Are you looking for creative ways to attract more customers to your brand? If your strategy has gone stale or plateaued, gamification in your marketing strategy may be the solution you need. Gamification is the process of incorporating game mechanics into non-game contexts to encourage brand engagement and participation.
Incorporating gamification into your marketing strategy can provide unique, psychological-proven ways to help increase your brand’s customer loyalty, increase engagement in new ways, and ultimately generate more leads and profit.
Now that you understand that gamification is for everyone – not just games like you may have been thinking – I’ll take a stroll with you to discover exactly how you can implement it and help you think outside of the box with your marketing plans.
In this post I’ll be exploring five ways to use gamification. I’m here to provide you with actionable marketing tips for implementation and why each example could be a fit for your brand.
So, let’s get into it!
1 • Create a Rewards Program
A rewards program is the best classic way to use gamification in your marketing strategy to increase customer loyalty. By offering rewards for actions like making a purchase, leaving a review, or sharing your brand on social media, you can incentivize customers to engage with your brand.
Tips for Gamification in Your Marketing Strategy Using Rewards
Easy to Understand and Connect With
When creating a rewards program, it’s important to make the program easy to understand and participate in. Clearly outline the rewards customers can earn and what they need to do to earn them. Make sure the rewards are desirable and relevant to your customers’ interests and needs.
To make your rewards program even more effective though, consider incorporating tiers. This could allow customers to work towards different levels of rewards, which can be a powerful motivator in participating more actively.
In addition to offering your rewards, communicate regularly with your customers about their progress in the program. This can include sending emails or SMS to remind customers of their rewards, and positive reinforcement by congratulating them when they reach a new tier or earn points and rewards.
Don’t Forget About Analytics
Very importantly, make sure you track and analyze the results of your rewards program to see what’s working and what can be improved. Use data analytics tools to track customer engagement with the program, and use this information to make adjustments & improvements.
Examples of Creative Rewards Programs
Rewards programs is nothing new to your customers, but that doesn’t mean you have to implement a cookie-cutter version of rewards for your customer akin to “Buy 10, Get 1 Free!”. Make them feel extra-extra-special by putting a twist on the classic.
Here are some unique ways to make your customer rewards program a more memorable experience for your customers. Remember to align these ideas with your brand identity, target audience, and business objectives to achieve the desired impact.
Introduce mystery rewards within your program. Instead of explicitly stating the rewards, surprise customers with unexpected incentives when they reach certain milestones or engage in specific actions. This element of surprise can add excitement and intrigue to the program.
Tailor rewards to individual customers based on their preferences, purchase history, or demographic information. Offer personalized recommendations or exclusive offers that align with their interests. This personalized touch makes customers feel valued and appreciated.
Introduce limited-time rewards that are only available for a short period. Create a sense of urgency and exclusivity by offering high-value rewards or unique experiences that customers can unlock within a specific timeframe. This encourages immediate action and increases engagement.
Engage customers in collaborative activities to unlock shared rewards. For example, encourage them to participate in group challenges or contribute towards a collective goal. This fosters a sense of community and teamwork, making the rewards program a shared experience.
Align your rewards program with a cause or charity. Give customers the option to donate their rewards to a charitable organization or contribute to a social cause. This creates a sense of purpose and allows customers to feel good about their engagement with your brand.
Offer exclusive experiences or events that are only accessible to customers within the rewards program. This could include VIP gatherings, behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive pop-up events or specialized workshops. These unique experiences add value and create memorable moments for your customers.
Secret Menu Items
Create a secret menu for loyal customers, offering unique and exclusive items that are not listed on the regular menu. Customers can unlock access to the secret menu by reaching certain milestones or loyalty levels within the rewards program.
Provide customers with the opportunity to enter a raffle by submitting their purchase receipt. Draw a winner periodically, offering them a unique reward or an exclusive experience related to your business.
Give customers scratch-off cards at the point of sale, revealing instant prizes or discounts. The excitement of scratching off the surface adds an element of surprise and anticipation.
Collaborate with other local businesses to create joint rewards programs. Customers who make purchases at both businesses can earn special rewards or discounts as part of the partnership program.
Send personalized anniversary discounts or rewards to customers on the anniversary of their first purchase. This gesture acknowledges their continued support and encourages them to celebrate by making another purchase.
With a creative rewards program, both you and your customers win big; you can increase customer loyalty and reward your customers for that loyalty, all while also driving up sales for your business.
