Lead generation is perhaps one of the most vital challenges facing any online business that competes on the social web. The problem is, with so many blogs, brands, and business profiles clamoring for attention, traditional methods of capturing lead information are beginning to go unnoticed.
An underutilized but incredibly effective tactic is to “gamify” your marketing system and make it more enticing and rewarding for new prospects to become engaged leads. Below, we explore what gamification is, and how it can be used to transform yesterday’s lead gen tactics into a new and improved brand building system.
Making Use Of Gamification
It makes good common sense that if online lead generation could be fun and entertaining, it would naturally be more successful than the typical “please fill out this opt-in form” method. In order to segment an audience and sell to them effectively you’ll still need to collect the relevant lead information, how can you make this whole process more appealing to Internet surfers who come across your brand?
A survey conducted by Crtl-Shift and nFluence shows that a process known as “gamification” can be used to increase the number of leads your online marketing program generates. Specifically, the results indicate that people actually enjoy volunteering their information when it is through gamified mechanics, especially coupled with specific rewards for their efforts.
Create a Solvable Problem
For those who have never heard of gamification, entreprenuer Gabe Zichermann offers a helpful definition – “Gamification is a dynamic and exciting industry that brings together game mechanics and marketing to create engagement and solve problems.” The focus on problem solving here is important, for it is the first step in the gamification process.
Think about every game you’ve ever been involved in. From Angry Birds on your iPhone to Checkers at the local tavern, there is always a problem must be solved in order for a winner to be crowned. It is this problem that provides the basis for competition against other players, a computer, or themselves. For lead generation, make sure the game is extremely consistant with your brand’s vertical (or subject matter). Try any of the following:
- Creative thinking exercises
- Incentivized content reading
- Quizzes or diagnostic tests
Since you are looking for new leads, you don’t want to exclude any interested parties. This means, your game should not create losers out of actual players. All-inclusive games, point-systems, or games against a software opponent tend to work best.
Determine The Reward
Once you have determined the problem your players must solve, you’ve created one half of the game. The other half is what motivates the player – the reward. Much like the problem should be central to your brand’s vertical, so too should the reward. In other words, a graphic design company should never have a lead generation game that rewards players with Starbucks coffee coupons. Sure, people might compete in droves to get their discounted lattes, but such a system does not reenforce that brand’s mission into their conscious.
Internet marketing blog MarketingSherpa offers several examples of effective rewards to offer. These are:
- Free or discounted products
- Community status in the form of a badge, such as identifying the winner as an “expert”
- Early access to content
- VIP status at events
- One-on-one time with executives
Motivate The Audience
The last step in the gamification process is to motivate your audience to begin playing the game and ultimately become new leads. Essentially, this boils down to making your new game known to those who might be interested. The first step is to create a new space on your website where the game permanently lives. This should be a featured piece of content that is clearly linked to and advertised on the other pages of your website. As your new primary lead generation system, you want to draw as much attention to its launch as possible.
Next, you should announce the game’s existence to all of your social network followers. This includes daily Facebook posts, regular tweets, Linkedin shares, and screenshots of the game in action shared with Pinterest. The frequency with which you post this material should gradually decline over the course of the launch week. You want your followers to be aware of the game’s existence, but not inundated with your promotions.
Lastly, reach out to the influencers in your vertical and ask them for a shout out. Let them try the game and reap its awesome rewards. If they like it, kindly request that they mention it to their audience. These strategies combined will get the wheels turning in your new system.
A Word of Caution: Don’t Get So Personal
Another insightful finding of the Crtl-Shift and nFluence study shows that people are most comfortable sharing non-personal information about their personality (such as favorite films, professional struggles, etc) than they are very personal tidbits (like address and phone number).
From a brand perspective, you will often learn far more about your target audience – their struggles and triumphs, attitudes and demeanor, joys and dreams – from questions about their preferences and personality. Too many current lead generation forms focus primarily on personal contact information. In contrast, too few take a step back to investigate who these leads are as individuals and as a group, which is the most important central understanding to sales in the first place.
From a consumer perspective, many actually find this sort of information fun share, which of course means that more people will be willing to participate. The more willing participants, the more leads your system will generate. No matter how you slice it, this is a win-win strategy.