Top 5 Tips To Promote Indie Games

tips promote indie games marketing independent video game

We have collected some top life hacks for promoting indie games. Check them out — and go for it with your independent gaming product! 

The world of indie app developers has its own roaming plots. Much of the folklore elaborates on indie game promotion. Startup owners write long and thorough essays accusing marketing of being useless, and curse social media and targeting. However, practice shows that not the phenomenon itself, but lack of ability to use it is why it is the way it is. Marketing, SEO, and promotional targeting can all come to your aid when you take the time to learn the basics. This is the phase that many indie developers choose to ignore. Others give up as soon as they open the list of media channels, struggling to understand how to cover them all. 

The tips below may come in handy if you want your indie game to find its audience. 

1. Implement Promo Strategies Before Or At The Initial Stage Of Game Development 

This will save time. Ideally, it's worth starting a marketing campaign as soon as you have at least some things ready. For example, if you have drafted a base or partially implemented some design. 

An unspoken rule confirmed by stats says that the majority of mobile game sales occur in the first few weeks after release. 

So, you'd better warm up your gaming audience in advance. Share everything that happens with the new game: you made a new screenshot — show it. You’ve filmed a demo video of your video game or app — show it. Communicating with potential users will build the hype, and this is exactly what you need. Just keep an eye on the quality of everything you post. 

2. Your Website Should Be Memorable, Especially Closer To The Release Stage 

And, of course, it should have all the basic information about your game. As an indie developer, you must love free organic traffic. Let users have no questions either about the game or about what is happening to the game right now. Transfer all updates to the website and display them as creatively as possible. You can create a separate block for media content and fill it with screenshots, teasers, etc. It's quite convenient. 

3. Social Media Work Is Not A Myth 

Indie developers may perceive the saying ‘a good game must have a Facebook page’ as controversial. Firstly, they've read something about someone else's bad experience the other day, and secondly, they have no clue how to acquire an audience on social media. Everyone dreams of the precious word of mouth, when users would want to talk about a game, stream it, draw fanarts, or create memes. The reasons why, even with social media at hand, you still remain a no-name startup, most likely are as follows: 

- dead account; 
- lack of targeting; 
- unsuccessful product.

Here are a few useful details: 

Twitter: How To Post There 

Twitter is an international platform convenient for those who like to be down-to-earth with their fans. Here you can find journalists who will write reviews of your product too. Your posts should be succinct and emotional: while you are little known, being sincere is the best way to win over your audience. Post updates on so-called peak hours with morning and evening being the best time to do so. And, of course, learn how to use hashtags. Hashtags like #gamedev and #ScreenshotSaturday may come in handy. 

Facebook: Why Do You Need It? 

Just like a website, Facebook is a good business card option. It also is convenient to link all your media there: that's how you get the impression of a good professional. Feel free to post links to videos and screenshots as well as news about app updates. You should do it frequently. 

Instagram, YouTube, TikTok 

Visual content platforms are a great way to showcase the visual side of your game. Stylish screenshots and dynamic trailers can be displayed in different formats. Best of all, fans can pick up on your vibe and start posting something similar themselves. Before they do, make sure to actively post previews using hashtags, and upload trailers to Reels, IGTV and TikTok. Do not neglect the targeting: if done correctly, it will bring the right users to you. Important to know! Don't be afraid to not be perfect, this makes you likeable. Report bug fixes, share bad ideas, and be sure to laugh at yourself and you will seem more relatable. 

4. Developer's Blog

It seems like a paradox, but this genre is popular among gamers and developers. Other people's experience, along with their ups and downs on the road to make their indie project come true evoke sincere interest, provide feedback, and increase game recognition. Provided that you write expressively, emotionally, easily and with moderate frequency. The purpose of a blog is to reflect on the game development, show your work, and sometimes involve users in the development process (optional). 

5. Release Some Trailers 

Sometimes, when the word trailer is used by newcomer indie developers, it reminds you of Hans Zimmer's music, and the visuals of the new Dune movie pop into your head. Trailers are considered one of the most important pre-release stages: they attract attention, indicate the most important facts, and show all the work done. But you don't need to be a skilled cameraman to do a good trailer: we're talking about a convenient way to announce the finished product. With trailers you can promote your team (or yourself) just right. 

When releasing trailers, you can choose one of two approaches: 

Single Trailer: show aspects of the gameplay (at least once for every aspect), and use as few cut scenes as possible. 

Several Trailers: show one aspect of the gameplay in a single video. Like, the first video can be dedicated to the lore in general, another to the characters, and the third to the battle. 

It is widely believed that there can never bee too many trailers. There also are trailers and teasers. However, if you have a proactive startup, you shouldn’t focus on AAA-level scenarios. Better start setting the stage with what you have at hand. 

Last, but not least, the secrets of a successful visual, including teasers, trailers, reviews, etc. are not just about team creativity. Observation is key. All of these tips work both ways: sometimes you should put yourself in the shoes of a conventional “audience” and follow others, for example, your competitors. Stealing ideas isn't necessarily what you must do, but learning what marketing strategies others have may be quite helpful, especially if you're a beginner. Collect positive feedback, and document what you would've done differently on your new indie video game.

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