6d6 Marketing – What Worked and What Didn’t

Following yesterday’s post on the 6d6 sales figures, today I want to look at how our marketing worked.

Strategy 1. Look Busy

Part of the strategy was to increase the frequency of blog posts to constantly remind people of the 6d6 RPG and its imminent release. Normally we post about once a week but for the period around the release, late June to mid-July, we posted nearly everyday. This was backed up by a high degree of Tweeting and Facebook messages.

Traffic to the blog increased by approximately 12% compared to late April to mid-May and more people looked at more pages for longer.

Visits 6,017 Previous: 5,345 (+12.57%) Pageviews 10,652 Previous: 8,894 (+19.77%)
Pages/Visits 1.77 Previous: 1.66 (+6.39%) Avg. Time on Site 00:01:11 Previous: 00:00:57 (+24.03%)

Critically, a lot of the traffic end-up on 6d6RPG.com where they could buy products. It is not clear if any of the extra effort spent on increased blogging actually converted in in sales but it is obvious that it raised awareness of the products and the web site where they could be purchased.

Strategy 2. Mailing Lists

We ran two mailing lists during the promotion period. The first is the general 6d6 newsletter that consists of everyone who signed-up for the newsletter and everyone who gave us their email address at demo-games. This is about 150 names. The second list was for those people who were specifically interested in the online tools and contained about 25 names.

Newletter readers were given regular updates about the products in the weeks leading up to the release. They also received a chance to by the launch bundle for just £10 (compared to £15 for everyone else) and to buy it three days early. Five people purchased this specially discounted bundle, which is about 3% of the mailing list. This is a good to very good response rate for a direct marketing campaign.

The one-off Online Tools mailing list generated three sales from a list of 25, or 12%. This is a really amazingly good response rate.

Obviously both lists were small (especially the Online Tools) and there were lots of other factors involved so any sort of statistical analysis is dubious. However what is clear is that mailing lists are important sources of sales. Also that one-off, product specific lists are valuable. We will be giving some thought about how to do more with mailing lists for our next releases.

Strategy 3. Special Offers

Our launch bundle was £10 to members of the mailing list (available for three days only) or £15 to general public (available for one week). Bought at list price 6d6 Core is £7.50 and Outbreak! is £10 plus the generic card decks worth £8. During the launch period only one person purchased either the 6d6 Core or Outbreak! separately.

It is impossible to know what difference it would make if the products had only been available individually. Would people of only brought the core rules? Based on the data we have and well accepted thinking about consumer behaviour, discount bundles do encourage customers to buy the product and, possibly, spend more in the process.

Special offers also have the advantage that they give us an excuse to promote the product. It is not meaningful to occasional do a blog post saying “Look, the 6d6 Core is still available!”. It is, literately, not news. Introduce a time-limited special offer and now a blog post like “Look, the 6d6 Core is cheaper than it was” is viable.

Special offers not only increase sales but also allow us to promote existing products, maximising the value of the long-tail. Expect to see plenty more from 6d6 in the future.

Strategy 4. Affiliates & Reviews

6d6 operates an affiliate programme plus we are a member of the RPG Bloggers Network and the RPG Blog Alliance. All the affiliates and bloggers of the two networks were offered chances to download the various products and review them. Whilst one or two people did take up the opportunity to download them, so far no reviews have come out of it.

This failure to engage other blogs and to get reviews has seriously limited our exposure to a wider audience. Whilst we get a steady stream of really positive comments from people who have played the game, unless we can get good reviews from well respected web sites, 6d6 can never reach a wide audience.

Honorable Mention – Google Plus

This certainly wasn’t part of the plan but Google Plus launched a few days before the launch of 6d6 Core. Thanks to Blind Geek UK I got on very quickly and soon had a decent sized circle of RPG types, some old friends, some new. This gave me a great opportunity for social networking promotion, especially as Facebook has just screwed me over. The Hangouts feature especially is a boon and is perfect for demonstrating 6d6.

I can attribute just one sale of the launch bundle to G+ but it has helped me raise the awareness of 6d6 amongst a new crowd. Future marketing strategies will definitely be built around it.

Observation 1. Way To Small

The marketing, generally, worked well. Critically, even novel ideas, such as the Online Tools Lifetime Membership, generated sales. This proves that the product and the marketing message is good and can deliver the sales we need.

However the big problem is that most people still haven’t heard of us. With only a few hundred Twitter followers, a similar number of Facebook likes and G+ circles we are only reaching a tiny fraction of the RPG market. Unless we can get our message out to a much wider audience all the other marketing efforts will never generate enough sales to make 6d6 a viable business.

The failure of Strategy 4. needs to be seriously addressed. With no advertising budget we are dependent on good reviews to spread the word beyond our current readership.

Observation 2. Pretty Good Overall

Despite the limited sales and reach of our marketing, I am very happy with it. We were never going to generate hundreds of sales right out of the gate but the last few week have given me a solid start. Now I can begin the planning for the next few months of launches.