053: Helping Entrepreneurs Add Engaging Gamification To Courses And Memberships – with Tama-Lea Lorenzen

Tama-Lea Lorenzen, founder of Engaging Gamification joins Ward to chat about how she helps entrepreneurs learn how to add engaging gamification to their courses and memberships to improve implementation and results for their members.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler 0:06
Hey, Tama-Lea, welcome to Member Maker.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 0:38
Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Ward Sandler 0:41
Yeah. So what’s your business and who do you help?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 0:44
Okay, so my business is called engaging gamification. And it’s pretty much what it sounds like. It’s gamification for the purpose of engaging online course students and members in online members. So I help entrepreneurs learn how to add engaging gamification to their courses or memberships in order to improve implementation and results for their members or their students.

Ward Sandler 1:12
Gotcha. So this is like a pure consulting kind of a role.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 1:15
Actually, what I have is I have a membership myself. And the membership is basically a new engaging gamification strategy every month. And so I’ll teach people how to gamify their videos in their content, or I’ll teach them how to do a gamified chat bot for a multitude of purposes, or even more like non technical things such as, how do you create a course map or a membership map, or even a game board for your content so that you’re adding these elements of gamification to your content to make it more fun and to motivate people to continue to consume your content. So I have a membership and then my members get access to that monthly strategy plus some additional things to it.

Ward Sandler 2:00
Yeah, I mean, I’ve definitely heard of gamification. I think that phrase has been around for for a while now. Yeah, I know, I’ve definitely kind of I feel like heard it almost two months. Like I think it became sort of like a fad in a sense where people were just like, yeah, just add gimmick, gamification, whatever that means, and it will just work. And obviously, there’s a lot more nuance to it than that. So I would assume that since you have an entire membership on this, you kind of teach the right and wrong ways to to use gamification, right?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 2:24
Absolutely. Yeah, so exactly what you just said, a lot of people will be like, well, I added a bingo game. It’s gamified. Right. And, really, the the intention of again, of engaging gamification is to make sure that people are engaging in your content, because if they don’t engage in it, right, that means that they’re not going to get through it. They’re not going to implement anything you’re teaching and therefore they’re not going to get results. And if we can’t get results for our members or students, then we don’t have a successful business. It might last for a while it might we might kind of get by but unless we’re really showing people We are helping them to get results in the way that they want to see them. We don’t really have a business. So yes, there are a lot of nuances to gamification. And it’s more than just creating a bingo game, right? You have to have an objective behind it, you have to apply a strategy that appeals to your particular audience. And then you have to do follow up with everyone, you know, to make sure that, that they’re actually implementing what you’re asking them to do. So yeah, it is nuanced, for sure.

Ward Sandler 3:29
And for folks out there who aren’t quite familiar with what gamification actually is, could you give just a quick summary?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 3:35
Yeah, you bet. So the way I described gamification and many other people do as well is just that it’s taking strategies and mechanics of games and any kind of game right card games, board games, video games, etc. and applying those to content. I guess gamification as a general term would be applying that to anything to motivate people to do something. So actually game mechanics and game strategies to anything to motivate them to do something. And so then engaging gamification is the same idea, applying gaming strategies and mechanics to your content to get people to engage in them. So that’s what the engaging gamification part is, is it’s engaging people in your content.

Ward Sandler 4:21
Right, exactly. So things like having badges or levels or things that are kind of related to games, but applying that to, you know, maybe the most active users things like that, that make them get, you know, rewards of a kind to continue doing the action.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 4:36
Yeah, totally. And what I love is that like, that’s the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind, because that’s, I mean, that’s just what we generally think of when we think of gamification. But there are other pieces besides just badges and levels, which those can work again, you have to like apply them in the right way. But it’s also things like making sure that your students or members get quick wins right in the beginning. If you’ve ever You know, played like, okay, so I’m 44. So my era is like Super Mario Brothers and not Super Mario Brothers like on the Super Nintendo like on the original Nintendo. But when you play any game like that they don’t throw you right into the trenches and give you like the hardest level, right? They want you to learn how to play the game. So they give you really easy wins up front, not only so you learn how to play the game, but also so you continue to play the game. So it’s that kind of thing. So simplifying, and giving people easy wins up front. It’s also about making sure that you’re providing learning in the way that people are ready to accept it. In other words, micro learning, right? Not everybody. And most people don’t have time to sit down and listen to an hour long video of you describing how to do something, because then not only are they listening to that video, but then they have to go implement what you’re teaching. So these little micro bursts of learning or training is part of gamification as well. So yeah, so there’s so much that you can use from the gaming world and how they basically get people addicted to their games that you can apply to your content as well.

