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Any tips for increasing sales?

02-06-2009, 11:13 AM
#1
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Cambridge, UK
Posts: 5
Any tips for increasing sales?

Hi all,

Just wondering if any of you more experienced developers out there have any tips for increasing sales?

Obviously I need to make better games but are there any other factors that have helped? Anything else I can do? Good ways to get seen? Good places to advertise?

Cheers!
Doug

http://www.dougday.co.uk/iphone.html
02-06-2009, 01:54 PM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 4,044
I know you weren't soliciting my opinion, since I'm not even a developer yet (at least not of iPhone software), but it seems that providing a "lite" version of software has helped a lot of people's sales. Sadly, even at 99 cents most people aren't willing to buy without trying.

Eric Pankoke
Mobile Games Reviewer: Rusty Sabre, TouchMyApps
Blog: iPhone Life
Twitter: RustySabre

02-06-2009, 02:24 PM
#3
From what I noticed, actually, Lite versions don't seem to help much in most scenarios. Only in very specific cases- I can think of only three, out of hundreds (thousands?) of Lite versions that actually helped with product sales.

It's true that people are interested in trying things for free, specially when the free store receives so much attention and is easily accessible. However, there's a fine line between giving a taste for a compelling experience, leading people to want your product, and giving away too much.
People seem to have come to expect Lite versions to be their own complete experiences, with a diverse variety of content as well as updates, rather than take it for what it is- A trial, meant for you to decide whether or not you'd like to invest more time and money in the full version.

With that said, though, if well executed on the right product, I still think it is possible to give a Lite version that is interesting, letting people know you have a quality product, and increase sales.
02-06-2009, 03:25 PM
#4
This is nor from personal experience (I have no apps to sell yet) but I'm thinking it might be worth making a free app, but calling it Demo or Trial, so it's clearly not expected to stand alone and have long-lasting value.

I'm guessing that the risk of putting too LITTLE into a lite version is that it will get poor reviews. So hopefully, being clear with your audience that this is "only a taste" might help that perception. Or maybe not

I'm also thinking of putting a lot into a free version (when/if I have a game to sell)--maybe TOO much--but using ads to help recover at least a little money if it backfires and kills sales of the full paid app. I haven't actually looked into ad services yet--just thinking out loud.

And I know the ultimate answer for increasing sales: there's a lot you can do, but a lot of it is also luck.

And so: good luck!

Morgan Adams (GameCenter: “Adams Immersive”)
My upcoming first game: Scree (Forum thread)
My upcoming VR horror experience: This is Not the Church of the Worm (Forum thread)
Stop making lists. Organize with shapes and colors instead: DotSpace (Forum thread)
02-06-2009, 04:31 PM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adams Immersive View Post
calling it Demo or Trial, so it's clearly not expected to stand alone and have long-lasting value.
Apple will reject you if you use the words demo or trial, in your app or in your description. But you're free to say the game is just a taste, and here's how to get the full version.
02-06-2009, 04:33 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PointOfLight View Post
I know you weren't soliciting my opinion, since I'm not even a developer yet (at least not of iPhone software), but it seems that providing a "lite" version of software has helped a lot of people's sales. Sadly, even at 99 cents most people aren't willing to buy without trying.
I tried a 'lite' version with one of my apps and I would have to say it was a TOTAL waste of time. I pulled the lite version from the App store as a result. It *slightly* increased sales for (at most) 8 days. (read: not worth the effort whatsoever!)

It took us almost 1 month to get it by the BS filters at Apple. They REALLY make it hard to make a lite/free app. It's almost impossible to 'cripple' the apps. They don't allow "up selling", so you cannot even reference in the app that there is a full version. Before we even got it to 'pass' I got so pissed off that I wrote them an email and told them to pull it from my dev (submission) page. They called me on the phone to talk about it. I told them, as I'm sure many other have, that the free apps are diluting the store and making it very hard to find anything, and I said that they *really* need to use the "shareware" model where someone could try the *full* app for 7, 14 or 30 days, then it should expire. They refuse this idea like you would not believe. By the end of the call the guy was not please to be talking with me because I let him have it.

I don't know if they will ever cave in and do "shareware". The store is a complete mess and it is nearly impossible for people to find anything just by browsing. (that is not looking for anything in particular).
02-06-2009, 04:38 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldrunners_dev View Post
From what I noticed, actually, Lite versions don't seem to help much in most scenarios. Only in very specific cases- I can think of only three, out of hundreds (thousands?) of Lite versions that actually helped with product sales.
My Lite version has worked wonderfully for six months now. I average one full version sale for every ten Lite version downloads. Lite versions work if:

1. Your game doesn't suck in the first place.
2. You don't give away too much, but you give them at least a 30 minute experience.
3. You make it easy for them to upgrade to the full version.
4. Your full version isn't overpriced.

Without all four, it won't work very well.
02-06-2009, 04:38 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little White Bear Studios View Post
Apple will reject you if you use the words demo or trial, in your app or in your description. But you're free to say the game is just a taste, and here's how to get the full version.
Ah ha. So that's how "Lite" became such a popular term? Now that you mention it, I don't recall seeing Demo or Trial ever mentioned on the store. Oh, well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by On-Core View Post
They don't allow "up selling", so you cannot even reference in the app that there is a full version.
I take it that "reference in the app" means you're barred from having the app itself mention the full app? But the app's store page still can? Because I DO see the store page for lite apps often touting the full version as well.

(And I feel like I remember lite apps containing links to the full one too--but maybe I'm confusing with desktop shareware titles. Since I can't think of an example.)

Morgan Adams (GameCenter: “Adams Immersive”)
My upcoming first game: Scree (Forum thread)
My upcoming VR horror experience: This is Not the Church of the Worm (Forum thread)
Stop making lists. Organize with shapes and colors instead: DotSpace (Forum thread)
02-06-2009, 04:40 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by On-Core View Post
so you cannot even reference in the app that there is a full version.
Tons of apps, including mine, have a button to buy the full version. I'm not sure why they're denying you the option.
02-06-2009, 05:07 PM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little White Bear Studios View Post
Tons of apps, including mine, have a button to buy the full version. I'm not sure why they're denying you the option.
That's amazing. We had that in there and that was one of the reasons that they rejected one of our *many* 'attempts' to get it thru.

As far as your other comment. With over 13,800 downloads, in 3 weeks before we pulled it, it probably netted us about 5 extra copies per day for the 8 initial days. At $1.99, I don't think it's over priced. We had great reviews, I believe that the lite version had 4.5 stars when we pulled it. In the description, we did mention the full version, since that was the only place we were allowed to even mention it.

For some of the things that they rejected it for, such as only being able to play once per day (when we tried to 'limit' the full version), we complained that there were a dozen other apps that were on the store that did that and all he said was he couldn't comment on that. The same for the other things we tried. The version that finally was accepted, we limited it to 6 fixed puzzles per easy, medium and hard (instead of generated). That was the only option left.

I guess it depends on what kind of game it is. Perhaps we had too many 'fixed' puzzles and people didn't realize that they were playing the same game over. This actually happened to me when I was first testing it.