Marketing Your Game
I can feel you cringing while reading that top line like this is a chore to clean the dishes before you can go outside and play. Marketing, if you ever want to sell your game, is a necessary evil.
1. Online Marketing (Social Media / Networking)
Online Marketing is probably the most important. Why? This is where you get to meet your fans and interact with them on a regular basis. Creating a blog for yourself to write about what your indie team is doing, game updates and any advice to other game developers.
Creating a blog for yourself to write about what your indie team is doing, game updates and any advice to other game developers. Motivate them to respond to your posts in your comments by asking open-ended questions and then responding to them. Make sure you update your blog consistently.
Go a little further and share your posts on Social Media Networks, like Facebook and Twitter. People will share your posts and talk about them with their social media accounts and get a conversation about the work you do.
Maybe create a game demo or dev diary video and place them on your YouTube Channel. Your fans will get a better idea of who you are and who they are supporting, while also creating a form of trust between you and your fans.
Take part in in the online forums. Ask other developers for advice, and give advice where you can. This not only creates a link back to your website, but shows other developers that you exist and can network and share ideas with.
2. Paid Marketing
You have a bit of a marketing budget. Awesome. What kind of marketing do you want?
Well, if you have a larger budget, and just want to focus on game development, you can hire an ad agency to do your marketing for you. The marketing packages vary, but they could include anything from just Social Media all the way to including online advertisements.
Should you choose to do online advertisements, whether through a Marketing Agency or do it yourself, you should be aware of two different types of ads.
One is the Sales Ad, which would be an that you would run during a time when you are trying to get people to play your game, view gameplay for an upcoming release, purchase a pre-order or some other call-to-action.
The other is a Branding Ad. This is an ad where you are only trying to get people to come to your website to learn about your studio, dev team or whatever. The goal with that ad would be to get the consumer to click it and come to your page, then strategically move them through your site to learn more about you and your studio. So, you don’t necessarily need a direct call to action, but keep it simple and focused on your logo and studio name.
Conventions, expos and events are a fun way to market. You get to take a break from developing and go out into the real world to see people. Sometimes they can be a bit pricey, but the end value, as long as you plan on releasing your game, should be worth it.
You can attend an event as an attendee or guest and do some guerilla marketing. This type of marketing is great for studios that are just starting out and don’t have a lot of funding. All you need is yourself, some business cards, maybe a flyer and the motivation to go meet people. If you have a working game that can be easily played on the go, maybe take it with you.
You could also get a booth at an event. These are a great way to call attendees over to play your game, hand out cool swag and freebies so they will remember your studio later on and meet other devs to talk shop during tear down and booth placement. This way is a little more expensive since you have to pay for the booth space, but is a more convenient way to market during an expo.
There are more ways to market your game than the 3 I have listed above, but those three, in my humble opinion are the most important. Also, within those 3 there are many variations of those marketing techniques and even other marketing techniques, but what I have listed is what I use and find the easiest to keep consistent.
Personally, I enjoy marketing. It helps me meet many of my fans, send emails back and forth with developers from across the world, and I get to go to some really cool events, and even have my own booth to share my games and see an Expo behind the scenes!
I know most game developers don’t come from a background in graphic design and marketing, and would rather focus on building the game and game mechanics than do any marketing. And that is totally okay. Just make sure you do a little marketing to make some fans. Maybe find a marketing agency that focuses on Games and Apps to help you out.