People used to think that most emails in their inboxes are boring. As a business, you have to fight hard to get your emails opened. For sure, you can test subject lines, email design, and send time. But, honestly, would you read your own emails?
Case studies show that gamification is vital for email marketing. It increases ROI by 300% and improves brand awareness. But most importantly, it lets your clients have some fun. SaaS businesses, eCommerce, and B2B companies will benefit significantly from such an approach to email marketing campaigns. Gamification is not only about fun, but it is also an effective tool for attracting attention and positive emotions.
Benefits of using email gamification
Gamification is one of the most engaging ways to improve user experience in emails.
- Gamification increases an average check by 15%, and the open rate for your next email campaigns
- Games in emails multiple ROI by 3 times
- Gamifying your content can enhance the total user’s browsing time by 30%.
- Numerous opportunities to boost engagement and personalize interactive content for both B2B and B2C brands
- You can maintain strong long-term relations with your contacts and enhance brand loyalty
Best cases for using email gamification
Gamification engages subscribers, but you shouldn’t gamify each email. There are four major cases when gamification is most relevant and performs best:
- Holidays are definitely a good time to use it. It could be a new way to congratulate your customers. As an eCommerce company, for example, you may offer more than just a coupon on holiday.
- Budget limits. Games are an amazing tool when you are not ready to offer big discounts to all contacts in your base. Yeah, it’s nice to get 20% OFF, but you can give only 2%. With gamification, you can give away 20% to every 15th user.
- Educational content. For instance, quizzes are a great way to share such types of emails.
- Nothing to say. In such a case, entertain your users, but don’t overdo it.
What makes a great gamified email?
Here we have to look at the rules for successful gamified emails from two points of view: subscribers and businesses.
Traits of a good game from recipients’ perspective
A goal should be precise and achievable. You can describe the goal in a few words: “Participate to get a personal discount!”.
- Set of rules
Do you want to make your game more difficult than “Click on the gift box to find a special offer”? Don’t forget to explain how your subscribers can achieve the game goal. For example, “Help a cat find their home in 1 minute to get free shipping for your next order.”
If you are going to build an email sequence with a long-term game, your subscribers will be glad to monitor leaderboards and share their achievements with friends.
Traits of a good game from a business perspective
If your game mechanics are reusable, you can implement them for other campaigns and audiences. It will enable you to build new games by modifying the existing content or adding some extra features.
It’s vital to track numerous metrics, like your open rate and overall ROI, to define if gamified emails were profitable enough to continue spending resources on them.
- Low development costs
It’s crucial to understand how many resources you are going to invest if you want to set up your budget properly. How many hours your team will require to build a gamified email? What revenues are expected from this project? Will this game be reusable for other campaigns and audiences?
Challenges of using email gamification and ways to overcome them
We couldn’t agree more with John Thies’ phrase, CEO and Co-founder of Email on Acid: “One of the biggest challenges for marketing teams is finding the time and resources to accomplish gamification. An email team of one person may not have the capacity for projects like this. Without talented developers who can bring ideas to life or tools that help you do it, implementing gamification in emails could be difficult.”
- Lack of coding skills
It’s great if you have a programmer or email coder who could do it. It could take them a few days to build such an email, and it could cost you a fortune, but it’s an option. Another way is to use specialized tools. To reduce development and time costs, Stripo provides ready-to-use game mechanics which are easy to customize.
Let’s see how single mechanics can grow into several different games for different purposes.
For instance, SaaS products can offer a coupon for those who solve the puzzle by rotating image slides.
B2C can ask readers to rotate slide images to pick a topping of their choice or pick its quantity.
Businesses can take the same mechanics to promote their events.
Best practices say that writing an email for your subscribers should be done on regular basis. It’s not an easy task to find interesting content every day. If you don’t have much to say, try to entertain your customers.
- Some email clients are not ready for gamification
This is nothing more than a myth. Most email clients support interactivity in emails and have different ways to render gamification. Amongst them, we choose AMP, a technology that allows embedding interactive elements like carousels, accordions, forms for collecting feedback, etc., into emails without the need to open a new tab to visit a website.
Why AMP? First of all, Gmail (desktop and mobile) and Yahoo support AMP, making up more than 50% of a contact list. Second, it has a connection with servers which opens more opportunities for interactivity. Due to it, content in an email could be updated after each action a subscriber performs.
- Difficulty in measuring its effectiveness
Another important thing is to understand the impact of gamification on your email campaign. ESP (Email Service Provider) that sends AMP emails is capable of measuring their effectiveness. However, if it’s not, you can add a tracking pixel to see how many users open your AMP emails.
So far, there is no opportunity to see how many times users swipe images in carousels. However, you can check the number of users’ responses and email addresses via Data Services forms. Additionally, you can see how many times data has been pulled into emails through Data Source.
Gamified emails quite often include dynamic content. Usually, the programmer sets that type of connection to transmit data from these emails to servers and vice versa. Again, it could bring high development costs and be time-consuming. We created our own Data Service and Data Source for our clients to store data for free.
How to improve your email gamification
Gamification brings its challenges, but the benefits are enormous. You can skyrocket your ROI, boost brand awareness, and build better connections with your audience. We have handpicked some tips to help you improve email gamification and use it to its full potential.
- Use AMP components
As we mentioned above, AMP is supported by Gmail and Yahoo Mail, one of the most popular email clients. You can equip your gamified email with AMP components like a carousel to rotate images, a selector to provide a list of options to choose from, and a bind to let users submit their answers right in the email.
- Add a fallback (web version of your email) to ensure all subscribers can interact with your message
A fallback is a must-have for those recipients who use email clients that don’t support AMP. It’s crucial to add a link to the web version of your email. Depending on the AMP elements you used, you can choose the kind of your fallback. For instance, multiple product cards for an AMP carousel, bulleted lists for an AMP accordion, or a link to an external form for an AMP form.
- Benefit from CSS as well
CSS can enable you to enrich your gamified email with a variety of special elements like animations that load faster than GIFs, HTML5 videos, hover effects, and background images. It also gives you more control over styling, making your emails more personalized. You can build a stable HTML foundation for your email and then brighten it up with CSS styles.
To sum up
In this high-competitive world, every specialist tries to be creative to boost sales. With the help of gamification, you can definitely stand out from the crowd. But before trying it, set the goals and KPIs you want to achieve. It helps you measure whether gamified email campaigns are worth the effort or if it’s not your option. We recommend you conduct a small experiment to see how your audience reacts. Then based on the results, you can scale your email campaign from