Indie game developers typically have little to no budget when starting out and can’t afford to hire a marketing agency. Many indie game developers also have very little marketing experience and don’t know how to market their games. So a lot of games that are amazing get lost in the crowd.
The truth is, if you don’t market and promote your video games, no one will ever know your game exists. This will make it very hard to get fans who want to play your game.
Here are some tips on how to easily start marketing your indie video game to gain some fans.
Marketing & Promoting Your Video Game
Marketing and promoting your game is probably one of the most important parts of game development. The indie game market is flooded with lots of professional and hobby game makers, which can make it difficult to stand out in just a marketplace. The likeliness of your game being accidentally discovered by an influencer is slim to none.
If you can afford to hire a marketer, or you know someone who is willing to help you for free, do it. The better you can market your game, the more traction, game media, fans, and influencers will know about your game and possibly play or write about it. However, most indie game developers are not going to have a game marketer available to them. So, how can you succeed without hiring a marketer?
Tips for Marketing Your Game on a Budget
Here is a list with descriptions of how you can market your game on your own, without costing you a ton of money.
- Embrace Your Story
- Social Media
- Contact the Press and Media
- Promote Your Game on Your Blog
- Playable Demos to Influencers
Embrace Your Story
Tell your story. You weren’t born a game developer; you became a game developer. What made you decide to become an indie gamedev versus working for a triple-A (AAA) studio? Why do you like to make your own games? What games are you making? Why are you making you current game? Is being an indie dev your superpower and a dramatic life-changing moment gave you this power? Tell us. People want to know about you and what makes you and your video games special.
So now you have a story, but where do you put your story for all to read?
Ways to Promote Your Story
There are lots of places where you can promote your story and get the word out about you and your game. Below is a list of some ideas to help you get the ball rolling.
- On your website blog
- In a forum
- Send a press release to media and news
- Tweet about it
Get a Website
By now, you should have a website for your game or studio, and if you don’t, go get one. They are relatively inexpensive, and there are some available for free.
Make a Free Website for Your Game
Websites are the easiest way to get yourself on the internet and get noticed. There’s a lot to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords, analytics, and more. However, just stick to writing blog posts that are at least 500 words and about your studio (even if your studio is just you) and your games.
When it comes down to it, SEO focuses on how people naturally search for things on the internet. But we can go into more detail on that in another post. Just know, for now, to be yourself. That’s who people want to know.
Find Some Forums
Forums are online chat channels that typically focus on a specific topic. You could literally type in any topic or name into Google search with the word ‘forum’ at the end and pages upon pages of forums will be available for you.
The most popular forum area is Reddit, so definitely jump on there. But also do a little research and find some forums talking about your game’s genre and try to make some friends.
Send Press Releases
Press releases are announcements of things that you send to media and press in hope of them coving a small story about you and your game. When you reach a benchmark in your production, you won some grant money, a new demo is released, or any other news you want to share with the public.
You will want to send it to your local news stations, video game news, and media, and you can share it on GamesPress for the press to find. The key is to know who you are sending it to. For local media, you might not need to personalize it to the person you’re sending it to, however with video game media and influencers, you want to personalize an email with your press release attached. Also, if you have a demo, send them the demo. Don’t ask if they want a key; they will never respond. Just give them the key.
In another post, we will talk more in-depth about how to write a press release, and how to approach the press, but for now, just start reaching out. Also, local news loves a niche and positive story, so start there for sure!
Tweet on Twitter
Everyone is on Twitter. Twitter is so popular, that tweets get featured in news stories. It’s insane. Get on Twitter, even if you don’t like social media, at least create a Twitter account for your game and/or studio. Tweet about anything, but keep the focus on your game and game development.
Something like, ‘Just had my first cup of joe and ready to start my day!’ with a picture of you, your coffee mug, and your workspace is perfect. Share character updates. Retweet when fans draw fan art of your game. Get social.
