If you don’t grab your player’s attention and start to add value within the first few hours of sign-up, then you’ll be fighting an uphill battle to keep them playing
Gaming companies are part of a vast and vibrant multi-billion-dollar industry enjoying fantastic growth that shows no signs of slowing down. There are over 2.5 billion gamers around the world with a demographic profile more or less equally split between males and females and with age ranges anywhere from pre-teens to pensioners.
While it’s great news that the gaming industry’s appeal is so wide-spread and versatile, meaning endless opportunities for game development and distribution and plenty of competition to drive innovation, it leaves game publishers with a headache.
The gaming industry is filled with publishers who happily boast about databases with millions of players, but are rather more diffident about how many of them are active and playing.
Because building a great gaming experience is no longer adequate. The old-school “fire-and-forget” marketing strategy – where you publish a game, give it a sales unit target, then walk away - is not enough in 2019 to secure your customer base and your organisation’s future.
To stand a chance of being heard in an increasingly crowded and competitive market, you need to level up and be totally connected with your players 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You need to be watching and analysing your players’ journey and using CRM tools and tactics to provide an exceptional experience at every step, and not just strictly in-game.
Forward thinking and digitally mature gaming companies are now adapting their businesses and changing the way they engage with their customer bases. They are working hard to connect more closely with players throughout the product lifecycle, starting right from the first moment a player signs up and all the way through to retention. It’s all about building trust with your audience and making them feel supported and rewarded, and it’s when players feel valued that your bottom line sees the benefit.
Gaming’s unique “Early Life” player needs
In CRM the customer lifecycle is planned from beginning to end, with every crucial touch point mapped and proactive communications planned and automated. A customer lifecycle is usually measured in months, if not years, and broken into stages such as Early Life, In-Life, Retention, etc. In CRM terms “Early Life” is usually defined as the first 30 days or so. BUT with new players taking just two minutes to decide whether a new game is for them (or not), we think in gaming terms “early life” is closer to 30 hours. Which brings a whole new dimension to the word “early”.
Here are our four top tips for CRM best practice that wins the hearts and minds of your players from the moment you see their Gamertag light up on your system. Because signing up is one thing, staying signed up is a whole new game.
1. Welcome messaging
They’ve signed up and they’re giving your game a go. So don’t leave them with radio silence. Send a welcome email in real time, i.e. it lands in their in-box as soon as their account is opened or activated. At the same time send and in-game welcome message. If you use a two-step validation process, then tell them to check their in-boxes. You can then use the emails to give them all the vital info they need to get up and running without hassle. You can include links to player tutorials, guides, FAQ’s and community forums. Thank them and make them feel part of the community straight away.
2. The first 24 hours
Send them a “Getting Started” email within 24 hours. Give them access to more resources where they can learn how to level up, how to hook up with their friends, how to get rewards and make in-game purchases. Track their progress and use behavioural data analytics to work out when they look like they’re losing interest and send reactivation messages.
3. Fun and rewards
Rewards are discussed by gamers in a very tangible sense and its one of the things that keeps players coming back, keeps them immersed and gives them pleasure. It’s what they play for. Lack of rewards or ability to see how to earn them impacts their enjoyment. So the next round of messaging should focus on rewards: what they are, what they do and how they can earn them.
4. Keep it social
Most gamers play for the social aspect, so exploit it. If your game is a multi-player module then the ability for players to build a community with total strangers – or even friends – is a crucial component in their enjoyment. Use in-game and other messaging to remind them that their posse is waiting for them and how much quicker they will progress with the help of others.
A few other things to remember
All your CRM activities should be driven by data and analytics, but there are other sources of vital information that should inform your early life communications content and strategy.
- Monitor the forums both on the platform and off it. What are newbies asking? Where do they need help? What responses are they getting? Find the pain points and (a) fix them in the game and (b) create content that pre-empts them and shows players the best workarounds
- Use social listening to monitor what players are saying about the game. Use keywords to find specific on-boarding topics and analyse the information to make changes to your CRM content
CRM is all about delivering exceptional customer experiences in a more efficient and automated way, based on player habits and preferences. Done properly, CRM tools give you the ability to identify and engage with individual players to create a fully immersive and engaging experience in those crucial first hours and days after signing up.
For help putting your early life game plan together, get in touch with us.