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Utilising Gamification in 2013

Published on March 18, 2013
Tags: Web Development London

 

Gamification as a marketing strategy is nothing new, but with its increasing popularity with all kinds of businesses – both B2B and B2C – it’s a technique to look out for this year.

What does it mean?

Basically, gamification is the application of game-design thinking in non-gaming contexts. This can be used with many different types of business processes, and can be aimed at getting both employees and customers to participate in typically mundane procedures, such as filling in surveys or reading the content on websites, that they may have wanted to avoid before. It’s all about modifying users’ behaviours, and not only encouraging them to participate in tasks, but making them want to participate in the tasks. Creating addictive games that can link into a business process and give users the ability to experience personal achievement and progression can be effective in targeting individual consumers as well as other businesses.

How does it work?

The idea is to attract and engage customers by using interaction and participation in their online marketing strategies. Loyalty programs can be improved by introducing gamification principles, such as providing rewards to customers who interact more with the brand. It can also be used to gain new customers, when they might have been reluctant to part with their cash before.  Adobe Photoshop is a particularly successful case that exemplifies the advantages of using gamification:

Adobe asked for help from Bunchball (a gamification platform provider) when they were trying to increase sales of Photoshop, and as a result, ‘LevelUp’ was created. The idea is to teach users how to use CS5 and CS6, but in a fun and competitive way. The more skills the user perfects, the more missions they complete and the more badges they win, giving them a sense of achievement that online tutorials or reading a manual wouldn’t have provided.

What will the customer get out of it?

Each business that wants to use the idea of gamification has to decide on what will most encourage their customers. This, of course, depends on the type of business, but generally, it will be one of the following:

Money – such as special offers or cashback

Points – which they can add up as they go along

Non-monetary rewards – such as early access to products

Status – give them voting power or a badge for each ‘level’ they pass

Sociability – give users the chance to share their achievements on social networking sites such as Facebook

This last point is important, as many people on Facebook already take part in the variety of games available and use them as interactive tools with their online friends. A point system for social action is one of the biggest motivators in the area of gamification, and as Facebook users are already used to liking and sharing, it isn’t a big leap to interacting meaningfully with your business using similar methods.

If you take the time to plan how both your business and your customers will best benefit from gamification, it can turn into a successful marketing strategy which will keep your clients engaged and happy to learn more about your products or services.

 

By Chelsey Evans

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The Importance Of Customer Loyalty And How It Can Help Your Business

Published on March 18, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

The focus of many businesses always seems to be on getting new customers: how can we attract new clients? What will make them want to use our services or buy our products? What incentives can we give them to come to us instead of our competitors? While getting new business is obviously extremely important – and always will be – the amount of resources spent on this area of marketing can be out of proportion with the returns. What will really help your business is identifying your most loyal customers and keeping them happy, instead of spending all your time on tracking down new clients.

What can you do to focus on your current customers? And what are the benefits of this?
 
1. Reward Their Loyalty
 
Your current clients already know your company and have proven their loyalty by sticking with you when there’s so much competition in your market space, so why not reward them for standing by you? You could offer them early access to your new product or give them a discount on one of your services. It shouldn’t just be new customers who get all the incentives to sign up with you. Pay attention to your existing client base first and ensure that your loyal customers will be there for your company’s future; businesses often make more profits from current customers than they do by going after new ones, and the cost of marketing for this is a lot lower too.
 
2. Building Your Brand
 
Word of mouth has always been important, and in today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever before. Not only can customers tell their friends about their experience with a certain brand, but they can also like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, and share any of your blog posts they like with the click of a button. Thousands can be spent on social media marketing to boost your brand to new customers, but encouraging existing clients to effectively be free sales people for your company will cost very little and can see a huge ROI.
 
3. Getting Reliable Feedback
 
Getting feedback from your existing customers will not only help you with improving your products and services, but it will also let your clients know that you haven’t forgotten about them and that you care about what they have to say. Quick surveys and emails asking questions are all very well, but if you have a chance to personally talk to even just a few, you’re likely to get a lot more out of it. Loyal customers are more likely to tell you what they actually think, as they already like your brand and probably want to help out as much as they can. Utilise their answers and improve your business where needed.
 
There are so many more advantages to focusing on customer loyalty, but in today’s fast-paced world of business, existing clients can all too often be forgotten. Do them and your business a favour by rewarding them for their long-term support.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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Multilingual Website - Things To Consider

Published on March 18, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication

Thanks to the internet, smartphones, tablets and other technological advancements and devices, the world seems to be getting smaller by the day.  People in Asia can just as quickly get in touch with you as people in the UK. Even if you’re a small business, this means that you have to take other countries – and therefore, other languages – into consideration when creating a website. Making your site accessible to a wide range of countries can help build your brand and increase profits considerably – if you do it right. Many things can get lost in translation, and the language barrier is just as present online as anywhere else.

So, aside from the actual coding and building of the site (which professional web development companies can help you with), what are the main things to consider when creating a multilingual website? Here are just a few pointers.
 
1. Be Aware Of Cultural And Language Differences
 
If you want to attract customers from all over the world, you’re going to have to offer your website in a variety of different languages, but make sure you take cultural differences into consideration. For example, using one version of Spanish to appeal to both Spanish and Latin American people is showing a lack of knowledge concerning the intricacies of the two languages – they’re not the same, and a Spaniard could be insulted by Latin American Spanish and vice versa. It’s the same with China – with such a big and important market, you should know the differences between the languages spoken in various different parts, as mixing them up could cost you business.
 
