At the recent GDC Next event three of the top successful indie game developers openly discussed the key marketing tips that they used to promote their games. Although each developer had a slightly different technique that worked best for them, the concept of identifying what truly makes your game interesting was a focal point for each presenter. A solid marketing campaign should always state clearly what makes your game unique or cool to play.
The 60 second elevator pitch isn’t just for interviews and business deals it can also be an effective exercise to use to help discover which parts of your app is compelling enough to be used in your marketing strategy. Does it have a special feature that’s different from other titles, a killer story-line, and a fun twist in the gameplay or impressive graphics? As the creator of your game, you most likely have a long list of why the game is awesome but it’s important to be able to pick just a few of the most significant ‘wow factors.’
Marketing Tips from the Indie Pros
Zach Gage the creator of the hit mobile game SpellTower, made his game a marketing tool itself by thinking about the game’s design and appearance and the features that could potentially compel people to start recommending the game to others. Gage accredits exposure by getting his game in front of as many people as possible as the secret to his app’s success.
However for developer Rami Ismail of Nuclear Throne and Ridiculous Fishing’s Vlambeer it’s more about the studio and its reputation. “You don’t have to treat marketing very differently from the way you make your game. Marketing in many ways is an extension of your game. What ever you do, figure out what you are. Understand that, and then communicate that to players,” said Ismail.
From titles like the Hundreds and Canabalt, developer Adam Saltsman, added, “You need to know what’s neat about your game. That sounds super condescending and obvious, but I’ve worked on a lot of things where I misunderstood, even when it was almost done, what was interesting about it…. Your goal is to make it easy for people to tell other people who cool your thing is.”
All of the developers on the panel also agreed that every marketing approach will differ depending on the game and developer. It’s paramount not to copy but to create a custom campaign that will mesh well with your app and core audience.