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cloud-hosting

Changing Service Providers – What You Need to Know

Switching your websites over to a new hosting provider doesn’t have to be a painful process. It will take a bit of work, and you should take it seriously, but there is no reason to put it off forever. Sometimes you just have to pull the plug and move on, for one reason or another, and this guide will help you do that.

Avoiding Downtime

One of the biggest concerns that most people have about changing their web hosting provider is being able to avoid downtime. The goal is to make this transition period as smooth as possible, with little or no disruption to your websites and your users.

It can be difficult to avoid downtime altogether during a move, but if you follow the steps below then you stand a better chance at minimizing it. You may also want to inform your viewers and regular clients before the move, just so they know ahead of time to expect a small amount of disruption.

Keep your current hosting account active, and sign up for an account at your new host.

Backup your website’s files and databases. Make copies of the backup on your hard disk, a USB drive, and upload one to an online storage service or mail it to yourself on a webmail account.

Upload all of your backed up files and databases, with the same file paths as before, to your new hosting account.
If you were using an email address at your old host, such as admin@yourdomain.com, then you will need to recreate this at your new host.

Find out what the appropriate nameservers are for your new host – it should be something like ns1.company.com and ns2.company.com (where ‘company’ will be different from host to host).
Login to your domain registrar. This will be whichever service you originally purchased your domain name from, such as GoDaddy for example.

Update the DNS records for all domain names you are switching to the new host, with the nameservers for your new host that you found in the previous steps.

It will take up to 48 hours for the DNS changes to come in to full effect, so leave your old hosting account open and active for at least two to three days to be sure. After this period of time, and after checking to be sure the transition worked properly, you may now cancel your old hosting account.

SEO Issues

The act of switching web hosting providers should have no negative effect at all on your search engine optimization strategies. As long as you take care and follow the steps above to avoid downtime, the search engine robots should have no problem finding your new home.

However, if you are changing to a new domain name at the same time as changing host – or you are making changes to file paths and linking structure – then you have some more work to do. Google wants you to build and maintain your website with visitors in mind, not robots, so if you keep everything running smoothly for your visitors after the move then you will be fine.

So, if you are changing domain name, upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS, or making changes to file names and/or links then you should use a 301 redirect to facilitate this. 301 is a code that basically tells robots and browsers “this link has moved permanently to a new location, and this is where to find it”. Search engine robots will now follow your website to its new home, and your users will be redirected there also.

Google recommends that you keep control of your old domain name for at least six months after switching and employing a 301 redirect. This will allow their robots more than enough time to figure out where your new website is. You can then either sell the old domain name, make a completely new website on it, or whatever else you like.

Tips for WordPress Users

The following list of things to do is specific to the WordPress content management system.

Log in to cPanel on your current host, and export your WordPress database in SQL format to be saved on your hard drive. If your host does not use cPanel, you may need to ask your host what to do, or do it straight from the OS on an unmanaged server.

Create a new (empty) database on your new host, with all privileges, and make note of the username and password.
Open the wp-config.php file of WordPress in a text editor. Change the database name, and the username and password, if they are different on the new host. Upload this file along with the rest of the WordPress installation to your new host.

Import your database to your new host.

Upload all of the files from your old host through FTP in the same paths as they were previously.

Now that you have a bit more of an idea on the process involved in changing your website hosting, it’s time to get your plan in action. Don’t rush in to it though – make careful and deliberate steps, and make sure you have a little free time set aside before you start making any major moves.

communication-language

Personalizing the Customer Experience: Getting in Touch through Context-Based Information

A funny thing happened on the way to 2016. After decades of asking us to speak to it in its own language, our computers began making great strides in their ability to converse with us in our own language. Advances in natural language processing are making both text and voice interactions more and more like a conversation with a friend.

And that transition is revolutionizing not only the way each of us uses our various devices but – importantly for digitally active businesses – customer experience management as well. Almost without noticing it themselves, consumers have come to expect – or rather demand – consistent, streamlined, and personalized interactions at every touch point, across devices and channels.

One result of that has been that carefully crafted and engineered context-based information has become an increasingly critical aspect of the customer experience in digital commerce. No longer can various channels – be it websites, social media, or mobile apps, for example – exist independently of one another, effectively fragmenting both content, messaging, and communication, and undermining the continuity of the customer experience. Such disruptions and frustrations are nobody’s recipe for business success.

