All this week, we have been focusing on things indie developers need to know in order to ensure that their indie studio succeeds. It’s useful information that both beginners and veterans alike will find useful, and today we’re focusing on knowing exactly when to market your indie game. Not a lot of indie developers know the right time to market; some opt to market too early, others tend to market right before release date (not a good move). Without further ado, let’s look at the ripe time to market to ensure that your indie game has enough time to brew in the minds of players.
So, when should you market your indie game?
When you have something substantial to say
This advice is aligned with our post on being realistic when dealing with the press, and for good reason; there is no reason to market your indie game when you do not have anything to say. The reason? You’ll find yourself sharing ‘ideas’ instead of factual information about your game. For those of you that read the article, you’ll know that sharing ‘ideas’ rather than facts is a recipe for disaster; once players figure out that you bent the truth, chances are they’ll be screaming for your head (and nobody wants this type of PR disaster).
The easiest way to know the right time to market is whenever you have enough in-game footage to make a trailer. One of the best ways to begin marketing is to debut your marketing push with your own in-game trailer, because it gives potential players a solid idea as to what your indie game is all about and what they can expect right from the start. In other words, the instant they hear about your game, they need to be able to wrap their minds around the reality of your indie game…
Not ‘what they think it will be’
The worst type of marketing is to announce a game without any type of foundation to show for it. Sure, you can tell the press that you are going to have features A, B, and C, and certainly, you may opt to include these features into the game. Even so, the ideas that you have in mind and the ideas that your target audience will have in mind are usually two different things; and whenever you finally release in-game footage, screens, information, etc.? Chances are many of your potential players are going to be disappointed.
But don’t market too late
Never wait until your indie game is 60% or more completed (unless you want to wait an extra amount of time to market and build buzz). Sure, you will be able to show off a substantial amount of the game regularly, but you will be missing out on potential profits by marketing too late. Thus, always market when your indie game the moment you have something to show off, and market often – every single day!
Get people excited
That’s the trick to all of this: find the right time to get people excited about factual information about your indie game as soon as you have the ability to do so. Participate in Q&As (AMAs on Reddit are a great idea), plug it constantly on social media, blog often, do interviews on podcasts, and everything else in your power to get the word out that your indie game is coming, and it’s awesome!