Twilight Heroes needs cheap/free/good marketing ideas!

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Ryme
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Twilight Heroes needs cheap/free/good marketing ideas!

Post by Ryme »

So I've been thinking that Twilight could use some marketing ideas. The influx of new players has dropped off quite a bit in the past few weeks: nearly 8000 joined in November, less than 1000 new accounts were created in December (and I'm pretty sure about half of those were testing multis and such).

If there are ways to get the word out, and get a steadier trickle of people coming in, I think that would be quite good for the game.

The main requirements for the type of marketing I'd like to start with need to be:
1) Free or inexpensive
2) Put in a place likely to catch the attention of people who would actually play and enjoy Twilight
3) Not tricky/misleading

The first means serious paid advertising is out. I don't want to compete on Google AdWords, for instance, because I don't think it would be very effective, but it can be quite expensive. Advertising on a popular but inexpensive website might make sense. Getting Twilight onto Wikipedia would be a great thing, but I'm not sure I have the "social significance" to do that yet. Other lists (does Yahoo have a free games listing? RPG or MMO listing?) might be good.

The second means the advertising needs to go somewhere where potential players of Twilight would be. What's our target demographic? I'd guess people 15-30-ish. (I know there's folks outside of that range, but I'd bet that's what most of us are.) So a listing on your brother's website probably isn't so useful, unless it's related to games (or maybe even related things like storytelling or wordplay). A couple of dedicated players have posted reviews on gaming sites, which is very cool, and is obviously the sort of thing that's great. Jick & co have mentioned me on KoL Radio, and Clackling posted something in Coldfront--both of those were hitting some of the people most likely to play, so that was awesome (thanks, by the way!).

The third point is critical. I don't want to encourage anything that would trick people into visiting. Misleading links in forum sigs, weird bribes in other arenas, stuff like that is just icky. If a person's first introduction to this game is them saying "what the hell is this and how did I end up here?" that's not good. They're not going to stick around, and they're going to tell their friends how obnoxious we are here. Bad word of mouth would be just awful at this point--I don't need a reputation for jackassery.

If anyone has any good, specific, ideas, I'd love to hear them. I'd even be prepared to reward a particularly effective suggestion that brings in a lot of actual players. (Silver stars? Custom items? I'm not quite sure what's appropriate.) Especially if you have the power/initiative to actually do a bit of the footwork, where appropriate, to have Twilight listed.

I would of course provide a summary/description/teaser of the game if such a thing is needed, and I can do screenshots.

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TheK3vin
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Post by TheK3vin »

I threw up a forum post a few months ago in the KoL forums. If you just google Twilight Heroes it's one of the first 5 results. If people keep posting their support there, perhaps mentioning how much they like the game, we could keep it on the front page of General Assymetry. That would be good for some advertising.

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Post by MagiNinjA »

There is the "stick a flyer somewhere" idea, or promote in a school/univ./college club of some kind with similarly aged people of similarly similar interests.

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Post by TheK3vin »

Someone should design official flyers. We could start a TH street team.

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Post by Cristiona »

Still have those two voting sites I sent you, Ryme?
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Post by Olaf »

I've had a userbar I made in my KoL forums sig for a while now.
If anybody else wants to use it, it's http://th.blandsauce.com/img/userbar001.png which you can copy over to your photobucket if you want, or just leech my bandwidth. :P
Code to put in your sig (assuming it allows bbcode):

Code: Select all

[url=http://www.twilightheroes.com/][IMG]http://th.blandsauce.com/img/userbar001.png[/IMG][/url]
I might make one that fades between "Twilight Heroes" and "Justice Served Nightly" sometime.
It's for the most part unobtrusive, but still visible, and if there's any other games you play with a forum, stick it up. Unless you don't want to.
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Post by Ryme »

Cristiona wrote:Still have those two voting sites I sent you, Ryme?
Still got 'em. I think they got buried in my inbox during the holiday shuffle, so I haven't investigated them yet, but I haven't forgotten them.

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Post by Ryme »

Dybbuk wrote:I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself here. This is an open beta where things aren't even close to complete; how many users do you really need?
The short answer is: enough to allow me to hire all those developers you've been clamoring for.

Honestly, I don't think there's a specific number that I want. I just want a continual influx of new players. Since I keep changing things so dramatically, it's the people who are seeing it fresh that will help me assess how balanced things are, and also keep community pieces like chat interesting. Right now nobody goes into /trade or /games, and both of those things invate /normal -- rather than have a slightly-too-crowded single channel, I'd like to have enough population and momentum to support three separate channels.

The game is currently in a intermediate state, and I think continued (slow but steady) growth is the key to getting it to a more sustainable place.

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Post by Ryme »

Ryme wrote:
Dybbuk wrote:I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself here. This is an open beta where things aren't even close to complete; how many users do you really need?
The short answer is: ....
I also wanted to add a long answer, which is less blunt and more thoughtful, and possibly informative for those who don't have insider access to my brain.

Basically, I don't think "things aren't even close to complete" is likely to be a useful way to look at this game any time in the near future. There's a good chance that "complete" isn't something that will apply to the game for years, possibly longer.

