7 Ways Gamification Can Help Grow Your Business And List in 2018

As the year 2017 draws to a close, and we reflect on what we hope to improve for our business and marketing efforts in 2018, there’s no doubt this year has proven to be a wild ride in the world of digital marketing and entrepreneurship.

We’ve seen the likes of chatbots, popups, content marketing, big data, wearables, voice and even digital kitties battle for the attention of marketers and the end consumer. Many of these trends are certainly only in their infancy, while some of these tactics will quickly be forgotten.

As a marketer, CEO, or founder, keeping up to date with the most effective strategies to grow your business is now more essential than ever, but just as important is being able to ignore the noise.

What will move the needle in your business? What tools, tactics, and trends will help you sell more of your products or services while providing value for your community, customers, and fans.

As we move closer and closer to 2018, there’s one trend we here at Listagram are particularly excited about. And it’s no surprise based on our leading product offering, that we’re incredibly excited about gamification.

Of course, gamification certainly wasn’t born in the year 2017, but it has made significant strides in becoming an essential part of modern-day businesses and our lives as a whole.

Companies large and small around the world are relying more and more on gamification to help improve their bottom line, increase engagement, and in many cases even make their employees happier.

While some believe gamification to be a buzzword or just another marketing trend, we’re confident that gamification will continue to transform the way entrepreneurs and digital marketers do business in the year 2018.

Whether you’ve experienced implementing gamification in your own business and life, or are just learning about the power of gamification, here are 7 Ways gamification can help grow your business and improve your life.

Increase Engagement And Conversion

It’s no secret that as a marketer and entrepreneur the competition for users attention is at an all-time high. Just putting an ebook on your homepage and saying “click here” just doesn’t cut it anymore. A huge box at the top of your homepage saying “get updates” is a recipe to be forgotten.

Whether you’re building a blog, app, or ecommerce store, you have to give your target audience every incentive to buy-in to your brand’s company, product, and mission. You have to invest the time and effort into standing out.

The reason our newsletter signup wheel can convert every 9th visitor into a subscriber on average, is because it provides a small burst of value to those who land on our page.

It turns getting their attention into a game. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

They share their name and email, and they get a chance to spin the wheel for a discount or prize of your choice.

Instead of feeling used from overly aggressive marketing tactics they quickly become a part of the community.

In fact, in many instances, gamification can help improve sales because winning something even as small as a coupon, encourages them to want to use it. That small coupon or another freebie often plays a crucial role in getting potential customers to pull out their credit cards and buy.

Of course, the Listagram wheel is only a small part and piece of the many benefits of gamification over all, but the more you can engage your readers and offer them value up front the more likely they are going to open your emails, learn more about your service, and even buy your products.

Leverage The Power of Social Media

While social media to this day, often gets a bad reputation for being a “waste of time” the truth of the matter is, hundreds of millions around the world incorporate social media into their everyday lives. It’s become a part of us.

We check Twitter while in the bathroom. We post an update when “she says yes.” We share our hopes, fears, and ask if anyone has leads for a job.

Using gamification to amplify the social media effect is one of the best ways to quickly build a large fan base for your business. As humans, we love sharing content that is both valuable and entertaining.

As a marketer, you can take advantage of specific plugins to run giveaways or share relevant quizzes with your audience. How do you think media organizations such as BuzzFeed were able to rise so quickly to the top?

Of course, with social media amplification, it’s important you craft content specifically tailored to your audience for best results. We won’t share something that makes us say “eh.”

If your target audience is digital nomads, for example, you could run a giveaway with 5 of the most popular items for world travelers. Or you could build a quiz suggesting “which country they should visit next.”

If you run an ecommerce site selling t-shirts, you could have your community signup to enter for a free custom shirt. The more they tweet, share, and email the promotion the more chances they have to win.

Winning a custom t-shirt for free is a great incentive for your readers to share more about your contest and brand.

The more you invest in the infrastructure of your viral social media campaigns, the better chances it has of taking off and spreading far and wide.

Best yet, the built-in viral effect of social media can be replicated as long as the content you produce or giveaways you choose are high quality and provides genuine value for your target audience.

If you’re not taking advantage of contests or quizzes in your current business, it might be time to revisit your marketing efforts for the beginning of next year.

Increase Motivation And Follow Through

One of the most significant issues many business owners face is keeping their employees and customers motivated and engaged so that they ultimately take the desired action.

Whether that be getting your employees to fill out an expense report, or your customer to finish the cart checkout process, gamification be leveraged to help improve conversions and move things to the finish line.

In the expense report example, that was a very big issue for one of the world’s biggest tech companies - Google. Several years ago, there were a few teams at Google who just wouldn’t submit their travel expense reports accurately and on time to their accountants.

As you can imagine this ended up causing quite a bit of lost time and unnecessary frustration for the accounting team. After trying nearly every solution in the book without success, Google finally implemented a gamified process to see if it would work.

Google allowed the employees who didn’t spend their travel allowance to choose where the rest of the money went. They could have the remaining funds added to their paycheck or donated to a charity of their choice. This simple experiment led to an astounding 100% expense report compliance in just a few months.

