5 essential marketing tips

By Indie Minecart, updated on April 10, 2017

5 essential marketing tips

Indie developers are typically awesome at making games or are determined to become awesome at making games. As an indiedev you are passionate about your game and want to make it as good as your skills can do. And of course along the way you keep developing your game making skills and the cycle of making games, getting better and making more games.

The real problem most indiedevs face is that once the game is ready, they have to stop being gamedevs and start becoming marketeers

Define: Marketeer - a person who sells goods or services in a market.

I remember back to some of the games I made. I loved making the games, so much so I spent hours and hours coding, making assets and testing. When I wasn't doing all of this I was thinking about my games, what features would make them better, showing prototypes to friends and family. But once I got to marketing I didn't know where to start and after all, you want people to play your games.

The truth is marketing your game takes time, a lot of time, and that is why we created indieminecart. We want to do the marketing for you, because we know how different indiedev work is to marketing work.

If you use us or not, there are some essential things you need to be doing to help promote your game.

1. Get a website

You have a choice, make a website for each game or make a website for your 'studio'. Eitherway is possible but just remember you need to maintain it. Making it look professional is easy, buy a domain, get some hosting and Wordpress.

Some hosting options offer a free domain for the first year, this is a great, low cost way to get started. Most also have one-click installs of Wordpress too.

The beauty of Wordpress is that you can quickly get your website up and running. While some people reading this are thinking - "I don't want to use Wordpress, I'm a coder after all" just remember one thing - your focus is on making the game and raising awareness - not having the most technically awesome website.

Another cool feature is that Wordpress allows you to embed Youtube videos into the site (see Tip 4).

This tip costs a lot of time at the start, then you will need to maintain it. (Remember to update Wordpress regularly)

2. Social Media

Most indiedevs hit social media once they have something to show. Sharing screenshots is a great way to get noticed. I find that Twitter is easier to get the message out than Facebook, but Facebook shares are better quality in terms of user engagement.

Twitter Using hashtags is a great way to share content, especially #indiedev #gamedev and maybe #gaming too. Someone is usually listening out for those and you can get a quick retweet. The real challenge is getting your game seen by potential users, and this is tough. Most followers of indiedevs are other indiedevs, and what you want is the end users. We call this, finding your tribe, and that is tough.

Facebook Getting started on Facebook can be a little bit more difficult. There are some indiedev groups you can join and post updates about your game. The limit with this is again as these people are likely to be indiedevs too.

Automation One cool thing is sites like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. There you can automate some of the social media work. It is great for scheduling social media posts which means that you can spend maybe an hour every now and again (1 hour per day is about right). You still need to check it frequently to make sure you are on top of any mentions or messages.

3. A development blog

If you set up Tip 1 correctly you should automatically have this, and if you are using Tweetdeck or Hootsuite you can share you blog content easily. The best example of a devblog is Rust, they do it well and update it regularly.

I would recommend an update every 2 weeks and one of the benefits you get as a developer is to reflect on what you have done so far. It also makes you continue with the development of your game as it forces you to have something ready for the next blog update.

4. Trailers

Screenshots are a great way to show your game, but think back to any social media posts you've seen and you'll know that the short 5 second clips got you most interested. It doesn't have to be anything too fancy, some of the best I've seen are short 5 - 10 second clips of the most simple things like a character walk animation.

5. Ignore the haters

This is the most important tip of all. I have seen so many haters, some think they are been helpful, some think they know better and some people just go out of their way to hate.

I have seen indiedevs stop making a game all together simply because some hater 'attacked' their work. The truth is, indiedevs spend a lot of time on their game and sometimes they can be a sensitive bunch. Then some hater comes along.

Only the other day I saw someone post a character animation on Twitter, I liked it and it looked great. The next reply just listed everything wrong with it. My thoughts were: firstly it was someones hard work, secondly it did look awesome, thirdly the character would have been so small on the screen in the finished game that any imperfections wouldn't have been noticed, and fourthly - nearly every triple-A games do not have fully realistic movements, etc. The point is, there is a difference - giving feedback and hating. As a indedev you just have to ignore the haters and you need to keep positive about your work.

My favorite quote of all time is about remembering that not everyone wants what you are selling....

"Some will, some won't, so what, next" - Nev

Conclusion

So here are our 5 tips for marketing your indie game. They are tough and they do take time, but it is something you have to do.

Our sales pitch This is the reason behind Indie Minecart, we've been there and we know how much time it takes. But more importantly, we know that all you want to do is make games - not advertise them (which is a full time job).

We monitor the stats of everygame on our site every day, so you don't need to. Then we think about different marketing strategies to get the most exposure for your game.

Our aim is to become the place where people who are interesting in new and exciting games come to get more information. We want indiedevs to put there games on here and keep updating the info, so we can spend time bringing people to your game.

This way, you can focus on making the games and we can focus on bringing people to you.


About us

The aim of the site is to help take the hastle out of promoting indie games. The sites creator is an #indiedev and he knows how difficult it is to promote you games.

We want you to stop spending time trying to promote your game, instead we'll promote your game so you can focus on making it awesome.

Get started

  1. Sign up for an account
  2. Create a studio
  3. Add your game
  4. We'll do the rest

If your game is already on the site just send us a message on Twitter or Facebook and we'll swap the game over to you account, so you keep your views, etc.


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