Note: I wrote this last month with the intent to update it as I progressed, but that happened a lot faster than I expected.
Nana’s currently in the top 10 in the Top Games $5 or Less category. That’s amazing. I’m serious. I didn’t think it would even hit this kind of momentum so soon. Nana is a month old. I figured it would make pennies here and there over the year; maybe enough to buy coffee every now and then, or treat my friends to royalties…but yeah…Nana is getting traffic. Did I say ‘wow’ already? Also, I’ve been getting shout outs from heavy hitters on twitter. Maybe my marketing research is paying off and I’m doing well with it. How did I do it? Reading a lot of developer mistakes and not doing them.
I read a lot of r/gamedev, TIGSource and Lost Garden and gleaned massive amount of knowledge when it comes to process, but the glaring hole I noticed was the lack of marketing initiative. Well, saying a lack is not really the case; game developers avoid marketing like it’s the plague, which is curious to me. Why do developers shy away from marketing? Why not incorporate it in the final steps of any project, be it good or bad?
So, instead of doing what one typically does of either finding a publisher, going to reddit solely to market Nana or other Internet sources, I decided to take a different route. First, and foremost, I’m blogging my progress here and at Gamejolt (Note: If you’re curious, I’m also on Itch.io and Steam). Second, I decided to harass people IRL, since I do not live on the Internet 24/7. I live in a small suburb in Seattle and said suburb has lots of parents and kids. Thank goodness for neighbors!
Perhaps I could go the Linkedin route to test ad effectiveness, since Nana is not a typical game for the typical gamer. Honestly, I will admit that I’m lazy as hell and I know for a fact that marketing is more effective when ‘The Sizzle sells the Steak’, not the actual steak itself. Granted, the article is two years old and Microsoft acquired Linkedin, but that is one place where I know my market is: Old People like myself who are always on their Laptops and who have kids
Dem Marketing Goals: Growing 100 bucks into 1000 bucks.
My marketing plan with Nana is to make 100 bucks off of her. Yes, it’s hella low but I wanted to have seed money to a) Pay to put Nana’s Pettin’ Emporium on Steam without me paying for it out of pocket and b) Have enough cash to do improvements without begging on crowd funding platforms. I’m garbage when it comes to begging Internet strangers for money, but I’m golden when it comes to having genuine excitement about something I believe in and I believe in kids playing with their parents in close proximity!
So first things first, I am not worried about traffic, I want purchases, as cheap as possible, and I wanted my process automated. So I researched the following about how to effectively market a product. I was not worried about marketing a game to gamers because they are not my market; this is a casual game with a specific niche, so I have to find said niche.
- AppSumo | OkDork: What I learned spending $2 Million on Facebook Ads
- Wealth Magnate: Blog Like You’re Talking To Your Friends
- MIT Sloan Review: How To Replicate Success
- Spark Plugging: 6 Easy Ways To Market Your Online Business Offline
Now, I was curious about sales figures from people who used Gamejolt and itch.io. Here are a few reviews.
- u/initials_games: I’ve got my games on itch.io and here are the sales figures.
- u/StartupTim: Are there any itch.io success stories here? If so, could you please post all about it? I’m sure many people would love to hear about it!
- Leaf’s Itch.io Post Mortem: Running an indie game store
So Gamejolt and itch.io are just as I suspected: a place to build and grow as they build a grow. This is not horrible, but it’s a simplistic way to see what Nana is going to endure until she is on Steam. As of this updated post, Nana is nearing the 100 dollar mark. I will post metrics soon, but not to shabby so far.