The best case scenario for any indie studio (and any brand for that matter) is to force people to fall in love with you. Not in a romantic sense of course, but in a way where people will want to purchase anything that your studio releases simply because they have so much faith in you that they know that whatever you release, it is a must-have. One of the best examples of this in the gaming industry is Bethesda. Every game these guys develop and release is a must-have by a large segment of gamers (it also helps that games developed by Bethesda only release every few years, too). Bethesda has marketed their franchises in such a way and have developed such a cult following that anything they develop is going to sell gangbusters by default.
You too can have this type of success when marketing your indie studio! While the deck is stacked against you if you want to have the type of success that Bethesda has seen (and let us face it: every studio wants to have the success of Bethesda), it is certainly possible to have awesome success by making people fall in love with your indie studio. This is called relationship marketing, and it utilizes the most powerful tool in marketing – word-of-mouth marketing – and will see your customers suggesting your games to their loved ones if you approach this type of marketing appropriately. Below are a few tips for getting started in enticing people to fall in love with your indie studio.
I feel like we have given this advice 1-million times over here at Game Academy, but it bears repeating: you need to be genuine when interacting with your customers. According to Kissmetrics, customers that get their problems resolved tell approximately 4-6 people about their positive experience. That’s huge! Add to the fact that you have awesome indie games, and you can see why this is one of the best ways to win new customers.
Being genuine is the only way to resolve any issues customers may have with your studio. Don’t be a faceless entity that people feel like they cannot communicate with: let everyone know that you are a real person, and that you are willing to do anything to help them. Make jokes, talk about the latest happenings in pop culture, and act like a friend. There’s no mystery to it – just be yourself when marketing your indie studio!
On the flipside, Kissmetrics states that 58% of customers that experience rude customer service tell their friends about it. There is no reason why you should be rude to any customer – no matter how rude they are to you! Especially since people feel vindicated that they should share their rude customer service experience with everyone (take a look at the reviews of your favorite restaurants, and you will see exactly what we mean), in all honesty you cannot afford to be disrespectful.
It all goes back to our first tip: be a genuine person. Be helpful, patient, and take the time to solve any problems that your customers may have. Although you may feel as if they will forget their experience the moment you solve their problem, they won’t. They will remember the positive customer service experience for a long time to come, and your indie studio will benefit from it.
Partners, not customers
Kissmetrics also mentions that instead of thinking in treating your customers like ‘customers,’ treat them like your indie studio’s partners instead. Inform your customers that you value their opinions and you want their feedback at all times. From there, actually use in their feedback to improve your indie studio! I guarantee that whenever your customers notice this, they are going to value your studio and will actually feel like a partner!
Ultimately, making your customers feel valuable is the best way to make them fall in love with your indie studio. It is the power of relationship marketing, and you need to start doing it today. Believe us, you will be glad that you did!