Email Gamification: Tips, Best Practices, and Examples to Boost Email Marketing!

Email Gamification Blog Banner

Do you ever feel like your emails get lost in the inbox with no clicks, reads, or engagements? It can be frustrating when you’ve invested considerable time and energy in a visual treat and 200-word explainer. 

If that’s the case, then maybe it’s time to ditch the snoozefest and inject some fun into your email marketing strategy!

That’s where email gamification comes in– and it’s not just about sending Candy Crush to your customers (although that might be pretty cool, too). Want to learn more?

Let’s understand email gamification, how it works, why it is important, and how it impacts email marketing campaigns.

What is Email Gamification?

Think of email gamification as adding game-like elements to your emails, such as interactive quizzes or rewarding customers with points for opening emails. The ultimate goal of this strategy is to generate interaction with your brand. 

Several well-known brands have successfully used this approach to enhance customer engagement and achieve significant results. 

For example, Starbucks uses gamification in its Starbucks Rewards program, where customers earn stars for purchases tracked via email, boosting loyalty and sales​.

Duolingo employs gamified emails with streaks, badges, and leaderboards to keep users engaged, resulting in over 38 million monthly users and substantial revenue​.

Gamification is an email marketing tool that helps brands transform mundane interactions into exciting experiences. These examples illustrate the powerful impact of gamified emails in creating a more interactive and rewarding customer experience.

Check Your Backlinks

Get an Instant Insight Into Who Links to Your Site

Where to Use Email Gamification?

Email gamification is a powerful tool to engage and captivate your audience, transforming mundane email interactions into exciting experiences. 

While gamification can be highly effective, it’s important to understand that it may not suit all brands or campaigns. However, gamified emails can yield impressive results for certain activities and key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Let’s explore creative ways to integrate gamification into your email marketing strategy.

1. Promote a New Product Launch

Introducing a new product is always an exciting moment, and email gamification can make it even more thrilling. Apart from the email logo designs and other branding visuals, consider creating a trivia game that educates your subscribers about the new product’s features and benefits.

For instance, you could send an email featuring a series of trivia questions related to the product. Each correct answer could reveal additional details and insights about the product.

To incentivize participation, offer a discount code or early access to the product for those who complete the trivia game. This approach builds anticipation and ensures that your audience is well-informed and more likely to make a purchase.

2. Boost Customer Engagement

One of the most effective uses of gamification is to enhance customer engagement. By placing links from your emails that lead to your landing pages, you boost your own websites’ customer engagement. 

Games can be implemented with a points system where subscribers earn points for various actions, such as opening emails, clicking on links, sharing content, or making purchases.

These points can be redeemed for rewards like exclusive discounts, free products, or premium content. 

For example, 1973 Ltd. once sent an email blast about a Charity Christmas Quiz where the winner could donate to a charity of their choice.

3. Gather Customer Feedback

Collecting customer feedback is crucial, but traditional surveys can often feel tedious. Why not turn your survey into a fun, interactive quiz?

Create a quiz where each question answered unlocks a part of a special offer, such as a discount or a free gift. For instance, a restaurant could ask customers about their menu preferences and dining experiences, rewarding participants with a free dessert or a discount on their next meal.

This approach makes the feedback process enjoyable and rewarding, providing you with valuable insights while boosting customer satisfaction and retention.

4. Increase Click-Through Rates

Consider introducing mini-games that drive users to your website to boost click-through rates. For example, an email might feature a treasure hunt game where users click on different parts of the email to find hidden treasures, each linked to various sections of your website.

Each “treasure” could offer small rewards or information about new products, encouraging users to explore more of your site. This method increases website traffic and enhances the overall user experience by making the email interaction more enjoyable.

Check Your Backlinks

Get an Instant Insight Into Who Links to Your Site

5. Enhance Social Sharing

Social media is a powerful platform for extending your reach, and gamified emails can encourage social sharing. Integrate social media challenges within your emails, such as asking subscribers to post a picture or story on social media, tag your brand, and enter a contest to win a prize.

Gamified emails can also boost your SEO efforts by using branded keywords and hashtags in your emails. Plates can then use these keywords to search for your brand and learn more about your business. 

An email could outline the challenge rules and showcase examples of entries, providing a direct link to the social media platform. This strategy boosts your brand’s visibility on social media and creates a community of engaged followers excited to participate in your campaigns.

6. Reward Loyal Customers

Loyal customers are the backbone of any successful business, and gamified loyalty programs can show them how much you value their support. Send periodic emails with special games or challenges exclusively for your loyal customers, offering them the chance to earn extra rewards.

For instance, a beauty brand might send an email with a scratch card game where loyal customers can win free samples or bonus loyalty points. This makes your loyal customers feel appreciated and more likely to continue supporting your brand.

Email gamification strategies to try

Now for the fun part: Let’s level up your email marketing with specific gamification ideas and see how some brands are already winning!

