Feature: E-Marketing Best Practices

Guest writer Paul Hyman contributes this feature on the importance of e-mail marketing to generating business and engagement around our products. With 15 years of experience, Mr. Hyman is regularly featured in Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and runs www.OpenMoves.com/games , an e-marketing boutique. Reprinted with permission, originally on Casual Connect.

With rare exceptions, the e-marketing goals of game developers are typically to generate repeat business, create communities around their games, and drive traffic to their websites. Regular, consistent e-newsletters are one of the best tools to achieve such goals and following best practices is the foundation of e-newsletter success. Here are a couple of tips to make your e-marketing efforts as effective as possible.

TIP #1: Relevancy in Four Easy Steps
Relevancy is really the bottom line for all e-mail marketers. When information is appropriate and meaningful to the reader, it leads to higher open rates, more click-throughs, and (ultimately) a more loyal following. There are four easy steps for achieving relevancy:

1. Make sure you write about what your readers want to read! Do a Who cares test on your ideas to confirm that the content is helpful and educational to your readers and not just to you.

2. Make sure your database is populated with all the demographic and behavioral info you can find, and then build your e-mail strategy around this segmentation. For example, you may want to separate your customers, your prospects, and your industry referral sources into separate groups. Market specifically to each group with content that s relevant to them and you’ll get optimal results from each campaign.

3. Determine both the right frequency for your audience and when to deliver your message. A rare few may want to hear from you every day; others will enjoy hearing from you on a regular basis, (perhaps monthly); and some won t want an e-mail until you have something specific to offer. Know your audience and adjust your frequency accordingly.

4. Test and retest your creative. Try a variety of tactics. Intrigue and entertain them. Don’t ever let your message get boring!

TIP #2: Clean Up Your Act A Good Reputation Is Everything
You know the old saying: A reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to ruin. Observing best practices is key to establishing and protecting your e-mail reputation. One way to do this is to avoid changing your IP address, if you can. Spammers are famous for frequent IP shifts, and consequently, e-mails from IP addresses with no volume history are much more carefully scrutinized and controlled. In contrast, if you always use the same, unique IP address for your e-mail marketing, you should be able to ensure high deliverability even if you re mailing to a large database.
I also recommend that you monitor your reputation data directly or through your e-mail marketing provider. Check your complaint and hard-bounce rates and avoid sending e-mails to spam traps (email addresses created by ISPs which function solely as lures for unsolicited email). Be especially careful if you re planning to make changes to your e-mail program. Do limited test runs beforehand, specifically with the type of content or frequency of the proposed campaign. There are so many ways to establish and protect your reputation and even more to unknowingly ruin it. When in doubt, have a professional review your process.

Paul The Game Master Hyman has covered the video games industry for over 15 years; he currently writes for Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine, among others. As editor-in-chief of www.OpenMoves.com/games an e-marketing boutique he creates e-newsletters for such game-related companies as Ninja Kiwi, GameTap, FOG Studios, and Digital Artist Management. E-mail Paul at paul.hyman at casualconnect.org.

Dutch Retailer Boycotts PSPgo

From EuroGamer:

Holland’s largest specialised retail outlet, Nedgame, has decided not to sell the PSPgo this October. And, the shop explained to Eurogamer Holland, there are a handful of reasons why.

The hefty price-tag of 249.99 being one of them. That’s 80 more than the PSP-3000 costs, a difference Nedgame believes the new handheld does not justify – the smaller screen is picked out as an example.

Nedgame also mentioned its discomfort at Sony creating a monopoly on the software sold on PSPgo.

Retailers make the most profit on the game sales, not the actual console, and since the PSPgo doesn’t have a UMD drive and all the software is downloaded through Sony s store, this loops out retailers completely.

Eurogamer also mentions a Spain-based retailer may follow suit, although there’s no inkling an American retailer will do the same.

They have a point though, because there is little incentive for a retailer to carry the PSPgo, a console that helps makes those same retailers obsolete through digital distribution.

IPhone Touch Accessory Marketed As A Wii

Ever since the Nintendo Wii has reached the apex of the video game industry, there have been a lot of companies out there to take advantage by any means necessary.

Now we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with the iGame Family iPod dock, but the similarities in packaging (the clean, white box), pack-in games (which includes tennis and bowling) and even a motion controller are pretty striking.

The company behind the iPod accessory, Elonex, is currently taking orders for the UK market only, and is interested in expanding the game library that fully takes advantage the their dock and controller.

It just seems like a really close call here, but hey, if you’re going to find “inspiration” it may as well be from the market leader.

