Gamification in email marketing. Stripo CEO opinion

24 March
Table of contents
  1. What is gamification
  2. Traits of a good email gamification
  3. Gamification implementation difficulty
  4. Where to start with email gamification
  5. Wrapping up
What is gamification

Gamification in emails is a trend that continues to gain momentum. More and more companies are trying to add various game elements to emails to increase engagement. Stripo continues to be at the forefront of this trend and promote it to the masses, and I, in turn, decided to talk with you about what gamification is in general, why it should be used, and how best to start implementing it in your emails.

What is gamification

First of all, let's define what gamification is. It is a process of applying typical game-like components to non-game activities to keep people motivated and participating in the task. And we have to understand what kind of game-like components companies can use. For example, it can be data like a point system, rewards, competitive leaderboards, quizzes, collections, and much more. 

When this trend was not so popular and absent in email marketing, I tried to understand its core and what it's all about. Especially when I have met a lot of unified demands in banking applications, the learning process, and overall serious parts of life. And I concluded that we like to have fun and some additional motivation to do something.

Motivations behind the gamification

I am an adult businessman, and despite having various business motivators (for example, improving something in our emails so that they get on Really Good Emails, which is an honor), these types of motivations are not suitable for everyone. They are boring and incomprehensible from the point of view of other people.

I have three children, and if I ask them, for example, "Learn this text because in the future it will bring you a lot of money," then it will not work. If we learn by playing, then it is much easier.

My arguments can be countered by saying that our subscribers and clients are no longer children and are not interested in games. But believe me, we are all children at heart, and this is unchangeable. This is a simple fact. I'm 40 years old, and even though I'm not a gamer and don't own an Xbox, I often find myself playing some simple games. And doing it over and over again, yet I still have many important things to do, businesses to manage, a family to take care of, and so on.

For example, I started using Duolingo and realized that I do all these language exercises not to know the language better but to be first on the leaderboards.

Duolingo Gamification Elements

(Duolingo leaderboards)

If you want to learn more about gamification, our team prepared a great eBook with all the ins and outs of email gamification and Stripo’s own experience. I recommend you check it out.

Traits of a good email gamification

Gamification of emails is not an easy task, as it may seem at first glance. It’s not enough to just add tic-tac-toe to email and expect a 200% increase in conversions and clicks. In all these years that Stripo has been promoting gamification and using it in its newsletters, I've learned that there are several must-have traits for any email game.

Trait #1. Achievable task

The main thing for gamification is that you should set the challenge, but it must be achievable; otherwise, it will demotivate your recipients. I tried so many gamified emails; for example, there is a puzzle game in it. If it’s challenging, then it’s OK, and the recipients will definitely like it. But if it’s so challenging that they can’t get through it, it will demotivate them, and recipients will drop the game halfway. The game must be solved by anyone, from young to old.

Trait #2. Clear goal

When creating the rules of the game, it is vital to put yourself in the place of the recipient and look at your game through their eyes. Ask yourself simple questions like: 

  1. Is the goal of the whole game clear? 
  2. Are the rules clear, or is it better to simplify them a little? 
  3. Do you need to shorten the game a little, giving fewer questions or tasks?

You must answer all these questions before the email with the game goes to the recipients' mailboxes. The game should be as clear as possible and not take too much time.

Trait #3. Engaging design

Another trait of a good email game is whatever game you come up with, its design should be the brightest and most memorable among competitors. Recipients should have their eyes light up the first time they open an email in anticipation of a good game. So take care of bright colors, catchy fonts, and the overall visual design of your email games.

Gamified Email With Engaging Design

(Source: Email from Yespo)

Trait #4. Fun gameplay

If your game is boring, recipients will simply drop it halfway. Yes, there will be those who will go to the end in anticipation of a reward, but such a scenario will greatly affect your metrics. When creating games for your email newsletters, ensure they are interesting and fun. Recipients should not be counting the minutes until the game is over, and should not regret the time spent playing it.

Trait #5. Great reward

We all love to be rewarded for our efforts, so it is vital to give rewards to your recipients. Every newsletter game you create should give them something for completing it. In addition, your audience should understand that something awaits them at the end but should not guess what exactly. The intrigue will increase the desire to complete the game and make the gameplay more fun.

These traits have been bred through trial and error from Stripo's own newsletter experience, so you can be sure that by putting them into practice, you won't go wrong with the gamification of your emails.

Gamification implementation difficulty

Building an email game from scratch is a tough process requiring technical knowledge. However, there is always a way out of difficult situations. For example, we at Stripo provide users with the functionality of modules. Essentially, these are ready-made blocks created by our developers and designers that you can use in your emails. And we adapted these modules for email gamification.

Just imagine if you already have the module just for your needs with a game that you can easily add to your email without any technical knowledge. That is my kind of mission, which is to make complex technologies and approaches to creating engaging emails accessible to anyone, regardless of experience and level of technical knowledge.

Content Modules in Stripo

We at Stripo did some modules for gamification. You can simply drag and drop such a module into your email and configure it for your own needs. And these modules are reusable because it is enough to save them to your library for later use in other email newsletters. Reusable things can help non-technical marketers use ideas and update and scale them to reach new heights in email marketing.

Read more about Stripo content modules from the dedicated blog post made by our content creators.

Where to start with email gamification

Creating an email game is always time-consuming, and you have to think about a lot of technical stuff. It’s a problem since the game shouldn't be just effective for your audiences. It also has to be effective for your business.

Always keep in mind one rule which is a cornerstone of the whole email gamification:

Email is part of the business. So does email gamification. You never send gamified emails because you have heard about this trend. It has to be embedded into business processes. You must understand why you do this. 

I will give an example from our practice to support this rule. Our platform is used by a restaurant chain that wanted to create their own gamified gamified emails, as they wanted to communicate more with their customers and increase the average check. And it would seem that what can be created in the restaurant business to design an interesting email newsletter. Sending out new menus or advertising a new dish from the chef? These are pretty boring things.

What did they do, you may ask? They added quizzes on restaurant and culinary themes, with the opportunity to win a valuable prize — a promotional code for buying dessert in a restaurant chain. Pretty smart, isn't it?

They conducted several such email campaigns and measured their effectiveness, as a result of which it turned out that:

  • ROI mailing was about 1100% (in contrast to the standard 100% – 600%);

  • the average check of visitors after gamified emails increased by 50%.

As you can see. This restaurant chain clearly understood why they were gamifying their emails, and you should do the same.

Wrapping up

Email gamification is a trend that continues to be implemented in an increasing number of email newsletters from various companies. And as you can see, in this process, the main thing is to follow the right approach and know why exactly you are doing this. The technical side of the issue goes by the wayside since it comes after you think over the business goal of introducing gamification.

However, if you have already firmly decided to get on the rails of gamification, Stripo can help you with this. In our editor, you can easily add various games to your emails using ready-made modules from our developers or by coding something custom, thanks to the code editor.

Dive into email gamification with Stripo
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