6 Business Lessons from Wordle

Last week I talked about how Wordle game play mirrors the way good marketing strategy works. (You can click here for that.)
This week, we’re going to talk about 6 business lessons you and I can steal from Wordle.
Lesson 1: No advertising on the page. It’s only the game. Which means it doesn’t feel baity.
The lesson?
Delivering value while asking for nothing in return can be a highly effective marketing strategy
Lesson 2: You don’t have to signup, give an email, create an account, or anything to play Wordle. Super, simple, seamless.
Just a perfect example of removing friction from the customer experience.
Lesson 3: Solving the puzzle is one win. Solving the puzzle in the fewest guesses is a second kind of win. The opposite is also true. When you start, if you can guess it in two or three tries you feel super smart. But if you miss the three-guess mark, you immediately switch to, “Well, as long as I get it in six, I’m still winning.” Which means multiple chances to win and feel good.
So, the question to ask is, where in the buying process can I layer in multiple opportunities for my customers to feel like they’re winning? Where can delight be infused?
Lesson 4: Easily sharable. Which means you can brag and compare.
The real stroke of Wordle genius, the thing that makes it easy to share, is that they made it about the player. You’re not sharing Wordle, you’re sharing your Wordle score. A subtle but wildly important difference.
Want sharable content? Give people content that lets them brag about themselves.
Lesson 5: Time pressure and scarcity. There’s only one puzzle per day. Plus, you have to make sure you play each day by midnight to keep your streak going. Which means it’s top of mind EVERY DAY.
If you could binge play as many puzzles as you wanted, you’d play for like five hours straight, scratch that itch, and lose interest.
Scarcity can drive demand. If you use it, though, you have to make sure it’s scarcity for a legitimate reason. Like production capacity, one off run, or a similarly valid reason.
Lesson 6: Wordle found a good business model and they’re sticking to it. Of course, once people got hooked on the game, they’d demand more puzzles. (Once a day isn’t enough.) Did Wordle cave to demand? I mean, after all, giving the people what they want is good business, right?
Wordle has stuck to what Wordle does. One puzzle a day. They let other copy cats fill the demand for unlimited puzzles and are confident enough to not chase that market share.
The lesson? Choose who to lose. If you’ve found a successful business model, then there’s a very good chance chasing the other side of the market will dilute your brand. Just make sure to do your due research.
Ok, now I have to go play Wordle before midnight. Got to keep that streak going.

– Zac Smith, VC