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Gamification Email Marketing: How to Engage and Play With Your Customers

Gamification Email Marketing: How to Engage and Play With Your Customers

Do you incorporate gamification into your marketing emails? If not, now is the time to start! Increasing engagement, boosting conversion rates and cementing brand loyalty — the benefits of gamification email marketing are undisputed. And what’s more, gamification is a whole lot of fun. Here’s what you need to know about how to incorporate gamification as part of your email marketing strategy.

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What is gamification?

Gamification uses game principles in non-game contexts. Any time you apply elements of game playing (such as scoring points or participating in a competition) to activities that aren’t typically structured as a game, that’s gamification. Gamification in email marketing might look like:

  • Competitions
  • Quizzes
  • Tests

According to a survey performed by Reflect Digital, 93% of consumers think gamification marketing is effective. And one case study showed that using gamification can get three times more revenue from email marketing!

The goal of gamification is engagement. It’s a great way to make things more fun and help your brand be as memorable as possible in the minds of your consumers.

Why does gamification work?

Lead magnets, freebies and discounts are great ideas. But in practice, they don’t always work. Many users sign up just to get these bonuses. Then they ignore or unsubscribe from any subsequent marketing emails.

This is where gamification comes in. Gamification can grab your readers’ attention and increase engagement. And when people get engaged with your messages, they’ll be more likely to continue engaging with your brand.

Gamification in email marketing isn’t necessarily meant to generate more sales. Instead, gamification boosts engagement. Increased sales are often a natural consequence from there.

When to use gamification in email marketing

Here are a few situations in which using gamification in digital marketing might be a good idea.

In-between major holidays

You might be inclined to use gamification on special occasions such as holidays. But we actually recommend saving gamification emails for other times of the year. On holidays, your consumers typically do expect (and prefer) discounts over other types of content — especially on big ecommerce holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

So instead, try sending gamification emails during stretches of time between major holidays. Gamification can be a helpful tool to liven up the more monotonous times of the year.

As event marketing

Another good time to use gamification digital marketing is when you have a special event coming up. Gamification can help build excitement around your event, generating buzz and getting more people to sign up.

For reactivation email campaigns

Gamification is also helpful for reactivation email campaigns. Your goal with these campaigns is reengaging users. So it makes sense that gamification would be a good fit! Try incorporating gamification into your next reactivation email campaign.

In your rewards program

Finally, try using gamification email marketing to put a spin on your rewards system or loyalty program. Customers are used to getting traditional rewards such as a small discount on a future purchase. But playing games to win rewards is often a new and exciting experience for consumers.

For example, Expression Med Tape recently hid a virtual Elf on the Shelf on its website. Each day, the elf would move to a new page of the site. Any customers who found the elf would receive a special discount code.

Set up your rewards system so that the more your customers interact and engage with you, the more points or rewards they get. That’s a win for you both.

Gamification email examples

Check out these real-life gamification email examples from brands for a little design inspiration.


Grammarly included some fun gamification elements in this weekly writing update. Readers can see their weekly statistics plus how they stack up against other Grammarly users. This is a fun way to get users engaged and interested in their progress.

Subject line: Way to work those unique words!

gamification in email marketing


Quizzes are a great example of gamification in email marketing. They’re highly engaging pieces of interactive content, often shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media. Here, Madewell sends a “short quiz” (bonus points for the pun) to its customers. Readers can scroll through and choose their answers to get a personalized product recommendation at the end.

Subject line: Pop quiz (!)

quiz in email marketing


This message from SendFox makes onboarding fun for new customers. The email starts out by presenting the user’s statistics from the past week; then an interactive checklist helps the user finish setting up their account. Using gamification in a welcome email series can encourage new subscribers to stick around.

Subject line: Your stats for June 7th, 2020 – June 13th, 2020

gamification in email example


Remember how we said gamification is a natural fit for a rewards program? This message from Chili’s is an excellent example! Chili’s designed a game based around three of its products or services (one example shown below). Then the restaurant challenged its customers to complete each activity and get a special reward. The big red CTA buttons reading “Activate” encourage the reader to start playing.

Subject line: Hailey, your monthly challenges are waiting!

gamify email

Wrap-up: Create your own gamification emails

Feeling inspired to incorporate gamification into your own email marketing? Use the BEE email editor to help! With a simple drag-and-drop interface and a full catalog of premade email templates, the editor is highly user-friendly, making it easy to create top-notch gamification emails. Sign up for a free trial of BEE Pro to access even more design features and gamify your email marketing!

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BEE Team