Let Me Ask You About Your Indie Game...
If you're video game isn't selling...
If you have no idea how to start marketing your game...
If you don't have thousands of dollars in your advertising budget...
If you want to learn how to market your game so you can double your sales...
Then this video and article is written just for you to help you get out of your challenge of getting more gamers to play and buy your game.
If you don't learn how the basics of digitally marketing your video game, then you'll spend money on ads and PR that may or may not work.
Take control of your own marketing, by learning these video game marketing tips. I promise you that after you read, you'll have a solid action plan and tactics to help you sell your video game.
Here's what you need to know...
For The Video Game Developer Who Wants To Have a Successful Game Company One Day
Before I show you the 3 digital marketing basics, I need to share with you an important insight.
Most video game devs make the mistake of thinking once their game is finished, that their work is done, and then gamers will show up and start buying.
You know what? That use to work.
Even a few years ago, finishing a game WAS the the achievement. But the Golden Age of Video Games is over. No longer can a video game dev just focus on finishing a game. They also now have to learn how to market.
Everyday, new games are being finished faster than ever before. In 2016, there were 4200 games released on Steam. To put that in perspective, in 2012, only about 370 games were released. I wonder how many games will be released in 2017? 5000? 7000?
Finishing a video game is not an achievement. You're only halfway there. The other half of the achievement is getting gamers to find your game, play your game, and buy your game.
And that's what you're going to learn how to do today.
So, grab a coffee (or a scotch). Put on your favourite video game OST. Get comfy. And let's learn how to market your video game so you can double your sales, and start your journey in creating a successful games company.
Digital Marketing Basics 1: Share Your Development Process To Attract Gamers
If you want to get your game out there, and attract gamers to play and buy your game, then you need to do this...
This sounds obvious. But let me share with you a not so obvious insight:
If you have a website, great. If your website has a blog, doubly great. And maybe you have your game up on Kickstarter or Steam Greenlight. Good.
But when you're trying to get more gamers to play and buy your game, having a website or a Kickstarter is NOT enough.
Because EVERY game developer competing with you, has all those tools too! If you just copy what everybody does, then how are you suppose to get heard? How is your game going to get attention if you follow the crowd, and do what everybody does?
Even worse... gamers don't trust Kickstarter anymore. And they've gotten burned too many times with pre-orders. How gamers behave and buy games has changed in the past 2 or 3 years.
So, how can your communication stand out? How can you get gamers find your game and play your game? How can you double your video games sales?
Here's a simple step that will help you in the right direction:
Simple Step: Document Your Video Game Development Process and Share Your Story
As you progress through your game development, document every step along the way. And SHARE that story.
Create a Developer Progress Blog. A Developer Progress Podcast. A Developer Progress Youtube channel. For bonus points, do all three, because you'll reach more gamers that way.
But what's important here is, make it a story. Talk about your trials, failures, hurdles, and how you overcame all of those. Talk about what you hate about the video game industry. Talk about your video game design philosophies.
Stories are more attractive than boring blogs or website about your game. People love consuming stories, not boring content. If you wrap your development process in a story, then you're going to grab more attention.
If you're already done your game, then I'm sure you have a great story to tell. Document that story, and put a series of what it took to finish your video game. Put it up on your blog, create a podcast, create youtube videos. For bonus points, do all three because you'll get more attention.
It's not enough just to have a blog, or a website. Again, everybody does that. To get a gamer to pay attention to you, to get them to come to you, do something different.
A story of you how are developing your game will help you get more gamers to play and buy your game. While everybody is trying to "advertise" their game, and bombarding gamers with the same type of marketing, your marketing stands out because it's totally different from what everybody is doing.
Let me show you an example of this in action. And this leads perfectly into Digital Marketing Basics number 2...
Digital Marketing Basics 2: Build a Relationship With a Gamer Before You Ask Them To BUY NOW
Let's keep going, and I want to show you another part of the puzzle on how to get a gamer's attention, and how you can double your video games sales...
I just told you to document your development process, and share your story in a blog, podcast, and video. The reason this will help you increase your sales is because of this...
Video game devs make this mistake that all they have to do is finish a game, show up, put their game on Kickstarter or Steam, and expect to get some sales.
But that's getting harder and harder to do. Why? Because like I said above, EVERY game dev is doing that. More games are coming out every day faster than ever in the history of gaming. It's getting tougher and tougher to get your game some attention.
And putting up a website and a blog isn't enough anymore. Aven paying for ads, PR, promotion, isn't enough anymore.
That's because gamers are bombarded with OVER communication. There's so much that they can consume. And they can't consume it all. And they have TOO many games to play. It's getting overwhelming for gamers and game developers.
A better strategy to get a gamer to play and buy your game is to develop a relationship with them. That's why I told you to start a Developer Progress Blog, Podcast, and Video series.
Instead of doing what everybody else is doing, you're doing the counterintuitive thing, and going against traditional marketing.
