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How to improve AssetStore sales

Posted on November 24, 2014, by Richard Knol

Part 1: Problem definition

As a Unity developer I work on building a user tool for 3D websites. A web service that will allow ordinary people to create a 3D website and filling it it their own content like photo's and stories. This is an enormous project with lots of complex matters to deal with before a proper web service can be opened to the public.

I decided that I will deal with each of these complex parts in my own way and distribute my solutions as AssetStore bundles that other developers can use as well. About 6 months later I have produced 7 packages that do a pretty good job, but sell like shit.

The reason is simple, there has been no marketing worth mentioning. I am an indie developer, not a marketeer. And I don't have the budget to hire one.

When your package is not popular, it will appear low in search results and never make it to the first page. So the better you do, the better you do, the poorer you do....... well you know what that means. The graph of developers making money on the AssetStore is not like the well known hockey stick, but more like a straight angle. You either earn a lot or earn nothing at all.

My plan is to change this. At least a little bit. By improving the visibility of the packages, by writing about my efforts and by sharing my results with you. The day to day log is here.

Part 2: Measuring current situation

Before we start, let's see how bad it really is. Hopefully, after a few weeks, we will see some improvements.

These are the AssetStore Packages ordered on popularity, their age in months and how often they have been sold:

These are the sales of November 2014 (up to 24th)
AssetStore sales November 2014.

Total sales per month:
AssetStore sales per month. website visits:
Website visits per day November 2014.

On average there are about 25 visitors per day. Ironically, the most popular pages are the ones where I posted code examples of how to manipulate colors and textures, which are the very same functions I sell in the Texture2D+ package.

Twitter followers @richardknol : 52 (most of these are bots and people who are inactive)
Facebook page: 168 likes
Google + page: 4 followers and 5059 views.

As you can see, it is pretty bad. But this is also a good thing, because it gives a better chance for improvement.

Follow the day to day log here.

Part 3: Setting the target

When you're packages sell bad, they don't get any ratings, they show at the bottom of search pages and they are never going to appear on the AssetStore homepage. It's an endless spiral in which poor performing packages go down and good performing packages keep going up.

Let's keep it realistic. Right now sales are crap. I don't need to earn loads of money with my AssetStore stuff and I don't need to be in the top 10. But I think the packages deserve a lot more attention than what they are getting now. It's not up to me to rate the quality of the 7 packages. All I can say is that they function pretty good, have all sources available (no dll's) and are well documented.

It took a lot of work to build and test those packages and it would be nice to earn something back my efforts. A nice target would be to go from less than $100 per month to at least $1000 a month. This would pay for my efforts and would make it worthwhile to keep improving and extending them.

But an improvement of 10x is probably a bit too much to ask for. I guess $300 a month would be the minimum revenue that would make it worthwhile to keep maintaining the packages. So let's set $300 per month as the target sales.

Ok, let's be honest about ourselves. Receiving an occasional compliment or supportive comment by email or as review, might also do the trick :D

The orbcreation website visits should rise from 25 per day to 50 per day as a result of the increased number of people that visit the documentation pages.

And finally I'd very much like 100 Twitter followers, so the next time I have something to report, more people will notice.

Part 4 Improvements

As I said, I am a developer and not a marketeer. But there are a few things even I can do. This is a list of all the actions I plan to perform in the coming weeks.

1. Tweeting all my actions
However annoying it may be for some people, I will tweet all my actions in the course of this marketing experiment, because this marketing experiment is actually the marketing effort as well.

2. Mentioning the Texture2D+ package on the webpages on Texture manipulation.
Since the pages with code samples on texture manipulation are visited about 80 times a month and the Texture2D+ package is only sold once a month, it might be a good idea to put up a hyperlink to the AssetStore package here.

3. Add more code samples with hyperlinks to AssetStore
Webpages with code examples seem to be popular. Although they compete with my Texture2D+ package, I could add some more and add hyperlinks to the AssetStore packages that contain these functions.

4. Start forum thread for each package
The Unity forum has a special section where you can start a thread to promote your AssetStore packages. Right now only Texture2D+ has this.

5. Improve package descriptions
Some of the package descriptions give very little information. There is even one that sort of apologizes for possible imperfect results.

6. Improve package icons
The tiny icons are very important. When a user visits the AssetStore they will see a matrix with a lot of tiny icons and a package name next to it. This is where my packages have to stand out. Even if they are at the very bottom of the page. Better icons is what I need.

7. Acquire stars and reviews
If no one buys your package, no one will write a review. I don't have any developer buddies that can write a fake review for me. And that is not my style anyway. But I really needs those reviews. All I can do is ask the people I provide support for to write a review, but so far no one has taken the effort to do so.

8. Add better screenshots
Screenshots should be sparkling and have a Wow factor. This is hard to do when you write code instead of create awesome 3D models. But I will have to try.

9. Add movies on how the packages work
I think this is very important. Also quite embarrassing, because I will hear my own silly voice with my dutch accent.

10. Make better artwork
When someone has selected my package, the page heading should convince them that this is a top quality package. I need better artwork.

11. Post on Facebook and G+
Just like tweeting my every action in this experiment I will also post on FaceBook and G+

12. Write to the AssetStore
The AssetStore people have recommendations and sales actions. They decide what's on the homepage. If I can get a package of mine on that homepage even for a day, it would make an enormous difference. So I will write them a convincing email and post it online. Hoping they will honor my request and help me in some way.

Part 5 Evaluation

After 4 and 8 weeks I will post the statistics again and we can compare them with the "before" situation. Hopefully things have improved a bit.

Follow the day to day log here.

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