Ward Sandler 6:07
Understood. So how did you actually get into this business niche? It’s obviously very specific.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 6:12
Yeah, so my background is in training. So I was a corporate trainer and I, for the last eight or nine years, I’ve worked at a couple universities here in town, so college instructor as well. And when I was first hired as a corporate trainer, nobody trained me how to be a trainer. So it was really like trial and error with a lot of error to figure out how do I stand in front of a roomful of people and not get a bunch of blank stares back? And so I really had to learn that on my own and it it fascinated me that it took me years to really figure out that there is a science and an art to engaging people. And so when I wanted to take my business online, I started taking online courses. About how to create online courses, and realize that what at that time what most people were saying was in order to create a course, you just throw some slides together and then record yourself talking over those slides. And I knew from doing in person training that that wasn’t enough to get people engaged. And you know, we have, like, you’ve you’ve probably heard the statistics of how many online courses are actually completed, and it’s really low. And that’s probably part of the reason is that most people tell you how to do the structural parts of a course like, okay, you break it down into modules, and then you do lessons and you need videos and you need slides, but they don’t tell you how to teach. And that is, obviously a science and again, and art. So when I was moving my business online, I wanted to teach people online. I was kind of appalled by the lack of information on how to teach and make things engaging. And one of my favorite ways to make training engaging was through gamification. So I really just niche down to that specific area and decided, Well, you know, if I’m going to teach anything online it might as well be this right and doesn’t help that or it doesn’t hurt that it’s not tons of fun as well.

Ward Sandler 8:11
Ya know, and it’s definitely ironic that you were learning how to be a trainer but no one actually trained the trainer’s that’s a red flags.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 8:20
I can’t even tell you how many times I was totally I’ll have time to train you. I’m like, this is the training department.

Ward Sandler 8:28
So just for the pricing here, what do you actually charging for your membership?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 8:33
I have been charging $39 a month but I’m going to with my next launch, increase that to $49 a month. So the membership is about nine months old now. And you know, I feel like that I’ve got I’ve got a lot of content and it’s constantly upgrading kind of how I do things. And so I’m ready to kind of take it to the next level and I think people will see that there’s definitely value in that but honestly the the biggest problem with Upgrading prices, just the confidence that people will pay that. And I decided I’ve got to get over that.

Ward Sandler 9:07
Yeah, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that people being a little concerned. Right not confident about you know, if I make it as much as everybody gonna leave, or is no one gonna join, and just that generally almost never happens. It’s kind of like one of those irrational fears we have especially, you’re talking about a jump from 39 a month to 49. That’s not gonna make or break almost anyone. So, exactly. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. But for that $39 a month starting point, where did that number come from? And what’s what’s the feedback you’ve heard from people so far?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 9:38
To be honest, that number kind of came from the fact that I was thinking about starting at $29 a month, and at the last minute, someone says, that is not enough. You need to charge like 49 and I said, How about 39 you know, and so it was just kind of a number I felt comfortable with. There really was no science behind it. But I’ve been you know, it’s And growing and I haven’t heard, you know, anybody say that’s not, you know, that’s too much or I’m not getting value out of it. I hear the contrary. So, yeah, so moving forward, I just I’m confident that I’m able to provide enough value that people will be will happily pay that.

Ward Sandler 10:18
Okay, cool. So that makes sense in terms of the pricing and thinking through it. And it sounds like you haven’t heard too much negative feedback on that and you’re just kind of continually moving towards wanting to charge a little bit more 49 do you think do you see yourself ever charging more than that or having tears at some point?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 10:34
So I do foresee charging more, I do believe what I offer is worth more. And so honestly, it It truly is just a confidence thing. And I’ll be I’ll be the first to admit that that probably is the only thing holding me back in a lot of areas. I think that’s pretty much human nature, but tears possibly. So I’m like I said, I currently am an instructor at local college. And I love that and not sure I want to give that up. And I would need to do that if I was going to offer more like one on one, coaching and consulting. So it’s kind of a, I’m just not ready to give up my teaching yet in order to have the time to do that. But it’s a possibility.

Ward Sandler 11:17
Yeah, here. Yeah. And then obviously, there’s the other way of thinking of it is that you don’t necessarily need to have one on one or give up the teaching job. It could just be thinking through other ways to deliver more value or maybe targeting higher end kind of customers, like, for example, if there’s a business out there, who needs help with, you know, gamification for their software or something like that. They are going to be willing to pay more than four $9 a month, especially if it’s a real business.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 11:43
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. For sure. And I’ve had a couple of those requests, actually. And again, it’s just been a matter of, do I have the time that that kind of, you know, interaction would take in order to really fully commit to because here’s the thing when I worked in corporate The number one thing that bothered me about working for someone else as I had never felt like I had enough time to commit to doing something good doing it the right way, it was always faster, cheaper, better, and that that doesn’t work, you might be able to do one or two of those, but not all three. And feel good about it. I never felt good about it. So I really enjoy having the freedom to spend a lot of time on the content I create, because it makes me feel good about what I’m putting out there. So yeah, so we’ll see. And then the other thing I was going to say is like, I’m also thinking about adding some different types of services. So not necessarily to the membership, but some one offs, but I’m, you know, still kind of thinking about that and how that works with the time I have.

Ward Sandler 12:48
Yeah, and this also reminds me of the concept of just you know, having enough or being enough with what you’re doing if all you’re doing is providing income and you’re enjoying it and it’s not taking up too much time and allows you to also do And do other things. That’s okay. It doesn’t need to be some giant billion dollar, you know, membership isn’t, it’s okay to be something that is part time. And it doesn’t need to get bigger than that necessarily that that’s okay. I think a lot of people are in the mindset that it has to grow, always if it’s not growing, you’re doing something wrong. And that’s not necessarily a healthy way to look at it.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 13:20
It’s so funny that you say that, because so my undergrad degree is in business management with a focus on small business strategy and entrepreneurship. And then one of the classes I teach is on entrepreneurship at the university level. And that has always been my belief is that most classes, especially at a State University, are about big business and how do you, you know, get angel investing? And how do you get VCs and all that and that’s not how the majority of small businesses or any business get started. The majority of businesses are bootstrapped. They’re not funded by you know, a large bank or a VC or something along those lines, even though that’s what we tend to see most on TV. You know, our students are being taught that that most textbooks, that’s what they teach. So when I’m teaching and also, what I’ve believed, as I’ve kind of gone through the college process myself is that, you know, this doesn’t have to be the only way that businesses run. So we can create a business that’s based on what kind of lifestyle we want to live. And that doesn’t mean doesn’t have to mean borrowing money to do it. So like you said, having a business that’s maybe even just part time is perfect. It can be whatever you want it to be. That’s the beauty of it.

Ward Sandler 14:30
Yeah, I think it’s really well put. So how did you actually build this initial audience? Right, if you were doing consulting, and you’re more in the corporate world? How did anyone even know that you were doing this? And how did you get people to pay attention to you?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 14:42
Yeah, so I did a few different things. But the one that really got me an audience quickly was a Facebook ad. It took some different iterations of the idea but I basically put together a lead magnet and put together a Facebook ad and just started growing my email list. And again, I want to emphasize that that took Several different tries. Because I think a lot of people here, you know, I’ll just put up a Facebook ad and a lead magnet and blah, blah, blah. And yes, you, you can do that, but just be prepared that you might have to work at it to get it to work. In other words, make it profitable, or at least doable for you to add people to your list. So that’s, that’s really the majority of how I built my list as I just kept running that Facebook ad for whatever I could afford to do. And honestly, at one point, I was paying for my Facebook ads by driving Uber and Lyft. Because I didn’t know any other way to make make it happen. And I wasn’t going to borrow money or put my Facebook ad spend on a credit card. So I paid for it that way. And then eventually when I started putting offers out to that list, it started paying me back. So the upfront investment of driving Uber and Lyft really worked out.

Ward Sandler 15:50
Yeah, no, I like it. You’re you were scrappy. So yeah. bootstrapping, right. Yes. Yes, exactly. So adding people to a list via Facebook ad and then The actual content delivered that list I assume was is free, like blog posts and things like that.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 16:04
Yes. So mostly I just delivered content through my facebook group. So I have a Facebook page, a Facebook group, and then of course, the email list. And so I just kind of provide content through those three channels to warm them up, right, so to speak, make sure that I’m giving them value before I’m asking for anything in return. And then when I do a launch to my membership, it’s basically another Facebook ad and an email to my list that’s inviting people to do a five day challenge. And in that five day challenge, I teach them how to create a virtual scavenger hunt, which anyone could could learn how to do and anyone could use regardless of their, you know, course or membership or even just in a Facebook group. And then, you know, eventually there’s a pitch to the membership. And there were a lot of times when I tried to do all the bells and whistles of all of the different launches, different launch styles and all the things that you could include it but it’s just again, it’s just me and I At the time, I was working a full time job while trying to do this, and I just couldn’t do it all. So I paired it down and it worked. And so now that I’m mostly doing this, and on the side teaching, I’m adding more and more elements to hopefully increase the conversion rate.

Ward Sandler 17:16
Gotcha. And do you have an example of something you’ve tried in the business that just didn’t work?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 17:21
Yes. So I was just telling you about kind of my sales funnel into the membership being a Facebook ad to a free challenge to kind of a webinar that’s more like a training right with a sales pitch in it to a sales page. And I thought, which is a good thought it just didn’t work out. The first time I tried it was that if I could get people to pay for the challenge, even if it was $10, that I could get more I could afford to get more people into the challenge therefore increasing the number of members. I added, because my upfront Facebook spend wouldn’t be so high, right because I when I’m doing the challenge for free, I have to shell out however many You know, a couple thousand dollars in Facebook ads, and then I have to wait until I pitch them the membership to get that money back. And I can only do that up to a certain amount without having to borrow a lot of money. And I’m not going to do that. So I thought, well, I’ll just charge $10 other people have charged for their challenges, I’m sure it’ll be fine. I kind of upped my language a little bit to make it more like a sales page instead of just Hey, join this free challenge kind of thing. It did not work at all. And the thing that I learned most from that process is not that I’m not going to do that in the future, because I will certainly try that again. I needed to allow myself more time to test that thought before relying on it for the very next launch. So I followed my regular launch process. But instead of having a free challenge, it was a $10 challenge. And it just, it was a massive failure. And I had to like pivot after three days of running the Facebook ads to attend dollar challenge and I had to change everything. To get it to go back to a free challenge, so in the future, I will try that again. But what didn’t work is that I did not allow any time to test and tweak before it kind of went live, so to speak. Gotcha.

Ward Sandler 19:12
Okay. So in closing here, what are some resources you’d recommend for folks that are building membership businesses so outside of your own, so things like blog posts, podcasts courses?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 19:23
Okay, so here’s the thing, I’m gonna recommend something kind of non conventional, or unconventional, and that is a planner system, which I used to think I was the queen of organization, but the problem was I was trying to do too much into I just I didn’t have enough time for all the things that I thought I should be doing and wanted to do. So I had the pleasure of going on a vacation with my mom where I just basically sat on the beach for a week and did absolutely nothing which is very rare for me. And I delved into Michael Hyatt full focus planner kind of structure. That has saved my life this year, like, instead of trying to do 100 things poorly, he teaches that you need to pick the top priorities. And really, there’s only three per day and three per week, and just work on those things. And I have made so much more progress and have felt so much more calm and successful by following his planner process, and I’m going to tell you like that, it’s really funny for me to say, because I’m not usually a pen and paper kind of person. I like the to do list and I like Trello and all of the things that are online, but having a planner, that’s paper and pen really has made a difference for me and helped me to focus on just doing the three things I can do today.

Ward Sandler 20:46
Fantastic. I like I like that philosophy. I think that makes a lot of sense. I do something similar myself. Yeah. So what’s the best way for listeners to learn more about you and your business?

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 20:56
You can find me at engaging gamification.com Have a freebie there for you if you’d like and also, if you just search engaging gamification, on Facebook, you can find my page and also my group.

Ward Sandler 21:08
Awesome. Well, thanks for spending time with me Tama-lea.

Tama-Lea Lorenzen 21:11
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.