Iuliia Nesterenko March 19th, 2021

What is Gamification in Emails and How it Can Benefit Your Marketing

Although email marketing may seem a rather still industry, it constantly undergoes changes. They may not be obvious to regular users, but email marketers today have way more tools than they would have even 2 years ago.

Gamification is one of such tools. Primarily, before live stories and streaming, game-like content was heavily used on social media to engage followers and prompt shares and likes. However, thanks to modern technologies, gamification has made its way into emails for good.

What is Gamification

Generally speaking, gamification is all dynamic activities and solutions you use to encourage deeper interaction with otherwise non-game content, like emails, webpages, learning material, etc. It can be any game-like element that presupposes taking an action to achieve some kind of fun goal. To name a few:

  • Quiz;
  • Puzzle;
  • Crossword;
  • Scramble;
  • Wheel of fortune;
  • Prize revealing;
  • Mystery solving;
  • Trivia;
  • Graphic illusion, etc.

In terms of email marketing, some gamification activities are totally autonomous and can be done straight in the email. They include a quiz and trivia (with answers below), illusion, maze, item spotting, prize finding, etc. Games including quizzes, puzzles, and scrambles can be even more fun and engaging for your target audience with a word unscrambler.

In the following example, edX offers to take a quiz and discover what product fits you best straight in the copy. You answer the questions, check the answers, and have your instant result. And Baked by Melissa offers to find the perfect sweets for Valentine's Day by doing some quick choose-your-option task.

However, till recently, more complex gamification in emails only specified the task. To participate and see the result, you still had to go to the website. For instance, if you click the button Play Now in any of the below emails, you will be redirected to the webpage with the corresponding activity.

The technique is engaging as it heightens the interest and excitement, yet there is always a chance of losing people on the way from the copy to the site. However, this issue has been addressed by email designers and is expected to be solved through AMP for email.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a technology that enables to add AMPHTML components to emails and lets users interact with dynamic content straight in the message. Take a look at the below email designed by Stripo Email Editor. It offers the recipient to do a puzzle to save a seat for the upcoming presentation. The task can be completed within the email body, and the user is notified about success instantly.

Source: Stripo

This is already a new level of interaction with your audience. Apart from being attention-catching, emails acquire the functionality of an app or even website and deliver a different experience with your campaigns. AMP-supported gamification has high potential and can give a hand in the fight for your readers' interest.

Why to Add Gamification to Email Marketing Strategies

1. Gamification increases engagement.

The main task of gamification is to encourage a longer interaction with your emails. Game-like tasks have a higher involvement rate and increase an average email reading session.

With so much diverse content around, it’s getting harder to grab people’s attention and make them consider your offer. Most users are getting immune to regular call-to-actions and hardly respond to discounts simply because everyone around is offering them.

Marketers deal with it by experimenting with design and copywriting, and adding gamification to your marketing tools can help spark interest when no other strategies work.

2. It generates shares.

Naturally, people like sharing interesting stuff with friends. If they like your email because it was fun solving a puzzle or guessing the right word, they’re most likely to forward it to a friend or spread the word on social media.

Look at this email offering to create a Christmas card which you can later send to your friends. It definitely stands aside all those sales and free shipping offer Inboxes are typically crowded with in December. Think what email has more chances to be forwarded: a regular promo you receive all the time or a dynamic DIY card?

Source: Stripo

3. It generates clicks.

Since gamification encourages more engagement, it eventually generates more clicks. People click to play, click to reveal the mystery, click to spin the wheel, etc.

Not only do ?licks move the customer down the purchase funnel; a good click rate is important for your sender reputation, especially when you’re warming up your domain or plan to increase the campaign frequency. Clicks tell email clients that people are eager to interact with your content, and your messages are less likely to land to Spam.

4. It drives traffic to a particular webpage.

If you need to drive people to a particular page, gamification can be a way to it. You offer to do a fun activity and the corresponding call-to-action leads the person to the necessary page.

This is especially useful when you need to draw attention to a particular product category, promote an event or introduce people to your new social media account.

5. It’s relatively easy to implement.

At its basics, email gamification only requires good design skills. You create a good design in Canva, Photoshop, or any other graphic design tool, add it to the email, and provide the corresponding links to the site.

A simple trivia, quiz, or crossword is even easier to build and can be created in a drag-and-drop email editor. You drag ready blocks to the template, adjust alignment, line space, and padding between them and enjoy a smooth layout.

6. It generates email content ideas.

Brands that send regular emails 5 to 7 times a week often struggle with creativity. It’s hard to come up with a genuine idea for each message, and most end up with the good old sales or promo code offering. Gamification lets bring in some diversity and transform a common format into something new.

Look how Personalization Mall modified an Easter promo into a hunt after savings. The idea remains the same that is to offer holiday discounts but implementation differs. Instead of directly giving a promo code, the brand offers to play and win it which slightly increases its value. People tend to appreciate more those things they made an effort (even minimal) to get.

To Sum Up

Gamification can be a useful contribution to your email marketing strategies. Of course, it’s not a magic wand and it won’t generate you much following solely on its own. But combined with other tools like personalization, segmentation, user-generated content, inclusivity, accessibility, etc. it can strengthen your content, improve user experience and drive sales.

Iuliia Nesterenko

Iuliia Nesterenko is a technical writer at eSputnik. Her focus is on exploring current digital marketing trends and describing new strategies for email marketers.

One comment

  1. AMP for email seems to be supported mainly for Gmail-based users. Outlook cut support for it late last year, so you’d need some type of fallback using MJML or custom code to offer the same/similar experience outside of Gmail.

    It’s unfortunate how different platforms develop their own standards independently and don’t conform to web standards.

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