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Launching a Web Store That Doesn’t Just Sell, But Thrives: A Go-To-Market Playbook (Part 1)

Launching a web store is one thing. Launching a web store that resonates with your players and transforms them into loyal customers? That’s a universe of its own.

At Appcharge, we don’t just help partners build web stores; we engineer web stores built for lasting success. We leverage decades of collective experience, honed from crafting and launching web stores for some of the world’s biggest games.

Publishers often face three key challenges:

  1. Habit Formation: Instilling a new routine in players’ behavior.
  2. Community Building: Fostering engagement outside the game itself.
  3. Long-Term Interest: Maintaining excitement and relevance over time.

To tackle these, a robust go-to-market (GTM) strategy is non-negotiable.

In the first part of our GTM guide, we’ll zoom in on player communication – the bedrock of any publisher’s D2C ambitions. Keep reading for our battle-tested tactics. 

Player Communication: The Cornerstone of Your GTM

The first law of web store success? Direct communication. It’s about reaching both your VIPs and the broader player base. Here’s how:

Chat & Support

Screenshot of a mobile chat interface for the game 'Space Race', displaying a thank-you message and a prompt to claim an exclusive welcome offer. The message is set against a backdrop of sparkling treasure, including coins and gems, visually enhancing the invitation. The offer can be claimed by visiting a URL provided in the chat, highlighted to encourage player engagement and participation

In-app chat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp—these are your VIP nurturing tools.

From my experience helping major publishers optimize their VIP account management, I’ve seen three pieces of advice consistently make a positive impact:

  1. Train your support team to thoroughly understand your web store offers
  2. Empower your support to proactively guide players towards your store
  3. When players ask about your offers, ensure lightning-fast responses to maximize conversions

Social Media

Social media advertisement on a mobile display for 'Space Race', featuring a promotional post that offers a web store welcome package. The ad shows game icons for energy, rolls, and potions against a space-themed background. The post has achieved 1K likes and 39 comments, indicating high engagement, and includes a 'Shop Now' button that directs to the website to claim the offer.

With in-app web store promotion being a regulatory minefield, social media becomes your megaphone. Contests, exclusive deals, direct engagement—this is how you build a community that’s not just following, but participating.

Looking for social media inspiration? Here are four good examples:

Newsletter Marketing

Two mobile game promotional pop-ups side by side. On the left, an advertisement for 'Red's Club' from a game featuring a cartoonish red bird, offering exclusive updates and club benefits for signing in. On the right, a vibrant 'Coin Master Loyalty Club' advertisement promising new tiers with awesome perks and rewards, set against a purple background adorned with coins and sparkling effects.

A well-curated email list is gold. But how do you build up an audience? 

Focusing on in-app methods, you could ask users to provide their email address when they open the game for the first time and create a user ID, or you could use a pop up to entice them to sign up to an exclusive loyalty club, as per the examples above from Rovio and Moon Active.

You could also use out of app methods, for example driving traffic from your social media communities to a dedicated newsletter sign-up landing page on your game’s website. There, you can lay out all the benefits and exclusive content your newsletter provides. 

Once you have a system in place for growing your list, you need to define a content strategy.

You could offer exclusive deals, behind-the-scenes glimpses, community spotlights—things that players won’t find elsewhere. Segment your list, craft irresistible subject lines, and don’t forget to A/B test.

Beyond communication

Establishing direct communication with players, whether through emails, social media, VIP account management, or all of the above, serves as the backbone of a sustainable GTM strategy for your web store. 

Once you’ve got this down, it’s time to move onto the next crucial pieces of your GTM plan: web store retention and monetization. We’ll cover that in part two of this guide – stay tuned.

And as ever, feel free to reach out to me with any questions about launching a web store that hits the ground running.

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