Modern digital marketing is NOT traditional marketing. Modern digital marketing is about creating content, attracting gamers to that content, and building a relationship first BEFORE you ask them to buy your game.
Putting up a website, or putting your game up on Steam or Humble Bundle, and asking a gamer to BUY IT NOW is getting harder and harder to do.
Let me show you an example of how one game developer sold his game with zero advertising and PR -- he used exactly what I'm showing you how to do.
Jon Shafer was the lead designer for Civ5 (let's forget about the problems of Civ5, for right now!).
He and a buddy Dirk Knemeyer started a podcast talking about video game and board game development: The Game Design Roundtable.
They just wanted to talk about their experiences in developing video and board games, ideas about design, and talk generally about the industry.
As a gamer, I loved listening to their insights coming from a developer -- and NOT insights from some youtuber or journalist who has ZERO experience developing games. I wanted insights from the perspective of a developer -- the guys and gals that are in the "trenches" doing the hard work.
Anyway, as the podcast progressed, it started getting a loyal following. And further along in the podcast, Shafer announced that he was starting his own 4x strategy game. And Knemeyer announced that he was staring a new board game.
Before they even asked their loyal fans for any funding or support, they developed a relationship with them. That's how Shafer was able to get $400,000 for his kickstarter, and sold pre-orders on his website.
Again, he developed a relationship first with his fans before he asked them to BUY IT NOW. Same with Knemeyer. He's become a successful board game developer from taking the time to share his knowledge about game design on his podcast. He built a loyal following. And now people know him on Board Game Geek, and has become a successful board game developer.
So, let's do a quick action step to help you understand what you just learned.
Simple Step: Instead of Paying for Ads, PR, and Promotion, Build a Relationship With Loyal Fans
Remember, if you want gamers to play and buy your game, and if you want to double your video game sales, then focus on building relationships with your fans.
In this simple step, I want you to change your mindset that you have to pay for ads or PR. And that's the benefit of modern digital marketing -- you don't have to pay anything . You can essentially get the same attention for FREE. And as an indie game developer, this should suit you well. Why give away your marketing to some ad company, and pay them for something that may or may not work.
Take control over your own marketing, and start creating content that builds relationships with fans, before you ask them to BUY IT NOW.
Let's move onto Digital Marketing Basics number 3. This is the last part of the puzzle of how to get a gamer to play and buy your game...
Digital Marketing Basics 3: Create Your A Sub-Genre That You Can Own
If you want to really stand out from your competition...
If you want to avoid being dominated by competitors with a bigger advertising budget than you...
If you want gamers to find your blog, podcast, videos...
If you want to build a community of die-hard fans of your game...
If you want to own a successful games studio one day...
Then you need to know this last part of the puzzle. Ok, so far the basics are this...
Document your game development progress, and share that story in the form of a blog, podcast, video
Use your your game development progress podcast, blog, video to develop a relationship with loyal fans -- before you ask them to BUY IT NOW
And the last part of the puzzle is, you need to know this...
A gamer has a selfish need. That's why a gamer will stick to 2 or 3 game genres. Each genre fulfills a gamer's selfish need.
Let me show you an example...
There's a lot of survival games out there with crafting and zombies and baddies. A lot of gamers NEED that type of game. They need zombies and survival and crafting.
But, there's also a big group of gamers that NEED survival games that have NO zombies or baddies. These zombie survival games are not fulfilling this group of gamers needs.
And whenever you see a small game come out of nowhere, and gain a lot of attention and sales, it's because of this. It's because a video game discovered a new sub-genre that no game was taking advantage of. And they fulfilled a gamers need that no game was giving them.
The Long Dark is a crafting survival game with NO baddies or zombies. The game does LESS than it's competition, and get's MORE attention for it.
Game Genres are Gamer Needs
A gamer will gravitate to a game that fulfill his or her needs. And as an indie game dev, you can do what no AAA can... you can experiment with genres and see if you can discover a NEW sub-genre that nobody is taking advantage of.
That's what the Long Dark did. They took a risk, and developed a game just for gamers who want to survive the elements. I call this sub-genre, "Weather Survival" game.
Knowing this now, take a look and see where else you can find this happening.
For example, Binding of Isaac.
There's a lot of Rogue-like games out. But not a lot of them focus on "Replay-Value". And there's a lot of gamers that want and need a rogue-like with replay value.
This term, "Replay-Value" seems innocent and not important.
But this term is now becoming a sub-genre all on its own. Just look at the term, "Rogue-like". This wasn't a genre 10 years ago. Or the genre, "Walking Simulator". These sub-genres get HUGE because it fulfils a gamers need.
So, what's my point here?
If you want your game to stand out, if you want to grab a gamer's attention, if you want them to play and buy you game, you need a sub-genre that you own.
Simple Step: How To Create a Sub-Genre That You Can Own
Don't try to compete with games that own their own sub-genre.
