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Indie Game Marketing Guide Part 1 - How to create Landing Pages

How to Market Your Indie Game on a Budget Part 1 - Landing Pages - Ready for Sale? So, you've created an incredible app or amazing mobile game and love it. You've worked day and night, implemented awesome features, totally nailed the user experience, polished the graphics to the last pixel and (hopefully) ended up fixing all those nasty bugs. You are ready for prime time and cannot wait to release your apps, sit back and enjoy. This is your big day, and all the hard work will now finally pay off.

But wait a second, are you really ready to put your feet up? As you may know there are around 1,300,000 apps in the App Store (as of WWDC on September 9, 2014). So how can your game stand out and be found? Many developers don't think too much about this and wonder why nobody is downloading their game. Marketing your game is not rocket science, and can be done without a huge budget. It is no secret, however, that marketing requires an awful lot of work. And even if you put in all the extra work: There's no guarantee for success. If you don't try, though, you can't win. That's why we decided to spend a considerable amount of our time on marketing and got our hands dirty.

As a first step we decided to create a Landing Page. Why? With a background in web development it felt natural to us. You can link to it from social network profiles, business cards, QR-Codes, Pay-Per-Click Ads, refer to it when pitching journalists or simply showcase your game to friends and friends of friends. A landing page adds to your credibility and helps building a brand. Bloggers and the press will see that you are serious about game development, and can get a first glimpse to decide whether your game is worthy of their attention. A landing page is your pitch-deck, to journalists, bloggers and interested customers. The barrier to visit a webpage is still much lower than to actually download an app on your mobile device.

Your landing page is tailored for ONE purpose: Present your mobile game and drive conversions. The average visitor most likely does not care too much about who you are, where you come from or what you do for a living, but usually just wants to decide quickly if your game is worth a try. If you pass the initial screening, the visitor wants to play! Make sure to catch her attention immediately and channel her to your download button. A full fledged website with 10 sub-pages will be counterproductive and distract your visitor. As with a first date, the first few seconds will most likely decide about your future relationship. So make sure that the odds are in your favour!

The outline for this article will be as follows:

1. What's a Landing Page and what's the purpose (Short Definition)

2. Must-Haves for a Landing Page (Ideas on content)

3. Why we did what we did (Our interpretation of all this Mumbo-Jumbo)

4. Use Analytics (See the performance of your Landing Page)

5. Additional Notes

 

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App Store Optimization (ASO): Selecting the Right Keywords (Part 3)

In the previous two posts of this App Store Optimization (ASO) Series, we have described how to identify relevant keywords for your app and introduced an easy to follow keyword selection guide to optimize App Store search rankings. As a reminder, our iterative keyword selection process looks like this:

  1. Select relevant keywords
  2. Get keyword characteristics (difficulty and traffic)
  3. Select by difficulty
  4. Optimize traffic

Following these simple steps should already help you compose a solid keyword list, so you won't have to guess your keywords any more. In this final part of our ASO series we introduce our own multi-factor scoring model, which should take your keyword selection skills to the next level.

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A Comprehensive Indie Game Marketing Guide - Overview

So we created and released a math learning game called Blackboard Madness: Math.

After two years of hard work, we want to get our game into the hands of as many people as possible. But that means we have to work on another big chunk of stuff. Screenshots, trailers, a landing page, social media and press work need to get done. Google is our friend (and yours, too!) and has served us many interesting resources. But only reading about how to market an indie game with all the tasks involved is not enough. You have to actually DO all of those tasks (and requires continuous work) ;)

This is supposed to become a comprehensive guide on marketing your indie game (or app). We divided it into a series of blog posts. We'll elaborate on how to market and position an app. Additionally, we'll give you some insights into the process of our (ongoing) marketing strategy for Blackboard Madness: Math.

Outline of Series:
1. Landing Page
2. Social Media Marketing
3. PR Materials: Trailers & Screenshots
4. Press Releases
5. Press List
6. Dev Blog

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App Store Optimization (ASO): Selecting the Right Keywords (Part 2)

In the first part of this series we have described how to find relevant keywords for your app and target audience. You should have a pool of potential keyword candidates and their corresponding keyword properties (traffic and difficulty). Now it's time to start with the actual selection process. To get you started (and not scared off), this post presents an easy-to-follow and hands-on guide on creating a solid keyword list.

All the hard preparation work will now pay off!