Not every customer interaction is a sale, but every one of them is a customer experience

It was Will Oremus, senior technology writer at Slate, who traced the evolution of natural language processing (NLP) from the earliest days of computing through keyword searches to the emerging conversational technologies that play an increasingly central role in personalizing the customer experience.

Marketers have long noted that, sale or not, every time a customer brushes up against a business touchpoint, that customer has had some kind an experience – good, bad, or indifferent. NLP has become a powerful tool for tipping the scales of customer satisfaction heavily in the “good” column because it takes the burden of effective communication off of the customer. Instead of having to adapt to, say, the stilted language of keyword searching, the customer only has to seek and receive information in his or her “natural language.”

It’s not perfect yet, perhaps, but NLP has already achieved remarkable results and has become an essential element of personalized customer experience management in the digital marketplace. As might be expected, Google has been the industry leader in advancing natural language search functionality, but AI assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now have become a part of daily life, and chatbots are routinely used for a wide range of e-commerce interactions.

In fact, it would be difficult to imagine a future for e-commerce in which NLP does not play a central role in shaping the customer experience. At nanorep, an industry leader managing the digital experience, natural language search is seen as the key to delivering satisfying and personalized customer experiences by making it easier to understand the customer’s intent when asking a question. Context is critical because language differs from person to person, of course. Not everyone will phrase a query in the same way, but we do have one thing in common: we all want to be understood.

Given the variations in the way people use human language, nanorep emphasizes the need for a system to have the capacity to sense, think, learn, and act upon not only the specific words used. In order to properly interpret the customer’s intentions and meaning, nanorep software uses artificial intelligence to discern what the words mean within the context of a particular query or interaction.

Customers approach businesses through multiple messaging interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Kik, and others, and nanorep’s NLP solution integrates with these through its Service Bot solution that further breaks down potential language barriers to provide a consistent self-service experience.

The right answer at the right time

One measure of how adept NLP has become at discerning context and understanding a query can be found in enhancements to the search engine Bing, which is capable of “continuing the conversation.” That is, you can ask follow-up questions to your original query and they won’t be treated as separate interactions. For its part, Google touts improvements in search technology that make it possible for search engines to understand complex, inter-related multi-faceted inquiries. As one example, Google points to the ability to answer a simple question such as “Who was the U.S. President when the Angels won the World Series?”

Similarly, nanorep’s NLP is extremely sensitive to context that the same question, phrased in exactly the same terms, will elicit different answers depending on the product the questioner is viewing.

Consider what that means for the customer in terms of simplicity, efficiency, and overall experience.

social-media-businesses

5 Businesses that Use Social Media to Unlock Their Creative Potential

Social media applications are giving businesses a lot of new ways of reaching their customers. The possibilities are truly immense for those who can see beyond the basic functionality of these apps.

Connecting with customers is so much more than showing them personalized ads. Through the use of pages, videos, and blog posts, companies can really find what affects people the most, and move towards occupying an effective niche. These businesses have gone above and beyond in their creative use of social media. Maybe you’ll find yourself inspired after reading about them.

Playstation

playstation
By teaming up with Blitz, Playstation aimed to get people excited about their new release, MLB 13: The Show. Rather than simply running an ad that hyped the game and its features, the company wanted to reach out to viewers in a new an interesting way. Jonathan Nafarette, who directs social outreach at Blitz, worked to animate the Twitter avatars of certain baseball stars, sports bloggers and big time fans, and made them into moving baseball cards based on their favorite teams. This highly innovative move got people talking.

Do Something

dosomething
This company has recently risen to the third highest engagement score among all the companies ranked on Facebook’s internal data. For a nonprofit, this is impressive. The director of digital content of this organization, which attempts to encourage teenagers to engage in their communities by working towards social change, is Calvin Stowell. He is the mastermind behind the social campaigns. He uses his knowledge of online engagement to create emotionally relevant content, often partnering with celebrities. The content they create emphasizes projects that are making a difference in society, and their posts typically get over a million views.

Sharpie

sharpie
Sharpie is a company that makes a variety of different permanent markers. They have utilized a variety of different forms of social media, including Twitter and Instagram. One way they attain an exciting variety is by mixing up the different kinds of images they display in the background on their pages. They also have had great success by focusing their pictures on their customers. They do this by encouraging people to share their creative projects that used sharpie products, and showcasing these images on their blog and social media pages. They encourage further creativity by telling stories about their customers.

