By now the chances are good that you have at least heard of “gamification” and you may in fact already participate in it yourself without even realizing it. If you have ever written a review to gain “points”, participated in a casino’s loyalty program to get a free meal (or casino credits), collected frequent flyer miles or even been swayed by the pop ups on the likes of eBay and Expedia that say “124 others are viewing this right now” then you certainly have.
It is not a tactic that is losing any popularity either. In fact, according to a report compiled by Pew Research 53% of the tech stakeholders they surveyed felt that by 2020 the use of gamification by almost all businesses. Gamification is not just for retail businesses, but it will be widespread and a must for those who want to keep up with their competitors.
The Basics of Gamification
Gamification is basically tapping into your customer’s inbuilt desires for competition, status and achievement to help you achieve your business goals. Here is a look at some of a the most popular and effective techniques in use by businesses of all sizes and across many different niches right now:
Providing rewards to customers who accomplish specific tasks. Rewards can take many forms such as points, badges, levels, discounts, gift cards, free shipping, and more! One great example of this has been in use by the cosmetic promotion company Birchbox for years and they were one of the first to make regular use of it. In return for a review of a product, customers earn 10 points. When they have accumulated 100 points they are turned into $10 store credit.
The company stays out of trouble by making clear that the reviews do not have to be good reviews, just honest one. They receive a great deal of free, user generated content that others find useful as well, making it a win win situation for everyone involved. Having good online reviews is crucial to all kinds of consumer oriented businesses, even the more “serious” ones like attorneys and doctors, simple gamification can help.
Many companies are doing a similar thing to get a helping hand in their social media marketing efforts as well and it’s completely free. “The rewards can be visible to other customers, bringing out the competitive nature in people and many businesses have found these methods very successful,” says Edward Lake, an attorney at Gacovino Lake.
Gamification techniques like these implemented on social media can also be an excellent way to gather user generated content. User generated content, or UCG, is another of the ‘hottest’ trends in digital marketing in 2018, but persuading customers to share can be difficult. Give them a reward for doing and things will get easier.
For example, as images are some of the most and engaging and important pieces of social content offering a rewards system for sharing product photos. This can be very effective and the pieces submitted can be shared across many different platforms.
You can even simply make use of game-like and fun elements to make processes, like online checkouts, that are usually mundane and boring more engaging. A number of smaller companies have added their own version of that old Microsoft Office paper clip (remember him?) to guide customers through their sales process in a fun and entertaining way. This strategy has converted into the real-world achievement of decreasing the number of abandoned shopping carts at their sites.
Getting into gamification does not have to be difficult or expensive, as there are a number of excellent web applications out there that can help you. Badgeville is an excellent all-in-one solution that is used by some of the biggest companies in the world and its rates for small businesses are very low. If you are really on a budget Sumo Motivate offers limited free services that can be added to a blog or Facebook pages and very reasonably priced packages for business websites.