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7 Ways to Boost Customer Retention with Email Gamification

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Nurturing customer relationships through email can supercharge your business growth, reduce costs, and enhance profitability, making customer retention a secret weapon for your successful business strategy. Studies show that a mere 5% increase in retention can boost your revenue by 25-95%.

Incorporating gamification into your email strategy can be a powerful tool in your customer retention arsenal, elevating your brand in a crowded digital marketplace and increasing customer loyalty.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Authenticity to Build Customer Loyalty

Email gamification to improve customer retention

Gamification adds an engaging, interactive element to your emails that entertains and deepens brand loyalty, amplifying your retention efforts even further.

Let’s dive into some revealing statistics that underscore its effectiveness:

  • Ecommerce companies report that gamified emails contribute to a 15% rise in average check compared to standard promotional emails
  • Gamified reward programs for email marketing campaigns can enhance customer lifetime value by 48% and the conversion rate by 15%

Related: Want to Conquer ‘Email Fatigue’? Figure out Your Customers’ Viewing Behavior.

When should you consider using email gamification for customer retention?

The statistics above paint a pretty compelling picture, don’t they? But it’s essential to know when to use them to do that effectively. Therefore, you need to bear in mind the context in which you’re utilizing it:

1. During a holiday to send unique greetings to your customer

Our inboxes are typically flooded with sales promotions and discount offers. This can be overwhelming, causing some customers to ignore your emails unless your offer is exceptionally generous or highly anticipated. Gamification offers a unique approach, allowing customers to “earn” their discounts, making your offer more enticing.

2. When major price cuts are not viable

When you’re working with a tight budget and substantial discounts for your entire contact base aren’t feasible, gamification could be your go-to solution. Encourage recipients to “win” their discount by solving a puzzle or spinning a wheel of fortune. This approach enables you to offer discounts ranging from 2-30%, for instance, keeping your budget intact while maintaining customer engagement and excitement.

3. When sharing educational content

As a father of three, I’ve observed a curious phenomenon. When I tell my kids they should learn something because it’ll be financially beneficial in the future, they show little interest. However, when the same lessons are presented as a fun activity — like quizzes — they’re suddenly eager to engage. Interestingly, this isn’t exclusive to children; adults respond in much the same way.

Learning has been proven to be more effective when it’s enjoyable. A well-crafted gamified experience can trigger emotions such as curiosity, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment. These emotional connections deepen engagement with the material. Research supports this: active learning methods like gamification enhance the transition of information from short-term to long-term memory.

Gamification doesn’t just boost engagement; it also amplifies memory retention for the key points you wish to convey.

4. When you want to entertain your contacts

Best practices advocate for consistent audience engagement, but generating fresh and relevant content can be challenging. Gamification offers a captivating and entertaining solution. It introduces playfulness and excitement, effectively cutting through the digital clutter. Incorporating gamification elements can transform a mundane email into a memorable, engaging experience. This holds the audience’s attention and cultivates a positive association with your brand, increasing the likelihood of future interactions.

Related: 5 Ways to Gamify Your Work

How to master the art of email gamification

Email gamification is quite effective, but it isn’t a magic bullet; it needs to resonate with your customers and be approached with consideration, rooted in an understanding of game mechanics and player psychology.

The following tips are derived from an analysis of our personal and clients’ experiences and inspiration drawn from Jane McGonigal’s bestseller, “Reality Is Broken.” To successfully gamify your email campaigns, your games need to embody these core attributes:

  1. Goal. Setting a clear, engaging, and achievable goal is crucial for your email game. The goal should be easy to understand, captivating enough to inspire action, present a reasonable challenge, and align with your audience’s interests.
  2. Rules. They guide users toward the goal, eliminating straightforward paths to promote exploration of unseen routes and stimulate their creativity.
  3. Feedback system. Keep your recipients informed about their progress. Each action they take should elicit a response from you. Avoid disappointing your users by incorporating elements like a progress bar or score display.
  4. Character. A recurring character in your campaigns can lend consistency to your games. Whether related to your brand or not, enabling users to interact with this character — feeding them, rescuing them — can enhance engagement.
  5. Community. Inform users of their relative performance; for example, “You outperformed 80% of all recipients”. This can be conveyed directly in the email. Alternatively, consider sharing the user’s score in a follow-up email (notifying them in the gamified email about forthcoming results). This approach particularly enhances engagement in a series of gamification emails.
  6. Discovery. Let users discover what will happen if they choose another option. Like, what happens to your hero if they turn left or right? What happens if users don’t find all the eggs they are supposed to in your email? Add the element of chance.
  7. Voluntary participation. Crucially, while we anticipate that many users will enjoy participating in the game, we must also account for those who might be busy or fatigued. These individuals may prefer to bypass the game, proceeding directly to the website or engaging in immediate shopping.

Utilizing gamification can be time-consuming; however, if done right, it can transform your email marketing strategy, driving engagement, boosting customer retention, and, ultimately, amplifying revenue growth.

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