To continually boost membership numbers, there’s no doubt you need engagement. Yet how many of us have struggled to muster up a squeak in our forum or consumption of our content?
Then I discovered the power of integrating smart gamification strategies into my membership site designs. These strategies can help to increase engagement by making interactions fun and rewarding for members. As membership site users interface with the courses and other content, the gamified elements continually drive participation – and maximize the success of the membership site business.
What is Gamification – and Why is it Important?
With gamification strategies, membership site owners integrate the elements that make games fun into their online courses and other content. For instance, completing quizzes, tracking progress, scoring points and gaining levels are just a few elements found within gamification strategies. Gamification is also often used to make the entire membership site design feel like a game. By adding a tutorial, story and levels to the content, it is possible to enrich every interaction on the site by turning it into a video game.
If in doubt about the power of such a method, check out Nerd Fitness. Owner Steve Kamb has taken gamification to a new level. This is apparent from the first page of his fitness site all the way through every touch point members experience. And the amount of interaction on the Nerd Fitness community boards is testament to his success.
Upon applying gamification strategies to membership sites, content creators are rewarded with increased user engagement, understanding and brand loyalty. This effective business strategy has the power to break down barriers that might otherwise impede engagement.
Understanding digital content can feel overwhelming for many. Offering achievement badges could motivate them to push through. Adding storytelling elements into the site design, though, can help improve comprehension. Comprehension equals engagement. Moreover, brand loyalty also increases as the site offers fun rewards to its members.
#1 Progress Tracking Increases User Motivation
One thing that I keep hearing from members is that progress tracking helps break down the content into manageable tasks so members don’t feel overwhelmed. A well-designed tracking bar, for example, helps induce a strong feeling of accomplishment upon completing each objective or level along the way. The incremental acknowledgement of progress achieved helps to ensure my members stay engaged with each course or other type of content.
Depending on my membership site business needs, tracking models can be as complex or simple as I like. The models may range from a comprehensive automated leveling system to manual checkboxes for self-tracking use. A plugin I absolutely love for this type of gamification is Access Ally, which allows for as much (or as little) gamification as you wish – particularly using the Progress Ally supplement.
#2 Gamification Strategies Provide Immediate Feedback
Immediate feedback often helps to encourage my members to continue with the online courses and other content. I frequently offer the feedback my members need by utilizing gamified quizzes on the site. The quizzes help my users comprehend the course material and receive rewards for their participation. Fun quizzes are often rewarding enough on their own, as they applaud all the learning the members have been doing. But when I add progress tracking, social sharing and other rewarding elements, I help to further boost my members’ sense of accomplishment.
#3 Social Sharing Increases Buy-In (And Leads to More Referrals)
Additionally, gamification strategies can benefit from the addition of social sharing buttons at key points in the content. Adding these buttons after quizzes and other interactive elements serves to increase buy-in and boost my referral numbers. For best results, I ensure the social sharing buttons encourage my members to share their success with their online communities. Each share promotes the membership site content and helps to bring in more referrals than ever before.
#4 Compelling Story Lines Capture Interest and Engagement
Everyone loves a great story – and my membership site users are no exception. I believe in weaving a compelling tale into content to capture interest and increase engagement. All members play a key role in the story line to create a truly interactive environment. As is a best practice in this realm, the narrative continues as the users move through the content and unlocks progress achievements.
#5 Earning Points and Leveling Up Brings Intrinsic Rewards
Earning points and leveling up is often used alongside progress tracking to offer intrinsic rewards. The points and levels are often best used as triggers to unlock bonus content for the most loyal and diligent members. Just earning the points and levels alone, however, can serve to motivate members to continue their progress.
#6 Increased Challenges Equals Natural Accountability
As members earn points and levels, I frequently increase the challenges to boost natural accountability. The new challenges can increase the confidence of all members as they move onto more difficult online courses in the membership site. With each new challenge, I offer members ways to provide feedback to further increase accountability for their own learning progress.
#7 Allows Membership Site Owners the Opportunity to Provide Individualized Feedback
As I receive messages back from the community, I’ve found that it’s best to offer individualized feedback. This helps remove potential barriers blocking members from progressing. I base the feedback on each member’s level, points status and other gamified information to provide a clear picture of their success. I always make sure to send individualized feedback on a regular basis to promote the continued use of online courses.
#8 Friendly Competition Drives Participation
Friendly competition drives participation, which mean that I always integrate a leader board into my membership sites. As members gain levels, I post their username and other stats on the leader board for all to see. This element naturally drives my other members to increase their engagement and move through the ranks as well.
Start Integrating Gamification Strategies into Your Membership Site Today
Finally, with the strategies above, you are far more likely to reach your retention goals for your membership site business. Your efforts will undoubtedly pay off in the form of increased membership rates and improved engagement with your content. Ready to chat about your prospective membership site business? Schedule a free no-obligation strategy session with me at Membership Fix.