1. Word Games

Word games in emails can range from simple crosswords to more interactive word searches and jumbles. These games are engaging and can be tailored to fit the theme of your email or brand message. 

For instance, a skincare brand might create a crossword puzzle where the answers are related to their products, such as ingredients or benefits. This not only entertains but also educates the audience about the products. Similarly, word searches can highlight specific terms related to a new product launch or seasonal theme, directing users to special offer pages once they find all the words. 

Jumbled words add another layer of fun; users unscramble letters to form words, leading to hidden discounts or exclusive content. Embedding these games directly into the email or providing a link to an online version can drive engagement, especially when you offer rewards for completion, like discount codes or free downloads.

2. Puzzles

Puzzles are another versatile and engaging way to capture your audience’s attention. From jigsaw puzzles to logic puzzles and picture-based puzzles, there’s a lot you can do. Imagine sending an email with a jigsaw puzzle featuring a broken image of a new product. 

When assembled correctly, it reveals the complete picture and a special offer. Logic puzzles, like simple riddles or number puzzles, can challenge the user and lead to a reward upon completion. 

Picture puzzles, such as spot-the-difference or hidden object games, can be themed around your brand or a specific campaign. Including an interactive image of the puzzle in your email or linking to a web-based version and providing incentives for solving it—such as entry into a prize draw or a coupon code—can significantly boost engagement.

3. Spin the Wheel

Spin the wheel games are interactive and exciting, giving users the chance to win prizes or discounts by spinning a virtual wheel. This element of chance adds excitement and anticipation, making the email experience more thrilling. 

For example, you can have discount wheels where users spin to win different discounts on their next purchase or prize wheels that include rewards such as free products, exclusive access to content, or gift cards. 

Embedding a spinning wheel widget directly into your email or linking to a landing page with the wheel can entice users to click through, especially if you highlight the possible rewards and create a sense of urgency.

Check Your Backlinks

Get an Instant Insight Into Who Links to Your Site

4. Quizzes

Quizzes can be fun and informative, helping engage users while gathering valuable data about their preferences and behaviors. 

A well-designed quiz can recommend products based on the user’s answers or entertain them with interesting trivia related to your industry. 

For example, a fashion brand might create a quiz to help customers find their style and then offer personalized product recommendations. 

Embedding these quizzes in your email or linking to them ensures that users interact with your content. Offering a small reward for completion, like a discount on their next purchase, can further incentivize participation.

5. Calculators

Calculators in emails are a practical and engaging tool that can help customers make informed decisions. For example, a financial services company might include a mortgage calculator that allows users to input their data and see potential monthly payments. 

Similarly, a fitness brand could provide a calorie calculator where users can enter their meals to see their daily intake. These calculators offer immediate, personalized insights, making the email more interactive and valuable. 

Embedding these tools directly in the email or linking to a dynamic landing page can significantly increase user engagement and provide useful data for further marketing efforts.

6. Scratch Cards

Scratch cards bring an element of surprise and excitement to your emails. Much like physical scratch cards, these virtual versions allow users to “scratch” a surface to reveal a hidden prize, discount, or special message. 

This can be done through interactive images or by linking to a web-based scratch card. For instance, an e-commerce store might offer a scratch card where customers can win anything from free shipping to a significant discount on their next purchase. 

This interactive element encourages users to engage with the email content and increases the likelihood of conversions by creating a fun, game-like experience.

7. Race

Races or time-based challenges can create a sense of urgency and excitement in your emails. You could present a countdown timer for a special offer or a race to complete a task within a certain timeframe. 

For example, a travel company might send an email with a race-themed game in which users collect points by clicking on various destinations. The highest scorers win a discount on their next booking. 

Alternatively, a retail brand could create a flash sale event where the first few customers to respond to the email get an exclusive deal. Incorporating these elements can drive immediate action and boost engagement rates by tapping into users’ competitive nature.

Best Practices on Email Gamification Marketing

Email gamification can significantly boost engagement and drive conversions if done correctly. To ensure your gamification efforts are effective and well-received, here are some best practices to follow:

Align Games with Your Brand and Goals

When incorporating gamification into your emails, ensure the games align with your brand’s image and marketing goals. Also, include your logo and business name in the emails so customers can easily identify you. If you don’t have a business name yet, try our business name generator. This will make your branding on point and specific. 

The games should feel natural and relevant to your audience. For example, a fitness brand could include a calorie calculator, while a travel company might feature a destination trivia game. This alignment ensures that the gamified elements enhance your brand’s message rather than distract from it.

Keep It Simple and Accessible

Complex or overly intricate games can deter participation. Aim for simplicity to ensure that users of all tech-savviness levels can easily engage with your gamified content. For instance, a straightforward scratch card or a basic trivia quiz is more likely to be completed than a multi-step puzzle. Simple games are quick to understand and play, increasing the likelihood of user participation.

