Email marketing has evolved beyond the traditional static messages in our inboxes. Now is the era of email gamification. It’s more than just a trend; it’s a powerful tool that can significantly improve your email marketing campaigns. By adding elements of fun, challenge, and rewards into your emails, you can create a deeper connection with your audience, drive long-term customer engagement, and ultimately raise conversion rates.
In this article, we’ll delve into the world of email gamification, exploring its key concepts, strategies, and real-world examples that showcase its effectiveness in capturing the hearts and minds of your subscribers.
What is an email gamification?
Email gamification is an effective marketing strategy that uses gamification elements — rewards, competition, challenges, etc. — in email communication with recipients to engage them and encourage specific behaviors. But what exactly are games? Let’s break them down into several components:
- Achievements. These things bring a sense of accomplishment in games. Achievements can take the form of different things like earning points, badges, or rewards. You might also unlock special content when you complete certain goals.
- Challenges. Games often force you to face tough challenges. Some games even have boss fights and leaderboards to make things more competitive.
- Goals. All games have specific things you’re supposed to achieve and missions to complete to get a reward and move forward.
- Game heroes. These are the main characters you control or become in a game.
- Player growth opportunities. In some games, you can get better and learn new things, for example, leveling up and achieving new skills.
- Replay value. Some games are so fun that you want to play them again and again to get higher scores or more achievements.
- Progression steps (also referred to as Rules). Games have clear stages or steps you follow to move forward and achieve victory.
- Relatedness. This means sharing your achievements and experiences with others, which makes you feel connected.
- Community. It’s all about being part of a players group. You interact and build relationships with other gamers.
- Countdown timers. In some games, you’re up against the clock. You have limited time to do something, which makes the game more exciting and challenging.
The goal of email marketing gamification is to make emails more engaging, increase open and click-through rates, and ultimately drive desired actions, such as making a purchase or sharing email content.
The main benefits of using email gamification
Gamification of emails wouldn’t have become an industry trend if it didn’t carry any benefits. They are what push marketers to improve their regular email campaigns and get increased brand awareness.
- Email gamification increases the open rate of email campaigns by 30%.
- Implementing game elements in your emails can increase the average check by 15%.
- The integration of gamified reward programs into email marketing campaigns has proven to be a game-changer, elevating customer lifetime value by a staggering 48% while concurrently increasing conversion rates by a solid 15%.
- Gamification is a great way to increase your ROI. You can expect increases up to 300%.
- Games such as “Wheel of Fortune,” which allow recipients to win discounts, can raise CTOR by 27%.
- Email gamification can lead to a 15% increase in revenue.
- Recent studies showed that gamified emails can increase your open rate by up to 25%.
As you can see, gamification brings powerful performance increases to email marketing campaigns. By adopting gamification email marketing, you can greatly improve the effectiveness of your email newsletters, increase engagement, audience retention, and revenue.
Best cases for applying gamification into email marketing strategy
Email gamification includes games that are effective in various marketing scenarios due to the limitless possibilities for your imagination. You can come up with any game on any occasion, so your cases of using games in newsletters are numerous. Here are some of the best cases for using email gamification.
- Holiday newsletters. Simple congratulatory emails on various holidays quickly become boring to the audience. So why not offer subscribers a holiday game with a worthy reward right inside the email?
- Budget limitations. If you can’t give big discount code to all your audience, let the worthy ones get them. Of course, after trying to beat your email game. This way, you will limit the number of winners and stay within your budget.
- Education. Gamification of learning is something that we all know from childhood, as learning through games is more fun and easier. Showing something educational or trying to convey a useful message through games is a great way to leave it in the recipients’ memory without turning emails into didactic lectures. For example, quizzes are one such way.
- Promotions. Run promotions through gamified emails. This can include interactive content, like games, puzzles, or challenges where participants can win a prize or a promo code.
- Contests. We all love to compete and win. Enable recipients to compete against each other and themselves in the game by including leaderboards, scores, and achievements to brag about.
Business cases of email gamification
Simple ideas for using email gamification are always good and useful to adopt. But, nothing proves the effectiveness of this approach more than real business cases of the successful use of gamification in email marketing companies of various brands. Let’s look at a couple of such examples.
Valentine’s Day gamified email and increased CR at Stripo
Valentine’s Day is a great occasion to add fun to your emails. We at Stripo thought the same thing and developed a gamified email newsletter for this holiday.
