Five top tips for marketing your game on a budget

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Today we caught up with Teaboy Games, who’ve just launched their latest mobile app game Pendulum. Having launched the game just over a week ago, Frazer tells us his top tips for marketing your indie game on a budget.

Build a community

Unless you have a humungous user acquisition budget, you’re gonna need to build some hype for your game’s release. And one simple way to do that is build a community around your studio and/or your title.

Community engagement doesn’t have to be complicated – you can do simple things like a regular dev-blog, perhaps twitch stream whilst you develop, sticking artwork on twitter, asking for opinions during #indiedevhour (every Wednesday 7pm GMT), or jumping on the #screenshotsaturday hashtag.

When it comes to twitter, engagement is key. Reply to other people’s questions and requests for feedback. Build a relationship with your audience. Community management is all about creating an audience who care about your game.

The Indie Press Pyramid

Probably worthy of its own article, this is the idea that as an unknown entity it’s nearly impossible to get the attention of the mainstream media. So, start small with your press. Approach niche websites, blogs run by friends, local printed press. Then use the noise created from these smaller outlets to garner the attention of bigger players.

Of course, this is all highly dependent on the nature of your game. A technique we use at Teaboy is finding a game similar to ours and then googling to find where it’s been reviewed. We then collect the data of these sites, find a contact email for the journalist, and reference ‘if you like this, then you’ll love our game’ in the email.

There are plenty of articles available about how to talk to the press, but the biggest tip I’d give here is simply to use presskit.

Use Your Personality

This is where a little bit of lateral thinking will come into play. How can you make your game stand out from the crowd?

To a certain extent, your marketing campaign can only be as good as your game. After all, you cant polish a turd (…but you can roll it in glitter)! So, how can you embrace the characters, themes or art style of your IP within your marketing campaign?

For example, the circular logo for both Teaboy Games and Pendulum make them perfect for badges and stickers. But our best marketing move was the Teaboy teabag business cards – perfect to give away when we’re displaying at events.

Video Is King

The algorithms that dictate our social media platforms love video content, so be prepared to capture a lot of gameplay footage. Use software like Giphy CAPTURE or GIF Rocket to convert this footage into GIFs, as these are brilliant for twitter.

Been working on a new particle system? GIF it. Your composer has a first draft of some music? Upload a video with it in.

An important note here is that native video performs better on each platform. What I mean by that is that it’s important to upload video directly to each social media platform, rather than sharing youtube/vimeo links – as these links will require people to ‘click-through’, and you’ll be surprised at the drop-off rate this induces.

Here’s a good article on video game trailers, specifically for mobile games.

When it comes to making GIFs, different platforms deal with them in different ways.

Since Facebook doesn’t allow you to directly upload, instead I recommend uploading to GIPHY and pasting the link they give you into your Facebook post. Whereas on twitter you can upload directly to the platform – but it has to be on desktop. If you’re on mobile and want to post a GIF on the go, you can copy and paste GIFs from GIPHY (so long as they’re already uploaded to your account).

Heres an amazing article about making gameplay GIFs.

Data Collection

Depending on the demographic of your target audience, you want to continually build your audience throughout development. So, this might be building followers on Facebook or Instagram – but make sure you don’t dismiss emails and your mailing list.

For Pendulum, to gain access to the beta build of our game we asked for an email address, meaning that our audience were kept up to date on progress with our development, and also got a link straight to their inbox on release day.

We hope this is helpful for all of you aspiring indie game developers out there – and if you want to take a look at Teaboy’s latest game, you can download it here.

And remember to keep following the blog for insights into what all our our teams at The Games Hub are up to.