No matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, the thoughts start to creep into your brain.
"I need to water my crops! I need to check on my villagers! I need to earn my bonus for the day so I can get those extra stars!"
Can you imagine if your customers were as obsessed with your business as they are with the siren song of those addictive mobile games? Gamification is actually a brilliant, emerging customer engagement strategy that can help get potential customers addicted to your brand!
If you're interested in building your customer engagement, gamification might be the best next step for your business. Read on to learn more about this rising trend, including the five best practices for implementation!
What Is Gamification for Customer Engagement?
In essence, gamification uses what we know about human psychology to encourage engagement. The goal is to create positive user experiences that customers will begin to associate with your brand. We can do that by using more.
The use of the app will become part of the experience of interacting with your business, like a loyalty punchcard at a cafe. This motivates customers to return and encourages a sense of community and belonging. It also activates a human's intrinsic desire to succeed by utilising elements such as points, leaderboards, and both digital and tangible rewards.
The foundation of a successful gamified experience are rules and triggers. The more specific the rules and triggers are, the more personal the gamified experience will feel. This will leave customers wanting more, and they will begin to build a relationship with your brand or business.
5 Best Practices for Gamification
While gamification may seem easy on the abstract, I'm sure your phone is full of dozens of loyalty apps that you haven't opened in months. Why do some do better than others? Developing a compelling app is easy when you are aware of the best practices and gamification strategies that make using the app a fun and satisfying experience.
Best Practice #1: Define Success
Customers love rewards because the human brain loves rewards. We get excited about earning discounts or tokens for the same reason that we get excited about anything novel or exciting. When the reward centers in our brains are activated, we feel good - and it doesn't matter why!
If you are promising your users that they can win discounts, free products, tokens, trophies, or other rewards, you also need them to understand how to achieve these things. The sooner they experience success, the sooner they will begin to form a positive association with the brand, and the more motivated they will be. Knowing that earning the reward is possible is part of what makes it worth playing!
Customers must know how to win, achieve, or move up in levels or you're unlikely to earn their trust and excitement.
Best Practice #2: Keep It Simple
Why are people more likely to casually open up a puzzle game app than a chess app?
Puzzle games have fewer rules. You can open the app, mess around for a few seconds, and figure out the mechanics. Chess requires brainpower and concentration and isn't usually worth the energy for casual engagement.
The same is true for gamified apps associated with businesses. If there are too many rules, the rewards and goals begin to seem elusive. If it's too complicated to engage with the most compelling content, the Average Joe will give up and go back to that puzzle app.
Most rules are behavioural, transactional, locational, or social. Some fall into more than one of these categories.
For example, if you make a purchase at a particular location, you unlock a reward. Simple! Most people can and will be capable of achieving this, and may even make it part of their routine.
If unlocking the reward requires you to check into the app every day, make six purchases within four days at a particular location, and share on three social media platforms, it's no longer worth the effort. Simplicity is key to keeping your customers playing.
Best Practice #3: Make Scoring and Winning Transparent
If your customer is going to go out of their way to shop at a certain location, make a purchase at a specific time, or 'check in' at a location every day for a week, they're going to want to know why. One way to make this clear is to be transparent about what you get for doing the tasks that are being asked of you in the app.
Maybe the reward is a series of bonus points. Maybe it's a free product. Both can be motivating factors, but a customer expecting a free product might be disappointed if they get points instead.
As soon as a customer is disappointed or inconvenienced for no reason, they begin to form negative associations with your business. That's the opposite of what you're trying to do, and should be avoided. Transparency can help keep everybody happy and in the loop.
Best Practice #4: Playtest Everything
If the goal of your gamification strategy is to create a warm, emotional response to the brand, you want to make sure that's what's happening! You should always playtest your own games to make sure they are fun, engaging, satisfying, and, most importantly, that the features work!
A game that is too easy can become boring, just as a game that is too hard can become frustrating. Play through every element yourself and make sure that you feel what you want your target customer to feel.
Best Practice #5: Link to your business' messaging, products, or services
Even if you've made the coolest game in the world, it means nothing if it's not relevant to your brand. Know your customer. An understanding of what they want and what motivates them can be a major key to building a game that will keep them wanting more.
What are the rewards in the app? Do the rules and triggers bring your client face to face with your product or service? Will it motivate them to engage with the brand and encourage others to do the same?
Think about your customer's lifestyle and how your product or service fits in. How can your gamified app become part of that lifestyle? That is key to making your gamified experience a success.
Gamification Strategies Keep Customers Wanting More
The goal for any business should be to help buyers develop positive associations with the company. By implementing gamification strategies, you can find a personal way to reach your customer base that keeps them coming back for more. Gamification can build engagement, inspire loyalty, and help to grow your customer base.
By following these tips, you can make gamification work for your business. If you're ready to implement gamification strategies into your business or organization, it's time to reach out to learn more.