Of course, gamification can also help ensure a warm lead ends up completing the purchasing process on your store. Many times would be buyers simply get distracted with by a new browser tab or have their attention diverted elsewhere. By implementing an abandon cart sequence, preferably with some discount or other gift, you can significantly improve the chances of that potential buyer following through with their purchase.

Gamification helps use the power of psychology to give a slight nudge in the right direction often leading to incredible results.

Improve Employee And Customer Learning And Engagement

Of course, gamification doesn’t just apply to getting more conversions and increasing sales. It can also be used to effectively impact other areas of your business as well.

Another major issue startup founders and CEO’s often face is getting their employees to complete those pesky “mandatory” trainings. While these trainings often do improve productivity and effectiveness overall, it’s often a struggle to get your team to “buy-in.”

By choosing education programs that gamify the process you can improve the likelihood of your employee’s follow through by using their own psychology in their favor. Even the best employees sometimes need a boost in the right direction.

Fortunately, many online courses and other business development programs these days have checklists and “% of course completed” bars built into the platform.

While these otherwise small tweaks might not appear to improve completion rate of the course or program, the science of why it works is based on the what is known as the Zeigarnik Effect. Essentially our brains are wired to find things that are incomplete uncomfortable. When was the last time you left a jigsaw puzzle unfinished for example?

Leveraging the knowledge of the mind and modern technology you can give you and your employees the best chance to succeed.

As you plan Q1 of 2018, see if you can gamify the process to encourage everyone to participate fully. The project management app Trello is quite popular in the tech and entrepreneurial space due to its ability to create checklists, labels, and assign due dates.

Increase Brand Loyalty

Gamification can also be used to increase brand loyalty even in the most competitive of spaces.

Two prominent examples of brands successfully using gamification to build customer loyalty come from two very unlikely places.

A pizza chain. And a fast food restaurant.

The US-based pizza company Domino’s, was one of the first pizza chains to successfully implement gamification in their mobile and online app to order pizza. You open the app, choose your toppings and see your pizza being made virtually while you wait. The app continues to guide you through the process as the pizza maker puts your pizza in the oven and even leaves the store for delivery.

This small change saw Domino’s stock rise significantly and brought the struggling brand back to life almost overnight.

Another brand to successfully use gamification is the fast food chain McDonald’s. If you live in the United States, you’ve likely participated in their annual “Monopoly” game each year. If you’re unfamiliar how it works, during the promotional period, every time, you buy a qualified item you win a “Monopoly” piece. Collect the right pieces, and you can win a hefty 7 figure grand prize.

Of course, the chances of winning the prize are the equivalent of winning the lottery, but just a few stops at the drive-through almost guarantee you win a free coke or extra large fry.

And that’s where the loyalty building begins.

Those who participate in the McDonald’s Monopoly-themed game likely won’t win the big prize, but that free beverage goes a long way in ensuring McDonald’s stays top of mind — it’s the powerful law of reciprocity at play. When given something for free, you are significantly more likely to purchase from them sometime in the future.

Don’t let the size of these two big brands fool you; there are dozens of ways you can implement gamification in your business by offering a coupon or other gift as your readers and customers navigate through your site.

Improving Your Health

We’ve covered in depth how gamification can help improve your sales, increase conversions, and even motivate your employees, but gamification can also be used in your own personal development journey which of course impacts your business’s bottom line.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it can be tough to go to the gym regularly, eat healthily, or even find the time to meditate. But there are several apps and principles of gamification that can help give you the best chance to succeed.

One great example of how gamification can be used to form healthy habits is by looking at the Apple App Store App of the year Calm. Calm is one of the most popular meditation apps in the world due to its great design, ease of use, and team that cares.

But what’s interesting about Calm is one of the very conscious UI choices they made early on in the company.

If you’ve ever tried meditating before on a regular basis, you know it can sometimes be tricky to sit down and focus only on your breath.

Calm quickly (and smartly) realized that one of the most effective ways for them to improve the usage of the app consistently was by gamifying the meditation process.

Each day when you check-in to the app and meditate (even for as little as a minute) you begin a mediation chain on the calendar view. Meditate each day, and the chain continues to grow.

If you take a look at Calm’s social media mentions on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll see hundreds of users sharing how proud they are for meditating each day for ten days, 30 days, and beyond.

That’s the true power of gamification.

Whether you’re looking to exercise more, eat healthier, or want to improve your focus, look for apps that have gamification embedded into their design. It won’t guarantee you’ll make the gym after a long day of work, but it will improve your chances.

Building good habits can be fun.

Wrapping It All Up

We hope this brief look at how gamification can change your business and life in 2018 was helpful. While gamification won’t solve all your business problems or improve your life overnight, using it strategically can give you a competitive advantage both personally and professionally.

As gamification expert Gabe Zichermann says, “Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology.” The more you understand how the world works around the more you can leverage the power of gamification to improve virtually every area of your life.

Make 2018 the year you take the power of gamification seriously, and it might be your best year yet.

Have any ways you’ve used gamification in your business or life? Let us know in the comments below!

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