Sammy’s Woodfire Pizza

sammys
This company doesn’t just talk about their food—they show it off. Sammy’s Woodfire Pizza is a great example of a restaurant that takes full advantage of photos and videos on social media to give customers a sneak peek at what their menu has in store for them. They have also found additional ways to translate social media views into visits to their locations. They regularly share information about their partners, which creates additional links, bringing more people to their pages. They also publish coupons, giving people still more reason to go check them out in person.

Hampton Creek

hamptoncreek
This company is focused on influencing the food market to adopt more sustainable and more affordable products. Hamptoncreek has shown up in quite a few news stories recently, giving them an opportunity to talk about their company’s philosophy and to advertise their “Just” products. Their Instagram page is filled with pictures of delicious food dishes. Click on these pictures and you’ll find them leading you to recipes that use their line of products as ingredients. They are really up front about their goals and what’s in their products. This has allowed them to develop a strong social media following.

Sprout Social

sproutsocial
Partnering with Audi, Andrew White, the director of business strategy at Sprout Social came up with a unique idea. A woman had been tweeting on Audi’s page with the hashtag “#WantAnR8” every single day. Their team decided to finally reward her by allowing her to drive the car for a weekend. This evolved into a social media campaign that led thousands of people to tweet on their page hoping to be able to drive on for a couple of days.

Businesses Take Full Advantage of Social Media

There are dozens of other businesses that have come up with unique approaches to using social media to get more people engaged and informed about their products. There are so many different ways to go about it, whether it’s activating people’s sense of ethos through referencing good causes, appealing to people’s deepest desires, or just being wacky and interesting.

gaming-modern-world

Gaming in the modern world: What does the future hold?

Gaming was once a past time considered childish – or for teenage boys who weren’t interested in sport or girls – but as technology progresses as do the stereotypes and the ability to access fun games to play in your spare time.

The modern world of gaming is of course very different to the 80s version, featuring Ataris and a limited (but significantly harder) selection of games to complete. Now we can play on the move, on our smartphone or portable gaming consoles such as the Nintendo DS.

Apps are downloaded by thousands of people every minute, and celebrities are continuing to cash in on games to make money – hey, if Vanilla Ice did it back in the 90s then Gordon Ramsey certainly can. Apps are also serving as ways for companies to advertise; slot games feature bingo promotions and free downloadable games regularly include video content advertising brands.

Gaming is also making huge advancements in the field of technology, with the recent introduction of VR headsets that are available for around the same price as a console – Sony Playstation’s design can be picked up for around £350, for example. Modern gaming is allowing us to completely immerse ourselves in new worlds, experience incredible graphics that make us feel like we are there in the moment and touch our hearts with emotive characters and landscapes.

Story-based gaming is very much making a comeback. We’re moving away from the traditional ‘shoot-em-ups’ and fighting games once enjoyed and looking forward to a movie like experience where we navigate the characters. RPGs are also allowing us to enjoy this type of experience but we have the privilege of steering our characters in certain directions, affecting their reputation with NPCs (non-playable characters) and the story arc itself – Bioware titles are good examples of this, with Dragon Age and Mass Effect considered some of the first RPG games allowing you to play through an immersive story but also impact upon the end result.

Live streaming is a huge element in gaming now, as people tune in to watch other players work through a game on Twitch or upload edited versions to YouTube featuring the funniest moments. It’s a great way of socialising with the great entertainment factor, and there is a huge diversity when it comes to players from the Yogscast guys and girls to female players such as Hey Chrissa. These players are becoming celebrities in their own right – much like any popular YouTuber – but with this concept comes scandals, such as the latest revelation with gamers ProSyndicate and TmarTn allegedly running an illegal betting website linked to the Counter Strike game.

EICG

eSports is of course, a huge development in modern gaming, with arenas filled to the brim annually with people watching big screens and players on the stage battling each other on games such as Starcraft II, Counter Strike and Dota for prizes worth millions. There’s even an eGames tournament making a debut at this year’s Rio Olympic Games.

Gaming online has moved away from the ‘split screen’ as we tap into servers and play with friends from the comfort of our own homes but still get to be sociable with them over a headset – gone are the days when you’d invite your friends over for a game of Goldeneye or COD and get distracted by their movements on the top screen or convince yourself that’s the one you should be watching. Digital downloads are also much more common now than buying a physical cartridges or game discs in the store, with digital storefronts pushing traditional retailers out as they usually offer better, limited time only deals.