2 • Host Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are a fun yet effective way to use gamification in your marketing strategy to promote engagement and create new awareness. When done correctly, they can help increase brand awareness in a general sense, plus encourage customers to interact with your brand.
Think Every Step Through
To create a successful contest or giveaway, first make sure the prize is relevant to both your brand and your audience. You should consider requiring participants to share your brand on social media or sign up for your email list in order to enter the contest.
It’s important to have clear rules and guidelines. Make sure the rules are easy to understand and follow, and clearly state the entry requirements, deadline, and prize. This will help avoid confusion and ensure that the contest or giveaway runs smoothly. Don’t be tempted to incorporate anything gimmicky in the rules or the language used to promote your contest, which could completely be a negative for your brand.
If you’re going to go through the effort of creating a contest or giveaway, make sure people know about it! Promoting your campaign will ensure you have as many entries as possible and gives you a good ROI. Not only that, but you should leverage the opportunity to affect brand perception and brand loyalty.
How can you promote the contest?
- Website CTAs
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Paid Ads
- Video Marketing
- Other promotional channels
- Partnering with influencers and other businesses
- Encourage participants to create and share user-generated content related to the contest
- Implement a referral program for extra points/entries
- Sneak peeks or teaser content to pique the curiosity
- Use live streaming to announce winners and promote contest updates
- Create a #hashtag for the campaign
Have your promotional planning well-thought out before you launch the campaign, as well as how you leverage it after it’s completed.
Make sure you follow up with the winners and share the results of the contest or giveaway with your audience. This can include announcing the winner on social media or in your email newsletter, and sharing photos or videos of the prize being awarded. This will help build trust with your audience and create excitement for future contests and giveaways!
3 • Use Interactive Quizzes and Polls
Interactive quizzes and polls are a fantastic way to up the engagement with your audience. By creating quizzes and polls related to your brand or industry, you can provide value to your audience while also increasing your engagement.
- Use quizzes to create personalized recommendations for your audience.
- Use polls to incorporate data-driven improvements and new products and services.
Tips for Quizzes and Polls
Make sure that these are relevant to your brand and to your audience – both is definitely the goal. Think outside of the box in order to cater to audience’s interest in ways that overlap with your brand.
Entertain and Inform
Strike a balance between entertaining and informative questions or options. Make the quiz or poll enjoyable and engaging by incorporating some light-hearted or creative elements. However, also provide valuable insights or recommendations related to your brand or industry. Consider using humor or pop culture references to make the content more engaging and shareable!
Maximize the Impact of Results
Don’t forget to implement data analytics tools to track user responses and behaviors, and then use this information to improve future quizzes and polls and all the relevant aspects of your brand.
To maximize impact, share the results of the quizzes and polls with your wider audience. This can be anything from sharing interesting statistics or insights related to the quiz or poll to using it as an opportunity to share more detailed content about the relevant topics. You should also use the results to inform your future marketing strategies.
Promote Your Quizzes and Polls
Get the word out about your quizzes and polls by sharing them on social media and include them in your email marketing campaigns. Always make sure you have functionality that allows easy sharing of their individual results on social media. Partner up with influencers to attract more ideal participants. And don’t count out using paid advertising to promote your quizzes and polls to a wider, newer audience!
Examples of Quizzes and Polls You Can Leverage
Need some examples to inspire your creativity? Here’s a few types you could be using with an example title to demonstrate.
- Personality Quiz: “Discover Your [Brand]-Style Spirit Animal!
- Industry Trends Quiz: “Test Your [Industry] Knowledge!”
- Pop Culture Trivia Quiz: “How Well Do You Know [Brand]’s Pop Culture References?”
- Gift Guide Quiz: “Find Your Perfect Gift Match!”
- Fashion Style Quiz: “What’s Your Signature Style?”
- Foodie Personality Quiz: “What Type of Foodie Are You?”
- Home Decor Quiz: “Discover Your Interior Design Style!”
- Book Lover Quiz: “Which Book Genre Matches Your Personality?”
- Wellness Journey Quiz: “Where Are You on Your Wellness Journey?”
- Music Taste Quiz: “What’s Your Musical Persona?”
- Seasonal Flavor Poll: “Which Seasonal Flavor Should [Brand] Bring Back?”
- Social Media Platform Poll: “Where Do You Follow [Brand]?”
- Influencer Collaboration Poll: “Which Influencer Would You Like to See Collaborate with [Brand]?”
