I’m pretty sure there’s only like 5 people checking this site right now, because I haven’t started my big marketing push yet. But how am I supposed to know if my marketing does anything if I’m not keeping track of page hits? So I signed up for Google Analytics like all the cool kids do. Back in the Goals post I wrote that goals should be “specific measurable goals, with a time-frame, and [you should] review those goals as you go.” If I invest a bunch of money in a method of marketing but my site traffic doesn’t go up by a specific amount that I think it should, then I can look at the numbers and say “Logically, I know I should stop spending money in that method” and stop it, tweak it, or try a different method(s).

Our business coach told us one of the fastest ways new companies tank is by blowing their budget on ineffective marketing. I’m told that a lot of advertising services will do some pretty sneaky stuff. Like if you don’t get any business out of the ads you place with them the first month, they go “You have to give it a couple months to really kick in, trust me, Kid, who’s the advertising executive here?” and take a puff of their evil cigar and twirl their evil moustache and an inexperienced businessman goes “oh, okay, I guess that makes sense…” and pays for another month of ineffective advertising.

There’s nothing wrong with spending money, especially on advertising. I read a quote somewhere where a guy said “If I was making a game, I would make the game for free and spend the entire budget on marketing.” The traditional indie way is to make a cool game and just cross your fingers hoping people will spread news about it by word of mouth because of the quality of it. Unfortunately there are countless stories and statistics showing that without putting in an actual pro-active marketing effort, it often doesn’t matter if your game is amazing…no one knows it’s out there.

It’s important to know your target demographic. For general business, are you targeting men? Women? What age range? Does that age range have money? Who in the household makes financial decisions about your product? Toy manufacturers appeal to kids because even though parents are the ones holding the money, kids are the ones who make the financial decisions on which toys to buy when they go “Moooommmm!!! Can I get this? Pleeeease???” in the toy store.

Tires are advertised in the Sports section of newspapers. Why? Because generally men are the ones making tire-purchasing decisions, and the Sports section covers a large part of that demographic. That’s smart!

When Taco Bell started up, how did they decide where to put store locations? They just looked for McDonald’s restaraunts and went “Okay, let’s build a Taco Bell across the street” because logically McDonald’s had already invested a ton of money on researching that location’s potential, so Taco Bell just piggy-backed on their research. Brilliant!

Blackberry is coming out with an iPad-esque device. If you’ve decided to develop software for it, you have to look at the demographic that’s going to use it. Blackberry tends to be for corporations (here in Calgary especially…anyone with a BB is probably a consultant, investment banker, etc.). So logically those people are probably 25+, walking around in suits and going to business meetings, and they have a lot of money. Do they want to buy a fart soundboard App on their BB? Probably not. But would they buy business applications like accounting software or contact list management software? Probably. On top of that, because as a demographic they probably make decent money, they can afford to pay more money for that software. That’s why BB Apps are like $30 to buy. I read a news report that says the BB pad is already being embraced by the corporate culture. So if you want to make some quick cash, make some good business software for the BB pad, instead of a fart soundboard.

Our business class was designed around traditional local businesses (cleaning companies, bookkeeping services, etc.) so a lot of the marketing routes that work for those guys don’t really work for me. Am I gonna’ take out an ad in the local newspaper? No, that’s silly. What is that, like half the population of Calgary. Then rule out anyone in that population who doesn’t have an iPhone, doesn’t play games, etc. etc. It’s not an efficient marketing investment. Taking out an ad in a videogame magazine however? That’s closer. Taking out an ad in a mobile phone related magazine? Even closer. Taking out an ad in some kind of iPhone specific magazine? Perfect! THAT’S where to spend the marketing money.

I won’t be advertising in magazines because I think it’s too expensive and most gamers get their news online these days. So I’m going to be looking for Press Release services that target news websites about the indie game industry, mobile game news, iPhone game news…maybe even entrepreneur sites since I’m running a start-up here. If you tell me you’ll charge me $100 to send out my Press Release to 10,000 random sites, or $200 to send my Press Release out to 500 highly targeted sites, I’m going to take the $200 option because that’s going to be my target demographic and more likely to result in actual sales.

Fortunately I found some free Press Release services. Once I get my Press Release back from my coaches and finalize it, I’ll post it up along with links to the Press Release services I’ll be using! I’m probably going to use a mix of free ones and pay ones to see what the difference is. Maybe I can re-word my press release slightly for each service so that I can track which service was worth the money…hey, that’s smart, haha Go me!

- Quickdraw

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