The world of gaming will continue to adapt to our consumer spending, our technological advances and our ability to access games on the go – it’s an exciting time for those who game!

seo-web-design

Top three ways to boost your SEO with Web Design

SEO can be a scary topic for a lot of companies; the rules seem ever-changing and there are so many variables that can affect your search engine ranking that it can seem like an impossible task. If you decide to invest in your web design though, the key is to go for a company that can incorporate plenty of SEO tips and tricks into your new website. Read on if you’d like to know three of the top ones you should know about…

1. Incorporate social feeds

As social media isn’t directly related to SEO, companies often dismiss it, but whenever anyone does a search for a name (company or person) it’s likely that twitter profiles, LinkedIn accounts and Facebook pages will crop up. If you incorporate social feeds onto your web page, then the spiders that search it will pick up on them as having recently posted content, and it will help to give your page ranking a boost.

Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that posts and articles put on Google+ in particular are prioritised, so even if your homepage didn’t make the top ten results for a keyword search, as long as you’re posting relevant and useful content on your social channels, your customers will still be able to find you.

2. Tidy page, faster performance

There are several ways that designers can also help with boosting SEO in a visual way. Firstly, they can help you to create a page with minimal text that still contains the keywords and content you need in order to deliver the right message. This will both reduce your bounce rates from frustrated customers who don’t want text-heavy pages, and reduce the amount of unnecessary code in your pages.

Secondly, they’ll be able to correct your image sizes. If your loading time is too long, customers are likely to go elsewhere – the last thing the mobile customer wants to do is waste all of their data allowance downloading one image from your site. This will affect your bounce rate as well as your performance rating on search engines, so enlisting the help of an expert, such as those at www.perth-web-design.com.au who specialise in SEO-friendly design, means you won’t compromise on quality.

3. Metatags, domain names and keywords

When it comes down to the coding and the more complex details of your site, your web designer can be crucial. First of all, consider your metatags – the description and keywords of your site that are embedded into your code – as they summarize what your site is all about. When a user conducts a search, the description tag will be the short summary that appears about the page (about 150 – 200 characters long).

If this isn’t accurate, it could drive people away from your site, or it may even drop you down the rankings completely. You can also ensure keywords such as page titles are inserted into domain names, giving your pages another SEO boost.

We hope you found this article useful – do you have any other SEO design tips?

9-wordpress-improvements

9 WordPress Improvements that can Double your Conversions!

Every website owner wants to get more conversions on their website. Whether it is converting sales, enquiries or subscriptions, the more conversions that occur on the site will increase the business’s future value from sales income. If your WordPress site has struggled to get conversions, try implementing these tips that can double your current conversions.

Capture more website subscribers with SumoMe.

SumoMe is a great plugin to install. They claim that they will improve the conversion rate on the website. There are several cool functions that Sumo Me has that can improve your site’s subscribers and leads.

  • Welcome mat.
  • Pop-up.
  • Scrolling pop-up.

They offer a free service to get you started. By upgrading your subscription, you will unlock more functions and customisable options.

Speak to your target audience by making sure your website uses relevant, powerful & compelling imagery.
The images that you use reinforces the message that you want to get across to your audience. To compel people to take action, the headline and supporting image must strike a chord with the web visitor emotionally. Ensure that the image that you select is:

  • Relevant to your website’s content.
  • A high-resolution image
  • Vibrant
  • Connects with the web viewer emotionally.
  • You can check image libraries such as www.ingimage.com or www.pixabay.com.

Implement Call To Actions

The way your website uses call to actions will greatly impact your site’s ability to convert its web traffic. Your site will need to continually test different CTA methods to find out what call to actions deliver the best results. Consider setting up A/B split tests for web campaigns.
Some call to action changes you can implement include:

  • Banners in the website’s sidebar
  • Banners in the website’s header
  • Call to action pop-unders, pop-ups or hover ads.
  • Call to action buttons within, prior or after the content.
  • Call to action hyperlinks.
  • Call to action callouts.

Put the most important information at the top of the website.

When a new visitor comes to your site, you will only have a few seconds to earn their undivided attention. It is crucial that the information that appears on the site is communicated clearly and concisely at the top of your web page. The web has two types of people that browse web content. Those who analyse every word and detail and those that scan the web content.

The way the information is presented to accommodate the reading habits for both types of users that will read your web content; thus maximising the chances of your site’s conversions.

Install an appealing and modern WordPress theme.

It’s amazing to see so many websites using themes that appear outdated. These outdated themes might be causing speed and display issues on your site that costs your site subscribers, leads and sales. Free WordPress themes are a nice start, however it is more beneficial to invest in bespoke, custom built themes that will give your site the modern design and functionality that is required to attract and convert more web visitors.

