How Gamification
Can Push The Envelope
For Email Marketing

Written by Sara Moulton
28 November 2019

email marketing gamification

How much time do brands have to catch their audience’s attention in an email?

According to data from Litmus, the average person spends only 11.1 seconds on average reading an email. Since what marketers have to work with, then the focus becomes how to create emails and experiences that keep your audience engaged for longer.  

There’s plenty of research showing that the future of marketing is moving towards personalization and providing personalized experiences. In fact, recent research from Econsultancy shows that advanced personalization techniques generate 17% more revenue and an ROI (return on investment) of US$20 for every dollar invested in advanced personalization for retailers. While this makes sense, marketers need to remember that their audience also wants to have genuine interactions that are also relevant. So, brands can keep this in mind as they adopt more advanced personalization techniques like rules-based logic and dynamic, real-time data.

If push marketing includes ads and trade shows, then gamification falls under the pull category. It pulls visitors into a brand’s universe and gets their attention. Because it’s not push marketing, then the average person doesn’t have the same ‘wall’ up that they do for the average of 4,000-10,000 ads they see on a daily basis. 

More and more people are using ad blockers and filtering out marketing messages. Because they’re flooded with ads, many people just tune out of all advertising. This is a challenge for businesses. So how can brands find out more information about them to better segment their list? 

One answer is gamification. 

email marketing gamification

Three ways gamification can raise the ROI of email marketing

1. Use gamification to gather leads 


Gamification can be a fun and fresh way to get more leads.
Humans are hardwired to enjoy play. So marketers can create quick and engaging experiences. Danish supermarket chain Føtex created a Christmas campaign with a weekly Scratchcard. They set their campaign KPI (key performance indicator) at 10,000 new email permissions. By using email as one of their marketing channels, they ended up with over 13,000 new additions to their database. 

2. Use gamification to learn more


Once you have the name and email of these new prospects, the next step is to learn more about them so that the emails they receive are more relevant. This plan pays off.
Campaign Monitor found that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, and they see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences. By taking this extra step, marketers can create a win-win: they have a more positive relationship with their audience and they get more engagement. 

An example we often use is sporting goods companies that would certainly benefit from sending targeted emails to their database (for example, by gender or even by sport preference). In their game, they could include a progressive registration page. This might begin with gender or preferred sport and can progress to postal code or closest store. This ultimately will help the company better segment their list to send more personalized emails. 

3. Use gamification to boost engagement


Smartly targeted emails equals more engagement. Marketers can determine the desired engagement — whether it’s a sale, moving through the funnel, or a follow on a new-to-them social channel. After this is decided, then a game can be designed that will help achieve your goal.

For example, ALDI Denmark created an email campaign centered around a game concept called Spot The Difference. Players had to find five differences between two nearly identical photos. Its purpose was to engage their audience in a fun way, and it worked! ALDI Denmark saw an average of 90 seconds engagement. 

Marketers can use gamification as a tool to accomplish their KPIs. 

It pays to personalize

Become a brand that your audience trusts and looks forward to hearing from; gamification can be a tool to accomplish this. It can be used throughout the customer journey (we define this in four steps: awareness, activation, acquisition, and retention) to help refine your segmentation and personalization efforts. A good place to start is with the subject line: emails with personalized subjects are 26% more likely to be opened. That’s what really matters when it comes to email marketing.

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