Once you’ve released your indie video game, you’re left with one of the most challenging aspects of post-launch – getting it seen by prospective players. So, how can you get your indie game noticed quickly? Video game marketing is a multifaceted concept that requires plenty of planning, and even when you put in the time and effort, you may miss the mark and still be overlooked. However, with the right marketing strategy, you’ll be on the road to success and plenty of sales.
As we discuss how to get an indie game noticed by players, you should walk away knowing:
- Why you don’t need a huge budget for indie gaming marketing
- 7 ways to get your name noticed quickly
- Common pitfalls to avoid when marketing an indie game
Why you don’t need a huge budget for indie game marketing
After spending a decent amount of money on developing your game, you may be hesitant to invest more into your video game marketing. Luckily, there are affordable means of marketing your indie game that won’t have you breaking your bank. Concepts like a grassroots marketing strategy and social media networking have made it possible to make your game publicly known by spending virtually nothing.
The digital age has brought with it a myriad of opportunities to market your indie game for no cost. And while you typically get what you pay for, these options are tried and true, used by brands across all industries to reach their target audience without dipping into their finances.
What you can do with a $0 marketing budget
Sure, it sounds too good to be true, but there is a way to make a $0 video game marketing budget work. In fact, you likely utilize these outlets on a near-daily basis – and if you don’t, you absolutely should!
Reaching an audience on social media – such as Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok – can cost absolutely nothing. You just need to know how to use hashtags, learn optimal posting schedules, and run a trial and error on what kinds of posts work the best. Use visuals from your indie game and create custom images (or even your own memes) to grab attention. The key is to be consistent.
You can also use video game forums, Discord, and even Reddit without dropping a cent. It’s all about engaging your target audience. The more you engage, the more opportunities you have to sell your indie game.
However, if you’re not pleased with the slow and very time-consuming free video game marketing options, you’ll want to know how to make your budget stretch.
How to extend your marketing budget over time by learning from small tests
One of the worst things you can do with your marketing budget is spend it all at once. A tip on how to get your indie game noticed is to extend your budget over a longer period, and the best way to do that is with small tests.
By that, we mean rolling out social media ads and paid advertisements in small bursts. If you put out an ad that goes through your entire budget, you may find that it wasn’t set with the proper parameters.
Start small so you can fine-tune the audience you’re targeting and increase the money you spend on paid advertisements in small increments. Marketing your video game is a long-haul task that doesn’t stop once you start getting a little traction, so you’ll want that budget to last.
7 Ways to get your game noticed
The end goal is to get your title noticed without having a hefty indie game marketing budget. Below, we’ll outline seven ways that you can push your game to the public without spending a lot.
While some of these methods may seem basic, they can be your ticket to a successful launch if appropriately utilized.
The key to how to get your indie game noticed is the follow-through. That is, it’s not just a matter of choosing one or two methods, trying them once, and seeing what happens.
Everything requires a little bit of effort, especially if you’re looking to save money and get your game noticed quickly.
- Promote the Game’s Development Process on Twitter
Unlike Facebook or Instagram, Twitter is more conducive to conversation and building engagement. The gaming community even has the #screenshotsaturday hashtag, which will allow you to share your development progress easily.
Because Twitter’s wall is constantly refreshing with content, you’ll need to be consistent and post frequently. Build a posting schedule so your budding audience knows when to expect content, but be sure to throw in sporadic messages to keep them engaged throughout the day.
- Share a Build of Your Game with Relevant Influencers
Research who the hottest influencers are, particularly those that tend to game the genre of your title. Reach out to them with a build of your game, so long as it’s functional and playable.
Do note that influencers will receive a ton of requests, so find a way to make yours stand out. As content creator, Blitz Kriegsler states, “I redeem all of the keys and install the ones that look the best. I’ll play-test them to make sure it’s enjoyable and then record a video of the best.”
- Create a Subreddit for Your Game and Post Frequently
It’s going to take some work, but by creating a subreddit on Reddit, you’re developing a platform that’s dedicated solely to marketing your game. Unless you approve them, no posts on your subreddit will deviate from the topic of your upcoming indie title.
You’ll need to combine using Reddit and social media to help your subreddit take off, but once it does, it should have a life of its own so long as it’s regularly updated.
Before you can get your subreddit off the ground, though, you’ll need to establish your presence on the platform by creating a user account and posting across relevant subreddits often.
- Work with gaming journalists for exclusive coverage
For coverage of your indie game, it’s often best to go right to the source of video game news. Journalists are a notable go-to for getting your indie game noticed, but getting one to cover your title requires tact.
Don’t spam their email, and don’t try to play to their ego. Be straightforward with your correspondence, include a key to a playable demo, and create a short and sweet email that contains all relevant links, including trailers and the official website.
It also helps to build and attach a press kit, so they don’t have to fish for any information.
- Submit your game to Product Hunt
This discovery tool is a free and potentially effective way of getting your game noticed. All you have to do is submit your title to ProductHunt.com, which you can do yourself or through a “hunter.” Similar to influencers, hunters can guarantee votes, which can earn your product the title of “Product of the Day.”
It’s all about going viral, and to do so, you’ll need hunters all across Product Hunt to offer their up-vote. Try to work with hunters that have a considerable following to secure the most up-votes for your indie game marketing.
- Attend a video game conference, convention, or expo
If you’re already planning on attending a local convention or a national conference, then it’s an affordable and viable tool for video game marketing.
Many developers can’t afford the costly booths, but you really won’t need one if you don’t mind talking to people. Bring some marketing materials you can carry around and a laptop preloaded with a demo or trailer of your game. Get out there and start pushing, ensuring to talk to attendees that may be focusing on similar genres.
- Consider a grassroots marketing strategy with friends and family
It’s possible you may have a marketing strategy right under your roof. Friends and family can help spread the word to their friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, which is the pillar of a grassroots indie game marketing strategy.
Give your most outgoing friends and family a demo of your game and some talking points and let them do the work for you. They’ll talk to their friends, who will talk to theirs, and so on and so forth until you start to see an audience building.
Some common pitfalls to avoid in indie game marketing
Nothing is without its pitfalls, and with video game marketing, it’s very easy to accidentally stumble into so many. To prevent you from wasting energy and falling into common traps, we’ve laid out a few below:
- Asking to contact an influencer or journalist. Just do it.
- Not having a unique selling point. What separates your game from others?
- Relying only on social media. Pair with other tactics for optimal results.
- Marketing to the wrong community. Don’t waste time on a community that dislikes similar games
- Posting inconsistently. No matter the platform, post frequent quality content.
- Giving away the farm. Don’t give away too many keys, especially to players that can’t viably market your title.
Get your game seen
Video game marketing can be frustrating. In fact, more often than not, it’s going to test your patience and may even leave you feeling like you’re in over your head.
With a video game marketing agency like Loopr at your side, you can see a successful return on your marketing. We’re here to help guide you through the complexities of indie game marketing to bring your game to the market efficiently and effectively. Contact us today.
Can’t get enough of this stuff? Check out our video game PR case studies to learn how we’ve helped indie game developers and esports brands just like you.