Through our State of Independent Games report, we discovered that indie devs didn’t particularly like marketing and they didn’t want to do it.
Those that were fine with marketing their game still felt lost and weren’t sure of where they should even begin.
As part of our ongoing Indie Game Marketing series, we’ll look at what you need to start marketing your game.
These articles act as a companion to our Indie Bandits Marketing Clinic sessions on Twitch, which you can either catch live or gain early access to by supporting us on Patreon.
Don’t Forget The Funnel
Remember that the purchase/marketing funnel is what drives players to your game. When working out how to market your game and what you’ll use to do it, you need to think about what stage players are at.
You need to consider where players will discover your game, how they’ll engage with it and your marketing content, how you’ll secure relevant contact information for them so you can tell them more about the game, and how you’ll convince them that your game is worth buying.
If you have commercial aspirations for your game, you need to do your research. Find out where the people most likely to buy and play your game are.
Wherever you can find potential players, you need to be there. You need to think about where you’ll find your players, what they like, where they like to buy their games, and even how much they like to pay for them.
Once you have an idea of who you’ll be engaging with through your marketing, you can start getting everything you need.
Social media accounts are free and easy to sign up for. You’ll probably already have a few of your own already, but you should create accounts for your game or studio.
It’s worthwhile remembering that while your heart and soul are being poured into your game, you are not your game. Some players might want to see aspects of your life and behind the scenes, but some people might be solely interested in your game and it’s worthwhile having separate accounts for your game, your studio, or even a professional account for you as a developer.
Everything you post to social media reflects on you and your game so it might be a good idea not to blur the lines with everything from political opinions to your hot takes on movies and TV.
Which social media channels you pick will depend on your audience and Twitter, for example, is very popular amongst indie devs. However, remember that while the excellent indie dev community can help you through development and with advice, they mightn’t be your target audience.
Getting yourself a website should be one of the first things you do. If you’re not sure about the name of your game, you can always set one up for your studio.
Some devs consider their Steam page their website, but you have to remember that Steam is working in Steam’s best interest and not yours. Your website belongs to you and you’re in control of how it looks, what it does, and how it promotes your game. You can set the rules and ensure that visitors see the content you want them to see.
A website can also work with your purchase funnel and lets you control the experience potential players will have when they discover or engage with your game. You can have your website play host to email signups, bonus content, and loads of stuff to whet players’ appetites for your game before release.
You can also use your website for devlogs, updates, and to house content for players who are far more invested in your game than those who are just discovering it through your social media.
Here at Indie Bandits, we love a mailing list. While social media content is often at the behest of the algorithm, you own your mailing list and can pretty much do what you want with it. Every person that signs up (and they have to sign up) can receive your marketing content in their inbox.
There are lots of different tools out there for managing mailing lists. As always, do a bit of research into how you’ll be using your mailing list then choose the one that’s right for you. Fortunately, as your mailing list belongs to you, even if you change the tool you use to send your emails, you can always bring the list with you.
A mailing list is a really powerful tool as you can send appropriate content to different segments of your audience, making sure that your marketing is performing as it should and that your messaging is reaching the right people.
If you want anybody in the media to talk about your game, you should have a press kit. Of all the things on our list, the press kit is probably the only one that you won’t be able to use on day one as you’ll have to develop some of your game before you’ll have what you need.
You can fill your press kit with the content that you believe best represents your game including your flashiest screenshots and that awesome trailer you made, but don’t forget that you also need to include assets so that people wanting to cover your game have what they need to make their best content.
You’ll want to include good screenshots, trailers of different formats and lengths, logos, key art, and lots of different visuals in differing formats.
It’s also a good idea to include your logos and text separately so that journalists, streamers, etc. can play around with them as well as versions of key art with them on.
These aren’t the only things you’ll need to market your game, but if you’re planning on seriously marketing your project, these should definitely be a good place to start.
Feel free to let us know if there’s anything you’d add to our marketing starter kit.
For more help with marketing your indie game, support us on Patreon or check out our Indie Bandits Marketing Clinic session specifically on what you need to start marketing your indie game!