Digital brand engagement never had it so good. Just when we feared social media marketing was the last unicorn, gamification came along to restore our hope in humanity. But you’re still not sure if it’s right for your company. Well, get off the fence, because adding gamification to your site will help engage and motivate visitors — all in the name of fun! — and it’s not as hard as it looks.
First, for those of us who don’t attend GSummit, just what is gamification? Simply stated, it’s what happens when you add aspects of game playing to other parts of life. Remember how great it was when your second grade teacher had you earn marbles for good behavior? You know, the ones which she added to a jar which, once filled, got you a class pizza party? Even. Funner. For the purpose of digital brand engagement, gamification is a reward system that leverages the natural desires of your customers to compete, achieve, earn status, express themselves and experience closure — you like it already, right? — while learning all about your products or services. Points, badges, free stuff, bragging rights… You get the idea. Gamification motivates, entertains, even distracts — in a word, engages — your target audience for you, making learning fun.
But how does one employ aspects of gamification, especially as a small or mid-sized business? Good news: It’s more than just bells and whistles.
According to Search Engine Watch’s Howard Jacobson, the key is to concentrate on “tiny conversion opportunities.”
“Treat every visitor engagement with a button, link, form and scroll bar as a micro-conversion, a mini-outcome leading to the desired one,” a sale, Jacobson says.
That doesn’t mean you need to set up an elaborate game on your website that features your products. It just means you must learn what motivates your customer when designing or tweaking your webpage.
“Every click should be rewarded,” he adds. “What exactly does your visitor want at the moment they click the ‘learn more’ link? Figure it out and give it to them.”
And once you think they’re into you — i.e., ready to give you their email address in exchange for more information — add gamification features to that process. As the visitor enters information into each field, greet it with a smiley face (or a frowny face should they opt not to include the information). As anyone who has been close enough to hear its siren song can tell you, it’s an incredibly seductive thing.
“The small rewards are not meaningful enough to get me to do anything I don’t already want to do,” Jacobson adds. “It’s not like you could use checks and Xs to get me to sign up for the Miley Cyrus Online School of Dance. Yet they grease the skids and provide tiny momentum boosts that can keep me going in the face of momentary hesitation or unanticipated interruption.”
The Internet for the win (again)!
But what say you, readers? Are you game-happy or happier left alone? Sound off in the comments section below!