3 Gamification-Lite Examples You Can Pull Off (Today)

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Since 2010, businesses have been increasingly adding game-like elements to their marketing campaigns. Viewers can participate, sometimes for the fun of it and sometimes to earn prizes.

A fuller explanation of how it works is here and here.

True gamification means altering the way one usually interacts with your brand to entertain participants and track their scores over time.

Today, we’re talking gamification-lite. While large companies’ campaigns have vast budgets and manpower, you don’t need either to pull these ideas off.

Midwest Sea Salt’s New Years Giveaway

Sea salt retailer Midwest Sea Salt Company celebrated the New Year by running a sweepstakes on their Facebook page. Email subscribers who clicked to their page and “liked” it earned an entry; those who commented earned two.

In an effort to get their email subscribers to become Facebook fans, Midwest offered entries into a $100 bath-and-body giveaway for both “liking” their page and commenting on it.

How You Can Pull It Off

This is the game you’ll want to pick if you’ve been running an email campaign for awhile, but are just getting started on your brand’s Facebook page.

While you can include a “follow us” button in every single one of your emails, there’s nothing like a free gift (the tangible kind, delightful to find in the mailbox) to motivate Facebook like-ing.

To choose a winner, require comments. Simply note the total number of related comments, enter that number as the max in a random number generator and the number it spits out is the commenter who wins.

Running the giveaway just off page “likes” is a little trickier, as you’d theoretically have to assume any likes your page got during that time frame were from entrants in the giveaway. However, if you’d prefer not to require comments, you can use a service to help you track responses.

Plant Therapy’s Product-Placement Photo Contest

Essential oil merchant Plant Therapy offered both gift certificates and exposure for the top creative photos featuring their essential oils. They’re running the contest on Facebook, where the photos entered are highly visible to other fans.

Plant Therapy actually got extra mileage out of this giveaway by getting it showcased by another blog in their niche (and this isn’t the first time).

This strategy’s a win-win: the other blog got fun content to publish, plus free samples to test Plant’s products. Plant got an influx of Facebook fans from the other blog’s audience.

How You Can Pull It Off

Half the fun of participating in this giveaway is the chance to show off your photography skills.

Contact a few blogs in your industry (though not selling the same products) and ask if they’d be interested in a co-promoted giveaway.

Choose something your followers can create (limericks, arguments, a recipe using your product). It should, of course, relate to your brand. Invite them to show it off to each other.

Give a reward to the highest-quality entry – at this point, the prize is the icing on the cake.

… And The Easiest Of All, By M&M

M&M GameAll M&M did here was camouflage an orange pretzel M&M in a flock of its friends and ask followers to find it.

If you’ll notice, M&M didn’t promise a prize. Over 20,000 fans “liked” this. Over 10,000 commented. Over 5,000 shared it. True, M&M has over 4 million fans, but the point is, we often play games for the fun of playing.

How You Can Pull It Off

All that’s required for this game is compiling a busy brand-related image and posting it to Facebook. Ask followers to find one element in the melee, and you’re done.

The flip-side of this simplicity is low return on your (low) investment. You’ll get visibility and create positive brand associations, but subscriptions and purchases aren’t likely to directly result.

Keep it up, though, and it’s likely that those subscriptions and purchases will happen over the long run.

So How Do You Make These Happen?

Depending on which kind of game you want to run, tutorials to DIY your own abound across the web.

To make things easier, services like North Social let you pop together coupons, contests, and sweepstakes easily, then publish them anywhere.

Whether you DIY or let the pros handle the backend of your game, for best results, implement the email-social action plan: promote the game to your current email subscribers and invite your social followers to subscribe to your emails to find out who wins.

Want Suggestions?

You might find it easy to translate the ideas above for your business. If you don’t (some businesses are more challenging to game-ify), tell me about your business in the comments and I’ll try to help you out.