The indie game market is booming and people are purchasing more indie titles than ever. The game quality is improving in leaps and bounds and there is money to be made. Yet, it’s harder than ever for indie game developers to make money with their games.
The statistics are staggering…
According to ConceptArt.org, 95% of indie games never make a profit and 80% games lose money. The chances of getting paid for your game are low, especially with out a large budget.
There is some good news, however — it is possible to market an indie game on a limited or even non-existent budget.
A lot goes in to producing a quality game, but properly marketing is the key to your success.
You can’t spend endless time, talent, and resources on the production of the game, and then neglect the marketing stage.
In the current climate, excellent marketing skills and a comprehensive marketing plan are a necessity for indie developers if they want to have a successful game.
According Emmy Jonassen at Indie Game Girl, there are three steps to marketing success:
- Create irresistible promotional materials
- Score articles in top-tier publications
- Build an adoring fan base
Now, you may think “easier said than done”. However, each of these steps can be achieved with a $0 budget, as long as you take the time to understand what they mean and how to accomplish them.
So, what are irresistible promotional materials?
There are pieces of content that people can’t help but share and discuss.
They will watch, read, and promote your content — your game will become memorable before a player has even picked it up.
There are different types of promotional materials, but a good-quality trailer video, compelling screenshots of the game, a well-written and succinct press release, an excellent landing page design, and a regularly updated development blog are absolute necessities.
Next step, your game needs to appear in top-tier publications.
This serves two purposes: get the word out about your game to a large number of people and add legitimacy to the games reputation by appearing in a trusted, widely-followed source.
In order to be successful in this somewhat daunting endeavour, be systematic about your approach. Take the time to research the publications you would most like to see your game in — include the most popular and also lesser-known but highly trusted sources.
In particular, smaller publications matching the niche of your game may be beneficial.
Once your list is compiled, organize it in a spreadsheet and categorize your publications in three levels based on traffic.
To find a point of contact for each site, search the footer for writers’ and editors’ contact information, often listed as “Editorial Staff”. Complete your spreadsheet with the information.
There is a formula that will help make these queries successful:
- To streamline the process, use a template that introduces both you and your game
- Address why you game is one that readers will care about
- Take the time to make adjustments to the template for each individual site and publication
- Attach screenshots and your press release
- Thank anyone who responds and foster positive working relationships and lines of communication
- Go the extra mile and give the writers attention with article comments and shares!
Now it’s time to implement the final step in your $0 marketing plan.
Build a dedicated fan base by making your game accessible and easy to find for players.
Be an active (daily!) poster on multiple social media channels, become a vocal member in forums and blogs, participate in game jams and gaming events, work with your local development community, and consider using crowdfunding.
Marketing your indie game doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does require some time and dedication on you part.
You’ve put so much into producing your game and it deserves to be seen.
A well-executed marketing strategy is a necessity to make your excellent a game a profitable one.
Interested in becoming a game developer or improving your current development career as an indie? Get to know the industry insights and stay updated on the latest game development marketing news here at GameFeatured!