May 26
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The ability to sell and deliver your game online is typically one of the toughest aspects of game development. But, this has become a lot easier in recent years due to digital distribution changing the way we buy and sell video games.

In digital gaming, one of the most popular distribution channels for developers is Valve’s Steam platform. Steam started for commercial games in 2004 and was extended in 2012 to include Steam Greenlight, a service for independent games to be published. Due to Steam’s size and popularity, it can be an important component in an e-commerce strategy. The following are a few advantages of Steam:

Advantages:

  • Steam has over 40 million players worldwide.
  • Steam takes care of hosting and bandwidth costs.
  • Steam offers non-exclusive contracts.

But despite its popularity, Steam does have some disadvantages.

Disadvantages:

  • Valve doesn’t publish their commission rates, but it is likely that you will be paying at least 30% royalties for each transaction.
  • The Steam client is a required download in order to purchase and play your game. This can be a barrier to purchase if users do not want to download it.
  • A common misconception is that Steam by itself will handle marketing for you. Hundreds of developers are all trying to get their game onto Steam, which leads to discoverability issues. This means it’s easy to drown in a sea of other games when trying to promote your game’s page.
  • While there are some games that do enormously well, a closer look at the sales data reveals that most games on Steam actually don’t do very well at all (gamesindustry.biz).
  • Valve is getting rid of their Greenlight program (where fans can vote on what games they want to see on Steam) this year by introducing Steam Direct. If the Steam Direct changes go through, getting your game on Steam will costs between USD$100 to USD$5,000 (Valve has not yet announced exactly how much). And, if your game doesn’t sell, Steam keeps the fees.

Selling Your Game Directly With An E-Commerce Partner
Steam is not the only viable option for digital distribution in the gaming industry. Your website is the best place showcase your game, without the limitations of marketplaces and distribution channels such as Steam. Working with a direct e-commerce partner provides you with the means of setting up a storefront to handle selling your game through your own site.

The benefits of doing this are:

  • Typically, commission costs for direct e-commerce channels provide better margins than Steam. You get to keep over 90% of the direct sales money. Not 70%, not 80% but 90% (Cliffski).
  • You can generate direct traffic from search engines and media publications with your website.
  • You can set up an account with these direct e-commerce services right now. Most have zero sign up fees, and it can be done almost instantly (Cliffski).
  • You get the customer’s email address. With these email addresses, you can send newsletters, press releases, etc. to every person that has ever purchased your game.

While there are some advantages to getting your game on Steam, it should not be the only component of your e-commerce strategy. It may take a while to get enough people to purchase your game through your website. But, if you drive enough traffic to your website, you will begin to see all of the benefits from selling your game directly.

Here at BMT Micro, Inc., we offer a full-service e-commerce solution that will meet all of your business requirements. Our proprietary systems (all created in-house) have everything you need to sell your game or software online. If you would like to learn more about our services or if you have questions, please feel free to contact our vendor services via email at vendors@bmtmicro.com or visit our website at www.bmtmicro.com.

Interested in signing up with BMT Micro today? If you would like to go ahead and explore what working with a direct e-commerce partner is like, you can do so by signing up here: New Developer Sign-up. Please note: you can sign up and create an account with no costs or commitment. You are under no obligation when signing up with us. BMT Micro charges a % of the commission for each sale so if you never sell anything, you do not owe anything.

May 19
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The summer months are just around the corner for the northern hemisphere. Is your business prepared?

As the temperature begins to rise, most businesses experience a traditional decrease in sales during the summer months. Some reports show that July is the slowest month for e-commerce – down 30% from top sales months like December. However, this downtime isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

There are many ways businesses can reduce or eliminate the impact a slump can have on sales and profitability to drive their business forward for the rest of the year.

Prepare for the holiday rush
Although it may feel entirely too early to be talking about the holiday season, anyone will tell you that it’s impossible to be too prepared for the busiest and most profitable time of the year. With the day-to-day hustle of running a business, it can be easy to forget approaching holidays. But the last quarter of the year sees the most increase in the number of orders and average order size. Planning ahead is always better sooner rather than later and it will ensure that your business has all the materials ready to make the most of the holiday rush. Plus, having everything in place and ready to go will reduce your stress and make the season go more smoothly.

Create New Content
In order to connect with your prospects, get them to your site, educate them in their buying decision, and convert those prospects into customers – you need a strategy for your content marketing. Things get busy as the holiday season gets closer and your content needs to stay fresh, relevant, and distinctive. Creating new content will be the last thing on your mind so use this downtime to prepare content ahead of time for the holidays. Your design and graphics are other important factors that will help tie your campaigns together and keep them consistent. Getting this done early can be a major task of your shoulders when a busy sales season comes around.

Reconnect & Grow
When things get busy, it’s easy to fall out of touch. Summer is a great time to reconnect and check in on customers you haven’t heard from in a while. Use the summer to build relationships with existing customers and stay connected with your community. Your customers can be one of the best low-cost advertising investments you can make. If you create a customer experience that actually adds value it will ensure a positive reputation with them going forward.

It can be frustrating to see sales slowly drop, but the fact of the matter is every business goes through slumps. Use the downtime to your advantage and make use of the off-season to recharge your business.

If you are looking for more ways to improve your online sales this year, BMT Micro is here to help too. We have a reliable, cost-effective solution that is flexible enough to meet your needs now and well into the future. We have several plans for you to choose from, or we can customize our plans to suit your needs. If you have any questions or if you are interested in learning more about our offerings please contact our vendor services at vendors@bmtmicro.com.

May 12
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you know even 50+ years after it was developed, the SWOT analysis is still one of the most popular ways to analyze a business? It was originally developed for large businesses, but the SWOT process is equally useful and relevant to any business regardless of industry size. It’s also deceptively simple despite the immense value it delivers in fast-moving industries like e-commerce.

What is SWOT?
SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, and Opportunities & Threats.” The process evaluates what a business does best (strengths) and worst (weaknesses), and defines areas of improvement (opportunities) and potential issues (threats) that could impact overall success. With SWOT you can:

  • Highlight your strengths & take advantage of the opportunities to build on
  • Acknowledge & modify your weaknesses to mitigate outside threats

      

Working through a SWOT analysis will give you actionable insight and in-depth look at your business.

Strengths: These are positive, internal factors that are within your business’ control.

  • What does your business do better than others in your industry?
  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • What do your customers like most about your business?
  • What valuable assets does your company have?

Weaknesses: These are negative, internal factors that may be difficult to change but are within your business’ control.

  • What is holding your business back?
  • What does your competition do better than you?
  • Which resources is your business lacking?
  • What areas of your business could be improved?

Opportunities: These are positive, external factors that may be out of your control but you can choose to leverage them.

  • Is the market changing in a way that is favorable to your business?
  • What opportunities or new industry developments have you not pursued yet?
  • What technology or useful resources are becoming available that you do not already have?
  • What new opportunities are available that you can use to grow your business?

Threats: These are negative, external factors that are likely out of your control but you can create a plan to counter or reduce them.

  • Who are your current existing competitors?
  • Is the industry changing in a way that could threaten or hinder your growth?
  • Are consumer behaviors changing in a way that might negatively impact your business model?
  • Are any government regulations changing in a way that could hurt our business or negatively impact your business?

Performing a SWOT analysis on a regular basis will help you develop a strategic plan based on the information you’ve learned within the four quadrants. To get the most value from your SWOT analysis, don’t overemphasize your strengths or underemphasize your weaknesses. Be as specific as you can in looking at your company and most importantly be honest.

May 5
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Affiliate marketing can be an amazing sales channel for a business, especially an online one. When utilized correctly, it has been proven to be an effective way to market products with little or no cost. Affiliates can ensure the right messages get to the right people at the right time by capitalizing on the following they have.

What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.

Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing. However, both are distinct forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales.

How affiliate marketing works:

  1. Affiliate is assigned a tracking ID – This is to track which affiliates are driving traffic and sales.
  2. Affiliate promotes your company with affiliate link – Through paid traffic, email blast, blog post, etc.
  3. Customers or leads are acquired on affiliate site – The link directs traffic from the affiliate’s website to the merchant’s site. This is how the merchant identifies which affiliate the user has come from.
  4. Affiliate receives a commission – If the visitor purchases a product, the affiliate tracking ID is stored with the order information and used to pay the affiliate their commission.

Pros

  • Most affiliate programs are run through CPA (cost-per-acquisition) model, which means you only pay for performance.
  • Increases the volume of web traffic to your site.
  • Having a strong affiliate network can also bridge the gap between your home market and entering new, emerging markets.

Cons

  • High Competition – One of the advantages of affiliate marketing is that is easy to sign up and get started. But, this can also be a disadvantage since it is easy for everyone (including your competition) to do likewise.
  • Starting your own affiliate program can be costly – there is a definite advantage of working with an established affiliate network rather than trying to manage a program on your own.

In the end, affiliate marketing is a system that creates a win for all involved. It can bring a unique opportunity for your business to increase site traffic, customers, and revenue.

Here at BMT Micro, we encourage all of our vendors to participate in the BMT Micro Affiliate Program. This free service provides developers with additional channels to promote and distribute their product. Plus there are no additional fees involved! You pay only the affiliates for this service. The developer control panel includes administrative tools that allow you to manage affiliate sign ups, percentage and view sales reports from your affiliates. You also can email your affiliates all at once if and when you have important information to share. Furthermore, BMT Micro handles all your payments to your affiliates. There are many benefits to joining an affiliate network from reliable merchants and the more you utilize the affiliate network, the more profits you will see!

Apr 28
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How effective is your social media strategy? Have you ever assessed whether or not your current social media strategy is working for your business?

Developing a comprehensive social media strategy is a key tool in helping you manage your online reputation effectively. But, after you start implementing your strategy, you must regularly assess your social channels to ensure everything is going as planned. This best way to do this is by performing social media audits on an ongoing basis.

What is a Social Media Audit?
According to Social Media Examiner, “to create a content strategy that engages and motivates your audience, you need to do a comprehensive social media audit.” A social media audit will help you analyze the impact of your social media tactics. It gives your business an overall view of what’s working, what’s not working and what can be improved upon across your social channels.

A social media audit will help your business learn from how you manage (or don’t manage) your online brand and stay on top of your online presence. If your business has never done a social media audit before or you are unsure how to analyze your social efforts, the following checklist will help you get started:

Identify All Social Media Profiles (official and unofficial)
Make a list of all the social media profiles your company has. This list should include all official and unofficial accounts. Search for your brand name on Google and all of the major social networks. Once you have your list, make note and keep track of the following:

  • The social media network/profile
  • URL
  • Profile name and/or description
  • Administrators or people have access to the account
  • Number of followers or fans
  • Date of last activity

Check Branding Consistency
Is your branding consistent across all platforms? Your audience should be able to immediately recognize your brand across all of your social media profiles. If there disconnect between your social profiles, it can be difficult for customers and followers to determine if they’re following the right company.

To properly represent your brand, consistency is crucial. Look through your images, bios, descriptions and URLs to make sure you have consistent messaging.

Find Your Best & Worst Channels
It’s important to make sure your presence on a social network is purposeful. You don’t want to be wasting time on a platform that isn’t producing any results for your business. Review every social media profile you have and focus your efforts where it will be better spent.

Analyze Top Performing Posts & Content
Are you posting the right content on each social network? Your posts should engage and resonate with your followers. Analyze the content you’ve published and shared to identify which posts have had the biggest impact. Also, document the important metrics of each post (Retweets, Repins, and likes) to see which type of content is performing best on each network.

A social media audit will give you a clear understanding of how well your social media strategy has worked so far and what you might need to improve on. It will also ensure you are using the right platforms, engaging with your target audience and monitoring your accounts properly.

If you are a vendor of BMT Micro, an analysis of your social media performance and ways to improve is currently available with our Marketing Analysis. The Marketing Analysis also includes an analysis of your current website and ways to improve, SEO and digital reputation management results, target market and competitor analysis, and ways to improve advertising and branding. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, please contact our Marketing Specialist via email at leah@bmtmicro.com for more information.