We all want more players to come to our events.
More players in your event usually lead to more sales for your business, and events are a chance to showcase how awesome your game store is.
So, of course, the more the merrier when it comes to tournaments and events but how should you go about bringing in new players to your shop?
What if I told you there is a simple way to get your customers to encourage their friends to come to your event as well? And for those friends to bring their friends, and so on?
The answer is to make your event more viral.
Before we get into the meat of the idea, let’s talk about what it means for an event to be “viral”.
To do that, you need to understand what a Viral Coefficient is:
The Viral Coefficient
A Viral Coefficient is the number of new users an existing user generates. This metric calculates the exponential referral cycle – sometimes called virality – that accelerates company growth. Virality is the inherent incentive for customers to refer friends or colleagues to your company.
-quoted from Geckoboard.com
In simpler terms, a Viral Coefficient is a mathematical way of measuring the virality of something. The higher the value of the Viral Coefficient, the more referrals a person is generating on average.
There are two parts to the Viral Coefficient that you need to focus on if you want to maximize the virality of your offer. The first is the number of people each customer refers, and the second is the rate at which those referrals convert into customers themselves.
You don’t need to know exactly what your Viral Coefficient is for this tactic to work, but it helps to understand the mechanism that drives it.
Let’s start with an example so it’s easy to see the strategy in action.
As I write this, the Ixalan Prerelease is coming in a couple weeks. Let’s say you want to max out your attendance for your store.
As we all know, people respond to incentives so what you might do is offer a reason for players come play at your event. For the sake of our example, let’s say you offer people who preregister and pay for the Prerelease a chance to win a free booster of Ixalan.
This is where most game store owners will stop. While it’s not a terrible way to incentivize players to join the event (everyone loves the potential to win free product) it doesn’t give players a reason to invite their friends to come play too.
In fact, it has the opposite effect. If this is where your plan ends, you are actively discouraging players from recommending your store or referring people because for each additional player in the event, the chances of winning that booster box only go down.
It would be in a player’s best interest to discourage people from playing in your Prerelease, thus giving themselves the best odds at securing the box.
You need to take it a step further. The key is to incentivize the right actions while limiting your costs at the same time.
And the answer is simple. Reward players for referring their friends by giving them additional chances in the drawing to win the booster box. The trick is to make the incentive enough to make the effort worth it to the player. So for our example, what you should do is give a player 3 extra chances to win the booster box for every player they refer. You can also sweeten the deal by giving the referred player extra chances as well making it a win/win for both parties.
Reward players for referring their friends by giving them additional chances in the drawing to win the booster box. The trick is to make the incentive enough to make the effort worth it to the player. So for our example, what you should do is give a player 3 extra chances to win the booster box for every player they refer. You can also sweeten the deal by giving the referred player extra chances as well making it a win/win for both parties.
Do you see the difference in the two approaches?
The first only rewards the player for registering and actually incentivizes them to not refer their friends.
While the second builds in a virality to the offer. Each player someone refers who registers for the event increases their odds considerably of winning the box, but it also encourages those referred players to then go and find more people to come and play so they can increase their odds of winning the draw.
And the cycle continues.
In the first stage, the Viral Coefficient would be less than one which means there is no real virality in the offer. In the second stage, the Viral Coefficient has a very good chance of being greater than one, and that’s when the magic happens (pun intended).
And the beauty of this example is that your cost is exactly the same. You are still offering the same booster box so your expense in the promotion is capped.
Now it’s time to get to work. Brainstorm some ways to incentivize your customers to refer their friends for your next major event. If you need somewhere to start, feel free to use the example we just talked about and see how it will impact your event’s attendance.
Once you understand the power of viral offers, you can look at applying the concept in other areas of your business. As long as you know the key metrics to your business like Lifetime Customer Value, you can take the idea of virality and turn it into a referral system that automatically markets your business with no extra effort on your part
Anyway, that’s all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @Tomtraplin or at email@example.com. Let me know how you’re going to use virality to grow your game store.