6 Out-Of-The-Box Marketing Tactics Indie Developers Can Implement For Free

Indie Marketing Tips from SuperRewards

Last week we began asking around for your favorite marketing tips for indie developers and you really came through!

There are some basics that every buzz building effort should include as a new game approaches it’s release date, but the ideas you shared with us were mostly out-of-the-box tactics for getting attention without breaking the bank.

It’s hard to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace, and without a huge budget to acquire users or turn on a full-fledged PR engine, it’s helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeve as you begin to tell the world about your game.

We think that by combining some of the more straightforward (and necessary) app marketing tactics with quirky, memorable ones that fit your audience the chance you’ll succeed are much higher. Below are six unique ideas for marketing your release, along with some examples of how to implement them.

USE VINE FOR SNEAK PEAKS

Twitter’s new Vine product is uniquely visceral and growing quickly, but is it a good fit for promoting a new game?

We’ve been seeing more Vine videos from game developers find their way into #screenshotsaturday feeds, and they certainly stand out. Vine records six seconds of video and creates a looping GIF-like video that’s easily embeddable in most social networks and websites.

A few recent examples:

NICHE FACEBOOK GROUPS

Public and private groups on Facebook are a growing trend for many industries and the developer community is no different.

[Leverage] communities that already exist on Facebook – they are great for gathering up support from other fellow indies before you launch, and even after you launch. There are plenty, but two of my favorites are Indie Game Developers and Indy App & Game Developers Group. – Mike Amerson, My Virtual Girlfriend

Searching for terms like “app developers”, “app marketing” and such will turn up more results, but here’s a few more we watch at SuperRewards: Indie Game Promo, Indie Game ChatApp Entrepreneurs and Marketers Group

TELL YOUR STORY ON MEDIUM

Medium.com is the new publishing platform from Twitter/Blogger founder Ev Williams. It’s quickly becoming a destination for reader’s looking for interesting content on a variety of subjects.

It’s likely not the place for a full-fledged development blog, but sharing tangental thoughts about your experience building your product is perfect fodder for the platform.

Using Medium.com for game development blog.

NICHE MEETUP GROUPS

An age-old tactic for marketers worldwide is to get out into the real world. Hit the pavement. Meet the market. Make sure you’re deliberate though, as this kind of thing can take a lot of time and should be done strategically.

You’re best off looking for local meetups that attract your target user. Too many developers spend precious time meeting other developers when they’d be better served connecting with users.

Game enthusiasts may be getting together near you…

Video game enthusiasts

Building a strategy game? Connect with people who are passionate about the subject.Meetup: Strategy Games

UNIQUE DEVELOPMENT BLOGS

Although it may seem that the world has too many development blogs, it’s still a very effective tactic for bring your future audience into the build process. There are ways to spice up the traditional dev blog housed on your website (or even better, to augment it).

How about taking a less-travelled route and sharing your development process as a guest feature on a site with your target audience?

Andrew Smith at Split Milk Studios gets a lot of love for his dev blog efforts on GamesBrief a while back, and GB’s continued the effort with Ella Romanos from Remode.

If you can’t secure a guest feature, you might consider using a non-blog platform to share development updates regularly. Mike Hanson is a one-man shop who successfully funded his Xbox game by building a Twitter audience:

I wrote Twitter into my daily routine – updating people every step of the way and incorporating screenshots, production blogs, videos and game trailers into my process. – Mike (@psypsoft)

Writing about the process you go through as you design your app or game can really drive early buzz, so consider trying to do so in an innovative way so you stand out from the crowd.

GAME ART PINTEREST BOARDS

The visuals of your product shouldn’t go unnoticed, and Pinterest is just the place to make sure your audience gets to see all the goods.

Check out how Erin Robinson is sharing her game art during development of Gravity Ghost:

Gravity Ghost Art

Got a great icon? There’s lots of that happening too:

Icons on Pinterest

THE MUST-READ CORE RESOURCES

Not all of your marketing strategies can rely on quirky tactics like the ones above. You’ve got to get your core basics down and for that plenty’s been written before.

For further reading on the subject of marketing games and apps effectively, the following are some of the more detailed blog posts and resources.

The Indie Marketing Plan – A long outline of the marketing basics for indie games. About a year old but still heavily cited.

Marketing Your Indie Game: The Single Most Important Thing That No One Knows How to Do – A walkthrough of core marketing basics for game devs.

How Not To Market Your Indie Game – A tongue-in-cheek walk through of what (not) to do.

The Big List Of Indie Marketing – Extremely long list of links to marketing articles, resources, and tips.

SHARE YOUR IDEAS WITH US

We’re always on the lookout for great tips to share with our customers and readers. Tell us in the comments what you’re favorite low-cost marketing tactics are!

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5 comments
Indie Wizard
Indie Wizard

Just stumbled across this article - shame that Vine is no more as that's a really great tip!  Similar effects can be achieved with animated gifs too though.

jacob_b
jacob_b

Helpful, thanks, but as a developer I'd add my 2 cents: ideally to have your original blog content natively incorporated in your web site. It will help SEO. Then you can retweet, repost, repin and share everywhere.

Woot Events
Woot Events

Give free copies out to media outlets to run giveaways with. Get your game in the hands of as many YouTube game broadcasters and streamers as possible. It really adds up.

All you need is one "Total Biscuit" to appreciate your game and that's another 100k uniques easily.

The gaming media loves the underdog; help them help you by having a press kit with high res images of your game and your logos ready, use: http://dopresskit.com/

dshanahan
dshanahan moderator

@Woot Events Great tips - we'd actually held off on including dopresskit.com for this particular post because it was listed in a few others. 

I'm thinking we'll do something to break down the PR process/tools separately... there are some great youtube options as well. 

Thanks for stopping by:)

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