Marketing an indie game is hard work. Finding succesful advertising channels is even harder. The arcane math for figuring out whether X cents per click translates into Y downloads which translates into Z purchases is frustrating. It’s not that the math is complex. There really isn’t much math involved actually. The work is 50% empirical and 50% assumptions and WAG’s (Wild Ass Guess). I’ve used a combination of Google Analytics, controlling for a single variable type advertising rotation, and anecdotal evidence from customers to conclude that my advertising efforts are pretty meaningless. A mention from Bill Harris on his blog Dubious Quality was probably worth more than my entire (admitedly small) ad budget.
So what is my strategy?
1. Well, I’m going to continue to dabble with Adwords and targeted banners because hope springs eternal. So far these types of ads just haven’t converted into demo downloads or purchases. The hope is that the exposure pays off after some delay. The potential customer comes back later at a more opportune time to really check out the website and game. I’ve got more controlled testing to do before I write this off completely but the prospects don’t look promising at this point for paid per click advertising.
2. Focus on contacting reviewers, game bloggers and raconteurs.
3. Promote the upcoming free mini expansion pack.
4. Get another product out. Work proceeds apace on Project: Brimstone. The greater the mass the stronger the force of attraction.
5. Improve the website with the inclusion of a sign up for a mailing list/newsletter and a poll on how you found it.
This whole process is a war of attrition. Like trench warfare in 1916 gains are measured in yards and not miles and progress is slow. But momentum does build. I’ve been told that the game has a nice buzz going for it in some of the dives and speakeasys of the gaming community. That’s what I need to foster. I got a big boost last week when Jeff Green of Games For Windows mentioned the game on the 1UP YOURS podcast.
I’m going to end this entry with an image from the upcoming free mini expansion pack for Armageddon Empires “Cults of the Wastelands.” Meet the Doomsayers. These are the crack troops of the Fist of the Wasteland. They have a nasty habit of dropping in when you least expect them. Submit or Die.