2. Take SEO Differences Into Account
 
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an invaluable tool for marketing your business online, but care needs to be taken when you’re reaching out to a world market. You can get programs that will translate your content into several different languages (although you’ll need to make sure that it is done properly and won’t insult foreign businesses with a seemingly poor grasp of their native tongue), but you can’t assume that popular keywords will be translated correctly. Instead, use Google Trends to match the English word against popular translations. 
 
3. Do Research Into Social Media
 
While it’s true that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are used the world over – and used to promote businesses and market products, as well – you shouldn’t assume that all of your potential customers will be signed up to them. For example, the governments of some Asian countries block websites such as Facebook, so trying to reach out to, say, potential Chinese customers using popular social media probably won’t be money well spent. Instead, spend a little time doing research into the country’s own similar social websites, or adjust your marketing budget to accommodate the differences in internet usage in different countries.
 
Creating a multilingual website or international brand can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but if you do it right, it could be the best move your business ever makes.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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How To Create Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

Published on March 18, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication

Some businesses are moving away from using email campaigns to promote themselves and their products, however, it is still one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to communicate with potential clients from all over the world, and as long as you carefully plan your campaign and target it specifically to your customers, email can still be extremely effective when it comes to converting visitors into buyers:

1. Plan Your Objectives 
 
What is your main objective? Do you want to attract new customers? Build on your relationships with existing clients? Or get useful feedback that will help you to strengthen your brand? Knowing what your targets are will help you with planning your email strategy – when and how often you will email the customers, what the content of the email will be, and which calls to action you’ll include in the body of the message. Smart-targeting your campaigns to your visitors’ demographics is also very effective; organise your subscribers into subsets and write tailored emails for each category by looking at their age, gender, background, purchase history etc.
 
2. Opt-In And Opt-Out
 
Permission is an important part of email campaigns – with so many people worried about spam, it is vital that you get people’s permission before you start sending them messages. This can be done simply with an ‘opt-in’ choice, and if you really want to gain the trust of your subscriber, go for a ‘double opt-in’ option. This involves sending the subscriber a confirmation email with a link that they then have to click on to verify their wish to be included in the mailing list. Just as important is including an ‘opt-out’ link at the bottom of every email you send, and make it obvious; people want to know that they can unsubscribe at any time.
 
3. Include Topical News And Entertainment Items
 
If you want to add something extra to your emails, alluding to topical news items in your messages will help to grab people’s attention. If you target the types of popular culture references to your audience, they’ll be more likely to read the entire email and remember your brand in the future. Plan ahead for upcoming events, and use social media such as the trending topics on Twitter to see what people are talking about at the moment.
 
4. Be Mobile Friendly
 
An important point to consider is the rise of smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices are getting more and more popular and you need to ensure that your emails will be readable on a small screen. This means avoiding bombarding people with huge blocks of text, and remember that the first line of an email is especially important as it is often displayed as the preview on smartphones, so make sure it’s engaging and informative.
 
5. Test Everything
 
Lastly, test each email before you send it – make sure it’s readable, that the links work, and that the logos and other images are placed properly. Keeping track of open rates, click rates, and sales will help you to improve your campaign in the future, so make sure you make use of reporting tools with regards to your emails.

By Chelsey Evans

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Points To Consider When Linking Your Online and Offline Marketing

Published on March 18, 2013
Tags: SEO

These days, businesses need a carefully planned digital marketing strategy if they are to keep up with their competitors online, but it is just as important to focus on the more traditional methods of offline marketing. If, however, you are looking at strengthening your brand in as many mediums as possible, you’ll need to consider how you can integrate these two different types of promotion methods. After all, if a potential visitor reads about you in a printed publication but finds it difficult to locate you online, you risk losing a huge amount of business. 

 
Here are a few tips on how to integrate these marketing methods smoothly:
 
1. Match The Design Of Your Online and Offline Promotion
 
You will already have created your brand, including your logo, your slogan, and your website. No doubt they match in style and colour (and if they don’t, they should). But some businesses still fail to match their online and offline marketing in terms of design. Keep the same colour scheme, the same fonts, and the same logo. If customers don’t immediately recognise your brand, they could get confused and think your website belongs to a different business to the one they read about in the paper or saw on the TV. This is the same with any catchphrases or text you’ve used to promote your business or a particular product; keep your campaign messages consistent.
 
2. Use The Same Keywords
 
Similar to point 1, make sure that any popular keywords that you use in your offline marketing are placed on your website. This will help people to find you when using search engines (if they decide to look for a product rather than going straight to your business website, for example), and it will also help increase your traffic generally. If you don’t want to inundate your site with lots of keywords, think about writing a company blog and including some of the words in your posts (as long as your blog frequently links back to your corporate site).
 
3. Make It Easy For People To Find You
 
If you’re promoting yourself offline through direct mail, magazine advertisements, TV ads or any other method, make sure that you include your website address on everything – this works particularly well if your URL is short and catchy. If you’re worried that your address may be too long or that it could get confused with another brand, think about including a QR code on printed publications. This way, people with smartphones (and computers) can just scan the code and get taken to your landing page. Anything that will increase your website traffic should have time spent on ensuring it’s done properly.
 
The more effort you put into integrating your online and offline marketing campaigns, the more traffic your site will get, leading to a higher ROI. As long as you keep both parts of your marketing consistent and accessible, potential customers will continue to find you – both from online promotion and from the more traditional non-digital methods of marketing.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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