Have you ever spent hours after hours playing some new action or adventure game that you just couldn’t seem to get away from?
Have you ever found yourself burning out your mouse in an effort to save the little yellow guy from the hungry ghosts that were relentless in their chase around the maze?
If you’re anything like me, you’re guilty of a little gamer’s addiction, even if it’s only every once in awhile. In fact, most everyone has found themselves lost in the midst of a game that we just couldn’t peel ourselves away from.
It’s SO EASY to spend three hours slaying dragons on a quest for some sacred gnome treasure… but hey, the time just got away from us.
Maybe you aren’t a gamer and don’t ‘get’ the hype … but I guarantee you know someone who is and totally does!
But what if we could exploit the addictive nature of the gaming platform to transform our marketing campaigns into mind-blowing traffic magnets that drive in new customers and ultimately, influence user behavior?
What if we could use the mechanics of gaming to keep customers glued to our offers, while maximizing our brand power all at the same time?
There’s been a major shift in marketing over the last couple of years and as the Internet evolves, so must our advertising campaigns.
We now (more than ever), need to master the art of ‘gamifying’ if we stand a chance at succeeding in our markets, because it’s not just the NEW way to advertise, it’s the most EFFECTIVE method of generating responses.
So what exactly is ‘gamified marketing”?
Gamification involves the use of gaming dynamics to generate repeat exposure, influence user activity and response levels and deliver brand messaging through the use of ‘consumer engagement’.
In other words, gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to influence, enhance and execute non-game contexts.
- Help increase brand awareness
- Nurture the consumer-product relationship
- Encourage positive responses
- Maximize sales (instantly)
- Build customer loyalty and stimulate repeat business
If you think about the way that games are designed to work, you’ll quickly understand why gamification is such a powerful element of every successful marketing campaign.
You’ve heard the term ‘viral marketing’, and chances are, you understand the concept of why viral marketing is so incredibly powerful.
When people are encouraged to share information, to spread it amongst themselves and to keep bringing new traffic into the cycle, a single marketing campaign can literally explode overnight, driving in an overwhelming amount of traffic to an offer.
Traffic unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and unlike anything you could ever do without the volume behind it.
With gamification, you are using a combination of viral marketing with ‘engaging tools’ that have the potential to catapult your business to the next level, just by redefining the consumer-product relationship so that you are able to capture attention instantly, while delivering your marketing message as part of the consumer’s experience, rather than taking them away from what they are most interested in.
In traditional marketing, using television commercials as just one example; you are interrupting the consumer’s experience in order to deliver your marketing message.
When you interrupt the consumer, you risk their loss of interest because you’ve broken the connection. You do not want to lose that connection even for a moment or you may risk losing touch altogether.
But with gamification, you are delivering your marketing message alongside the content that your customer is enjoying, maintaining the connection and providing your customer with a positive, engaging experience.
Now that you understand what gamification is, the next step is to better understand how you can implement it into your marketing campaigns so that you can maximize your business exposure and compete in your market.
The social web has elevated ‘social gaming’ to a whole new level. These days, you can instantly maximize your business exposure just by providing ‘customer rewards’ such as loyalty points, badges or even prizes just for participating in on-site activities or being a part of your community.
Here are just a few ways that you can begin to implement gamification into your marketing campaigns:
Loyalty programs have been in existence for years but with the popularity of social web platforms, it’s never been easier to implement. With loyalty programs, the idea is to encourage a “build-up”.
Loyalty programs are successful because they are based around a long-term strategy where customers save up points or work towards higher program levels where the rewards continue to increase in overall value.
My favourite resource for creating your own loyalty program is:
It’s easy to use, but robust enough to do whatever you want and make your clicks and traffic much more profitable.
Incentive Offers Through Response Levels
People enjoy earning things and when they feel as though they have had to accomplish something in order to receive the reward, it’s also more valuable to them than if it were merely given away.
Keep this in mind when creating incentive-based offers and always match the offer with the level of engagement or action-based response.
For example, completing a 2-minute customer survey might reward them with a 5% discount, whereas taking advantage of a product special may reward them with an additional 10%.
Badge based programs are one of the easiest to set up and can be offered through your website, blog or on your Facebook page.
While badge programs are simple in both concept and execution, they are a great way to test the waters, measure your customers’ overall interest, and evaluate response rates before moving towards additional gamification integration.
For example, if you are a smaller start-up business, creating a badge based reward program is not only a fast and easy way to build brand awareness but it’s also affordable and requires no more than a bit of programming.
You can launch your badge program from your Facebook business page and build up your following all at the same time!
If you are interested in using Facebook in a big way as part of your marketing strategy, while using the gamification techniques in this guide, you may want to check out some of the resources listed below, using these you can profit a bit faster with your time on social media.
The correct tools are what can make or break a solid strategy and with gamification, maintaining the connection, and providing your customer with a good experience is important so learning as much as you can from the very start makes excellent sense.
In order to help you build and execute a gamified based marketing campaign for your business; here are just a few examples of successful platforms based on gamification.
Even small applications and beginner games have exploded within the Facebook community, giving new companies fresh exposure while building incredible brand power. One example of the popularity of social gaming is Farmville, which brought in millions of users upon launch.
FourSquare, is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, such as smartphones.
Users “check in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues which the application locates nearby. Location is based on GPS hardware in the mobile device or network location provided by the application. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.
Groupon is based on game mechanics and has been featured by Forbes.com as the fastest-growing company ever.
Check out the different ways that they have exploited the power of ‘gamification’ to keep users active on their website (progress bar that shows how many people have purchased and how many more are needed before the deal is activated, etc). True gamification at its best!
Take a moment to analyze each of these examples and determine how you can build a similar platform for your next marketing campaign. As you can see from the examples above, many of the leading gamification strategies involves “content bits”.
Rather than providing too much information as once, you simply give the consumer only what they need to proceed to the next stage (level, group, etc).
Another important component of a successful gamification strategy is to provide rewards. This may be in the form of additional levels (in the traditional game setting), being recognized on the website (think leaderboards, etc), exclusive discounts and coupon offers, or when implementing loyalty programs or badges, it may unlock other options, deals or specials, enhancing a consumers’ experience and keeping them coming back for more.
Rewarding social behavior whether it’s providing a customer with points that can be used towards future purchases or giving customer’s “bonus items” when a certain sale amount is met, you will be able to continue to influence responses, increasing sales and overall revenue while continuing to build relationships with your customer base.
It’s also important to keep in mind that gamification is a long-term strategy and while it takes time to set up and execute, it holds the power to literally transform your business!
So, what is the solution to create a rewards program so you can have this powerful element of gamification built into your business?
We highly recommend Reward Leads as the best solution, built for marketers who are wanting to bring more people back to their websites and create truly viral traffic.
Have a look Reward Leads Lead Generation Case Study here. On that page you’ll see how Steve as able to get 11,800 subscribers added, who each spent an average of around $75 per year – by doing nothing more than adding this software to his site.
We liked this software so much, that we even set up a bonus bundle – if you buy through the link above you’ll also receive the following products. You should see them automatically show up in your downloads area – we’ve set that up with the owner, but if you don’t see them contact our support desk and we’ll send them over to you.
Reward Leads Bonus Items
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– Cindy Donovan
And if you have seen any clever uses of gamified marketing, or have used it yourself – leave a comment for us below, we’d love to hear from you!