To make $50. 000 we would need about 2800 sales. If we assume that one out of hundred players purchase our game, then game's conversion rate would be 1. %. The rule of thumb could be that very targeted games receive higher conversion rates, up to 2%, 3% or even 5% while more generic games, or games with severe competition may receive a . 1% - conversion rate. That means about 1-5 sales per 1000 downloads. Let's assume we try to get our game's quality to such a level that we can receive a 1. 0% conversion rate.
Now as we do some math we can see that to reach 2800 sales we would need 280. 000 downloads for our game. A goal wouldn't be divisions: months, quarters or years - or something that suits us best. 2. Distribution - Select the Right Channels For Our Game: There are several options for distributing your game. Indies and casual games tend to follow these main distribution channels: * Direct website store * Retail stores * Portals * Content delivery systems * Publisher channels Depending on our company's strategy, our marketing plan might use more than one distribution methods.
An easy choice for direct selling would be to set up a website and concentrate on optimizing our website. If we have a casual game, we might consider casual game portals. Different portals have different requirements for games. Here are some of the most common portals: Big Fish Games, Sea's Pogo, Gumshoes, Gametal, Agamemnon, Playgirls, Real Arcade, Showplace, Teargases, Yahoo Games. Include the portals we want to target in our marketing plan and check the top 10 bestsellers from each portal.
After we have gone through the list, we have a better understanding on what kind of games portals want and how we can improve our product to meet their guidelines. It is possible to contact retailers directly but in some cases, it can be very difficult or practically impossible. However, we can make it so that it's easy for them to contact you. Set up our company website in such way that distributors can easily get touch with us. Arrange the distribution options by country or by some other region. If we want to contact some publishers, then go on and make a deal.
There are publishers that can deal with the retail stores. Besides retail stores and portals, there's always the publisher opportunity. There are many Indies game publishers that can get a deal for us: some of the popular ones are Garage Games, Ninetieth and OPAC. All these companies provide different terms, and our marketing plan can change depending on the deals we make. If we commit ourselves to creating an exclusive deal with some of the publishers, then we might not be allowed to sell the game through our website, thus making direct selling options unavailable.
Besides pure publishers, there are also content delivery systems available. Our marketing plan should tell us which channels we are going to use, and which ones we'll ignore. 3. Product - Have Something to Sell: Offer a high-quality product that people want to purchase. If the conversion rate is very low, then it might suggest that our product simply doesn't offer enough quality. Ask what players and other developers think about our product and refine the product until we start hearing that the only problem with our game is that "it's too addictive".
Remember: the low conversion rate doesn't necessarily indicate a bad website or the demo are poor, then forget polishing the product and move on to the next step in the marketing plan. Make sure our product offering is in sync with our distribution strategy. If we are aiming for the portals, make sure our game appeals the portals and their players. If we are using retailers to get hardcore gamers to play our game, we need to design our product for the retail store customers. 4. Promotion - Make People Aware of Your Game: The next step in the marketing plan is to choose how to get people information about our product.
You need to make people aware of our game and either guide them to our website for more information, or to get them to download the game through various sources. How we make the offer depends on the market segments our company has targeted. There are different types of players, games and needs. "Casual gamers" have different playing habits than "hardcore gamers". 6-year old kids play differently compared to 15- or 30-year old players. Females and males have different needs and wants for games. In Japan , they favor different kinds of games than in Germany .
It's our Job to define the market segments, and decide which segment (or segments) you choose to target our marketing. There are several ways to segment the consumer market. The four common marketing segmentation variable types are: geographic (most likely world region or country, but also cities), demographic (age, gender, education, religion, occupation, income, family size), cryptographic (social class, lifestyle, personality) and behavioral casual to heavy user, attitude towards service, loyalty towards company, awareness stage, attitude towards product, genre, favorite games).