[via Joystiq


Fringe Promo Poster Is A Game

From The Live Feed:

It’s not just a poster, it’s a treasure hunt! This second season “Fringe” ad contains hidden objects from the show’s past and future mythology, 16 in all (click image for full-size). The use of the hole adds a strong element of mystery. One amateur critic described the poster as “a Photoshop disaster.” But any ad that keeps you staring at it while giving you reasons to watch the show is well done.

Not exactly video game related, but it’s a good look at how other parts of the entertainment industry engage their most passionate users. If you’re a fan, see if you can find all sixteen gems


The Beatles Exceeding Expectations

From IndustryGamers:

On a recent Goldman Sachs conference call, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was asked about the performance of The Beatles Rock Band. The game has clearly benefited from a lot of mainstream hype, and it would appear that sales of the game have gotten off to a good start.

“It’s been terrific. The sales have exceeded our internal expectations. In the first week we’ve sold about 25 percent of our inventory, and we’ve had tremendous excitement around this game. The reviews have been incredible . . . It really is a work of art. The game delivers in all respects and we think it’s going to have legs,” Dauman said.

Of course, Dauman is doing what any company man would do, but he also noted the $250 premium set is selling extremely well and could be on track to sell out in November.

We knew The Beatles were big, but did anyone expect it to be this big? We’ll find out how big with the September NPD data in a couple of weeks, but the perfect storm marketing push included feature stories in Time magazine, a cover story in The New York Times Magazine and even an appearance on The Tonight Show.

So which band is next?

Fallout Gift For Loyal DLC Owners

Bethesda, developers of one of last year s biggest games Fallout 3, has been on top of things with five DLC packs that have expanded the game over the past twelve months.

Now Bethesda is giving away a premium theme for the Xbox 360 to those owners of all five DLC packs, as long as they’ve bought the packs before September 22.

We love the idea of giving your audience an extra incentive or a little thank you for being devoted supporters, as those are the folks that really drive your word of mouth. Consider that the next time you need fans to rally a product that needs a little boost.


Marketing Your Brand With 24 Pairs Of Sneakers

When you’re Nike teaming up with PlayStation, it doesn’t take much to get some love to your brand, even if it’s with just 24 pairs of sneakers.

From SoleCollector:

I have been working with Ron Eagle, Director of Product Publicity at Sony PlayStation, for years and am always amazed at how deep he goes with the shoe projects he is involved with. Once again, PlayStation and Nike have teamed up to create something so very serious. It goes without saying that this is going to be a pair of shoes you either love or hate — there will be few that are in-between. I’m lucky enough to have a pair and I’m going to tell you right now — these joints turn heads — ! So how limited are they Try 24 pairs.

We have pics of the shoes here, and it’s been hitting the blogs pretty regularly for a nice little win-win story for both Nike and PlayStation. It also makes for some great copy from unorthodox sources, like the following quote from Sony’s Eagle:

I was completely blown away — there are so many details, so many different things to look at and yet it’s also very cohesive. The quality of the materials, especially the lenticular, was just crazy. I really love how much the shoe changes in light, the brightness of the colors against the black, and the fact that the left and right shoe have different graphics / colors was just really cool

Shoe collectors may find a pair for a charity auction later this year, and we hope to get our own the[a]listdaily pair sometime soon…


The Branded Console March Continues

Microsoft and Activision recently announced a limited-edition 250GB Xbox 360 with a copy of Modern Warfare 2, an extra controller and custom artwork on the console itself. Well, the game-branded console train is rolling on with a special Halo 3 ODST Xbox 360 making its way to some markets for the game’s release later this month.

The Halo 3 ODST Xbox 360 comes with the Halo 3 ODST game, the original Halo 3 and markets the Halo Reach beta that comes with every ODST. The console is also covered in special artwork that should have any Halo fan itching to pick one up.

The release of these game-branded consoles hits gamers where their passions are and will only continue to roll on as system sales continue to need a boost.



Video Of The Day: Sex Sells

We all know the old adage that sex sells, and the Japanese marketing for the latest Ninja Gaiden really takes advantage of that.

Today’s video of the day features the game s television commercial starring a couple of very engaging stars, as well as the reaction of gamers as they stare at their TVs. Would this ever make it in the American market

AFK: Kanyemon

The Kanye West interruption of Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAa has been the story of the week, and many intrepid creative people have taken advantage of having Kanye show up in other inopportune times.

Since this blog has a little something to do about video games, we thought we’d share one of these spoofs as Kanye makes it into your Pokemon game. What a jackass.

http://gonintendo.com/viewstory.php id=9687