This is part one of a 2-part blog post. You can read the second part here.
In late May, I had released an update for my game, Word Ways, and various other features were planned for and coming down the pipe.
I had been working on refactoring my tutorials when I got to sit down with my “ghost producer” who had a chat with me. He sat down and discussed how important it was for me to update my marketing assets. Basically, everything that leads and try to convert a potential customer to download the app. The equivalent of an web app’s landing page and conversion funnel.
This challenged, motivated and re-prioritized me to work on my marketplace assets before moving on.
Not only was I frustrated but it scared the hell out of me since I had never designed an icon or worked on any production level art. This a large branding task that pushed every knowledge I had, not only had I never used Illustrator, but I’d also have to capture footage, edit a trailer and more.
Here are the first 5 lessons and validations from creating my Google Play marketplace assets. The next five, I’ll be sharing with you next week.
Lesson #1 – KISS and deliver
More of an affirmation than a lessons. 1 week to learn Illustrator, design and build an icon, re-write marketplace description, create new assets, and put together a new trailer.
This would have not been possible at all if I didn’t keep every task simple and effective. A big part of how I chose to go about this, had to do with picking a simple graphic design aesthetic, creating a layout, designing a few assets, writing my marketing script, and getting it done.
Before I begin anything, I write down a deliverable list, and so, it went as follows:
Lesson #2 – Create as many rough drafts as possible
You probably already know this. The best thing you can do early on in any project, is prototype as fast as possible to prove some theories. I should have spent more than 20 minutes working on it, but I excuse myself due to quickly getting my vision on paper and communicate the design I thought of.
Quick, rough, and not very satisfying sketches
Fortunately, the main goal here, wasn’t to get a large variety and find a high performing icon. I needed a cleaner, more contemporary icon, that I knew the design and had the files to iterate on.
Lesson #3 – Just get it done
Another affirmation, this project was perfect to practice the “peel off band-aid” scenario.
Initial Icon Renders
I estimated (based on having never done this) that it would probably take me at least 3 days to create an usable icon. I wouldn’t be comfortable with the first icon, I’d need to iterate on it at least a few times before arriving at something, and well…. I just needed to deliver it. The icon was just 1 out of 10 deliverables.
Final Icon Render.
Lesson #4 – Have a group of trusted colleagues
It’s important to have a team. When you don’t, find mentors and friends to create a “ghost board” for you to bounce your ideas around. Make sure they are progress and result oriented.
Pow-wowing at the old Launch Academy office
Lesson #5 – Don’t trust anyone
Not you or anyone can predict the market, only data will tell you that. One of the main steps that I haven’t gone through, is measuring my icon’s performance against other potential designs.
Websites like www.usabilityhub.com and www.pickfu.com allow you to create designs, and post these to a large targeted group of users, who get to navigate your design or click on what they see first, to figure out version performs best (a/b test). For a pretty good price, you can get some valuable insight into what’s going on.
I ran A/B tests when first establishing the aesthetics for Word Ways.
This is something that I’ll most likely undertake again with Icons. But before I do, I need to create new variations and will most likely be using small FB campaigns, to measure how it performs in an environment with real customers.
However, before spending money, one of the things you can do is make sure to take a screenshot of some of your favourite games, and lay out your icon besides them to compare. Does it stand out from the rest? Does it give you some ideas on how to improve it?
This is the end of Part 1.
Part 2 will focus a lot more on marketing, how to write your trailer’s language, how to engage your viewers, important video editing lessons, and some unexpected Google Plus and Google Play organic traffic activity that I wasn’t even aware of.
I’ll finish up by going over how I am setting up all of this together to form a conversion funnel, linking up youtube, and attempting to drive users to my community and app.