Have your WordPress developer check out available themes from Themeforest or on the Genesis Framework.

Leverage blog content to get qualified traffic.

Leverage the power of content marketing to improve the perceived value and expertise of your website and your business. Your website’s sales pages may already generate leads and sales, however you can publish blog content such as case studies, how to guides and reviews to add value to your website’s offering and encourage users to share your content with other potential leads.

Test conversion layouts with Leadpages.

Leadpages is great for quickly testing different web page layouts to see what will convert. Their WordPress plugin allows webmasters to import their Leadpages design easily. The only limitation is that the layouts are rigid. If you want to move a text or image box, the template will restrict you from making the customisation. It is a great service to use to initially test designs that convert before investing in a customised design on your website. Their service starts from $25USD per month.

Install ad carousels like Inbound Now that can advertise your website’s services.

Advertise the products and services that you sell on your site. If your site is already getting qualified traffic, install advertising carousels to increase the awareness of the products or services that your business offers. You can install Inbound Now; which is a great plugin promote offers, enquiries, subscriptions and sales across your website. The plugin allows you to customise templates, conduct A/B split tests and to monitor the performance statistics of your call to actions. You can watch the video below to learn how to install and use the plugin to improve your website’s conversions.

More information on Inbound Now can also be viewed here.

Improve your website’s speed with the following plugins

Speed is one of the most important factors for keeping prospective leads, subscribers and customers on your website. One of the most useful plugins to use include:

Smush.it

Unbeknown to many website owners, the size of their image files are slowing down their website’s performance. Ideally, the image sizes should be minimised before they get uploaded to WordPress, however, using the Smush.it plugin can vastly reduce the image’s file size and help improve the speed performance of the website.

With these improvements, you should be able to increase and potentially double the amount of web conversions on your site. Are there other plugins that you feel we should add? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

healthcare-hackers

Hackers & Health Care: Why Are Health Providers Becoming Hacking Victims?

The proliferation of cybercrime is forcing businesses around the world to strengthen their security defences. From the latest anti-virus software and enterprise-grade firewalls to private cloud web hosting featuring SSL certificates and two-factor authentication, there are countless steps a company can take.

But while several hackers target multinational corporations to compromise financial records, sensitive information, and confidential data, others are focusing on healthcare providers instead.

Washington DC-based MedStar, one of the region’s largest medical providers, recently had to shut down its operations for a day due to a computer virus. So, why are health providers becoming hacking victims?

Reasons why hackers are targeting healthcare providers

In addition to personal information that could be used for traditional financial fraud, such as your name and payment details, hackers are seeking out health insurance information too, particularly in the US. This is because it can be sold via online black markets to commit medical fraud, which includes obtaining free care or treatment and purchasing expensive equipment.

According to Ben Johnson, co-founder and chief security strategist at cyber-security firm Carbon Black, hackers could even find a way to leverage compromising medical information into a blackmail scheme, although this hasn’t happened yet.

Even so, US hospitals are reporting ransomware attacks, which let cybercriminals hold a computer hostage by planting malicious software on the network. It can then make crucial information inaccessible to the legitimate user and ask for a payoff to get it back again.

For healthcare providers that are unable to manage without electronic medical records, this is a particularly dangerous scenario. As a result, healthcare providers are more likely than other organisations to accept a hacker’s demands.

The vulnerabilities of the healthcare sector

Cyber security firm TrendMicro says healthcare was the sector hardest hit by data breaches between 2010 and 2015. This is due in large part to the range of different equipment and devices most hospitals need, which makes standard security practices such as regular updates difficult to fulfil without risking instability.

Healthcare providers also have to consider the security implications of connected medical devices too. For instance, a hacked pacemaker or drug pump could have fatal consequences for certain patients.

For this reason, the FBI said: “The healthcare industry is not as resilient to cyber intrusions compared to the financial and retail sectors, therefore the possibility of increased cyber intrusions is likely.” But what can healthcare providers do?

How to improve healthcare security

In 2010, the healthcare industry launched the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (NHISAC) to increase cybercrime awareness and help stem the spread of particular threats as soon as possible.

But for some, this doesn’t go far enough. As well as the time and effort required to identify potential problems, healthcare providers need assistance in finding the right people to implement security solutions. Again, this raises more questions than answers.

