These days, AWARENESS is the new currency. Getting shoppers’ attention is tougher than ever. We have short attention spans and a wealth of marketing messages coming from all directions. For Retailers that want to not only get shoppers’ attention but who also want to convert digital marketing it into physical traffic into retail sites, planning the right activation strategy is essential. Whilst people are happy to share experiences they enjoy with their peers, if they don’t find out about your campaign in the first place, it will never gain momentum.

So, the bad news is that if you don’t activate your campaign, you will get no engagement and none of the business benefits. The good news is that it isn’t difficult to activate your campaigns. Here are 8 tips to help you get the most out of your campaigns:

1. Who and what
“Start with the end in mind and work backwards”. – Michael Stelzner

Who is the campaign aimed at? Are you targeting existing loyal shoppers or trying to reach less frequent shoppers or competitor shoppers? Knowing who you are targeting is key for creating the right activation strategy. You also need to know what you want your target audiences to do e.g. awareness, sign up to game, game retention, advocacy & sharing. What does success look like for each objective?

2. Work your ecosystem
“People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction”. – Brian Halligan

You’ve put time and effort into building your marketing ecosystem, so use every existing channel you have in order to cost-effectively reach out to as many shoppers as possible and tell them about the campaign. Make the most of the opportunities in-game to link shoppers back into your ecosystem in build engagement with your brand. Gather social media followers, drive traffic to your loyalty membership sign-up page, your e-commerce site or to AppStore or Google Play to download your app. Shoppers who connect with your brand on multiple platforms are more loyal and spend more.

3. Digital first
“Content is fire. Social Media is gasoline”. – Jay Baer

Although there is a role for all traditional forms of advertising from radio and TV to billboards and posters, the most effective conversion from awareness to participation for a mobile campaign is via digital activation. From digital adverts, shoppers can click directly into the game URL and be encouraged to sign up and start playing. Depending on who you are targeting, the digital activation will definitely include your owned digital media channels (e-newsletter, social media, app-notifications, website etc.) and it may include paid digital advertising (i.e. paying for adverts to appear in searches and social media sites, in social influencer posts, website referrals etc.).

4. Simple and effective messaging
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at” – Leo Burnett

Be creative – link the campaign concept to wider marketing themes and tell shoppers a good story to hook them in. There are some must-have messages you must not forget if you want to achieve both awareness and conversion to a signed-up user. Use a grand prize to promote the campaign and motivate shoppers to sign up. Promote the big prize pool you have and give suppliers good exposure if that is part of their sponsorship. Embed the URL as an automatic link in digital advertising or show the URL clearly in non-digital advertising. Make sure people know it is a mobile game and entice them with free prizes and a fair chance of becoming a winner. Everyone loves the chance to win something for free.

5. Word-of-mouth
“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced
through friends and people they know and trust” – Malorie Lucich, Facebook

These days consumers often trust peer recommendations more than brands themselves. Building your user base for your gamification campaigns works in the same way. Encourage people to share their success stories in your social media channels. Tap into social media groups and message boards to spread the word. Use influencers and paid advertising channels to get the message out more widely. Offer people to chance to share the game once they have played by linking to social media or WhatsApp and enable the feature where winners can forward their prize to a friend or family member.

6. Optimise your budget
“It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic”. – Jeff Eisenberg.

Typically, your activation strategy should prioritise advertising at the campaign launch and this is usually aimed at raising awareness amongst all your target audiences. From this point onwards, activation becomes more tactical. Targeting allows you to focus ad exposure on core groups of users with specific behaviour e.g. those who have clicked through to the game URL but not yet signed up, those who have signed up but not played for a week etc. Once the campaign has launched you can analyse which activation channels are giving you the best conversion and which offer the lowest cost of conversion. This enables you to make the most of your activation budget and to redirect budget to the activities that are getting you the best results.

7. Track performance
“Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.”- Amrita Sahasrabudhe.

Being able to optimise your activation is all about having the best possible information about where your engagement is coming from. Use best practice and consistent UTM tracking in all your activation so you can have a detailed picture of which channels are driving shoppers to the game and what shoppers are doing when they leave the game experience.

8. Measuring success
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. – Peter Drucker

Measuring the success of your activation against the benchmarks you agreed in your activation plan will give you a great starting point for planning how to activate your next mobile gamification campaign. It will give you a realistic picture of what advertising worked best against your core objectives. By making mobile gamification a part of your longer-term shopper engagement strategy, you also can reap the benefits of a community of engaged shoppers who are hungry to play again.