Social Media to Share Your Game
Almost everyone in the world is on social media. This means, your fans are on social media. And, your fans want to interact with you and get to know you. Fans want to feel like they are a part of your team.
How do you make your fans feel like a part of your team?
Get social. Even if you don’t want to personally take part in social media, you should still create social accounts for your game and/or studio. Eimear Studios has several social media channels, and we love to interact with our fans.
Eimear Studios’ Favorite Social Media Networks
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are our favorite social media channels because they have the most reach. Our consumer market for the types of games we make ranges from children to adults in their 40’s. These three social networks allow us to reach the majority of our fans.
Twitter is for Everyone
If you can only manage one social media network, we advise using Twitter. It’s simple, sweet, and you don’t need to have a personal account in order to create your game or studio account.
Also, everyone is on Twitter. Whether it’s the president of the United States or Suzy next door making cake, they are there and actively watching.
Facebook is for Older, but not Old People
Those of us who grew up with Atari, Nintendo, and Sega consoles in our homes, are typically the active participants to Facebook. Our kids take part in Facebook, but really they use Snapchat and watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. Our parents (65+) are on Facebook, but we are pretty sure they only go on to like our cute pictures of our families.
So, your market here is 30 – 50-year-olds. That is also the age of people who typically make the money spending decisions for their households. So, share some stuff about your game with them. Yes, you will need to make a personal account in order to make a page for your game and studio, but it’s worth it to reach the people who will actually purchase your game.
Why Be on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is more on the business side of social media. If you’re not on there at this point in time; we have no words. You should be on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is where you will network and connect with other game developers, but also influencers, news reporters, and publishers. This is where you share news updates about your studio and game to gain interest from other businesses in the world. If they like what they see, they may want to work with you in some fashion or write a news story about you and your game.
Is YouTube Really a Social Network?
Yes, YouTube is really a social network. People can follow your game or studio channel on YouTube, like your videos, and chat in comments about your videos. You’ll want to, at the very least, upload your game trailers to YouTube so you can share them with the public.
There are lots of other videos you can put on your channels, such as a devlog or an interview with your dev team. You definitely want to put your game trailers on YouTube. You will need to share them with the press, otherwise, they have no idea what you are trying to show them.
YouTube is also important to use because, while most people in their twenties and under might not be on the above social networks, they definitely watch YouTube. From videos of cats playing the piano to influencers live playing Minecraft, people of all ages watch YouTube. So, like the Nike saying says, just do it.
Contact the Press
It’s not as scary as it sounds. You just need to write a press release and send it to your media contacts. Okay, so it sounds a little easier than it really is.
As listed above, press releases are just a paragraph or two of written details about something you would like to share with the public. Maybe you received a grant for your studio or game, or maybe you have a demo you’d like to share. Write some sentences about it.
You’ll need to share it with some people of the press, so you should create a list of media you’d like to publish your information. At Eimear Studios, we create a Google sheet with the name of the organization (like Kotaku or Time) with the email and name of the person to contact.
We double-check stories written by that person to make sure they do cover topics that our press release is about. You wouldn’t want to send a press release about a platform-adventure game to someone who only covers first-person shooters. Don’t waste their time, or yours. Find writers that cover your topics and send your press release and game demos to them.
Get Your Demos to Liveplayers and Influencers
This is similar to reaching out to the press, but different because you will also send them a demo of your game. You want people to play your game so that they will influence their fans to buy and play your game.
You will find these people on YouTube and Twitch and you will create a list of them. You’ll want to include their channel, their name, and a way to contact them. You’ll also want to not what genres of games they play or promote. Again, don’t waste their time or yours if you’re sending a platform-adventure game to a first-person shooter player. They won’t play it, and they might bad-mouth you on their channel.
In Conclusion of Basic Game Marketing
Obviously, there’s a ton more to marketing and techniques to get your game noticed. But, this is just a quick run-through to help you get started.
Have any questions about Marketing Your Game?
We love to answer your questions in the comments below. If you’re more comfortable emailing Eimear Studios your questions, go ahead and contact us!