“I’ve literally talked to healthcare organisations that have 300 open security positions, and are struggling to fill even a handful of them,” said Johnson. “It’s going to be a rough few years.”

how-to-improve-your-website

How to improve your website in five easy steps

In the digital era, a bad website is unforgivable. How you appear in the digital marketplace has a huge affect on your reputation, so if you think that your online presence could be lacking then read on.

There are five areas in particular that need attention, so if you follow these steps, you’ll be on your way to a better website and a better conversion rate on your analytics data.

1. Keep your content fresh

Whether online or offline, content is king. Consumers research companies online before deciding who they will spend their money with, so imagine what they think when they visit an outdated website?

They will instantly assume that you’re out of touch with the consumer. It’s important to look regularly at your content to consider what you can update, what new products you can add and how you can reach out to the consumer.

2. Re-think your design

The design of your website is more than just changing colours and fonts. Customers are used to flashy websites and graphics, so think about how you can use your online space to maximise on marketing potential.

To enhance the consumer experience, address the customer directly in your marketing, personalise the experience and the navigation process. Use functions like smart search to make the usability of your website as smooth as possible.

3. Join the mobile movement

In today’s always-online world, consumers expect to be able to move swiftly and seamlessly from gadget to gadget. You need to consider how your website works in the mobile world; can users navigate your website just as easily on a tablet as they do on a computer?

Can all of the graphics load, or will they cost the customer valuable data on their smartphone? What is your page load time? These are all vital considerations if you want to improve your website for the new generation, and you can read more on this here.

4. Develop your SEO strategy

After all of these elements are in place, you must build a tailored SEO strategy. This basically involves improving your place within search engine ranking, and while great content and accurate meta descriptions are key factors for this, there are areas that require a greater level of expertise.

SEO is an ever-changing and increasingly complex field. If you go with a company like Moxie SEO for example, they’ll be able to change your website from just a static piece of marketing into something that visibly generates revenue.

5. Get involved with social media

The final element to your website should be an extensive social media campaign. Social media is so deeply embedded within modern society that a business cannot succeed without it. The key here, however, is to find out exactly which platforms your customers are on, as well as those your competitors are on. Look at how they converse with the consumer, and try to think how you can go beyond that.

If you found this blog post of interest, please leave a comment and tell us your own business story.

Gamification-preview

Is Gamification the Future of Marketing?

Using different strategies taken from other disciplines and methodologies has long been the rule rather than the exception in the world of marketing, so it makes sense that from the earliest days of web design, this approach has been used for online campaigns, too. Today, it is harder than ever to get target consumers to interact with you for many different reasons. On the one hand, a more sophisticated “seen it all before” viewpoint is common, and on the other, a reluctance to “buy into” an advertising pitch covers a different but equally wide demographic. This is why advertisers are looking towards gamifying their approach.

Gameshow

The world of video games has grown into one of the biggest divisions of the entertainment industry on a global scale in recent times. Today, the launch of a new blockbuster game gets more attention than a Hollywood movie, and is also certain to generate more money in the case of the major league title releases. This means that there is a whole new demographic that advertisers can tap into, and fortunately, it is one that crosses over many of the older and more traditional lines of delineation.

Handheld

Although many serious gamers use top-end equipment setups that are designed to give the very best end-user experience, millions of people also use cellphones and tablets to engage in games. This means that implementing some aspects of gamification into a marketing campaign can appeal to a maximized target audience.

Method

On one level, businesses can make a gamification approach an extension of existing loyalty programs. Essentially, every time you buy something and get a loyalty card stamped, you are being gamified. Of course, it can take so many other forms, such as using smartphone functionality to feed into branded apps and connect with consumers in a way that helps them achieve a desired aim.

Engagement

The way that gamers get so involved in Call of Duty and Warcraft for hours on end is a perfect example of how tactics can be utilized by digital marketers to take their campaigns to new levels. Famous for publishing both games, along with other mega successes such as StarCraft and Guitar Hero, Bobby Kotick has long known the value of getting end users to fully engage with his products. Kotick is the longest-serving CEO of any public technology company, and has also been a member of the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company since 2012, meaning that he has an extremely good insight into how some of the biggest global marketing campaigns are put together.

Appliance of gaming theories

Successful gamification is a proven approach to marketing, but even many professionals in the sector still don’t really understand how it can be applied in practice rather than theory. Simply putting a game on top of an underperforming campaign won’t improve it; goals need to be identified and bespoke strategies created in order to achieve them. However, with some imagination, you can make your brand stand out from the crowd and build a level of engagement that turns casual buyers into loyal customers.