Game thinking in a non-gaming context is a great way to keep your current customers engaged and is also a great way to generate new customers.
This is something I believe in very strongly. That is, that we’re all built to want to perform in competitions and contests, feel the need in want to solve a problem and compete against other people to achieve a particular goal, and to be then rewarded for successfully completing that challenge.
Just like when playing a game on your video games console or taking part in a sporting event.
Enter “Gamification.” Basically, this is the introduction of game mechanics and psychology to drive a specific behaviour; in our case, it’s to improve user engagement and drive action. So when it comes to business – more specifically marketing and sales – I’m talking about transforming the buying experience into something fun, and something that, as humans, we’re wired to do… taking part in a game!
You see it all the time within businesses where managers are looking to motivate their employees by placing them directly in competition with other colleagues in one way or another to get the most out of them. Whatever goes on internally within organisations, though, is beside the point here. What goes on externally is what is important because only here will you be able to attract and get new customers. Without customers, the business isn’t even there to hold these internal competitions.
So what can be done to gamify your customers’ buying experience?
Well, in all honesty, there is no secret formula. It’s still a reasonably new principle when it comes to marketing your business. Your business is a unique, unorthodox and creative individual and only you can find out where you can introduce game mechanics.
But what is certain that there are certainly areas where you CAN introduce these mechanics. Here is a blueprint that you can follow to best set up a simple gamification strategy that will work, and will increase engagement, and in the long term will increase sales.
- Get your customers motivated by offering a reward for taking part in a competition or challenge with your business, and offer an outright benefit for using your product or service in the first place.
- Make sure it’s easy for users to get engaged, but not too easy to gain the rewards, this keeps it competitive. So design the gamification process that your customers win always ‘win’ but not winning without effort.
- Give the entire process meaning with a clear purpose and a sense of achievement through your website or blog that your customers can see, but can also share and get other people involved.
- Track and measure results and tweak the competition as you go on. You will know how well it’s gone just by looking at your customers’ behaviour.
Keep it simple. Keep it creative. But more than anything; keep your company’s stuff fun. This is a process that can be done to attract new customers, or to maintain relationships with your current customers that will potentially buy from you again. It’s completely dependent on your business – because no business is the same. Therefore, if you know your business (and your market), then you will know the areas where the customer needs motivating to take the desired action.
Because that’s what Gamification is there to do within business, it’s to motivate and wake up a natural human characteristic in wanting to take part in a competition, to TAKE ACTION, and then to be rewarded for that action to safeguard a positive experience and a sense achievement.
Didn’t you used to love being rewarded by getting a sticker from the dentist for sitting through an examination when you were younger? Didn’t you love to eat your way through a cereal box to get your hands on that free toy? Didn’t you just love to get medals and certificates when you completed certain sports events? YES! Yes, you did.
That’s because games and rewards are a way of life.
And the principles can be the same here when it comes to business. Just like businesses get the most out of their employees internally, gamification will help you on the external front and get the most out of your customers and potential customers. Because that’s what all businesses want, right?