Also the technical aspects (speed of Internet connection, age of computer) could be included in the segmentation. After we have chosen the segments, we position our marketing message. Positioning is arranging our whole market offering in a way that it distinguishes our product. If we position ourselves as offering the lowest price for young strategy gamers then the market message is much different than if we try to get offer high-quality, non-violent Ames for very religious players. After we have selected our target segments, we need to reach those audiences in different ways.
Here's a list of promotion efforts we might want to consider: major download sites, advertising, press releases, PAD services, magazine reviews, website reviews, news sites, other major websites, blobs, contests, nominations, affiliates, articles, forums, conferences, banner ads, text link ads, link exchanges and newsletters. There are also very creative options such as advertising banner in our own car back window or leaving demo CDC in busses - so use our imagination. Depending on our distribution channel options, the promotion could be totally expect the publisher to take care of the promotion. . The Website - Get Players to Download Our Game Demo: The game marketing plan lists what we will do for our website. Our websites main purpose is to get people to download the demo of our game. That means our plan should include the steps that we will take to enhance the websites marketing capabilities. If our site gets visitors that visit only the first page and leave without downloading, then we need to refine our website. The other reason for our website to exist is to get people to purchase our game.
The website traffic will be estimated and website specific goals (the rate of downloads) will be refined to meet the download goals after initial number of downloads are received. 6. The Demo - Get Players To Purchase Our Game: Our game demo has only one single goal: to close the deal, to get the player to purchase the game. It's very important to have a good demo version of our game that fills its purpose. If the conversion rate - the rate of people who purchase the game after testing it - is low, then we might need to adjust our demo.
Concentrate on following issues: 1] Demo feature limitations: does the demo have limited features (like less units, levels, powers etc. ) compared to the full version? Are we sure we are telling the player what he will get if he buys? Add nag screens to both beginning and the end of the demo. Use those screens to explain the limitations and benefits of purchasing the game.  Demo time limitations: time limitation combined with feature limitations can be advantageous: offer 1 5 demo launches or 60 minutes of gamely, or a 30-day period. Or try something in between. 3] Guide the player to make the purchase: is it easy (within one or two mouse clicks) or player to purchase your game or enter to our game's purchase page? If not, adjust the demo. 7. Measurement - Be Aware of What's Going On: The only way to make sure we are flying in the right direction is to constantly check where we are heading: be sure to measure impacts of different modifications. If we decide to change the price, promotion or demo, be sure to measure the effects. Conduct an A/B split test for our game price: try both a $20 and a $30 price to see sales. Do we get more sales with different demo limitations?
Test it. Do the sales increase if we offer a better tutorial in game? Does it help to have nag screens in the beginning and in the end of the demo? 8. Maintenance - Make Sure The Passengers Are Happy: Our marketing plan involves maintenance: how are we going to deal with the customers and build such a relationship with our current customers that they come back and purchase from us again. Customer support could include FAQ lists, support databases, and automated emails. Our marketing plan should describe how we will maintain the relationship with our customers. Will we use support forums or outsource our customer support?
Will we use customer relationship management CRM) tools? Will there be an online chat available for those who purchase? Will we use blobs or newsletters to inform the players about our product updates? Our marketing plan will tell us how we will deal with the relationship: it will tell us whether we let our publisher or portals handle customer support, or use all or some of the methods discussed earlier. 9. Refinement - Adjust Our Flight Plan: The last step in the marketing plan is to refine the plan. Go to step 1 and adjust our goals. If we think our conversion rate is dropping to . 5% feel free to double the goal for download number.
As you double our download number goal we know that you need to focus on more promotion rather than optimizing the demo, website or product. On the other hand, if you choose to refine the conversion rate, then we know that you should focus on the quality of your game, demo or website rather than promotion. Conclusions: The Indies game marketing plan describes the goals derived from a company's strategic objectives. The main idea for the marketing plan is to describe the goals, decide the actions necessary to reach those goals, measure and eventually refine the plan as the production progresses.