Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tasty Minstrel Games Refer-a-Friend

Tasty Minstrel Games has a new refer-a-friend program, where you post customized links to their pages, and if your friends go to the site and buy stuff, you get some free stuff.  Seems like a reasonable way to get some free viral marketing, and might be something I'd try with Plankton Games once I've got products to sell.  It's tricky, though - you can't promise too much in the way of free gifts, or you lose the value of the sale.

A quick example - suppose sending a free game out costs you at least $6 for postage and handling, plus your cost for the game.  Figure your cost per game (not just the printing, but including royalties for art and design, warehousing, website, etc.) is something like $5.  So, to send a free game out you need to make $11 to break even (and that's conservative).

Suppose your direct sales price for your game is $18.  But you have to deduct your costs for the game, which are $5.  So, your top margin there is $13.  Seems like you could almost do a buy one, send one free thing for that, right, and clear $2 on selling two games.

But there's overhead for running the affiliate program, and some of the people who buy in the program might have bought anyway, and you actually want to make more than $1 per game or you're in the wrong business.

Michael at Tasty Minstrel has gone for a buy three, get one future game free ratio.  That's a healthier margin.  Plus, if some of your affiliates get you 1-2 sales but not the three that would trigger their free product, your costs are nearly nothing for free advertising and sales.

The question is, are people willing to sort of spam their friends and blogs and Facebook on the hope of maybe getting a free game in the future?  We'll see; it should be possible to search for the affiliate links in a month or so and see how many of them have been posted.

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