My Thanksgiving Sale Statistics (with graphs!)

stats
image by DrJohnBullas

Sorry about that, there are proper graphs further down.

I recently ran a Thanksgiving sale on my site offering up to 70% of my casual games and I’d like to share the results with you.

Deals

The basic deal was that I was offering 50% off my 5x match-3 games (not Fairway Solitaire and Unwell Mel because Big Fish Games own those) via a coupon code.

Then I had 3 bundles:

2x Christmas-themed games for 60% off (PC only)
3x match-3s for 65% off (PC and Mac)
5x match-3s for 70% off (PC only)

Payment Provider

I use BMT Micro as my payment provider. They have various discount schemes that I was able to use for this sale. When I create a bundle, all the games are listed individually so that keys and download links can be send out for each one. I highly recommend BMT Micro for their customer service, and ability to deliver.

Promotion

- The sale started on Tuesday 22nd November and ran for 9 days until Wednesday 30th November.

Day 1:
- I put a coloured banner about the sale on the top of my page and showed some fancy bundle images.
- I emailed Gamezebo (a site that reviews casual games) and they mentioned the sale on day 4 which was my best day for sales.
- I tweeted about it twice on the first day (got 10 RTs, thanks everyone); made a Facebook post on my Grey Alien Games Facebook page; posted on the BlitzBasic and IndieGamer forums; and wrote a blog post about it.
- I emailed my mailing list of newsletter subscribers. An email was sent to 384 people and got 137 opens (35.68%) and 83 clicks (18.75%). It was text only and maybe could have benefited from a picture. I got a few bounces and a couple of unsubscribes, not many.

Newsletter

Day 3:
- I tweeted about it again on day 3 (got 6 RTs). Had about 1250 followers, so my best RT % on day 1 was about 0.8%, which isn’t exactly stellar.
- I also told indiegamer about it on day 3 via Twitter and got a retweet a couple of days later and also posted a comment on their blog post about sales but it got held up for a few days before appearing.

Day 6:
- I tweeted about 3 days being left (got 4 RTs)

Day 9
- I tweeted about it being the last day (got a few RTs)

I didn’t do these things:

- Contact Jay is Games, and I probably should have.
- Send out a press release or contact any other press/bloggers.
- Post on any other forums. I only post on ones I’m an active member on so it doesn’t feel like spam.
- Advertising. Probably should have used up a free Google Adwords $100 credit if I could be arsed.

Results

And now for the bit you’ve all been waiting for…drumroll…

units sold

29 units sold. Total revenue $55. Not exactly impressive, but hey it’s more than zero!

Because most of those sales were bundles, there were only 10 actual customers, 2 of which were existing customers (presumably from my newsletter, meaning it had a 0.5% success rate, which I’m quite disappointed by). Still at least that’s 8 new customers who signed up to my newsletter so I can inform them of future deals and the soon-to-be-released Holiday Bonus for iPhone/iPad/Android/WP7.

Also, weirdly, no one used the 50% discount coupon code, even though two customers bought single games (at full price)!

Traffic

- I checked my site’s monthly bandwidth usage before and after the sale and it went from about 3GB to 5.65GB, which wasn’t much out of the ordinary.
- I also tracked the number of hits on my site via my primitive visit counter and I got about 3000 hits on the first day and 2000 hits on each subsequent day. Again not much our of the ordinary.

There certainly wasn’t any kind of server meltdown.

Conclusion

For me this sale was an experiment because I’ve never done one before. I wanted to learn how to sell game bundles using BMT Micro, and I wanted to see how effective my Twitter followers are at spreading the word and how effective some other channels are (like my newsletter).

I’m crazy busy with several main projects right now, so I didn’t have any spare time to spend on better marketing or anything; I just wanted to see what I could do with a sort of basic minimum. The answer seems to be, not very well (take heed other indies!)

Part of the problem is that I’m selling casual games and I only really got one mention in the casual gaming press, and most of my Twitter followers are indie game devs, so they aren’t that interested. I thought that I’d have made more sales from my newsletter (which contains lots of existing customers), especially as a 70% discount is a pretty strong offering, but it wasn’t to be. Also of course I was competing against TONS of other sales and indie bundles.

I’ll probably try again at Christmas though and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Hope you enjoyed reading this post.

If you have any advice or thoughts, please leave a comment. Thanks!

5 Responses to “My Thanksgiving Sale Statistics (with graphs!)”

  1. Rye Says:

    The other sales were probably an issue, but one reason for not getting a huge return from your newsletter customers may have been that they may already own the games (that was true for me). Did you try Gamezebo, which has a little pop up listing sales?

  2. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Hi Rye, yes it’s true that most people on the newsletter already own some of my games. Gamezebo did a blog post about Black Friday sales and my sale was on that, which may have helped. Because I didn’t use proper statistics tracking, I don’t know if the problem was the offer or the traffic. But I do know there wasn’t much traffic and I bet if say 100,000 people from Big Fish came to my site I’d have made a lot more sales :-)

  3. ImaginaryHuman Says:

    You’d do well to add something like Google Analytics to your website so that you can find out all kinds of things about your visitors behavior and interests. Conversion Rate Optimization is also a big discipline you could get into so that your site is a more effective sales machine. Right now it really is not an ecommerce site and more of a brochure. There are many many many things that could be improved. With 2-3000 visitors a day which is a good amount, you should get more like 20 orders a day at a low 1% conversion rate. A better site should expect to at least double that. Amazon has like a 10% conversion rate! Maybe checkout amazon seller central, it’s fairly low cost when you don’t have many products. Also try generating shopping feeds which you can upload for free to Google shopping, Bing shopping and TheFind.com. Note also most sales like 85% will come from NEW customers so milking your customer base is good but secondary. You need either more RELEVANT traffic, requiring a site redesign, or improve your conversion rate with a site redesign. Either way your site probably needs to change if you want more sales from it. You might also create more of a sense of urgency/deadline to the sale. Put the sale on more of your landing pages not just the homepage. Google Analytics (easy to add a piece of JavaScript) will tell you what pages people land on most and why. I think your discount is too high and cheapens your product. Maybe try 40-50% max? If think you could greatly increase your sales with the right website. And have sales much more often.

  4. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Hi ImaginaryHuman, yes I agree I should do that, and should have done it years. I actually make 40% of sales from repeat customers. Yes there was a deadline for the sale (perhaps a counter would have made it more obvious). Good idea putting it on more pages.

  5. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » “Because We May” Sale Results Says:

    [...] You can also read about a Thanksgiving sale I ran last year in this article. [...]