Making money is always hard. No matter how much effort you managed to put into your game, it won’t pay off financially unless you promote it. Even the most fantastic creation won’t make it beyond your computer if you don’t know how to sell it. Since I deem myself an experienced developer (comment if you think you are better), I want to give you a little piece of advice on how to go beyond the developing stage and bring your game out into the light.
Start Before You Finish
Once you release your game, you have only a few days to get the most sales. Face it, the sales you get from your game in the first week will be bigger than what you get in the next two months. That’s why by the time your game is released, your marketing campaign should be in full swing.
The leading expert from MiroMind Digital Marketing Agency Dmitriy advises starting the campaign as soon as you have at least something to show the users. I concur. Be it a screenshot, sketch, specs or whatever you come up with at the beginning, get out there and show it. So by the time you release the game, you have people prepped to grab it.
Leak Cheat Code Information
Any game with a secret cheat code is bound to be more popular than a simple and straightforward indie creation. If you want the community to start talking about your game, leak the cheat code information. You don’t have to reveal the cheat codes, just let them know they are there. Such move costs you zilch but creates a hype you need. Obviously, don’t forget to include the cheat codes in the game. Make them good!
Invest in SEO
SEO is your best marketing tool. When people are searching for a game, yours should be one of the first ones to come up. SEO marketing has many shapes and sizes, from blogging to website optimization and from social media to backlinking. Even if you are not an expert, you can do a few things on your own. Take on the social media marketing. Create Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Dribble, Pinterest, etc accounts and post something there once every three days or so. You can use special marketing tools to attract the target audience. For example, Facebook has Facebook Ads Manager while Instagram offers FourSixty.
Start a Blog
If you haven’t done this already, you must tell the world about yourself and the wonderful achievements you are so proud of. People are often after personal stories rather than cold and hard facts and specs.
Write about yourself, your way to the game developing profession, your preferences, hobbies, and even love life. Then you can write posts about the game developing process. Just make sure to make them engaging and not too long. The contemporary reader (especially a gamer, ha-ha) has a short attention span. Writing about every small detail is truly boring. Use the right CMS for blogging. I personally like WordPress since I have a website done on this platform.
Build a Website
Nowadays, if you don’t have a website, you are a lousy game developer and even a lousier marketing specialist. A website is one of your best tools for promoting your game. Again, you should set up a website before the game is finished. Besides adding a blog to your website and posting some fun photos of the upcoming game, you can go further to create a professional trailer to keep people excited about the end product. I appreciate the way Presentation Design Experts use every resource possible to create a fun visual presentation. You can also use the good old PowerPoint. Keep the presentation short. Otherwise, you’ll get a high bounce rate. You can also use your website to make some intriguing announcements, such as the cheat codes I talked about earlier. Then make reposts to your social media accounts.
Ask For Opinions
The best way to get people interested in the upcoming game is to ask for their opinions. Obviously, you do the basics on your own. However, if you have some doubts about features and design, you can ask your followers to comment.
One of the easiest ways to do it is to create a poll. People are always eager to share their opinions and to see what the rest think. Once you have a sufficient number of followers, you can go further and make contests. Offer small prizes for the best design. You’ll be surprised at how many people will respond.
Be An Active Member of Gaming Communities
As a game developer, you must be wandering around gaming communities. Spend a few minutes each day to make posts and comments. When the time comes, you can use the profile to market your new game. As a respectable member of the community, you can gather quite a few followers who turn into potential buyers.
I used to roll my eyes when I heard this one. It seems as if press coverage is a far reach. Not at all. As long as you are smart about creating a press kit and contacting as many journalists as possible, you have a good chance to get a piece written about your upcoming game.
The press kit should be in an easily downloadable format and include screenshots, presentations, trailer, website, social channel links, and accolades. Spend a couple of days coming up with a great email subject and body to get the journalists’ attention. This work will truly pay off.
If you are a fan of freebies, you can set up a mediocre promotional campaign for your games. If you are planning to include some payed options in your game - don't ignore cryptocurrencies. Given the ever-growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, coming up with your own coin for the game and start Initial Coin Offering will attract the much needed attention and financing before you even launch your game. Plan everything properly, create a whitepaper and submit your ICO to ICO List & Rating.
If you want good results, get ready to spend some dough and a lot of time. A marketing campaign is an investment that always pays off. If done right, of course. Good luck!