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How to increase engagement with gamification

When it comes to effective marketing, engagement is everything. The more your target audience members engage with your marketing content, the more likely they are to jump into the purchase funnel and eventually convert into paying customers.

Gamification is one of the most effective marketing strategies to boost engagement levels across the board. Let’s take a closer look.

Gamification marketing explained

In a nutshell, gamification is the art and science of incorporating games or game design elements into your marketing materials. In essence, you turn one or some of your marketing campaigns into a game (at least to some extent).

Depending on how much you want to lean into gamification, you can make a marketing campaign consisting entirely of a gaming activity or just incorporate some game-ish elements into existing advertisements or marketing pushes. Here are some examples:

  • Spin-to-win promo campaigns, where prospective customers spin a digital wheel to win a prize or to get a chance to enter a contest
  • Adding loyalty programs where customers can earn points by making purchases, then turn those loyalty points into additional prizes
  • Giving customers or consumers badges or other rewards for accomplishing something or engaging with marketing content

When done properly, this disruptive tech trend can lead to a variety of important benefits.

For example, gamification is a highly affordable way to revamp or reinvigorate your marketing campaigns. Many marketers have difficulty maximizing marketing efficiency on limited budgets. But incorporating some gaming elements is an easy, cost-effective way to make your marketing more interesting to prospective customers who may convert into customers.

In addition, gamification can be fun and social for your target audience members. There’s something a little more engaging and interesting about a marketing campaign that incorporates a game or contest for most people, even if they “compete” against themselves or people they’ll never meet.

On top of those advantages, gamification in marketing can help you gather a lot of data about your target audience members. For example, you can set out a new, gamified marketing campaign, then measure the engagement levels that the campaign produces compared to traditional marketing materials.

The more data you gather, the more you’ll understand your target audience members and the more effective your future marketing efforts will be. All in all, there’s no reason not to start incorporating gamification into your marketing at the earliest opportunity.

An illustration of a customer journey with gamification

How to use gamification marketing to boost engagement

With that all said, actually implementing gamification marketing to boost engagement is easier said than done. Here are five ideas you can use for your upcoming marketing strategies.

1. Integrate gaming with loyalty programs

You can integrate gaming elements with your existing loyalty programs (or future loyalty programs).

For example, you can design a simple loyalty program that allows users to accumulate points the longer they are part of the program. But they also get points for making purchases or for bringing new customers into the loyalty program.

Once your customers accumulate enough points, they can exchange them for bonuses, like free shipping, discounts, or digital prizes, depending on your goals. In any case, loyalty programs are natural spots to integrate gaming activities and elements since your most loyal customers are already highly engaged with your brand. Engaging gamification elements will only make them more engaged.

2. Reward interactivity from customers

You can also integrate gamification by rewarding interactivity from your customers. Say you have a brand forum where new or current customers can ask questions about your products or services. A forum is a great place for community managers and customers alike to congregate.

If a customer answers a question helpfully or if they provide important information before a community manager, they might receive an interactivity badge or other special award that they can display on their forum profile. This kind of interactivity rewards engagement without you having to necessarily reward the customer with something that costs you materially (i.e., a discount or a product). 

3. Run contests or giveaways

In the era of social media marketing, contests and giveaways are highly popular ways to market your products to your customers, and for good reason. They drive engagement by their very nature. Contests and giveaways — especially those run by notable influencers partnered with your brand — can drum up anticipation for future product releases or can bring new customers to your brand like nothing else.

Run occasional contests or product giveaways to inspire confidence and excitement in your brand and its offerings. This can be especially important to boost brand loyalty and awareness by making your brand seem more generous in the eyes of consumers.

4. Offer challenges to active consumers

Your most active consumers are highly important for marketing engagement. To that end, try to offer challenges to those active consumers, such as:

  • Bring three new people to the brand by the end of the year and get a prize
  • Spend $30 and get free shipping on all orders over $50

In these cases, you incentivize more customer activity and engagement with your products. Many active customers will be willing to take on these challenges in order to take advantage of the discounts or other benefits you proffer.

5. Add a game to your marketing campaign

You can even incorporate a basic digital game into your marketing campaign. Any game you post on social media platforms can drive engagement, improve brand awareness, and give your customers something fun to do with your brand aside from spending money.

For even better engagement results, mix the game with other gamification elements, like loyalty program rewards, to make your target audience members that much more likely to play.

Gamify your engagement

As you can see, gamification in marketing can be highly effective and can lead to massive engagement improvements throughout your marketing campaigns. With gamification, your marketing strategy might be more effective than you predicted. 

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Gary Stevens avatar

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is a web developer and technology writer. He's a part-time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor. More articles written by Gary.

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