- Product Feedback Poll: “Which product feature or enhancement would you like us to focus on next?”
- Content Format Poll: “What Type of Content Do You Prefer?”
- New Product Naming Poll: “Be a Part of the Creative Process! Vote for the name of our upcoming product”
- Holiday Promotion Poll: “Which Promotion Would You Like to See for the Holidays?”
- Community Event Poll: “Help Us Plan Our Next Event!”
- Packaging Design Poll: “Which Packaging Design Do You Prefer?”
- Brand Ambassador Poll: “Vote for Our Next Brand Ambassador!”
It’s very simple, but by using interactive quizzes and polls, you can very easily strengthen engagement with your audience and create a far more personalized experience for your customers. Such a low-effort marketing strategy with high-impact return.
4 • Incorporate Progress Bars and Badges
Progress bars and badges are a popular gamification technique that can help increase engagement and motivate customers to complete certain actions. By showing customers how far they have progressed towards a goal or rewarding them with badges for completing specific actions, you can encourage continued engagement and create a more positive experience and association with your brand.
Apply Creativity with a Purpose
Ensure that the progress bar or badge represents a clear and meaningful milestone or achievement. It should provide a sense of accomplishment and show customers their progress towards a goal or reward. Make the progress visible and easy to understand to keep customers motivated. To make your progress bars and badges even more effective, consider creating limited-time challenges or events that require customers to engage with your brand. Use different types of badges or levels of progress to motivate customers to complete certain actions and continue the engagement.
Should You Promote? And How?
These are definitely worth promoting! Of course, share them on social media and include them in your email marketing campaigns. Follow up with customers who have earned badges or completed progress bars. You could send personalized messages or special offers to reward and encourage their continued loyalty. Offer exclusive discounts, access to premium content, special privileges, or unique experiences that enhance the customer’s journey.
Examples of Progress Bars and Badges
Your website is going to be a great place to implement this gamification in your marketing strategy, or if you have or are a mobile app. Here’s a few examples with sample scenarios. If these don’t fit exactly, think about ways that these ideas could be extrapolated to match your brand and your goals.
Online Courses Platform
Display a progress bar to show learners’ progress through a course, and award badges upon completion of each module or achieving specific milestones.
Fitness Tracking App
Use a progress bar to track users’ workout goals and provide badges for reaching milestones like running a certain distance or completing a set number of workouts.
Implement a progress bar to showcase the progress towards a fundraising goal, motivating donors. Reward participants with badges for making donations at different levels.
Coffee Shop Loyalty Program
Use a progress bar to track customers’ coffee purchases and offer fun badges for reaching different levels of loyalty, such as “Coffee Connoisseur” or “Caffeine Master.”
Restaurant Food Challenge
Create a progress bar to track customers’ progress in completing a food challenge, such as a spicy wings challenge. Award badges for different levels of completion.
Beauty Salon Loyalty Program
Implement a progress bar to track customers’ visits or services availed and offer badges for reaching milestones like “Beauty Enthusiast” or “Glam Squad Member.”
Bookstore Reading Challenge
Use a progress bar to track customers’ reading progress in a bookstore reading challenge. Award badges for reading a certain number of books or completing specific reading categories.
Fitness Studio Attendance Challenge
Display a progress bar to track customers’ attendance at fitness classes and provide badges for achieving attendance milestones or reaching fitness goals.
Music Store Instrument Master Challenge
Create a progress bar to track customers’ progress in learning different musical instruments. Award badges for achieving mastery levels or completing specific musical challenges.
Sustainable Shopping Journey
Implement a progress bar to track customers’ eco-friendly shopping practices, such as bringing their own reusable bags, opting for sustainable packaging, or choosing ethically sourced products. Award badges for reaching sustainability milestones or becoming a “Green Shopper.”
The most overlooked of this list, progress bars and badges create a more motivating experience for your customers and encourage them to continue engaging with your brand.
5 • Develop a Mobile Game or App
Okay, soo.. I know I said not just games apply to gamification, but I’d be totally remiss to not mention the obvious here. You don’t need to be a gaming company to leverage a mobile game, or app as gamification in your marketing strategy!
Creating a mobile game or app related to your brand can be a pretty powerful & effective way to attract new customers and excite your current customers and audience. When you provide a new, fun and interactive way for customers to engage, you can boost overall brand awareness with the campaign and get a new audience’s attention. Just the same, you can invigorate a new sense of loyalty to your existing audience.