We made a puzzle where recipients need to look for words among the letters. The rules are pretty simple. Recipients need to find 3 words vertically or horizontally related to email marketing, email templates, and Stripo to find out what kind of cupid they are. The letters they choose become red when they click on them. Once they find all the words, they need to click on the “Determine” button to check if the correct words are found.
The results of such an email newsletter were truly amazing.
- OR was 37.5%, while the standard rate for regular emails is around 23-25%;
- Click Rate reached 4.2% while normal approximately 0.5%;
- CTR was 11.1%, which is 10 times higher than usual.
Increased conversion rate with email game from Yakaboo
Yakaboo is a nationwide book platform in Ukraine with more than 300,000 books available in 71 different languages. One of their Halloween email templates included a fun game where recipients had to match the title of a well-known book with an image symbolizing it.
The average open rate increased by 12%, and at the same time, the average check increased by 50%. And all this thanks to the email gamification.
Email on Acid raised CTOR with gamified emails
Every professional email marketer knows what Email on Acid is. This platform helps you test emails and check them before they end up in recipients’ inboxes. Email on Acid conducted their own experiment with email. They created a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game for email developers. The point was to illustrate the importance of re-testing emails after they make changes to the code. Fixing problems on one email client can sometimes cause things to break in another.
They achieved remarkable results, gaining CTOR of 7.6% and an impressive 51% of read rate. It is worth noting that the primary goal of this email campaign wasn’t centered on selling products or services. It was crafted to showcase the creative possibilities email marketers have within the email.
The challenges of email marketing gamification approach and ways out
While email gamification can be a highly effective strategy for engaging subscribers and raising conversion rates, it’s essential to be aware of potential pitfalls and challenges that marketers can face when stepping on the path of email gamification.
Email gamification requires coding skills and time investments
Hiring an email developer to create gamified emails can be time-consuming and expensive. If you don’t have enough resources for dedicated email developers, all the complexity of email gamification falls on your shoulders. Without extensive coding skills, it’s pretty hard to create fun email games that will be valuable for your business.
Developing a full-fledged email game takes time, so it requires thoughtful planning and can limit how many games you can create for your gamified email marketing campaigns.
But you can always turn to tools to create email games without having to write code. You just need to optimize it a little and insert it into your email. For example, we are actively working in this direction by developing the Interactive Module Generator, where marketers can generate simple modules, like spin the wheel, trivia questions, crossword puzzles, scratch cards, a scavenger hunt, and puzzle games using an intuitive interface.
Email gamification requires creating fallback
Companies can create interactive emails with different coding methods. Some prefer using AMP for email, while others utilize HTML and advanced CSS. The most effective campaigns often combine both. To blend these effectively, it’s vital to make one of them primary while the other one will serve as the fallback.
A fallback is an alternative version of content provided to email clients that may not support a particular coding language or the interactive features in an email. Since the web supports most major coding languages, email recipients are more likely to enjoy the interactive game when accessing the web version.
Different email clients on different devices, like desktops and mobile apps have unique rendering rules and support various coding languages. For example, AMP emails are supported by:
- Gmail on both desktop and mobile devices;
- Yahoo Mail on both mobile and desktop;
- Fair Email on both desktop and mobile devices.
All this equals 32.2% of the market, and in the meantime, interactivity utilizing HTML & advanced CSS is compatible with:
- Apple Mail;
- Samsung Mail;
This is 59.46% of the email client market share. Only 6 out of 10 recipients can support this coding dialect.
Combining these 2 methods will achieve more than 91% market coverage of various customer emails and make sure that most recipients will see the email in its original form.
Difficult to measure the success of gamified emails
The key to measuring the success of gamified email campaigns lies in defining objectives. Different goals require specific tracking methods. Given that our games use various technologies, including AMP, HTML with advanced CSS fallback, and a text fallback, it’s essential to monitor multiple aspects to measure performance effectively.
Besides that, it’s possible to evaluate the Return on Investment (ROI) of a gamified email campaign in comparison to a standard email campaign. The same principle can be applied to average purchase amounts. Analyze the revenue generated by comparing a gamified email campaign against a regular one.
Gamification in email marketing: closing thoughts
Email gamification has reshaped how brands connect with their audiences. By adding interactive and game mechanics and interactive elements to email marketing campaigns, businesses can encourage cross-channel engagement and increase conversion rates. The power of gamification lies in transforming mundane email communications into memorable and enjoyable experiences for recipients.
Approach gamification strategically and align it with your brand and campaign objectives. Don’t forget to measure its impact and adapt to recipient feedback. It’s key to continually refine your gamification strategy.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, and and improve the game mechanics in your next email marketing campaign.