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App Store Optimization (ASO): Selecting the Right Keywords (Part 1)

Selecting the right keywords for your app is crucial for your success. Unfortunately, there is no single tool out there that can spare you from doing extensive and tedious research. With over 1.5 million mobile apps and a steady inflow of new titles every day, app developers need to pay special attention to app store optimization (ASO), particularly keyword optimization.

In this series of posts we will explain how to select the right keywords for your app and present an easy-to-follow guide.

In the first part of this series we will describe how to find relevant keywords for your app. Part 2 of this series will outline a basic keyword selection process, which should get you started and function as an easy to follow guide. In the final part of this guide we will present a more "complex", but highly successful selection procedure to choose an even better and improved keyword list.

Whenever possible, we will provide you with real-life examples from our own project. Optimizing your keywords can have an incredibly positive effect on your downloads. Our current statistics indicate that our download numbers increased significantly with our last update. But keep in mind that ASO takes time.

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Math Learning 1.1 - Our First Update

So we released the first update to our debut math learning game Blackboard Madness: Math last friday. The app is now universal and also supports iPhones (from iPhone 4 upwards, since we have no older Apple handheld devices. We are not sure, if the game will work on older devices). Furthermore, we added German localization - from graphics to screen texts, everything has been translated. We are now ready to implement even more languages! All we need are more translators to help us.

Finally, we have been busy with ASO (App Store Optimization) and have developed our own keyword optimization process.to find the best possible keywords for our app. Szilard will be posting a series of articles outlining our procedure shortly.

 

So what's next? Keep up the work, I say!

To keep you up to date, here's a brief summary of what we will be doing in the near future (and that's really it for this post - I have to get stuff done;) )

We have received some valuable user feedback since version 1.0 - and we want to implement it. As mentioned earlier, we have so far included iPhone support and German language.  As a minor improvement, we have also changed the way inactive achievements look like, so that it is clearer that they have not yet been achieved.

Your feedback on our current To-Do-List:

  • Multiplication sign selection - apparently a lot of people want to choose between the signs *, × and .
  • Tutorial screens/hints should be accessible by the user (i.e. pause screen).
  • Game Modes: You will be able to choose addition, subtraction, multiplication and division separately.

 

Also: Android Version and more Languages

In the long run we will try to port Blackboard Madness: Math to a gazillion Android devices. BUT, to accomplish this our code needs some rewriting. We are currently still running on Cocos2d v1 (when we first set up our project this was the most up-to-date version, but a lot has changed since then) and Box2D as our physics engine. Well, today Cocos2D v3.1 is already out. We have heard that this version makes porting to Android easier - so we are currently migrating to the new Version (there are, of course, also a lot of other reasons why we want to ugrade).

I already got translations for Greek, Swedish and Italian - from friends and family. However those need a bit of work before they can be included into our math game.

 

Thank you! For Top 10 in Education!

We made into the Top 10 Education apps in the German App Store for free apps. Thanks for that!

There are even more interesting things going on :) We are currently in the concept and drafting phase for a new game. A multiplayer game (can't tell you much more at the moment). We may publish some screenshots when the idea is more sophisticated ;)

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Blackboard Madness: Math - How it all began

Our exciting journey into game development began roughly two years ago. At that time Szilard was working as a full-time analyst in finance and I was doing media studies and linguistics, but was also working as a freelance designer doing print and digital media.

The Coffee & The Idea

So, we sat down for a cup of coffee one day and discussed our usual unusuals about life, work and everything else and talked about all kinds of random ideas.

I took this picture with my phone when we had "the coffee talk" and got our game idea :)

Cup of Coffee: I took this picture with my phone when we had "the coffee talk" and got our game idea :)


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A long road to go - a lot to learn

So here we are. Our Dev Blog is finished and our first update for Blackboard Madness: Math will be released very soon (90% of the code is done - the update still needs some testing, though). It will finally bring iPhone support and German localization (more languages to come).

The main purpose of this blog is to give you some insights into the work of two indie game developers. We want to share our experience, share what we have learned and where we have struggled.

The first couple of posts will mainly focus on marketing. For this purpose, I have started to outline a series of blog posts about Indie Game Marketing on a Budget. Whenever possible our posts will be autobiographic and outline our own marketing strategy with Blackboard Madness: Math.

We will also write about the creation and evolution of our little math learning game – from its’ humble beginnings to its’ launch and beyond.

So stay tuned and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

By the way... did you download our math learning game? Not yet? DO IT NOW!

You can also rate it and give us some feedback if you like ;)