The right email marketing can be the holy grail of your digital marketing strategy. An active, engaged database is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of many eCommerce managers. Take one look at your inbox, and you’ll see one thing for sure – we’re in the age of information overload. With a shortening attention span added into the mix, the battle for the inbox is getting harder.

Because multiple campaigns are battering our inboxes, consumers have changed the way they filter information. Gone are the days of extensive reading, we’re now all about scanning subject lines for relevancy, and if it doesn’t hit the mark, it’s gone as quickly as it came.

While personalisation, segmentation, and optimisation of subject lines do matter, it’s no longer enough to keep customers clicking. Enter gamification, a lesser-used, yet highly effective strategy to grab and hold attention in an overcrowded inbox.



Keep Em’ Coming Back

Email marketing aims to keep adding subscribers, through online pop-up forms, incentivised sign-ups or a subscribe-to-win strategy. The main issue with offering discounts in exchange for email addresses is customers who sign up for the offer, tend to have low ongoing engagement.

By bringing interactive elements into emails, gamification can be an effective way to engage with new subscribers and retain them. Gamification campaigns don’t need to be large-scale to be effective. In the UK, Papa John’s Pizza ran a Football Premier League email campaign where subscribers choose their favourite football teams. If their selected team scored two or more goals every week, the subscriber would get a 50% off coupon code for pizza orders. While the 50% incentive was a major drawcard for new subscribers, these gamified approaches also increase engagement and subscriber retention.



Reaping Rewards

Reaping Rewards of Gamification


Retailers love sending deals and discounts via email campaigns, and while this used to be effective, it’s now so commonplace that consumers are trained to expect it. Email marketing is an extension of your brand story, and the way your customers interact with your campaigns says a lot about the way they feel about your overall brand experience. Sending dull discounts doesn’t cut it, but engaging users through gamification does. Next time you’re planning your campaign, invite your customers to participate by bringing them into the story.



Keep it Interactive


Keep Gamification Interactive 2


Interactive doesn’t mean complicated. The below is an example of a campaign from clothing retailer, Gwynnie B. It’s a simple GIF inviting customers to enter a virtual scratch and win game which can be an effective way to boost click-through rates and up your engagement.


Keep Gamification Interactive 1


You can apply the same strategy to time-sensitive reminder emails; incorporate interactive countdown timers to generate buzz around the offer and create a sense of urgency to click-through.



Keep it Fun

Gamification by nature is meant to be fun. With so much emphasis on the bottom line, many brands are missing out on the opportunity to build a connection without an incentive. While most gamification campaigns are based on rewards, it’s worth investing in pure entertainment and testing whether your audience responds. From a strategic perspective, deals and discounts won’t always work to drive conversions – consumers want and expect more.


Keeping Gamification Fun


In the below Taco Bell campaign, email subscribers are invited to play a game. While there is no discount or incentive to be won, it makes contact and shifts the metric from conversion to engagement.

Like any digital marketing campaign, the devil is in the data. Different demographics will respond to different strategies, so always use your analytics to test and refine your email marketing campaigns.


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