When is the Right Time to Start Marketing Your Game?
07/05/2021 Written by The Game Marketer
The time to start marketing your game is now! It is important for video game developers to start their marketing efforts early because it will help them build a fan base. This article discusses the difference between marketing and advertising, why you need to start your video game marketing campaign early, and how you can do so without spending any money.
There is never a bad time to start marketing your game, but it definitely pays to start early. Remember that it takes time for people to find out about your game, especially if they do not know where or how often you will update them on your progress. Marketing starts from day one and continues well after launch day – there is no stopping once word has been spread!
When is the right time? The earlier the better! Why wait until release day when you could have an audience waiting patiently for more updates?!
So, like a pension it’s never too early to start thinking about marketing your game. What you do need to consider though is what stage of game development you are at as this will determine what marketing you are doing and to who.
We will start by discussing what the game developer needs to think about early on in development, and then how you can do so without spending any money.
The Bare Minimum
To be taken seriously as a game developer, you have to have something to talk about, or even better, to show. If you are a newer developer, you don't have the luxury of riding off previous performance and so you need to have a story to tell. If you are still at the idea stage then your marketing audience is going to consist of family, friends, and maybe other game developers. To really start marketing your game you need to have a few solid things to work with:
A name, even if this is only a working title for now.
A description of core mechanics, story, or hook for the game.
Some artwork and if possible early screenshots.
To start marketing your video game these are the bare minimum items that need to be in place before you get started. Anything less than this and it is going to seem like just another idea instead of a real project that is going somewhere.
Once you have these elements you can start to build some awareness of your game and it will help you get feedback from the people who are going to be playing it.Another way to start marketing your video game is by talking about what you want to do with the project. What made you make this game? What can players expect when they play for a few hours or more? Who would enjoy playing this video game and why?
Who is your Audience?
Another critical area you should think about is targeting your audience. Who is the game for? What kind of player would enjoy playing this video game? You can target your audience by age, gender or other demographic information such as location, but the easiest and most worthwhile categorisation will be genre. Genre is important for a number of reasons.
Gamers understand genre and tend to play within genres they understand and like.
Genre helps you define some elements of your game and marketing.
Different genres can be over or underrepresented. Meaning you might have more or less competition to contend with.
Do not fall into the trap of saying "but my game is for everyone!" Even if that is true it makes your marketing difficult as players and press have no way of quickly understanding what your game is. If you are struggling to explain what your game is do you think a player with lots of alternative choices is going to go out of their way to figure it out themselves?
The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising
Marketing is the process of promoting or selling a product. It doesn't have to be flashy, and it can take many forms including talking with players at events, in person meetings, social media posts, blog content about your game's features etc.
Advertising on the other hand is when you pay for space on another site like Facebook where people are browsing content and your ad appears.
It's important to note that marketing doesn't necessarily need huge budgets and you can start for free in most cases. All you need is some content, time and willingness to get your game out there.
Nurture a Community
One of the complaints for most developers is that community management is time consuming, difficult and doesn't get quick results. All of these things are true but that isn't the problem. You need to understand that you are developing something beyond a community. You are creating a game marketing army.
The reason for this is that people who play games are more likely to share them with their friends and family. In order to achieve this, you need to nurture your community, so it becomes invested in what you are doing. This will show through all of the comments on social media sites and make a bigger impact than any advertisement could ever do. You need to view your community the same way you might a new marketing hire. Do they have the tools and training to go and market your game?
Like all training this needs to start early and will take a while to show results but in the end, you will have a community who are engaged, informed and empowered to go out and spread the word.
Marketing your game starts from day 1 although the strategy and tactics will evolve along with your development progress.
Define your game so that others can understand it without having played it.
Understand that marketing isn't just about buying some ads.
Take the time to build a community for your game.
If you are still feeling a bit lost when it comes to video game marketing do not worry, drop us a message and perhaps we can help.