GameDev Thoughts: Marketing Your Indie Game The Right Way

Marketing plays an integral role in getting your game out there, and making sure that you see a return on your investment of making indie games. You might be thinking that marketing is simple, that you already have a ton of friends and family signed up that all want to play. This may be true, but whilst aiming at your closest peers is a very intuitive idea, it will only get your game so far. Even if you have 5,000 friends on Facebook who are all generating some good “buzz” about your game, it will still take a lot more creative thinking and genuine effort on your part if you really want your game to have a chance at being a success story.

When beginning to market your game, one of the first things to consider is the type of game you have. Your friends and family members may buy your game because they know you, and they like you, but how long will they realistically play it? Is your game’s ROI platform based on in-app or in-game purchases? If it’s the latter, even your closest buddies who likes your game may not feel compelled enough to spend real money inside the game. This is exactly why you need to market to your target audience.

Another major part of your marketing plan will be to ensure you create a solid fan-base. Your game is nothing without a database of customers and potential customers who will rush to buy your game once it is released. If you have an established studio, this should be easy, but if not, this may be a bit of a challenge. If you are just starting on the first stages of production for your game, or even if you are right in the middle of it, you can still get started on marketing on your game. In fact, this is a great thing to do to get a head start on your marketing initiatives.

One effective way to build hype for your game in the early stages is to create an email newsletter. If you have a website, you can easily create a sign-up option as soon as people visit your site. You can offer your audience a small incentive in return for giving you their email address. This might be a free e-book, access to exclusives, or maybe even discounts on your game or other products you may have in your inventory. By offering something upfront, your audience will get the feeling that you are genuine about creating and fostering a relationship with them, and you are not just interested in spamming them about your game.

Once you have started collecting some email addresses, it’s a good idea to start storing them in a secure database. Categorize your list by people who have bought from you before, those who open your emails, and people who just do not feel interested. That way you can proactively target those in your base more effectively. For instance, those who have purchased from you before are most likely to purchase from you again. Perhaps they might even be interested in additional add-ons and exclusives meetups with the developers, or some other extras. Whatever it may be, these group of fans need to know that they are appreciated, and that’s the way you generate repeat customers.

On the other hand, there are people who avoid all your emails. They may even be thinking about unsubscribing. Maybe their initial interest and enthusiasm in your product has waned. One, quick-question survey is your best bet. What would make the experience better for them? If you can find any way to engage them, do it, and do it fast. Time is of the essence for these people, and the possibilities of repairing this relationship may be destroyed before it even begins.

Important Takeaways: Marketing is one of the key parts of your game development process, if you wish for it to be a success. Those developers who simply think they can rely on their friends and family will find it much more difficult to get their games into the hands of the wider audiences. Take a look at various marketing methods, such as newsletter emails which can be used to great effect at creating hype for your game’s launch.