Marketing... kill me :'( ...Tips? What worked for you?

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  • Marketing is my weakest link as a solo dev. I dont enjoy it and Im bad at it.

    For the solo dev who hates marketing, but feels he must do SOME at least... what are those few marketing things I can do that will give me the BIGGEST return for MINIMAL time input?

    Would love to hear input from other published devs. What was the most useful marketing tricks that worked for you?

    Heres my list of potential Marketing activities I am considering:

    • Dont do ANY marketing, just release on Google Play and iTunes and pray for the game to be featured. If you DO get featured all other marketing pales into insignificance.
    • I was thinking I could make a wiki for my game and use it as a way of explaining game play to the player as well as just featuring the game's artwork. Downside is it will take time to build.
    • Twitter posting. You can get some engagement on twitter just posting gifs of gameplay etc... how much of that engagement will translate into people playing your game Im not sure. I think for Twitter to be of any use, you need a large following. That requires constant Twitter posting to get followers... again I suck at that >:(
    • Reddit community. Useful if people want to ask questions about your game... eg "How do I complete this level" etc... but not useful for driving downloads of your game. Probably dont bother with this.
    • Getting your game featured on a site like GameJolt... These guys I believe will do a feature /write up on games that arent yet released to get awareness of your game out there. Its free so this is probably a good one to do.
    • One thing all of this relies on is having the promotional graphics ready to go... You need to have some nice colourful illustrations of your game, the game logo at different sizes. Often you want this artwork to be in a cartooned style, as opposed to the in-game artwok your game features. You also want a youtube trailer and game player videos... Takes heaps of time creating this artwork... Im actually thinking I might hire a visual designer to create that artwork for me this time around...
    • Make a Lite version of the game. Ive been thinking I could make a Lite version of the game, that had the first 25% of levels and first boss fight and would be Free to play. I could release it on GooglePlay and iTunes, and then I could link to it from all marketing avenues. This would allow people to play it and get excited for the full version. I could even have AdMob in the Lite version so it could actually be generating revenue. The full version wont be Free it will have a purchase price. Maybe when the Full version was released, I could retire the Lite version. Or I could leave the Lite version online to serve as a free demo that would direct players to the paid full version...? The Lite version could even serve as marketing itself, as in when I released the full version of the game, I could release an update for the Lite version with a button saying 'click here to download full game'. If you had a lot of people playing the free to play game, that could generate traffic to paid game?? Good idea or stupid?

    Tagged:

  • Firstly, making an excellent game is a solid marketing foundation in itself.

    Then, post to reddit communities that involve your game's genre. ie, turn base tactics, cRPGs, etc. Preferably post during development if you have something to show.

    Same with discord.

    Both reach potential players directly.

    As you get closer to release, with cool stuff to show, contact regular gaming media with your pitch. Hopefully some of them cover you game.

    These are what worked for me.

  • Firstly, making an excellent game is a solid marketing foundation in itself.

    Then, post to reddit communities that involve your game's genre. ie, turn base tactics, cRPGs, etc. Preferably post during development if you have something to show.

    Same with discord.

    Both reach potential players directly.

    As you get closer to release, with cool stuff to show, contact regular gaming media with your pitch. Hopefully some of them cover you game.

    These are what worked for me.

    I agree its important for your game to be decent. Like, theres no point going all out with marketing if your game is boring or broken. But theres plenty of good games that have failed for no good reason... they just didnt get the vsibility they deserved.

    When you say contact gaming media, which ones generated interest for you? Ill definitely try GameJolt. Any other good ones?

  • In this era of indie devs, making a decent game isn't going to be enough to "make it", ie. financially rewarding.

    Even good games struggle.

    Make sure your game is excellent first and foremost in order for marketing to work.

  • Your Twitter posts seem to be going really well from what I've been following! I think you should leverage anything that's working - eg. it's hard to get as many RT's as you are on Twitter so ride that wave as you explore other avenues also.

    Try using it to feed into other channels as well (EG, post a link to your Reddit etc to see more content).

  • Your Twitter posts seem to be going really well from what I've been following! I think you should leverage anything that's working - eg. it's hard to get as many RT's as you are on Twitter so ride that wave as you explore other avenues also.

    Try using it to feed into other channels as well (EG, post a link to your Reddit etc to see more content).

    Yes Twitter is the only social media platform I can stomach. Its not too arduous to post a gif occassionally. Im trying to decide on a strategy for additional marketing that doesnt require too much time, will actually add value and will generate engagement and sales.

