Do you own a business or are “just” a game developer?

5 01 2009

Today I’m in the mood to talk about advertising, so another great quote, this time from the latest Perry Marshall’s newsletter:

If your business is dependent on free customers, you do not have a business. You do not have any kind of “real” business until you have the ability to buy advertising from a variety of available sources and transform that traffic into sales and profits.

Perry specialises in Google Adwords and in this newsletter he talked about free traffic from Google… free thanks to SEO. He points out that if your business relies just on SEO traffic then after another Google Dance you may wake up on page 6 instead of page 1 in search results (or even page 60). And if you don’t know how to buy traffic that converts into sales then you’re running a risky business… in our case you just develop games. Sometimes it’s enough (portals help a lot if you have a great game), but very often is not.

Though even if your strategy relies on free traffic it doesn’t mean you are doomed. Just don’t forget to collect customers informations. When your source of free traffic dries up you can convert existing customers into buyers again (and again (and again))… and if you’re smart you don’t wait until it dries up, you send newsletters already.

Learn the conversion puzzles while you have some money to burn… the best time to do it is after you release your game and get sales peak… when it ends it’s usually too late.

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3 responses to “Do you own a business or are “just” a game developer?”

6 01 2009
Brandonman (00:37:07) :

Hey. This is way off topic, but I have a quick question for you, seeing as you’ve actually had a few selling games. I’ve made a couple games for hobby development available for free, but they haven’t really recieved any raving reviews through downloads. The things I have gotten back (VERY little) say that the game is alright, but polish is lacking. I’m not exactly an artsy type, and I prefer things that can have a nice measure. (Engineer standpoint rather than, I guess, a literature standpoint. Best comparison I can think of at the moment. Objective vs. Subjective, Numbers vs. opinion). Just curious what you think constitutes polish in a game.

6 01 2009
Brandonman (00:38:08) :

Wow. makes no sense. “Haven’t recieved any raving reviews through downloads”. I meant to say I’ve made a couple games for hobby development for free download, but I haven’t really gotten back any good reviews, or many real reviews at, for that matter.

6 01 2009
Roman Budzowski (15:13:18) :

That’s a tough question and it’s worth article on it’s own. It’s hard to define polish, but it’s easy to assign good graphics and sounds to it. Then you need easy control and bug free program.

For freeware games people don’t expect as much polish as they do from commercial games. But they still need a reason to download it and from your website I can tell that you don’t show why I should try your games.

Don’t worry to much about lack of reviews… casual/indie games rarely get reviews even if they are great. If I can get 2-3 reviews for my games then I am extremely happy (not to mention that some developers believe that reviews are worthless in terms of sales).