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Up To The Top - Marketing Successes And Failures

In continuation of my last post, I go over what seemed to work for us and what didn't

Hi everybody :) 

Since we shipped our iPhone platform game Up To The Top in June, we have made a total of a little more than 2300 sales.

The number might initially seem low, but we consider it a succes compared to what we heard many other debut games reach, and the fact that it was our debut game, made with no budget, while we all go to school full time.

The game made number 2 overall game/app in Denmark, and had some sales in the US, but never enough to make any rankings.

We got some interesting advice through the blog here on how to market our game, and we explored many different possibilities on our own, and tried as many as we thought we had time for.

Pre Release:

We were very active on two danish gaming community sites, an international iPhone Game site (Toucharcade), our own website, facebook and twitter. 

It is not so easy as to measure how much of this activity translated directly in to sales. The main reason for this is that there is no tool that shows you what site people came through before they made the purchase.

We can make some qualified guesses though! :)

Our own website:

we saw about  800 unique hits each month for the 2-3 month we promoted it. Those are decent numbers, but mainly it was hits from people who came from blog posts on other sites. And rarely from google searches.

Interesting site point here, the one thing that generates the most hits on our site through google searches are the two tutorials on there. So an advice to developers, if you want hits without having to promote your site, write some tutorials and share with the world :)

In conclusion though I do not think that our own website did much to improve our overall sales, based on the fact that most people who visited came from sources where they pretty much had been able to read everything that was already on there. 
I would not say it was a waste of time to keep it going though, because it is an incredible learning tool to blog. It forces you to reflect on your choices and often reconsider things you thought you were done thinking about.

Community sites, danish and international:

We were active on 3 sites, and really tried to answer all questions as quickly as possible, and I think we succeced in supporting our threads very well, something that is more time consuming that you would think, even for only three forums.

The danish sites were really valuable to us, and based on the direct feedback in the forums, I am certain that this has lead to a big part of our sales. 

It was a little bit easier to break through with an interesting story, because of the fact  that we were locals, and that the danish game business is very new.

We altso ran threads on toucharcade and they too, went very well. We saw alot of views and a decent amout on comments on our threads, but unfortunately never got featured on the front page. This happened on the two danish sites, and really helped improve the traction of the threads.

Common for all three sites where that we dedicated a lot of time to answer questions and requests several times a day, and this is really what gave us such good resuslts, compared to what you can expect as a newcomer in this fast moving market.

Social Media, Facebook and Twitter:

We used these very extensively! Especially Facebook, the strength of facebook for us was that we all had around 400+ friends and that meant direct exposure to 1200 people. That number may not seem so high, but take the time to think if just 1% shares our status with their 400+ friends, it quickly escalates (in a good way:D)

We encouraged people on our friends list to share our game link, and mailed old friends and people we only met a few times and asked for the favor.

People were surprisingly supportive.

We got our link shared almost 250 times ! 

I havent done the math as to how many people that is, but that is great invaluable exposure, that comes for no $ just time spent. Facebook was a major player in getting our high sales and I think it really proves that social media can work as a marketing tool. 

With regard to twitter, this is the first time we used it, so we had to build our followers while trying to market, so we really werent in the best position to get the full potential of twitter as a marketing tool.

That being said we did get contacted by some very nice and very helpful people on twitter that helped us cross promote the game via their followers.

The sales in countries other than Denmark weren't that significant, and that is the reason why we concludes that twitter didn't contribute much for us sales wise.

We did however build up a group of followers and believe that we are in much better position to get some potential out of twitter for our next release.

Dont worry, the blog is almost over :p
I am leaving out review sites and competitions for now and I will cover them in my next blog. The reason for this is I dont want to clutter the debate and I would really like to hear from other developers, indies especially, what you have found to be working for you. 

Did you find a way to get some sales from your website, or do you rely solely on "real ads" or what worked for you? Or perhaps more interesting, what burned you?

I hope you found this interesting and want to participate in the marketing debate

Sincerely
Peter 

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