Gamification: a lucrative trend in email marketing

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes (Too long? Email me this article)
19, June 2019

Webpower recently organised a meeting for the travel sector at the headquarters in Barneveld (NL). The future of booking online has long been an important subject in the travel industry. But how can you, as a travel organiser, optimally meet the needs of your customers? Sanne van Dooren, from new Webpower partner Leadfamly, discussed why the mind loves play elements. She also explained how gamification can be used in email marketing to develop your database, enrich existing profiles and activate your customers.

Consumer psychologist Joost Fromberg from KICK! Digital (marketing partner of Webpower NL) provided some insights into the mind of the web visitor and related this to the customer journey. At the end, Chantal Bonefeaas, from the email team of the ANWB – the Dutch organisation for travel and tourism – described how they were incredibly attentive and successful with their email campaign.

“We regard marketing automation also as fun, and it is in this spirit that Webpower is keen on playing an inspirational role”

Gamification in email marketing

Webpower values collaborations with good quality, inspirational partners. Sanne van Dooren of Leadfamly stresses the importance of gamification in email marketing and why the human mind loves play elements. “It doesn’t matter what it is, big or small, people are intrinsically motivated by play elements.” She mentions here the example of LinkedIn, the prototype gamification.

“The moment you register here, you see the games everywhere. How can you go from ‘beginner’ to eventually ‘all star’? Or the use of recommendations … Because the more, the better. We do gaming because we have needs. We want to be satisfied, develop our expertise and help one another. People want to be autonomous. And if you get something back in return as well … How great is that?”

Smart profile enrichment

Gerda Kloezeman (Webpower Campaign Manager) explains: “Gamification is a fantastic way of adding value to your database. Experience has shown us that many people are perfectly willing to tell more about themselves as long as it doesn’t feel like an interrogation, one mainly aimed at benefiting you as an organisation. So, no long list of questions where you encroach on someone’s comfort zone, but profile enrichment by smartly playing the marketing game and adding the right amount of fun.”

“By using gamification in email marketing you not only can realise a positive interaction with your brand. You are also sitting on a goldmine (marketing data) for making your dialogue with your recipient more relevant. Believe us: it truly works!”

Rational decisions versus emotional decisions

John’s father has three sons: Huey, Dewey and …? Consumer psychologist Joost Fromberg asked the audience this question. “And no, it is not Louie. Your brain gives an automatic response.” Here he is referring to the subconscious brain. Also called system 1. “This is your subconscious, emotional impulsive response. The consumer has only a limited amount of mental energy, so you can quickly lapse into your system 1 choice.” Fromberg provided insights into the human brain, and therefore into the mind of the web visitor. “You are dealing with rational and emotional choices. Your intuition is always active, but when important decisions have to be made you’re then dealing with rational behaviour. Your visitor is then exhausted more quickly. Ensure that at that moment there are few distractions and plenty of focus.”

Take a critical look at your own customer journey

“Try to experiment as much as possible and don’t let it be all about yourself. Because your rational behaviour, also called system 2, is very limited.” And that is why Fromberg believes that a travel organiser has to take a critical look at their own customer journey. “When you book a holiday, you have to justify it to yourself, and have the necessary knowledge. That is system 2. You then have to be much more rational.” He gave the example of an online booking process. “If someone visits your website, you have to give attention to the areas that people focus on. Avoid elements that can distract.”

Email marketing of the ANWB

Chantal Bonefaas works in the email team of the ANWB. She described the role of email in the Fine Vacation Check, the practical travel information for in your Inbox. “The summer period is the most important time for us. A period during which vast numbers of members approach us. Our members’ service receives a huge amount of phone calls, whilst all the information is also available online. Our mission was to use our new automatic email campaign to be incredibly attentive.”

The ANWB had clear long-term goals, but started off small. Not optimal, but it had very good figures:

    • 30,000 registrations for the Fine Vacation Check
    • A click to open percentage (CTO) for the four emails of 61%
    • 75,000 sessions to from the campaign
    • Recipients:
      • 90% indicate that they wish to use the check next year
      • 85% positive about the content of the emails received
      • 60% give in the NPS (management tool for measuring customer loyalty) a score of 8 or higher (1.4% 5 or lower)

In 2019, the Check has led to an optimisation in various areas, including a considerable expansion in the number of countries. The service developed from a campaign approach to a permanent and important feature: the data, obtained from email marketing, is stored in a central marketing database for better personalisation, both online and in the shop.

What can you learn as a marketer from this Meet-up?

1: Immerse yourself in the mind of your target group

2: Start (small)!

3: Formulate a clear objective

4: Look at your data: what do you see?

5: Using gamification works

RMC meetup

Source and text input: TravMagazine.


Share this article

Questions about this article?

Gerda Kloezeman

Campaign Manager +31 85 773 99 90