Primarily this is because the game is intentionally open-ended. Not only is there an extensive development plan (adding more quests, levels, skills, features, mechanics, content, etc.) but even once I've accomplished all of those items, I intend to continue adding more to the game. There is room for years of growth, special one-time events, recurring holiday/quests, and there will undoubtedly be new ideas that come up along the way. So even if I, say, add the obviously missing skills and quests, implement ascension, polish the auction house and chat and a person-to-person trade system, and add PvP, while the game might be full of a lot more material I would still call it "not even close to complete." I don't think I can possibly complete ascension by the end of this year, even in the best of possible scenarios, so that's a long time to wait and sit without any significant growth.

On the other hand, for some people at least, the game even as it exists now is playable in an indefinite fashion. I could see how it wouldn't appeal to everyone, and that there are some who might get bored quickly now where they wouldn't in another year. But there are a number of folks who have been playing for a year or more already, even with the drastically limited content that was available 12 months ago.

So as I see it, not being complete doesn't seem to be a pertinent reason for not continuing to grow -- some people can have fun now, why not invite them?

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Post by Ryme »

Braiton wrote:Make a banner for your game, find a popular site and exchange ads if they want. Thats what i did for my past game (That had to shut down sadly). My partner put my ad in his site, and i put his ad in my site. Free adv without spending money.


I'm not sure that I want to place any advertising on TwilightHeroes.com. Part of the donation principle is that it's supposed to support the game, so advertising (even as a free exchange) looks like I'm double dipping: both taking money from the players and also doing commercial ads. Plus I just don't like ads much, nor do I have any other online game that I know and enjoy well enough I'd want to trade links, other than with KoL, and Jick's staunchly anti-ad. (Not to mention that it would be extremely lopsided--I'd be getting free traffic, but I don't think I'd send him more than maybe a dozen players, tops.)
Braiton wrote:Also count those who join that tell they friends.
We'd have to be very careful with something like this. I of course appreciate any word of mouth recommendations from players to other potential players. But actually tracking it would be problematic. First, there's the "using a link to trick people into coming here and giving me a referral" that I mentioned earlier, which I want to avoid. Second is that if I counted referrals I'd just be asking people to abuse the system by creating abundant multis--they could just create tens or hundreds of accounts, list themselves as the referral, and scam their way to rewards. It would take a ton of time to verify if the referrals were genuine, and I'm not sure there's a reliable way to do it. In the meantime I'd have many, many more accounts, using up more system resources, but I'd have very few additional *real* players who might participate in the community, find bugs, or donate.

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Post by Corrupt Shadow »

I don't know if it's been mentioned, but putting a URL-link labeled "Twilight Heroes" in one's signature on various forums will get the page up in Google.

The more it's used on different webpages, the higher your ranking on Google will be.

It worked for Jedi.net when I administrated there.
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Post by Ryme »

Braiton wrote:I meant those people that have friends in real life and tell them about the game.
I definitely do encourage that, but as it's not something I can measure or verify, it's a little bit outside the scope of the suggestions I'm looking for here. It's still a great idea, though, for anyone who is so inclined.

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Post by TheK3vin »

Just a suggestion: Save the banner on the front page of the game. Put some text under it, throw it in every sig you can. Instant advertising.

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Post by Ryme »

enterthewumpus wrote: What do you mean when you say that you can't track those?
Do you generally track by what web-site people came from? (I don't know a whole lot about website administration)
No, I don't generally track where people come from, but if I, for example, set up an advertising campaign with links from a web site, I could easily track that to determine if it's successful or not. On the other hand, I have no way of knowing if your telling your friends helps the game. That's why I say I still support the idea, but as a response to "give me some ways to advertise" it leaves me with nothing to do.

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Post by Ryme »

enterthewumpus wrote:
TheK3vin wrote:Just a suggestion: Save the banner on the front page of the game. Put some text under it, throw it in every sig you can. Instant advertising.
Think I'm gonna go ahead and do something like that on a couple of assorted profiles of mine.
I assume you don't object to using the image, Ryme?
Yeah, that's fine to use game art to promote the game. Just make sure you're dong so tastefully, and following any sig rules on the other sites. I'm all about playing nice when appropriate.

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Post by lazyfire »

How about sending a message to The Totally Rad Show and see if they will talk about TH on the show? TRS is a show done by Alex from diggnation and some of his other friends doing movie and game reviews.
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Post by Cristiona »

Or, to be completely coattailing, add TH to "See Also" on the Wiki entry for KoL.
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Post by Ryme »

Dr.Mage wrote:How about good old fasion recrutment bonuses?

When a person regesters, a spot on the application can ask to type in the username (or ID #) of the person who told them about the site. Then, that recrutor would recive a small reward, but not enought to spark multi-accounting.

Then, if the new person reaches X lv (5 or 10 sounds reasonable), the recrutor would recive a recrut point and a good prize.

Ones with the most recrutment points can be placed on the leaderboard.
I don't think there's any reliable way to do this without generating billions of automated multis. No matter how small the reward, someone somewhere would think it was worth their time to make a bot script, sign up a million accounts, automate them up to level X (even level 10 only takes 3 days or so), and then the game would be full of lag--huge resource drain for no additional benefit, no growth of community, etc.

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Post by Corrupt Shadow »

I agree, Ryme. Sounds good at first, but the end result would be less than desirable.
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