Scott Gerber | mashable
Gamification is hot right now. More and more startups and established brands are building mobile apps and platforms that offer awards, badges and other fun ways to reward and recognize influencers. It’s a great way to build a community organically around a product or service and impact customer retention.
But like any shiny new marketing strategy, gamification won’t necessarily yield more sales — or better engagement — unless it’s applied thoughtfully, in a way your users can relate to.
I asked a panel of successful entrepreneurs for their best tips for successfully “gamifying” a brand. Below are nine pieces of advice on implementing a game strategy that gets results.
1. People Love Measurements
When approaching the gamification aspect in your business, ask yourself two questions: Why are we in business? And how do we visually display the reason why we’re in business to our customers to make them feel like they’re involved in something greater than themselves?
Once you answer these two questions, you’ll be able to come up with some sort of gamification element that gives your customers a measurement. When people have a measurement, they work harder to see that measurement increase. For example, road signs are gamification at its finest; they share the number of miles travelers have left until their destination, which gets drivers antsy to cross that finish line.
2. Gaming Equals Retention
I often recommend startups and mobile app developers create a “gaming environment” within their software, even if their concept is not a game. This small, but critical feature is referred to by most as “gamifying.” It simply helps retain more users by allowing them to compete and enhance their experience. “Gamifying” influences the users’ behavior positively.
For example, Nike “gamified” exercise by allowing people to track and share their exercise results, such as distance and time spent running. By choosing to “gamify” your product, you are allowing users the ability to become more motivated and participate further with your product.
3. Create a Sequence of Badges and Bonuses
I recommend setting up content-rich programs in levels where the client has to fulfill the requirements of one level before moving on. It’s easy to do with programs like Wishlist for WordPress and Customer Hub for Infusionsoft. And once set up, it’s easy to maintain for a large volume of clients.
This type of sequencing will not only help clients get best results, but get the same sense of accomplishment and pride as advancing to the next level in a game. Completion badges can be awarded and bonuses unlocked along the way to encourage engagement and growth.
4. Appeal to Your Customers’ Competitive Drive
By adding gamifying features, such as badges, accomplishments and instant (micro)rewards, you can motivate your users to engage more with your product, which increases both direct engagement and retention. By creating leaderboards, competitions and group features, and rewarding users for inviting their friends, you can create an environment which encourages platform growth. My best advice is to think of ways in which you can create an optimum environment for users to express their innate competitive spirit.