Is Gamification the opposite of self-interest… potentially!
Getting website visitors to fill out forms, automated emails, it’s all positioned from a self-interest perspective. What if we changed the approach? What if, instead of positioning websites as ‘this is what we offer’, to instead position this as question, stating ‘what do you need?’ as the starting point.
The future of websites…
Often publications will reach out to me for a statement on the future of digital marketing. In response, I endeavour to say something different. No matter how different it is at the time, it eventually becomes the norm, especially as time passes, others start to say the same.
One part of achieving continued success in business, is to constantly come up with new approaches, and to define the market, adopting the “one of one” approach, rather than being one of many. By being “one of one” the offering is not easily compared and a company is able to stand alone in its own right to define the market.
As you will have seen from my previous team posts, I endeavour to anticipate change before it occurs, aiming to be ahead of the curve. Whilst we aren’t redefining the entire industry (yet), this is certainly how we approach digital marketing as a business. Never settling for the response of “this is how things have always been done”.
In employee appraisals, we ask the question of ” Where do you want to be in 5-years time?”. This is asked for many reasons, not only because we want to help employees to achieve their goals, but to ensure that we have the means to do so. It is vital to plan ahead and anticipate risk, as well as to forecast opportunities before they are clear to everyone else. By being able to anticipate something before it happens, whether based on scenario planning, past experience, or statistical likelihood, is a skill that should most certainly be honed!
Why is future planning relevant for websites?
I believe that many of the most successful websites on internet have achieved this success by providing solutions to problems (as is the recipe for many successful conventional businesses). This is one of the key differences between a standard website and one which achieves signification growth. Instead of expecting visitors to reach a website and be a match to their needs, websites need to be providers of solutions by understanding the needs of the visitor, both before they arrive (in anticipation of their arrival) and aligning this to the experience once they arrive on the website, ensuring that sufficient guidance is provided to help funnel them toward their solution (without providing the wrong solution).
This is one reason why Chatbots have seen such significant growth… they ask questions!
What are the biggest mistakes when it comes to websites?
We can see that business owners and decision-makers all too often approach websites in the wrong way, making statements such as…
“A website is like my business card”
“People visit my home page first”
“Showing pricing will lose the customer”
“I need an individual page for everything”
“I only need one page that shows everything”
All of these perspectives are based on an outward-facing view, instead, we should be facing inward, trying to see what other people see when they are trying to solve a problem. One of the biggest mistakes that I see in business is when business owners or decision-makers expect the customers to purchase their products or services because they have an overinflated sense of worth based on their own opinions.
The secret of good sales… solve a problem!
Sales of a service is often based on the following:
- To be able to provide service(s) faster, cheaper, or higher quality.
- To fulfill a desire and thus a ‘want’ (rather than a ‘need’).
- To make time available for the person purchasing the service(s).
- To solve a problem that someone is unable to solve themselves.
Good salespeople understand that to be successful at sales, you have to ask the right amount of questions, fulfill a need and solve a problem.
Customers need experts to provide solutions, as do website visitors
Offline learning and training programmes appear to be diminishing, whilst online training continues to grow. With this said, whilst the value that individuals are placing on training is increasing compared with the amount that people are willing to pay which appears to be lessening. As time is incresingly treated as valuable and as how people are choosing to use their time is more carefully considered, micro-learning seems to be a suitable solution.
As information is shared freely and openly, convincing potential customers to attribute a higher price tag and value to the provision of information can be difficult. With this said, there is a clear value in bringing decisive outputs and piecing together the information in a beneficial way, as well as proceeding to implement the information, which is key.
The Stallholder vs The Concierge
Instead of asking questions, with websites, people adopt the market stallholder approach, when instead they should adopt the hotel concierge approach. Focusing on the “How can I help?”, rather than this “This is what I do”. Fundamentally, a website should help the highest proportion of visitors to solve their problems.
Is the pandemic changing behaviours of website visitors?
Realistically speaking, it might be too early to say for certain, but there are some signs of change.
In the era of the global pandemic, many have changed their behaviours, resulting in…
- Spending more time at home.
- Valuing time more wisely.
- Taking pleasure in the little things that are often without cost.
- Getting the right tool for the right job.
- Investing in themselves.
Websites to need to consider these changes in behaviours, not only due to the pandemic, but also to reflect the changing in behaviours due to generational-shift. For example, Gen X, place different value on certain aspects compared to Millenials.
In the recent generations, soft skills are sought-after, money management is sought after and the environment / sustainability is increasingly considered over GDP.
When it comes to audiences, it is important to ascertain the different generations, demographics, buying personas and to consider all of this in terms of gamification.
This brings me back to games…
How to add Gamification to your website?
In order to be successful in gamification of your website, you must master the art of instant gratification.
Let’s start by answering these questions:
- Do you actively follow a sports team or sportsperson?
- Do you participate in sport?
- Do you play computer games?
- Do enjoy conventional games such as card games or board games?
If you’ve answered one or more of the above, then you are considered as part of the target audience for gamification. In reality, most people would answer yes to one of the aforementioned because the questions are so wide-ranging.
With this said, only when we are the target audience do we fully understand the need for a product or service. This is a point that I want to really reflect on – How can you truly understand the customer when you aren’t a customer yourself?
Sales is a game and so is doing business online
Sales is a game, just as business is a game. However, by saying this it infers a negative connotation. This is because both the ‘sales’ and ‘game’ are seen as negative, ‘sales’ as it implies being sold something you don’t want, and ‘game’ as it infers ‘play’, i.e. not to be professional and to be taken seriously.
By seeing sales and thus business as a game, it entices participation. Equally, as a result, it also entices participation of customers.
Here are couple of examples:
- Causes – When was the last time you put your signature to a cause online? I envisage that this was fairly recently. Why did you do so? For me, this is because I like to enact change that results in a positive for others. Causes trigger a passionate response to something and thus (due to the low barrier to entry) result in active participation.
- Calculators – These are great way to capture interest in an exchange of data for information. By offering to do something for the visitor and adding value to them (by solving a problem), they are willing to provide you with their details in the hope of you being able to provide more solutions to them in future.
- Marketplaces – Just like eBay, the resale market and associated marketplaces have become a game for buyers and sellers alike. Who doesn’t like to get the buzz from winning an item, or making a sale? Here’s a link that explains more about marketplaces: https://www.inc.com/sophie-downes/stockx-scott-cutler-sneaker-resale-marketplace-ecommerce.html.
How can gamification be done?
- Tailoring web page content, such as showing pages you have recently viewed. Giving points to a user account for the more pages that they visit.
- Showing similar search suggestions on a search bar and showing the popularity.
- Providing a discount code for interactivity on a website.
- Incentivise a review by giving something in exchange. All too often people leave negative reviews based on emotion, but positive reviews are harder to obtain, so give them a reason to do so.
This is the same with PR and marketing, there is a potential to make PR stories interactive. Have the readers influence the outcome? Take Black Mirror Bandersnatch as an example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mirror:_Bandersnatch. (Note: I’ve never seen this and I’ve only ever heard of it being referred to).
Adding a coupon code to an Ad that a customer as to input on to the website.
How can UGC (User Generated Content) improve Gamification?
As I’ve mentioned before, UGC is the future! UGC can play a fundamental role in gamification, as one customer can facilitate the interactivity of another.
By making your customers a part of the gamification, they become advocates and ambassadors for your company, your brand and your website.
In closing, gamification isn’t just about games, it’s about making the journey interactive, entertaining and providing value-add.
Gamification is just one of the many ways in which a website can improve conversion rates. To learn more about CRO, SEO and PPC, search here on Google and check out the top result from novi: