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Gamifying your course and designing rewards programs

Category: Online Courses

Gamifying your course and designing rewards programs
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Read time: 5min

Time for another Fireside Chat! This time it’s all about connecting with customers through incentives.

This month we’re chatting with Chelsea Perry, our Director of Communications. Many of you have already met Chelsea at a Kajabi event or in the Kajabi Official User Group, so you know she loves interacting with our Kajabi community and getting to know you better. Chelsea sat down by the fire with Jay to talk about how simple rewards can make a huge impact on customers. 

As head of the Kajabi Hero Program, Chelsea has become our resident expert on the value of incentives. Whether you’re looking for ways to gamify your online course, design a rewards program, or simply step up your game as a Kajabi Partner, this Fireside Chat will give you some solid ideas.

Here's what you’ll learn:

  • Lessons from the Kajabi Hero Program on rewarding customers (1:20)
  • The power of gamification and rewards programs (4:35)
  • How can partners create a similar program to the Kajabi Hero Program to convert more referrals and incentivize people to use their partner link. (5:50)

What is gamification?

If you’ve ever played Super Mario Bros—or any video game—you know how addictive it can be. With every obstacle you get past, you earn coins and unlock new worlds. Every new prize means Mario and Luigi get more energy and more lives. 

Who doesn’t want more energy . . . or even better, more lives (even if it is all pretend). 

Gamification is a way of building in elements of a game in order to incentivize people. We’ve seen innovative companies like Starbucks, Target, and Nike build in gamification to motivate people to buy more, engage more, achieve more.

In the world of digital products and online courses, your customers are naturally craving built-in rewards. 

You don’t need extravagant prizes or a high-tech point-tracking system. All you need is a clear journey for your customers, clearly defined milestones, and rewards along the way.

At Kajabi, we believe that every step forward, no matter how big or small, is potentially life-changing. That’s why we designed the Kajabi Hero program to celebrate with our customers throughout their entrepreneurial journey.

“From their first dollar to their first million dollars and beyond, we want to really be there alongside them, in the moment celebrating with them,” - Chelsea Perry. 

There are plenty of milestones or challenges you could consider to define your rewards program. We pick tier markers by revenue and then reward customers with Kajabi swag (e.g., T-shirts, backpacks, and hoodies), but non-revenue based achievement tiers can be just as powerful.

When a customer reaches a certain point in a course, for example, you could offer bonus content, extra coaching sessions, even a simple congratulatory email. Basically, anything that piques your customer’s interest could work as a prize.

Here's what we’ve learned from the Kajabi Hero Program...

1. It's not about the prizes. It's about what they represent.

If you’re agonizing over what types of rewards to offer, the actual prize is not as important as the challenge itself. Chelsea remembers when she first started managing the Kajabi Hero Program, she was surprised at how people got so excited about getting a backpack or a T-shirt. But soon, she realized that the item itself was more of a tangible symbol of their hard work. 

“There's blood, sweat, and tears that went into getting this notebook, right?” she said. “It's so much more than just the swag.”

Research proves that small rewards contingent on performance can be especially powerful motivators for students in online learning programs, according to a study published in Academy of Management Learning and Education. While the reward itself isn’t the reason the student does the work, the student is more likely to enjoy the work and feel a greater sense of control if they get small rewards along the way. 

We know that Kajabi customers’ goals are much bigger than earning prizes. You want to build an empire, provide for your families, make your mark on the world. In the same way, you’re helping your customers do something much bigger than earning prizes. The prizes are more about cheering them on, so they keep moving forward.

2. Marking significant milestones reminds us to look back at how far we’ve come.

Entrepreneurs know the power of retrospect perhaps more than anyone. 

You’re often in the thick of things. Whether you’re putting out fires, learning new skills, or creating a new offering, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything you haven’t done. 

Getting a prize can serve as the pattern disrupter that every entrepreneur needs. It reminds you that although you’ve struggled in the past, you’ve also figured out how to overcome obstacles. Suddenly, you realize what a transformation you’ve made since Day 1. 

Here’s what the $50k milestone meant for Steven Morgan:

3. Milestones keep us focused on moving forward. 

Ah the dread of feeling stuck. We’ve all been there. 

For many entrepreneurs, the ultimate end goal of the business may not always be clear, but focusing on next steps helps build momentum. 

Picture yourself driving down a dark, windy road. Use your headlights to guide you to the next turn, and you’ll eventually get to your final destination. In other words, every success builds on the last. A well-designed rewards program keeps your customers focused on making progress, step by step.


4. It’s an opportunity to connect personally with your customers.

Every time a Kajabi Hero celebrates winning a reward, we feel an immense sense of pride. Our customers love to share their personal stories and transformations, and we love hearing them.

We’re sure you feel the same when your customers reach a certain goal. For example, if they complete your course, publish an ebook, or lose a certain amount of weight in your program, you feel invested in their success. 

For Chelsea, sit-down interviews with at least 25 Kajabi Heroes were an incredible opportunity to connect on a deeper level.

“I got to really dig deep and understand the kind of grit that went into building their business. I talked to all different kinds of people like Dy Ann Parham,” she said. She was blown away by the work Kajabi Heroes were doing, from helping women through menopause to martial artistry, and so much more.

5. Creativity is key.

There’s no magic formula to creating the right incentives or rewards program for every business. As you build out your milestones and prizes, consider what matters most to your customers and your specific goals. 

For example, if you’re a Kajabi partner trying to convert more referrals and incentivizing customers to use the partner link, the goal is to get people interested in Kajabi to see how user-friendly the platform is. You might want to reward those customers with a free training on how they could use Kajabi in their business. 

The possibilities are endless. 

We hope that this Fireside Chat helps you get a better sense of how to create your rewards program.

That’s it for this Fireside Chat! 

Leave a comment and let us know what you think below …

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