In this post, I give some tips and thoughts on how can you get visibility for your upcoming game release. Hopefully, you can find a thing or two to take as part of your marketing strategy!
1 Press list
Press sites get a lot of email from game developers and at first, your game is no different than any of those. By sending a message to a press site, or directly to a journalist you have (at least) a chance of showing your game to them. By sending a single message as a "no-body" game developer, it's more likely that the press site does not get interested from your project. You should see the messaging for press sites as a "conversation". Your first message is the introduction of who you are and what are you doing. The following messages always include something new to present for the press site.
By "starting a conversation" with press site, it is more likely to get the review at some point. Since at first, you need to build the "reputation". One major part of building a reputation is to show the commitment and progress of your work.
Do not expect the journalists and/or press sites to reply you, but they will most likely remember your emails in the past when you actually announce the release date of your upcoming game. Also, please do not spam emails. You could go for one email per month, to keep it interesting.
Remember that the press sites and journalists are working too. They are trying to find something interesting and valuable for their readers (customers) to take a look into. If you're not sending them anything interesting, why would they bother?
2 Newsletter subscribers/wishlists
These are the people, who have actually shown interest for your game before it's officially out. These are the people, who are most likely to buy your game when it is released. The number of newsletter subscribers and/or wishlists is the only number, which you can grow each week. If it's not growing, you are most likely doing something wrong. Always try to direct your marketing efforts to increase the number of newsletter subscribers and/or wishlist.
As an example, approximately 10-30% of people who've put a game on a wishlist, buy the game on release. It's good to make some calculations, how many units would your game sell, if you would put it out with let's say 1000 wishlist. Is (approximately) 100-300 sales enough for you for the first month after release?
3 Active social media
Don't just shout to different channels, try to think a little of the content of your posts. From what would YOU be interested, as an example? The people reading your posts are human too. They're not interested in an endless amount of ads and "shameless promotions". What they want from you, is some actual entertainment, or other content from which they can get some value.
If you keep giving valuable content, it's sometimes ok to just promote your products. Your followers are ok with that, and they may even consider buying because they know that your past (and future) posts will give them something back.
Posting actively on social media is important since doing this keeps people remembering that you actually exist. It only takes a week or two for people to forget you entirely.
You are most likely creating something interesting each day, you just need to find a way to present this and make it as part of your "daily routines" to tell everyone about it.
4 Give something to get something back
All of us have something to give each other. Maybe you're good at drawing, programming or something else? Why not share this information with your fans and actually teach them? This is the VALUE for your followers to keep interested in your content. And by giving something, it's always easier to ask something back. And if we're talking about game marketing, you can always ask the fans to pre-order, wishlist or buy your game.
Try your ideas for marketing, aim to get some data to show did it work or not and if (when) it didn't, iterate and repeat! Always try to make your content better. The first marketing efforts won't be the best, but when you continue to do it and try to understand what you're doing right (and wrong) it's more likely that your future content is much better. Old habits die hard, so try not to make too much of "habits" before you know what works for your audience.
6 Reserve enough time
A lot of developers make their game in "stealth mode" and come out from their cave just before the release and expect everyone to be interested. They're not. Especially if you're releasing your first game, you are basically nobody to everyone. Make sure to spread the word of your existence from day one, when you commit to making a game from start to finish.
7 Make your tracking metrics clear
Depending on your marketing strategy, you should always have metrics to follow. Before you have your game out, you can not see the sales or downloads of your game, so you need to have metrics, which show you that more people are interested from your stuff than last week. By having these type of metrics, it's easier for you to know are you going in the right direction, or should you try something else?
When you start to see "movement" within your metrics, you can look back and see what you've recently done and then try to replicate that idea.
- Get your metrics clear, to understand when you're making progress
- Give something to get something back
- Don't expect "one-night wonder". Be consistent, prepare to try stuff, fail, iterate and repeat!
Hopefully, you got some new ideas for your marketing strategy from this post! There is A LOT of stuff to consider when trying to get visibility for your project. This post right here is just a scratch at the surface. I'll try to provide more valuable ideas within coming blog posts in the future, stay tuned!