Gamification in Emails: Complete Guide

No matter the industry you are operating in, one of your primary lookouts while crafting an email campaign is to fetch engagement, right? To achieve the same, brands take many routes- witty wordplay, engaging visuals, creative typography, stunning animation, and the like. Of late, however, a new technique has arrived on the block and floored one and all with its scope and impact- gamification.

None of us is a stranger to the world of video games. For some, it’s an escape from the mundanity of reality, and for some, a means to get their adrenaline pumping, thick and fast. Whatever the underlying reason, none can deny the fact that video games are second to none when it comes to delivering immersive experiences, also the reason why they have such massive and fiercely loyal fanbases. Now, imagine taking this potent entity and incorporating it into a field that has a staggering ROI and vast market penetration. Yes, we’re talking about email, in case you were still guessing. 

Introducing gamification in their email campaigns presents marketers with a plethora of opportunities to engage their audiences and skyrocket their reputation, traffic, and, ultimately, conversions. In this blog, we’re going to dive into the specifics of it. Excited to see what’s in store? Read on!

How Can Gamification Elevate Your Email Marketing Efforts?

On the fence regarding whether you should adopt gamification in your emails or not? Well, you most definitely should. Here’s why:

  • Improves customer engagement: This is pretty obvious now, isn’t it? Send your subscribers a plain-text email, one with pretty, static visuals, and another with a simple, interactive game. Which one do you reckon will grab their attention the most? The answer spells itself out, really. Additionally, gamification does a whole world of good to your customer retention rates. Want people to form a long-term association with your brand? Mix things up. You can’t just send them the same kind of stuff week after week. This is the age of content marketing. If your content doesn’t have an edge to it, you risk getting lost amidst the hundreds and thousands who are vying, daily, for the attention of your target demographic. And what’s a better way of keeping things interesting than inviting your audience to partake in a game?
  • Helps you attract new subscribers: Gamification, when done right, can generate tremendous word-of-mouth marketing for you. Should your game hit all the right notes and manage to enthrall your audience, you can count on them to spread the word about it with their near and dear ones. And what does that mean for you? You guessed it, several fresh additions to your email list!
  • Gives you the scope of creating cross-channel opportunities: For instance, suppose your email contains a quiz. Your readers attempt it and generate a score for themselves. Now, does the matter end here? Nope! Ask your readers to share their results across their social media handles and tag you, too, while they are at it. That way, their followers will gain awareness about you.
  • Amps up your conversions: 60% of consumers will seriously consider purchasing from you if they had a good time with your game. That’s an incredible stat, you’d agree? Of course, building an absorbing game is no child’s play, but once you crack that code, a deluge of riches awaits you.

What Are The Applications of Email Gamification?

As exciting as gamification is, we can’t really use it in every other email, right? So, what are some occasions in which it works best? Let’s take a look.

  • High-traffic periods: Easter, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year’s- these are times of the year when email traffic across the globe reaches ridiculous peaks. This means that your target audience’s inboxes, during this juncture, get swarmed with a million emails from all directions. To cut through the noise, thus, you need to shun the conventional in favor of innovation. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better alternative than gamification to showcase your creativity and flair. 
  • Feedback collection: Survey emails are a great way to stay on top of your audience’s pulse, gathering all the insights necessary to ensure you are ahead of the curve. Brands, these days, increasingly so, are integrating game mechanics into feedback emails to dial up their efficacy. There are many ways you can go about it.

For starters, you can consider launching a leaderboard. Besides offering personalization (since you’ll be adding participants’ names against their scores), this approach will also activate their competitive nerves. Subsequently, your subscribers will feel extremely motivated to both, finish the survey as well as provide quality feedback in a bid to rank higher in the leaderboard. Another thing you can do is introduce rewards- monetary or non-monetary. Using incentives to stir people into action never quite fails, does it? Just make sure that your reward is an appropriate reflection of the time and effort your subscribers have invested toward your survey. 

A very simple, yet effective gamification technique that many brands are using these days is the “progress bar”. It is interactive (the bar gets filled corresponding to your actions) and, at the same time, establishes transparency, for it helps respondents understand precisely what level of completion they are reaching after every question.

  • Upcoming events: Generating buzz for an important event can be quite a challenge. From building awareness around it to getting your subscribers sufficiently invested in it, the process involves a lot of hard yards. Leveraging gamification can make things substantially convenient for you. For instance, you can consider using a quiz to discover what your customers are most looking forward to in your event and curate your proceedings accordingly. Likewise, you have several other options at your disposal. 

Hitting All The Right Notes With Your Game

Remember, the objective of gamification is not simply to incorporate a game into your emails; it is also to make certain that the said game is successful. This is an area that most brands struggle with and something that distinguishes top-tier email gamification campaigns from ordinary ones. Here are some traits you must look to work into your game should you wish for it to rank among the best.

  • An outcome: Or, a goal, as one would call it, in gaming parlance. Your game won’t be able to engage your subscribers if its goal is not clear and attainable. It is okay to strive for an out-of-the-box and sophisticated concept, so long its accessibility is not compromised. 
  • Guidelines: Clarity- that should be your only motto while crafting your game’s rules. Keep in mind that rules are what guide players toward the game’s goal. So, if they are hard to follow, your game’s engagement numbers (and, by extension, your email’s) will suffer immensely.

For instance, see this email from Dot.

  • Feedback system: We play games for fun, of course, but you also can’t look past the reward mechanism that is inherent to them. Therefore, adding a feedback system to your game is rather imperative. Let the players know how they have fared at the end of their attempt. 
  • Choice of participating: If your email has other elements besides your game, it’s important that you give your subscribers the choice of participating in your game. As fun as games might be, you need to take into account the fact that your readers might not always be up for it.
  • Character: Depending on the nature of your game, this might not be applicable to everyone, but do try to have a leading character in your game; it helps players develop a stronger connection with it.

Ways To Implement Gamification In Emails

There are diverse ways in which one can realize gamification in their email campaigns. Let’s take a look at some.

  • Flip and scratch cards: The flip and scratch effects in email allow marketers to leverage the “uncover the hidden information” trope to coax engagement out of their subscribers. As gamification entities, flip and scratch cards are incredibly successful, for they present immediate rewards to the players. 

This email from Bose soundly illustrates how to use this technique. Take a look.

  • Quizzes: This is perhaps the most widely used gamification idea out there. It is both, easy-to-implement and fun to play, an absolute win-win. While making the quiz, look to it that the questions are not overly complicated, and keep them relevant to your brand.

Look no further than this Harry’s email for inspiration.

Also, notice how Harry’s has given subscribers the choice of skipping this game over here.

  • Puzzles: The adrenaline rush that comes with solving a puzzle is unparalleled. Imagine, thus, the kind of engagement you can drive by including one in your emails. 

At Email Uplers, we tried implementing this idea in one of our Halloween emailers. Check it out.

  • Spin the wheel: This game needs no introduction. The interactivity here is pretty simple, too; all users have to do is click on a button to send their wheel into motion, anxiously waiting for it, then, to come to a stop, to discover their fortunes.

Wrapping It Up

You might have to jog your grey cells a little harder than normal to get gamification right, but trust us; it’s totally worth it. We hope this article has given you a decent insight into the wonderful world of email gamification. If you are feeling motivated enough to adopt it into your own campaigns, don’t forget to share them with us!

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