Whenever I ask indie devs what they’d like to know about marketing, a lot of them respond saying they have no idea where to begin. With this in mind, I went to Develop this year to give advice about how to get your game on people’s radar. I considered five key areas of discoverability:
- knowing your audience
- sharing your content
- nurturing your community
- contacting influencers
- and spending money on promotion
The following is a broad overview to be used as a jumping off point for further research. Each game is unique. Marketing plans should always be individually crafted. Also due to its absurd word-count, the blog has been split into 5 parts, and linked conveniently.
Nurturing Your Community
Okay, so now you know who your audience is, and have set up channels to share information with them about your game, but how do you keep them interested? How do you form a community around your game?
Why It’s Important
The games industry’s shift from traditional boxed products to more mobile and F2P models, has really strengthened the “Games As a Service” approach. With that, player expectations about game studios have also shifted.
Players expect to be able to get in touch with the studio, not only on a customer service level, but also as a member of the game’s community. They also want to know what kind of company you are and what you stand for. These days consumers want to make sure they are backing a horse that aligns with their own personal beliefs.
In Fallen London, for example, fans appreciate our commitment to representation and gender parity. These expectations will become more and more important as younger generations rise to buying power.
Consumers have grown to distrust ads and more traditional forms of marketing. Forming a community for your game allows you as a studio to be more personable and therefore trustworthy. If a community is nurtured, it means that members will pass along their enjoyment of the game to other players, and word of mouth is the best type of advertising you can get.
General Tips for Setting Up a Cyclical Community
One of the best things you can do when setting up for a community is to make sure any set of rules or company beliefs are clearly posted somewhere from the beginning.
For example, if you’ve set up a forum or Reddit page somewhere, make sure any rules you want your players to follow are easily found and explained. These could be how to post on the forum, or even how to treat other players.
As your community grows, your earlier fans will be able to point new fans to these rules for you—it’s good for everyone to have clear direction and expectations.
Levels of Interest
It’s important to share content that will hit the different levels of interest of members in your community
Important announcements like game release info, new trailers, game sales etc. should be designed to entice new players into joining your community.
Regular updates like new screenshots, features added etc. are there to keep members within your community interested throughout development.
Any sort of fan contests whether fan art or cosplay will allow those members of your community who want to be more invested to show their dedication.
And finally, there will be members of your community that will act as brand evangelists, those who are super-dedicated—players that may know the game better than you do. These members, if possible, should be offered positions of responsibility and trust within the community. These opportunities could be roles like a forum moderator, or even someone that gets early testing opportunities. They will help keep your community strong, and be your best supporters.
Continue Reading > Contacting Influencers…