges in AA clubs, or Amway.
they let you measure yourself compared to others and your earlier results, and to visualize your progress. This creates a competitive effect, which must be nurtured – ratings must be frequently reviewed and higher ones should be encouraged.
chats, comments sections, feedback forms, newsletters, interplayer discussions. In a word, hype. A social network group or a mailing list can do a pretty good job at this.
For the game to work (meaning to increase engagement and sales), you should be aware of expectations of different types of players – and make the game interesting for each of them.
Conversion to your target action will be higher if you find a way to engage all four types of players: moneymakers, killers, explorers and party boys. You'll notice the "helpers" from above being quite a bit related to different types – this is not a coincidence.
They take part in the game for prizes and giveaways, simply exchanging their time for rewards.
Killers are most interested in the competitive spirit. They want to win and become the best.
“I assume you haven't forgotten that prizes can be status-related and don't have to be physical, so you can usually avoid going bust while buying actual goods.”
Explorers just play the game. In case of a webinar they will show up for the content, not the prize.
These really like being around others, participate in contests for the fun, and enjoy popularity more than anything else.
Choose game mechanics
So we chose the goal of the game and came up with awesome rewards for the players. But, while players' goal is to win and, if they so please, buy the product, your goal is to sell.
You have decided how you'll motivate players and made sure to include all player types. Now it's time to think about how the game will actually work – and create a step outline of it.
There are over a hundred game mechanics to choose from, and even just listing them in one place is an overlong exercise. Here are a couple of simplest and most effective ones you can start from.
This one is simple: there's a goal, and reaching it requires overcoming obstacles.
A couple more words about the reward: simply winning money or a phone will be worse than winning money or phone while doing something good for yourself or others. A good example are an opportunity to get a new skill or giving away a part of your winnings to charity. Give people something more than just money.
Another note: as a rule reward should be a direct result of players' actions. But in addition you can create a random reward, so that weak players are not immediately discouraged when they see stronger ones on the scoreboard.
The gist of this one is that at a certain time an action must be taken. For example, only people who went to a webinar and reviewed it can take part in a contest.
A deadline is essential – in this example the latest time you can submit your review.
This means giving information in small interconnected portions, like how a series of videos united by one theme is often launched – one by one, instead of all at once.
The more touches the game requires, the higher players' engagement, but it's important not to overdo it.
If players don't follow the rules and don't act in the way you want them to, they can be fined – for example, their prizes or scores can be taken away. If done right, this can also increase their motivation.
This allows all players to see others' scores, ratings and badges – which creates transparency and additional motivation.
Create your game or use an off-the-shelf solution (gamification tools)
So here's a checklist for gamification integration into your marketing.
A clear and measurable goal and rewards, which are related to what your target audience wants.
Preferable course of action within the game, what is prohibited and how to ensure players stay within the limits. Rules of the game, essentially.
A hook that leads people into the game, which works for all player types – or several for different ones.
Integrating the game – by your own staff or using ready game mechanics.
Creating a complex multilevel game requires significant investment of time and money. If at the moment you're only considering whether gamification works for you, you can start off by using off-the-shelf templates and services. This way you can try out gamification in just a few minutes and see whether it generally works for you to make the final decision to invest in it later.
The visitor looks for hidden "Easter eggs" on web pages.
Find all Easter eggs to receive a coupon.
- Suitable for:
- Online stores – to motivate users to go through more items and new offers;
- SaaS services – to help the users familiarize with functionality;
- Multipage web portals.
User gets a lottery ticket with scratch-off sections.
Exchanging possibilities to win prizes for email addresses.
User sees a discount timer. But unlike a usual countdown, here the discount grows over time. The widget appears in the corner of the page, and the discount grows higher the longer the user stays on the page.
Collecting email addresses and increasing session times. It's no secret that for search engines including Google behavioral factors have a big influence on the ranking mechanism. One of these factors is "time until return to search results". So this gamification technique helps to not only collect potential clients' contacts, but also to improve your SEO measures.
I hope you have now acquired enough information to notice gamification techniques when you see them, and can decide how to incorporate them into your website or webinar, while observing your competitors do it.
Many use gamification unconsciously. Now you can see it and put the tools into your toolbox, to then successfully use your findings when the time comes.