Gametize Academy

Customer Engagement and Gamification in Email Marketing

Customer Experience Lead

The attention span of an average adult is approximately 8 seconds – and that’s probably how long email marketers have to leave an impression on their subscribers. People are constantly being bombarded with too many emails. This has made it extremely important for email marketers to keep their content engaging, not only to attract, but also retain their subscribers.   

One effective way to do so is the use of gamification in email marketing.

Gamification is the process of incorporating game design and game psychology in non-game settings to engage and motivate the target audience towards target behaviours (for example, to increase customer engagement). As we learn about the use cases, you will see the recurring theme – pick out some tips and hacks for your next email marketing campaign!

1. Gamification helps in attracting attention of new email subscribers

One of every email marketers’ many goals is to grow their mailing list, while worrying about their competitors’ email marketing tactic and standing out amongst all other attractive offerings. Being the new kid on the block, gamification presents itself as a fresh perspective in a subscriber’s email inbox. Its game elements are naturally interactive, making emails more memorable, which in turn piques interests. 

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) makes use of a quiz to capture the attention of their target audience (i.e. engagement), tempting them to “Find Your Inner Animal”. In return, the participants get the satisfaction of self-discovery in the form of the quiz results. In the process, email addresses are captured and WWF grows its mailing list!

wwf - find your inner animal quiz

Image Source: WWF

2. Gamification stimulates interests in the rewards

Offering rewards (discounts, coupon codes, freebies, etc.) is a commonly used strategy amongst marketers in getting their target audience to convert – by making a purchase, downloading an ebook, joining a webinar, and more. It being common could also make it difficult for a product offering to stand out. Gamification, where the use of rewards to motivate target behaviors and emotions is one of the key pillars, can help make your rewards more desirable. 

Inspired by treasure hunts, Fabiani gamified its email campaign and created “Hunt For Style”. In the campaign period, subscribers would receive daily emails with two riddles. The riddles directed them to the Fabiani website, where they had to browse through the product offerings to search for the hidden rewards. The subscribers benefited from the discount codes and Fabiani gained more page views and possibly more conversions.

Fabiani - Hunt For Style

Source: SendPulse

3. Gamification builds anticipation

Gamification, and its game elements, are perfect for building anticipation and creating a story or narrative around the objective. It works even better if you would like to rally the attention of your target audience for important announcements, product launches, and more. 

Litmus executed this to near perfection as they promoted their conference, Litmus Live 2016. In a series of ticket sales emails, Litmus designed hidden challenges in each email’s code. When discovered, each challenge revealed a golden ticket. Subscribers then had to take a screenshot and make a tweet to Litmus for a chance to win a ticket to the conference.

Source: Litmus

4. Gamification is entertaining!

Gamification is often, if not always, the use of game elements to invoke intrinsic motivation from the target audience to display desired behaviors and emotions. But, there is no doubt that people are attracted to games for the sole purpose of entertainment. If you are looking to draw attention to your email, the fun in gamification will come in handy! 

In EmailMonk’s Easter holiday e-card, there wasn’t any obvious marketing tactic. It was a simple season greeting, where they got their subscribers to interact and “Catch The Bunny’s Egg”. It did not reveal any discount code or prompt the subscribers to visit their website. But, it definitely did a great job in leaving an impression amongst all other email greetings.

Now... how do you get started?

Now that you’ve understood why and how gamification can help in the success of an email marketing campaign (or so that we hope you do), you might ask – how can you actually get started? We find that the Gametize 5D Framework can be helpful here. We will not be going into the details, but briefly, the framework consists of 5 steps:

  1. Define your problem
  2. Determine your goal
  3. Decide your target behaviors
  4. Describe your target audience
  5. Design your gamification strategy (aka, the email marketing strategy)

Also, here are some extra boosters to get you going!

  • Take a look at some of our success stories for inspiration on incorporating gamification as part of your campaign strategy!
  • Get a quick start on building your game with our templates! We’ve got everything from simple quizzes to full-size games with badges and rewards.
  • Evaluate your gamification strategy to identify pitfalls and refine implemented tactics before launching your campaign using the Gametize Scorecard. Simply ask yourself those questions on the scorecard, give yourself a score, and pick out components that you would like to work on.

Gamifying email campaigns remains relatively new to this day, with not many adopters and not many documented. Yours might be the next groundbreaking one, so start planning for your next email campaign! Of course, keeping all (or maybe just some) that we’ve shared in mind.

Published on 21 July, 2020