- Get Yourself Noticed
- Taking the Right Screenshot
- Social Media Expert
- Public Announcement
When it comes to releasing your first game, marketing is easily overlooked, the first thought is always “if my game is good enough, ill make tons of sales”.
That is a misconception and absolutely not true, marketing is really what everything is about nowadays.
Starting off it was difficult for our team to find out what platforms would work best for us, so we ended up trying them all after doing some extensive research and digging. This article is going to show you our early progress experience and knowledge from what we have learned so far about the indie game community when it comes to marketing.
Get Yourself Noticed
This is where it all starts and is something we wish we started doing from day one, even before we had real characters or a real level. In some way, we should have been posting each step of our progress but of course, we would not have any idea where to share our content.
Our first platform we created our presence on was twitter, from day one as long as we post hashtags we would get reposts and likes, at least one follower a day, and the more we got used to it, the more those numbers started to rise.
We researched what hashtags were most popular using some digging and some of the key hashtags you will see most developers using are:
#madewithunity #unity #unity3d #gamemaker #gamedev
#indiedev #games #game #indiegamedev #indiegame
#indiegames #dev #gaming #indiegamestudio #indiegamedeveloper
These vary from social media platforms but each gives a general idea, our first mistake was thinking all we had to do was spam posts but after that wasn’t being the most effective we had to dig deeper and found some new keynotes we had to make sure we followed.
1) Don’t forget to include important links in every post, such as somewhere to sign up for a mailing list and important connections.
2) Exciting our audience with “Join our Discord to join our Alpha Program!” can help your game grow quite a bit
3) Today with apps like Tik-Tok the attention span of the average person is much lower, so the best way is to create amazing images and eye-catching GIFS!
Taking The Right Screenshot
Before we dig deep into where to post your indie game, well explain how to look professional and AAA quality. This is more important than we ever realized and with just some simple tweaks it can make a major difference. A large number of indie games are noticed for what makes them pop out more than their competitors, that could be, colors that make you stop while scrolling, unique game mechanics never seen before, relatable art styles, etc.
Taking that perfect screenshot is what makes moments like that happen, when you're reaching out and showcasing game content, you're not just posting to the cloud in the air, you need to remember that your posting to individual people, don't just throw another half-fast shot in with the rest, be that extra percent, or even better, that extra 100%.
After we realized that there was a hidden attraction in the communities to not just post in-game screenshots, we started to use the debug-camera and take free-fly screenshots. Attempting to capture views that make you want to explore, monsters in angles that make them seem more fierce! There is a secret to making perfect photos and the same goes for perfect screenshots, to grab the attention, it needs to be unique!
Once you perfect getting those shots down, you can start to add contrast and colors inside photo editors to further enhance them, given as indie developers, we don’t have the time to be adjusting every screenshot. As to what difference it makes from those not edited, we are not fully sure yet, our team is still analyzing results.
Social Media Expert
Your time to become an expert is now, with all our research and failures here is our jumbo list of links and how to use them to the best of your abilities. We used the main social media outlets that most of the world uses but as well some others we believe are hidden gems.
P.S. If you don’t have a Discord, get one.
First off, we need to spend money on marketing if we want this to really work, you can do this the hard way and avoid this route but we highly suggest it. Using two combined tools you can take over half the social media world and spread your game fast, efficient, and professional.
The first tool our team started using was Buffer, this is a website we had used in the past for earlier projects, and remember it being helpful and easy to use. What’s great about Buffer is you can schedule your posts, meaning after taking around 20 screenshots Buffer will automatically (you can choose custom times) pick times, stacking your posts to more than a week.
Meaning I can get back to coding, while Buffer posts for me all week, or all month long. As long as my screenshots look amazing, my hashtags are all set and my important links somewhere to be easily found, I should see some changes soon. Buffer connects to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn & Instagram already instantly handling our major platforms.
Secondly, we started to use IFFT because we heard it was amazing for connecting websites, meaning if we post on Twitter, that will post to our Discord. If we post a blog, we can automatically send it to multiple blog websites at once. The amount of time saved, plus the number of backlinks and the people we reached with one click, makes these two tools combined, what they would call in the game community, OP.
Last, we registered ourselves a webmail portal with our own game company name from IONOS for $1 if anyone needs to keep a clean marketing email. We were surprised to see that we could create multiple emails under our chosen name, for example (marketing@gooslimestudios, support@gooslimestudios) which comes in handy for a lot of things.
We took the time to link all the websites that were most effective below, you will need to sign up for each one and link them to either IFFT or Buffer, some are linked to our social media pages as examples of our progress. We categorized the linked in categories by what we used them for.
GIFS / Images:
In the final stages, before you spread your wings and take flight, this is when you start to post your game publicly either for others to view your beta/alpha stages or for the real deal. You should always have alpha testing to remove any bugs but that is on you and your development team. We posted some of our tops researched public game posting places where AAA titles are released and sold. Not all of these have been tested by our team yet as we are not currently ready to have a full public release.
Before you post your game on public platforms it’s wise to prepare a press kit for article reviewers, up until now the only people who know your game exists are the followers on your social media platforms. So this last part is just as important as every other part, this can impact your sales more than anything else you have done so far and this is also where those amazing screenshots are going to really pay off.
“A press kit often referred to as a media kit in business environments, is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials that provide information about a person, company, organization or cause and which is distributed to members of the media for promotional use.”
Send any reviewers a press kit about your game, this will ensure they have all the correct information, such as screenshots, description, video, etc. Don’t worry if you are starting to panic, Vlambeer’s toolkit is yet another link filled with press kit help to get you started.
Once your press kit is ready, the next step is to find journalists to review your game. Look through any reviews about games and find journalists that wrote a review about a game similar to yours, the key here to save as many emails as you can, below we posted a few links to get you started.
After we found journalists who wrote reviews that are similar to our game and gathered as many emails as we can, the next step is to mass e-mail them your press kit, using MailChimp is the best route to go for this.
Once you hit the end of the road, go ahead and google search “submit game for review”. It never hurts.
We hoped we helped someone, we wanted to wait till we had more results but also didn't want anyone to miss out on information like how we did. We tried our best to find information and managed to stumble across a few posts, so we thought we could throw our thoughts into that mix.
We didn't mention a few things in this post and that being forums, Reddit, Facebook & Ads.
Reddit is a great place to post your game content but there is a certain way to be noticed within Reddit and it's very easy to break rules and give your game and company a negative image, we would say post only your best content and videos to popular subreddits.
Forums used to be our go-to when advertising our content until one thing came to mind, most gamers aren't on forums, it's hard to grasp the attention of your players and we came to the realization that they are not all at the same place at the same time, that's why mass posting images, videos, and GIFS on any social media is the best way to stick into someone's mind.
Facebook has the same issues as Reddit, if you can remember while burying yourself in work to post on Saturday, and hashtagging your post with #ScreenshotSaturday you will join the marathon of indie developers sharing their games at the same time on one day, otherwise sharing game progress is not allowed.
As for Ads, we haven’t reached the point where we felt the need to use them, we notice that a few followers and members join our platforms every day, in the past, we had used Ads and failed to gain results even close to what this method brings.
We may attempt to try some new methods and will post again reporting how our methods worked or how they didn’t work. Regardless our team is proud of all the progress we have made both in development and in community, we appreciate you for reading and invite you to join us on Discord!