How to Market Your Video Game: 16 Free or Inexpensive Strategies
20/04/2021 Written by The Game Marketer
In today's world, it is not enough to just have a good game and expect people will find you. You need to do some marketing for your game! There are many ways to market your video game, but the question is how much time and money you want to invest in the project. If you're short on cash or just starting out, then this article has plenty of free or inexpensive Game Marketing Strategies that can help jump-start your marketing efforts for your video game.
1. Create A Website for Your Game
A lot of video games are able to have an accompanying website. You can use this site as a hub for your game marketing efforts, including having all the information on how to play and getting updates about new content or changes coming in future releases. Another way to market using websites is through social media – make sure you post news items regularly so that players get used to seeing updates from you.
2. Create A Developer Blog
A blog is a simple way of getting your message out to customers. This makes it easy for players who enjoy the game and want to know more about what's going on behind-the-scenes, as well as those that may be interested in developing their own games or just learning from you. Blogs are also useful if you need feedback and can be a place to showcase ideas. Blogs and content in general is also good from an SEO point of view and will help with the discoverability of your game.
3. Make A Trailer
Players want to see the games they are interested in before they buy them and this is why it's crucial to make a trailer for your game. This will give them the chance to see what they are going to be buying and how well you can present it visually, as well as get a feel for gameplay mechanics and levels of difficulty. Your trailer needs to be engaging and show core hooks in the opening few seconds as it will be competing with content of all types on the web.
4. Create and Share Screenshots
This is the age of social media and its what players are using more than anything else to get information about games. Upload high quality screenshots of your game so that you can share them with your fans through Twitter, Reddit, Imgur or any other platform where players for your gaming niche hang out. Just make sure they're at least 1024 pixels wide! People still love imagery and striking, or funny screenshots can quickly become viral memes.
5. Optimise the Hell Out of Your Store Page
It’s likely your game will be sold via a 3rd party store at some point and understanding how you can optimise your sales page will be critical to success. It may even be the most important strategy on this list. Third party platforms like the App Store, Google Play Store, Steam or Epic have huge reach and millions of active customers but they are full of competing games with thousands added every week. Take some time to really concentrate on making your page stand out from the crowd. If you want an in depth look at how to optimise your Steam page check out our dedicated article here.
6. Build an Email List To Keep In Touch With Fans
Try to build your own email list from the start. This way, you can keep in touch with everyone who's following your video game and giving them details on any updates or new initiatives that you have coming up. You can also use this as a tool for retargeting – when someone visits your website then they're likely interested, so incentivise them to sign up for updates. This not only keeps players engaged but also provides essential data for paid media targeting at a later date. This is a step that many games that only concentrate on the app store, steam or console often miss and it can disconnect you from your players and vital data.
7. Build A Discord Channel
If you are using discord for your game, it's worth setting up a channel to host discussions with players and also create a place where they can provide feedback. It is good practice to have one person as the moderator of this so that they're able to gather all of the thoughts in one space which will make life easier when filtering through them. Discord can be an invaluable tool for building a core community as well as testing out new ideas. Discord Community management is an often overlooked aspect of marketing a video game
8. Share Your Game on Social Media
Every day there are more people joining social media sites, so it makes sense to get your video game out there and start generating buzz. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have huge gaming communities – you can also use these channels to post news items on a regular basis. Make sure that every time the content changes or you have an update or major development milestone you update your community.
9. Join A Forum/subreddit and Get Involved in The Community
You can use forums or Facebook groups to ask for feedback on your game, build up pre-release hype or post information about the development process. Forums are a great way of building relationships with an audience and generating exposure there as well. They are also a great place to connect with other developers who are most likely facing similar challenges to you and can offer invaluable advice.
10. Get Reviews from Gaming Websites or Content Creators
Getting reviews from popular gaming websites can be a challenge but there are hundreds of amateur or niche sites plus countless Twitch and YouTube content creators who love Indie games. All you need to do is contact them with a short pitch about your game, what stage of development it is at and ask if they are interested in reviewing the game. Introduce your project and for the cost of a review key you might get some crucial coverage.
11. Offer Beta Testing of Your Game, Then Ask Players to Post Their Feedback Online
If you are on the brink of releasing a new game, then beta testing it with players and asking them to post their feedback online could be an effective way of generating publicity for your product. By making sure that all reviews or mentions come from players who have actually played the game themselves, they will carry more weight than those who haven't.
12. Make A Demo
A demo is a short playable section of your game that gives players a small taste of what it is like. If you want to try and get your game more coverage, then make a demo version available for people and press who might be interested in playing the full thing. A demo is also a way to get critical feedback without releasing a full product and can incentivise players to register for the full game or add it to their wishlist.
13. Make A Press Kit
A press kit is a set of materials that are presented to game journalists and bloggers so they can write an article about your video game. Create a custom website for the review key distribution or offer it through their own platform such as Steam. Make sure you include screenshots, videos, biographies on the developers and any other information you think would be relevant to explain the game and your studio.
14. Create A Press Release
A press release is a short news article that provides information about something and typically includes contact information. A game company might create one if they are launching a new product, hosting an event or have made some notable content updates. Press release don’t have the power they once had but are still used by nearly everyone in the industry to provide official updates.
15. Cross Promote Your Game
It can be difficult to get press attention when you're launching a new game or have limited budget, but cross promotion might help. Cross promoting your video game is simply the act of aligning yourself with other games in order to promote and continue raising awareness for your product. For example, running ads for other games in your game, in return for the same. More common in mobile games it can also be a strategy for studios with multiple games.
16. Launch/Sell on Multiple Platforms
Don't be afraid to look beyond Steam Google Play or the App Store to get visibility. Uploading a video game to multiple platforms will reach more people. Although this might be expensive for indie developers or small studios, it is worth the additional visibility and player base if you have the budget for marketing across other platforms. You can also offer your game to other digital resellers at a discount to reach new countries or niches.
These are some basic and inexpensive marketing strategies for your video game which you can easily try without spending a huge amount on your game marketing.
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