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How to leverage gamification for your small business


Word Cloud "Gamification"Big brand gamification may snatch the largest headlines, but there is no reason not to use these tactics for your small business and within your start-up company. You can engage both employees as well as customers with this strategy to achieve goals. Before you press play, however, let’s be clear about a couple of best practises:

  • Objective Key Results: What goal are you trying to achieve, and how will you measure it? Be specific, make it actionable and quantitative.
  • Identify roadblocks: What obstacles will you have to overcome on the way to your goals? Incorporate any weakness into your strategy.
  • Choose the right strategy: Now that you have named your objectives and obstacles, decide on the gamification tool that best fits your purpose, but remember to keep things simple with a low threshold for your target audience.
  • Track your progress: What is working? What isn’t? Are you reaching your goals? Keep watching your performance.
  • Iterate: Fix what’s broken and move on the next version number!

In order to make your approach to gamification effective and catch on among your customers or employees, the following gaming principles and mechanics need to be part of your strategy:

  • Next actions: Provide simple and easily understandable cues for the next steps users have to take. Confusion won’t create engagement, whereas understanding a task is half of tackling it.
  • Feedback: Gratify users with an instant reaction to their actions so they continue to be engaged and understand what is happening.
  • Competition: Give users plenty of opportunity to compare results with others through visual and understandable markers for ranking and performance.
  • Accomplishments: Let users celebrate their achievements and provide them with a straightforward and accessible path to further progress.

gamification-in-learningEmployee motivation

In a small business, everyone needs to pull their weight, and you can use gamification to keep high levels of productivity and motivation. Start by identifying tasks that are perceived as chores and make them interesting again. Foster communication and collaboration among your team members by setting up competing groups. Reward talent and include everyone in real-time feedback based on performance.

Customer engagement

Can you think of areas in your business where you can use gamification to build a loyal community of customers around your brand or product? Social proof and word of mouth marketing can be important in the small business world, so meet your audience where they are.

gamification_fun_way_engageCustomer loyalty

This is where small businesses are often struggling to compete with the big brands. Loyalty is built around the exchange: you have to provide something special to your customers in order for them to stay loyal. What is the nature of that exchange for your business?

Gamification strategy for the win

Your approach to gamification will look different depending on the goal you want to achieve. To reap the benefits, you have to invest a little more thinking and planning than simply awarding random points to customers or handing out achievement badges to your employees. They instil a sense of competence, progress and accomplishment in the player. Make gamification work for you by delivering an intrinsically rewarding experience, and you’ll be in it for the win.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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