Membership Geeks

How to Use Gamification to Improve Member Engagement

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Did you know that gamification can help you improve member engagement and retention in your site?

It's a wonderful, yet often under utilized tool among membership owners…

But in recent years has gained popularity for enhancing user experiences and the effectiveness of eLearning for online courses and membership sites…

And as lifelong geeks, it's right up our street!

So what is gamification and how can you implement it into your site?

Let's find out…  

What is gamification?

Gamification is traditionally associated with the gaming industry…

But you don't need to be familiar with gaming to understand or use gamification in your membership…

It might sound a bit technical or complicated…

Don't worry it's not!

It’s actually a really simple idea. 

Gamification is all about taking the mechanics of video games, or even board games, and applying them to non-gaming contexts. 

So, in essence, it's all about simple gaming mechanics…

By this we're talking about things like completing challenges, leveling up, getting rewards, or collecting coins/points like you would in a game.

But it takes these challenge and reward elements of gaming and allows you to apply them to things like marketing or member retention in your site.

You probably already engage with gamification as a consumer yourself without even realising it…

If you collect any loyalty points, air miles, or have a reward credit card and so on.. 

It doesn't have to be big and scary, you can make it simple.

Now that you’re familiar with what gamification is, let's delve into why it can be gold dust for membership owners…  

Benefits of using gamification in your site 

As we've mentioned, there’s a good chance gamification has played a part in not only your past purchase decisions, but the longevity of your custom with a product or service…

It definitely has for us!

But what are the benefits of implementing gamification in your membership?

Let's explore this further…

Gamification can:

1. Point members to a specific action

Using elements of gamification such as completing challenges and rewards helps you direct members towards a specific action…

It helps them move from A to Z throughout your site…

And it doesn't necessarily need to be complicated – you could implement things like simple progress tracking.

Gamification is a great way to gently nudge your members where you want them to go.

And that's why gamification can be so powerful, it allows you to alter and direct member behaviour.

2. Improve engagement

We personally like to think about gamification as being all about engagement via experience...

You're creating experiences for your members which helps them to engage with your content and motivates them to work through it and stay a member for longer.

So you're pointing your members in the right direction to take action and are rewarding them for doing that.

After all, people are much more likely to complete an action if they know they will get rewarded.

One way you can do this is to award new members with badges whenever they complete things like:

  • Log in for the first time
  • Complete their profile
  • Start their first course
  • Complete a piece of content like a course 

Games use this exact tactic with new players…

There’s usually an initial training level where you learn all the basic mechanics by completing small tasks.

Instead of simply being told everything, you get to learn new things by experience.

This, by nature, encourages engagement (and is fun!). 

3. Motivate members to complete the content 

By presenting people with a reward, you're encouraging them to complete the content.

For example, if you're running online courses, you could award those who complete them with a new badge.

For membership sites, this could also unlock further rewards such as new content, templates or downloads to keep them motivated.

Gamification is a particularly useful tactic to implement for courses because statistically course completion rates are really low.

So anything you can do to encourage members to complete your courses will put you head and shoulders above your competition.

4. Keep members coming back

If your members are motivated to progress through your site, then they'll keep coming back…

And as a recurring income business, that's exactly what we want to happen! 

A really simple example of this is coffee shop loyalty cards.

Most of the major chains these days offer loyalty cards that get a stamp whenever you buy a coffee.

This encourages customers to keep coming back to get more stamps and a free coffee once they have enough stamps. 

How to use gamification for your membership site

As you can see from the examples above, gamification doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate.

In fact, making it easy to take part in is often best…

You don’t want to make things so difficult that you little to no engagement. 

Applying gamification to your membership site is easier than you think…

There are some potential downsides to take into consideration… 

But you can also use it in lots of weird and wonderful ways, from a simple loyalty scheme to a full game-like membership experience.

Here are just some ways you apply gamification to your membership site:

  • Unlock badges for completing courses: If you run courses on your membership site, you could try an “unlock the next steps” feature. This means as members progress, they could “unlock” new badges, downloads, extra content and the next lesson. This gives a greater sense of progression and achievement, which should improve engagement and completion rates. 
  • Sign-up loyalty scheme: Another thing you could try is to offer rewards, points, or even cash for members who can get someone else to sign up. It’s a common tactic that a lot of websites and membership programs use, and for good reason. It drives engagement and helps spread awareness for your brand. 

These are simple but effective tactics to use to implement gamification into your site…

This is something we delve into further in our Gamification for Memberships course inside Membership Academy.

We walk you through how you can implement gamification into your membership site…

And explain in more detail how you can use it to improve engagement, retain members and ensure they have an awesome experience in your site.

Not a member? Join here.

Membership Gamification Course

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