Look how Twitch competes with Youtube.
Twitch didn't try to be another "Youtube clone".
They created their own "sub-genre": video game streaming. They OWN that sub-genre now. And now Youtube is trying to promote their own video game streaming services, but it's not working. Twitch has the number one spot in that sub-genre, because they own it.
Same in video games. Binding of Isaac owns the "rogue-like game with replay- value" sub-genre. The Long Dark owns the "weather survival" sub-genre. Dark Souls own the "Difficult" sub-genre.
You always hear about "Dark Souls clones" or "Isaac clones". But they never come close to the success of the game they are trying to copy.
Don't be like most game devs who fail because they don't understand this. They don't understand that it's almost impossible to out-compete a game that owns their genre. Look at Google Plus. Even with billions of dollars, they couldn't outcompete Facebook.
It's the same with gaming. Not even a AAA game dev can make a "rogue-like game with replay-value" and be more successful than Binding of Isaac.
And that's because, the game that owns their own sub-genre, wins.
How To Use These Three Simple Digital Marketing Basics, To Help You Double Video Game Sales: 3 Step Action Plan
So, let's keep going. I want to share with you, 3 Action Steps to help you solve trying to get more gamers to play your game, and get you to double your sales.
Step 1: Start Talking About Your Video Game Development Story
The day where you can just put up a website, put your game up on Steam or Humble Bundle, and get a gamer's attention is over. Remember, the Golden Age of Video Games is over. There's so much competition out there. And gamers are no longer excited to fund kickstarter games or pre-order games because they've been burned so much. Customer behavior is changing.
So, your first plan of attack, is to create content. And if you're not sure what to talk about, talk about the video game industry... talk about your video game design philosophies... talk about your development story... talk about your trials, failures, and successes when developing your game.
And tell your story through a blogs, articles, podcasts, youtube videos. The more work you do, the more gamers you'll reach.
This is the first step in digital marketing your video game. And best of all, it's free to do!
Step 2: Focus On Developing a Relationship With a Gamer Before Asking Them To BUY NOW
The reason you're starting to create more digital content online is to get free attention. But here's an insight most game devs never discover.
The real reason you're doing all this work is to develop a following of diehard fans of your game. Again, the day when you put up your video game on a digital store, and tell gamers to BUY IT NOW, is over.
It's getting harder and harder to convince gamers to buy your game.
A better strategy is to focus on relationship building, before you ask them to commit to BUY IT NOW.
Step 3: Create a New Sub-Genre That You Can Own
This is the biggest mistake most video game devs make: they see a game or a genre that's blowing up in popularity. And they think to themselves...
"I can make a better, cheaper, different game!"
Except, that's not how gamer behavior works. Gamers are attracted to NEW genres they've never heard of. They want to discover a new genre because it fulfills their need to seek the new and novel.
If a video game dev makes a "better" or "different" game that is in a genre full of other top selling games, then they're not going to get the attention. No matter how "better" or "different" they are.
If you really want to be different, then don't compete in a genre full of games that hold the top spots. Instead, be different by creating a sub-genre, and own it.
Look at Twitch. They created their own sub-genre: video game streaming. They didn't compete with YouTube. Look at Long Dark or Binding of Isaac. They discovered their own little sub-genres. And gamers found THEM.
It wasn't a huge ad budget, or promotion that made these two games successful.
Gamer found those games and helped spread word-of-mouth.
Because gamers get excited over finding a new sub-genre that fulfils a need that no game is fulfilling yet. And they want to be first in telling everybody about their new discovery. And this need to be first, snow balls. And next thing you know everybody is talking about your game.
How To Use These Three Simple Digital Marketing Basics, To Help You Double Video Game Sales
Remember, if you want to get more gamers to play your game, and double video game sales, you need to start your adventure into learning how to market video games.
Finishing your game is only half the achievement. Getting gamers to find you, play your game, and buy your game is the other half of the achievement.
So, do this exercise I"m about to show you right now, to make sure that you understand what you just learned. My goal is to help you attract more gamers and double your video game sales.
So. it's important that you take the next 30 minutes to do this...
I call this exercise, "Your Game Development Story".
Get out pen and paper, or open a word doc. And tell me about your video game development history. What do you feel strongly about in terms of video game design? What's your game design philosophy? What do you see other game developers do wrong in your genre? Just keep writing, spill it all out. Who cares about spelling mistake, or grammar. Just fill a page with all your thoughts.
This step is important, because I want you to see how much you DO have to say about video games. And I bet that a lot of gamers would love to learn about how you started your game development career, what you think is crappy about game development, what your design philosophies are.
This will be your foundation for creating articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos. Use this as your foundation to start creating a lot of content about your thoughts in video games.
Share your story online, and I promise you if you put in the time, and share your passion, that you'll start gaining a small following. This will be the start of building a relationship with diehard fans of you, your games, and your game company.