Examples of Mobile Apps and Games
Let’s spark some inspiration! What could you create? Here’s just a couple of examples to get the wheels turning. Depending on the type of business your brand is, these may or may not fit you exactly, but this is intended to simply get you thinking about the possibilities with apps as gamification in your marketing strategy.
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Allow users to explore real-world locations or your website to find hidden items or clues. Offer incentives for completing the scavenger hunt, such as discounts or entry into a prize draw.
Bonus idea: tie this into a new product launch!
Interactive Product Catalog
Showcase your products or services in an interactive way. Allow users to virtually explore and interact with the products, view 360-degree images, or access additional information and videos.
Bonus idea: use AR so users can see how products would look in their own space!
Augmented Reality (AR) Game
Utilize AR technology to create an immersive game that incorporates your brand elements. Users can interact with virtual objects in the real world, solve puzzles, or complete challenges related to your products or services.
Bonus idea: tie this into an event or in-person sale!
Fitness or Health Tracker
Encourage users to track their fitness goals or health metrics. Provide rewards, badges, or virtual achievements for reaching milestones, and incorporate social sharing features to foster competition and community engagement.
Bonus idea: apply this idea to tracking something not health-related, such as the classic punch-hole card promotion that rewards customers for being a loyal customer!
Fashion Styling App
Allow users to create virtual outfits and experiment with different clothing items and accessories. Users could even receive feedback or suggestions from virtual stylists or connect with other fashion enthusiasts. Great for fashion and beauty brands (could also apply this idea to hair, makeup and tattoo brands).
Bonus idea: incorporate a public feed page for users who want to show off!
Art Workshop App
Develop an app for an art or craft workshop that allows users to engage in a virtual creative activity. Users can participate through a step-by-step tutorial, join interactive challenges, and showcase their artwork within a community of fellow artists.
Bonus idea: incorporate a contest with rewards!
Local Business Loyalty Program
Team up with other local businesses for this one! Encourage support for local businesses within a community. Users could earn loyalty points or discounts for making purchases at participating establishments. Features could include a map of local participating businesses, exclusive promotions, a referral program, reviews that connect to Google reviews, sponsored events, photo uploads for extra points, and Facebook integration that shows friends that have gained points at businesses.
Bonus idea: incorporate a leaderboard showcasing the most active supporters of the community!
Things to Consider Developing Your App for Interactive Gamification
With ideas as such, getting into the creative zone in planning is a necessary component, but the most important thing I could tell you, is at the end of your brainstorming, you should be super confident that you’re staying on track with your brand. It MUST make sense before, during and after developing. To create a successful mobile game or app, make sure it 1) foremost aligns with your brand and 2) provides definitive value to your audience.
It’s important to keep in mind the user experience and ensure that it is intuitive and easy to navigate. Be thorough in your planning and get super definitive. Next, find a really great development team or developer to bring it to life, a developer that specializes in app development specifically. The cohesiveness of your briefing will make a huge difference in the expense.
Some key things to ensure with your development:
- Make sure your app is compatible with different mobile devices and operating systems
- Decide if you want it to be available on the Apple App Store (iPhones), Google Play (Android) or both
- Research the full requirements for both of those (there are a lot, especially with Apple!)
- Conduct thorough testing before launching to ensure a smooth user experience
- Incorporate social sharing features in creative ways to make spreading the word a feel-good action
- Decide if your app or game will be temporary or indefinite and plan your budget accordingly for both your development team and your management team to create and manage updates, monitor user experience, and add new features
Marketing Your Mobile App
Consider offering incentives for customers to download and use your app, like exclusive content or discounts. Use push notifications and in-app messaging to keep users engaged and informed of new features or promotions.
To promote, consider using paid advertising or partnering with influencers in your industry or local community. Promote on social media channels, through email marketing campaigns, and even create awareness with classic media like TV adverts.
All in all, an actual game or app can be a powerful tool to differentiate your brand from competitors with a super creative, super modern offering. It can certainly create a lot more buzz than just simply offering gamification through a classic contest or an interactive page that is limited to your existing website.
Gamification in your marketing strategy can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. As we’ve learned, when you incorporate game mechanics into your marketing strategy, you can much more effectively reach goals and KPIs related to brand engagement and brand loyalty.
Have just as much fun in creating your campaigns and systems, as your audience will have in enjoying the interactive perks. Just remember, the big key to gamification is to make it fun and engaging for your audience while also aligning with your marketing goals.