    This is what Im thinking at this stage:

    • Website/Landing page: Many people say its a good idea to have a webpage / landing page. I dont want the hassle of hosting a site or registering a domain. There are ongoing costs etc which Im not interested in. So Im thinking Ill use a Fandom wiki as my website / landing page.
    • Promo Artwork:I need to create good quality promotional artwork and a YouTube trailer. Ill hire someone to do this as I have my hands full finishing the game.
    • Social Media: I'll try to Tweet more regularly, posting gifs and images of gameplay. PLUS link to the Fandom wiki, YT trailer.
    • Media mentions: I'll aim to get write ups on GameJolt, and other similar game related media sites.
    • App Store Optimization: I'll make sure to get on top of App Store optimization. Game title, game description etc are important. Theres stuff around using keywords etc that is apparently important for you game getting found. Research this extensively.
    • Lite Version: Seriously considering a Lite version of game to act as a demo: (25% of levels, one boss, only some unlocks can be achieved ect). Enough of the game to get players excited for full verson. All marketing can direct players to Lite version. Twitter, fandom wiki, posts on forums etc, can all link to the Lite version of game, so people can be actually playing a demo version of the game even while I am working on finising the full version. The Lite version itself can link to the full version when its finished, and should generate feedback and engagement. And it can have AdMob to actually generate some revenue as well.
    • Subreddit: I *may* make a subreddit. Is a good place for people to come and ask questions: "How do I complete this level", "Where are the pickups / secrets in Level X". etc etc. This is lowest priority and can be done quickly once game is published.

    Fandom wiki, Twitter, YouTube Trailer, any features in media and Lite version of game will all crosslink / reference each other

    I think if I do all that I can say Ive had a go at marketing. But tbh the one thing that really leads to success is for the game to be featured.

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  • I Started a wiki : cyberduck.fandom.com/wiki/The_Official_Cyber_Duck_Wiki

    Its not finished. I only have artwork and copy in there for the first Area of the game, but it's a start.

  • Hey Artpunk, I love the look of your game! Marketing can definitely be a time consuming activity, especially when you have to actually make a game as well!

    I noticed you've considered making a small website/landing page but decided not to go through with it due to the time and financial costs; I'd be happy to help here, I've got a lot of experience making websites and this looks like a fun one to work on.

    In terms of hosting and costs, I'd be happy to do this pro-bono as a passion project, no one likes to take money from artists... and hey, if CyberDuck becomes the next Hollow Knight that's good for everyone involved.

    In terms of experience, I've done quite a bit of marketing in a few different areas - I've even worked with Tom and Scirra in the past; I don't have an up to date portfolio but you can see my LinkedIn here:

    linkedin.com/in/elliott-bear

    Would love to help

  • I agree with Elliott: your game has a great look, and your wiki does too. In the distant past I used YouTube to show my artwork (and some rough Unity game scenes), but that was before I had a good camera or any idea of what I was doing. Somehow, even with my amateurish low-res videos, I got contacted by someone who had a medieval crafts and games website, asking if he could embed one of my paper castle vids. I said, "No way!" I mean, I said, "Sure!" That move alone greatly increased my views, although other factors in my life (bad decisions on my part, mostly) pulled everything downward again.

    My current project heavily involves YT and Vimeo video as actual parts of the game play, so in a sense I'm using YouTube for both marketing and as part of the game. Maybe you could use YT videos to hint at Easter Eggs hidden in the game, or something like that...

  • Hey Artpunk, I love the look of your game! Marketing can definitely be a time consuming activity, especially when you have to actually make a game as well!

    I noticed you've considered making a small website/landing page but decided not to go through with it due to the time and financial costs; I'd be happy to help here, I've got a lot of experience making websites and this looks like a fun one to work on.

    In terms of hosting and costs, I'd be happy to do this pro-bono as a passion project, no one likes to take money from artists... and hey, if CyberDuck becomes the next Hollow Knight that's good for everyone involved.

    In terms of experience, I've done quite a bit of marketing in a few different areas - I've even worked with Tom and Scirra in the past; I don't have an up to date portfolio but you can see my LinkedIn here:

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/elliott-bear/

    Would love to help

    Hi Elliott. Thanks for your offer, thats extremely generous. If you did any work like that, I wouldnt ask you to do it for free, we would come to an arrangement so you got paid for your time and effort. Thing is, I decided I wouldn't make a landing page because I feel like a wiki can have much of the same info youd have on a landing page, while being free. You dont have the cost of website hosting or domain registration as an ongoing cost into the future. Plus its set up for SEO, you can have links going to your App Store etc, Download links for a media Kit... it can fill much of the role that a landing page can.. Im not sure the benefit Id get from having a landing page in addition to the wiki, justifies the onging expense. But Id like to talk more to you about it. Can you please email me to discuss further? littlegames.funbit(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks.

  • I agree with Elliott: your game has a great look, and your wiki does too. In the distant past I used YouTube to show my artwork (and some rough Unity game scenes), but that was before I had a good camera or any idea of what I was doing. Somehow, even with my amateurish low-res videos, I got contacted by someone who had a medieval crafts and games website, asking if he could embed one of my paper castle vids. I said, "No way!" I mean, I said, "Sure!" That move alone greatly increased my views, although other factors in my life (bad decisions on my part, mostly) pulled everything downward again.

    My current project heavily involves YT and Vimeo video as actual parts of the game play, so in a sense I'm using YouTube for both marketing and as part of the game. Maybe you could use YT videos to hint at Easter Eggs hidden in the game, or something like that...

    Yeah I definitely agree YouTube videos are useful. A single, simple video trailer can go a long way. You can use it for all marketing efforts: App stores, any media mentions can link to it, it can go on your wiki / webpage, can be used for a kickstarter etc.

    It should feature some gameplay, some concept art, music, sfx, game logo. It doesnt need to be super complex to be effective.

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