So about a month ago I published my second game. Never thought I would go this far, but I guess this really makes me an indie developer, no doubt about it. My first game was released last year, just a trial to understand the development and publishing process from start to finish. I outsourced everything. Obviously it did not give tangible results, but I learned a lot, which was the point.
Now with my new game Planet Lander, I really want to go all the way with marketing strategies and tools for a lone indie dev like me. Just listing all my actions from the first month can work as a to-do list, since I’m quite positive these are all necessary things to accomplish for a successful launch. Is my game successful? Can’t say for now, but at least I did have some results. So read on:
There are tons of great info on indie game marketing out there, but if I had to pick something that stands out, it’s this 3 hour video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd2IHO2xBrY from http://vgamemarketing.com/ Watch all of it, and check out their site, it is extremely informative.
The specific marketing elements to address, pretty much all at once and as soon as possible:
- First, the name. I wanted two descriptive words. I needed “lander” since it’s a particular genre and checking with the tools listed below it’s not overcrowded. With some trials I ended up with “Planet Lander”, simple and to the point.
- Some say ASO is a waste of time; still it does not take too long to gather a list of words to help your store visibility. I used basic free tools from these ASO sites to help me determine what keywords to include in my store listings and how I rank in relation to direct “competitors”.
- Built a landing page with a clear call to action for downloading the game on the available platforms.
- Made a press kit page, for all the info and assets related. http://dopresskit.com/ for guidelines.
- Twitter feed, Facebook page, Google+ page, Youtube channel with demos, LinkedIn page, Pinterest board. Anything and everything posted is spread across all.
- Emailed over 150 websites that are mobile game friendly, to ask for a review of Planet Lander, mention its release or list the game on the site. Some replied with offers for paid reviews. A couple of posts and tweets about the game, all giving a great instant boost in downloads. I’m sending a follow-up e-mail to all the sites that did not write back since a few weeks have passed and the results are very good if you get coverage.
- http://videogamejournaliser.com/ (240 sites in 3 spreadsheets)
- Contacted over 75 YouTubers that *might* be interested in reviewing mobile games. It’s much harder to record decent videos from handhelds screens, so very few are interested in mobile games.
- I got one video review (modest but friendly YouTuber), instant results; nothing else yet except a few followings on my Twitter account.
- Published a press release for the launch of the game. Using only 3 press sites suggested by vgamemarketing.com/, (two are free, one is only 30$ for two releases) it got me a lot of visibility and added credibility. With this I got a great interview from GameZone about the inspiration for Planet Lander, that was awesome!
Google+ Gaming Communities
- Just a quick post on gaming communities, it gets buried fast but you get some exposure.
Game Dev community
- Just started on Reddit, already got great feedback. I used to write a blog about digital effects and running a VFX studio, I am going back to it with a game dev blog on all my efforts.
With all this work I now have around 2,000 Android downloads and 500 iOS downloads; most of them from peaks following the actions above. Daily numbers are low but steady and growing each day. I’m happy to see return users every day and the feedback is good - so all I really need to do is get the game noticed.
It is a lot of work, but I was prepared for it. I am still not certain of the short term results considering my lack of experience in this particular market. But every day I break new grounds, the numbers are growing slowly but surely and the feedback is good. Also I am a very stubborn entrepreneur so I will continue until I have tried everything I can.
I wonder what’s better when contacting journalists and game review sites: send a short, concise message (it worked with the press release to get a thorough interview on GameZone) or throw all the information at hand, links and graphics in the message and help get your word out (it worked for instant coverage and mentions on some game review sites)