Offer Valuable Rewards

Incentivize participation by offering valuable rewards to your audience. These could range from discounts and exclusive access to new products to free samples or loyalty points. The more appealing the reward, the more likely users will engage with the gamified content. Ensure the rewards are significant enough to motivate action and sustain your business.

Ensure Mobile Compatibility

With many email users accessing their inboxes via mobile devices, your gamified elements must be mobile-friendly. Ensure that games load quickly, are easy to interact with on smaller screens, and provide a seamless experience across all devices. This consideration helps maximize engagement by catering to mobile users.

Make Participation Easy

Reduce barriers to participation by making it easy for users to start and complete the game. Avoid requiring too much personal information upfront or lengthy instructions. For instance, a spin-the-wheel game should be accessible with just one click, without extensive sign-ups. The easier it is to participate, the more likely users will engage with the game.

Use Clear Calls to Action

Clearly communicate what you want your subscribers to do next. Your calls to action should be straightforward and compelling, whether to start the game, claim a reward, or share their score on social media. Use action-oriented language and ensure that buttons or links are prominently displayed and easy to click.

Test and Optimize

Regularly test different gamification strategies to see what resonates best with your audience. A/B testing can help you understand which games and rewards generate the most engagement. Use analytics to track participation rates and conversions, and continuously optimize your approach based on these insights.

Measuring the Success of Email Gamification

Implementing gamification in your email marketing strategy can yield impressive results, but how do you measure its success? Here are key metrics and methods to track and evaluate the effectiveness of your gamified email campaigns:

A. Engagement Metrics

To understand how well your gamified emails are performing, start by tracking basic engagement metrics:

  • Open Rates: Measure the percentage of recipients who open your email. Increased open rates can indicate that your gamified subject lines or preview text are enticing.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): Track the percentage of recipients clicking links within your email. High CTRs suggest that the gamified elements are effectively engaging your audience.
  • Interaction Time: Monitor how long users spend interacting with the gamified elements. Longer interaction times can indicate higher levels of engagement and interest.
  • Bounce Rates: Keep an eye on the bounce rates to ensure that your emails are reaching your audience and not being rejected by email servers.

B. Conversion Rates

Conversion rates are critical in understanding the direct impact of gamified emails on your business goals:

  • Sales Conversions: Track the number of sales or sign-ups directly resulting from the gamified email using unique tracking codes or links embedded in the email.
  • Goal Completions: Define and measure specific goals, such as downloads, form submissions, or product views, completed after interacting with a gamified email.
  • Redemption Rates: If your gamified email includes discount codes or offers, measure the rate at which these codes are redeemed. This helps gauge the effectiveness of your incentives.

C. Customer Feedback

Gathering and analyzing customer feedback can provide valuable insights into how your audience perceives the gamified content:

  • Surveys and Polls: Include short surveys or polls in follow-up emails to gather feedback on the gamified elements. Ask questions about the enjoyment, difficulty level, and perceived value of the games.
  • User Reviews: Encourage recipients to leave reviews or comments about their experience. This qualitative data can highlight specific areas for improvement.
  • Social Media Monitoring: Track mentions and discussions about your gamified emails on social media platforms. Positive or negative sentiment can give you a sense of overall reception.

D. A/B Testing

A/B testing is a powerful method to compare the effectiveness of gamified emails versus traditional emails:

  • Test Variants: Create two versions of an email—one with gamified elements and one without. Send each version to a similar subset of your audience.
  • Analyze Results: Compare key metrics such as open rates, CTRs, and conversion rates between the two versions. Identify which version performs better and why.
  • Iterate and Optimize: Use the insights gained from A/B testing to refine and improve your gamification strategies. Continuously test new ideas to keep your campaigns fresh and engaging.

E. ROI Analysis

Calculating the return on investment (ROI) for gamified email campaigns helps you understand their financial impact:

  • Cost Analysis: Determine the costs associated with creating and implementing gamified content, including design, development, and any software tools used.
  • Revenue Tracking: Measure the revenue generated from sales, sign-ups, or other monetizable actions driven by the gamified emails.
  • ROI Calculation: Calculate ROI by comparing the revenue generated to the costs incurred. A positive ROI indicates that your gamified emails are delivering financial benefits.
  • Long-Term Impact: Consider the long-term benefits, such as increased customer loyalty and brand awareness, which may not be immediately reflected in direct revenue but contribute to overall business growth.


Email gamification is a powerful tool that can take your email marketing campaigns to the next level.  Adding a little fun and competition can boost engagement, build brand loyalty, and collect valuable customer data.  

So ditch the boring blasts and get ready to gamify your way to marketing success!

Author Bio:

Marvin Espino has written articles on SEO, Link-Building, Logo, and Graphic Design. When not writing for BrandCrowd, you will find him baking goodies and singing out loud. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *