Indie game development is like a giant jungle. Spam bots lying in the bushes obscuring valuables beneath (which means, your own games) and only those with a good sense of opportunism and a good plan will get a piece of the booty. It’s hard to stand out in the piles of posts. Promoting yourself is even harder.
But there are ways to increase your rate of success:
Tap into news, memes, internet culture, looking out for the trends and base your marketing (or your games) on that.
Subtly push conversations towards how people should download your game and give it a try. Don’t miss a chance to talk about your game.
Produce controversy to make people talk about your game. (This sometimes works – but it can backfire)
Talk about your successes no matter how small they are. They will accumulate if you do!
People like to be entertained. Use wit and humor to promote your stuff!
Always add links to your blog or vlogs to every post: Facebook, Twitter, instagram etc.
What’s the plan?
I’ve read quite a bit into this topic on multiple marketing blogs.
Most don’t seem to want to disclose a tangible, specific plant and their… “secrets”. But what if that wasn’t even a secret, just different methodologies…? I have the hunch that in some way, a marketing campaign is highly individual: it depends on your audience, product, staff or monetary capacity, context, culture… and many more things. Perhaps in a way it’s more like a personal diet, fitting your unique metabolism.
So instead of showing you the ultimate secret to get cash fast, I gathered a few things to consider when creating your own marketing plan:
Your marketing material should be mostly visual and inform future customers about your game:
- Gifs or YouTube videos showing core gameplay
- A few screenshots
- Release date
- Development status
- A link to a detail page for those most curious
Time Your Posts
- Regularly post about your game. Do create enough variation and keep enough interval between posts, so that reaching out to your audience will be persistent, but not become annoying or repetitive (this especially applies to twitter). Either way, try not to make people feel like you’re doing this:
- For manual promotion, post your material mostly Wednesdays and Tuesdays. That’s when people have most time: slacking off at work, one or two hours before heading home.
- Regularly boost current devlogs and existing blog posts.
Place Your Product
Except for the usual social media, like facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, you might want to consider posting regularly to these websites, too:
If the website allows you to write articles about your game, submit them there!
Tap into People
Influencer marketing can be powerful. If a celebrity retweets a tweet of yours, there is a high chance it will become viral (if it is interesting/witty/funny enough). To tap into these influencer channels can be tricky, especially if you want to also pitch in your products: How do you make someone repost something without them getting suspicious about you doing advertising work?
Context is important: imagine you’re creating bait-posts, undercover ads. They need to be subtle and stay in the context of the conversation. Like when the humorous aspect of your post outweighs the fact it’s a joke about your game with a link to your webpage – people in general will more likely share it. Subtly detract from your intention to advertise. But do not pull the leg of your audience either.
Engage Your Audience
Create polls, ask your followers things, ask them what they want to see. In relation to your game, ask them what features they liked most, what they preferred changing, what they didn’t like or what they’d like to see next. Give your audience the feeling you’re making the game for them (Ideally: DO make the game for them).
Most people aren’t aware, but for them a relationship to a brand is much like a relationship to another person. In order to get the most out of it, you must foster your relationships to them and stay personal. Behind the faceless company logo is still a human being, after all!
Stick to Your Plans
Sad truth here folks – without discipline nothing will work. You can work out a five-star marketing plan, but if you do not have the time management and discipline to pull it off – no sales for you! There are no excuses for not getting off your buttocks and make your dreams come true. Because:
Your actions must be a coordinated and persistent effort to be most effective.
This is a hard task to fulfill. You’ll find yourself slacking and drifting away from your goals. Work hard on yourself and improve – you’ll eventually get there. Failure and set-backs are part of the process.
To help sticking to your plans, it may help to blog about them.
- Write blog posts about marketing
- occasionally repost them manually on social media
- be reminded of your own principles
What else do you think can be done to create better marketing? Please share that with me!