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I dare you to visit this website...

I dare you to visit this website...

September 07, 2011

Prepare to discover the Gaming Layer.

Before I get started, let me warn you that the website I'm about to share with you is more addictive than crack cocaine... and a lot more applicable to your business, too.

I just met with a friend who was bleary-eyed and haggard from something a whole lot less addictive.

So be forewarned.

Having said that, what I'm about to share with you is fantastically relevant to ANY business owner. It's something that is shaking up the way we communicate. And I challenge you to tell me how it applies to YOUR business.

The idea of 'ascension' is vital and if you are not using it you are missing out on a new opportunity. Think about how you can apply this to your business...

This week I saw a friend of mine who looked really tired. He's got kids, works hard, but this is not why he was bleary eyed. This intelligent, grown man said, "I downloaded this app, starting playing and couldn't stop. I just couldn't stop until I went through the levels and won.' It's the most popular app in the world called 'Angry Birds' with over 300 million downloads.

With more than 300 million downloads, Angry Birds is by far the most popular app in history! Why? Because it uses the idea of "ascension," a powerful technique that when applied to business moves prospects and customers from one level to the next -- and gives them incentives to do more business with you!

Here is their website, but don't download it if you know what's good for you. This is cool, but who cares? Here's why you should care. The secret is the idea of 'ascension' a game moving you from level to level can be applied to your business.

Companies who do apply the 'game of ascension mentality' are experiencing big growth and here's how.

There's is an iPhone and Android app by SCVNGR that is worth learning from. It's really cool. It was created by Seth Priebatsch who dropped out of Princeton as a freshman when he placed first in the school's new business competition and venture firms started throwing millions of dollars his way to develop his idea.

SCVNGR is similar to a scavenger hunt. Playing is simple. As you go places, the app prompts you do certain challenges and earn points as you go. The more points you earn, the more badges and rewards you receive.

Challenges are quick, fun things to do such as snapping a picture (2 points), doing a social check-in by "bumping phones" with a friend and trading contact information (2 points). Or, rack up more points by going to a Mexican restaurant and upload a picture showing how you turned the burrito wrapper into an origami swan. Snap a picture of your favorite cup of coffee at a participating caf' and earn a free cup of joe!

Rewards are built by businesses themselves and redeemed right from the SCVNGR app.

Bottom line: keep your hungry fish moving and interacting with you. The more they engage and interact the more they buy.

McDonalds' has done this for years with its Monopoly game and increased its billions of dollars in sales by 5%-6% every year it's offered. Collect a series of bottle caps form Coke or Pepsi and win a prize. Engaging customers with games is not new. The old way of simple loyalty programs are dead compared to the new ascension model.

SCVNGR and programs like programs like theirs is taking it to another level ' literally. Traditional games end at some point. This one never ends. The goal is to keep playing and keep racking up the points. Why? To earn cool badges! To increase your status and move up a level.

Apps such as Farmville and Bedazzled and others have proven just how much we desire to improve our status. It's part of our psyche. People literally will change their behavior just to feed their 'virtual animals' on Farmville every 8 hours. This is nuts, but they are engaged.

When we were in the 3rd grade, we wanted to move up to the 4th grade. If we were second string, we worked hard to be on first string. It doesn't change as adults. It's the same reason why everyone wants a Platinum Card instead of a Silver or Gold Card.

We'll even pay more to drive a Cadillac or Lexus instead of Chevy or Toyota. Earn a badge at SCVNGR and you're onto the next level. And you can keep track of your progress with teasers such as 'completed 1 of 7 challenges.'

The process is part of the game! Think about your Linked-In status. Most people I know are less than 85% complete. I'm not sure if you can actually be 100% complete but it bugs me that I'm only 85%, that stupid little incomplete bar keeps telling me to complete my status. [show my status]

The power of completing something that is incomplete satisfies a deep psychological need for homeostasis.

Member Lloyd Irvin (right) places a belt on one of his students who is ascending through the ranks of his karate school and training program. How can you create belts or levels in your business that prospects and customers would want to aspire to?

One of our members Lloyd Irvin is a master of this. His karate school is built on the desire to move up a level.

Once you earn your white belt, the goal is to earn a yellow belt, then a green belt, purple belt, brown belt, black belt and finally a red belt. It calls you to keep going.

This increases repeat purchases, extends length of service and increases the bottom line. Not to mention that customers are more successful because they get more out of the experience with you.

In fact, he teaches this same process to entrepreneurs who own karate training programs and is seeing dramatic results. Using this type of ascension model training programs are increasing their revenue by $20,000 per month and some by as much as $87,000!

Don't make the mistake of saying this is just for karate. It is for your business too!

One of my children works with a tutor who keeps giving rewards of rubber bands that she adds to a rubber band ball that keeps getting bigger and bigger! My kid loves the huge ball of rubber bands and keeps striving for more.

Net cost to the tutor: $4.25, Net result: over $3,000 in tutoring fees from the Goldmans.

Not a bad ROI. Take whatever you have and break it into pieces. Spread it out over a period of time instead of all at once. Use all your strength to hold back. In coaching we have mapped out a 3 year curriculum.

What activities can you create to keep your customers engaged? How can you make it fun? How can you challenge them? (Think take a picture, have a contest, engage in social media, send a referral. Use your imagination.) How can you track their progress? What incentives can you give them that will make them want to achieve the next step and the next one after that?

Here's my challenge to you. I want you to take action. So, the first three people to share with me how you can or have applied these ideas to your business; I'll send you a copy of my special report, 'How to Create a Crowd.'

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon

Jon Goldman, President