Indie games kickstarter cover

5 Tips To Market Indie Game Apps On A Shoestring Budget

This is a guest article provided by Shruti Lele.

The later part of the last decade saw herculean disruptions in the mobile technology space. With the launch of the first ever Apple iPhone in 2007 and subsequent launch of Android phones, the world of mobile technology was forever changed. Today, there are over a 1.5 Million number of apps in both the app stores combined and have together been downloaded over 160 Billion times. These numbers are indeed staggering and show the state of the mobile app ecosystem today.

The era of the indie game gold rush

According to Statistica, the top 5 Apple app store categories as of March 2015 were the following:

Top 5 iOS Apple App Store categories in March 2015

It is evident that of all the apps in the app stores, game apps are the clear majority. Most app developers, whether it is the indie developers, medium sized app development shops or giant game development firms, are trying to ride the popular game app wave.

Indie game developers are a special breed of app developers that are very innovative and passionate about gaming. It was somewhere around 2008 that the indie game world first experienced massive success with games likes Braid and World of Goo, which then started the era of the gold rush towards indie games. More recently the mobile indie game world saw the phenomenal success of Flappy Bird. It was stuff that indie game developer fairy tales are made of. The game became a global phenomenon in a matter of few weeks, raking in more than a whopping $50,000 per day. From then on, every indie game developer worth their salt started believing that they could develop the next big successful indie game and achieve gaming glory. If an indie developer sitting in Vietnam could achieve such success so could anybody right?

However the reality was a little bit different. Let’s look at some statistics:

  1. The average indie game developer makes less than $500 per month while it takes an average of $6000 to develop a game. (According to AppVee)
  2. Gartner projects that by 2018, less than 0.01% of consumer mobile apps will be considered financial successes by their own developers
  3. 95% of indie games are not profitable (According to Indiegamegirl)
  4. 500 new iOS games and 250 Android games appeared in their respective stores every 24 hours (Venturebeat)

What does this mean for the indie game developers?

While there are many challenges in the way of indie game developers, the biggest one is having unrealistic expectations. What indie game developers need to understand is that they don’t have to only look at the two extremes: complete failure or epic success like Flappy Bird, and that there is a happy middle where their games can slowly succeed with time.

Mobile gaming continues to dominate the app stores, generating the maximum revenue compared to any other category. According to a study published by Newzoo, the estimated total revenue of mobile games industry in 2014 is at $25 billion out of which $4 billion is gained by Apple and $3 billion by Google.

Global Games Market Report by Newzoo, Q3 2014

Source: Estimated Mobile Games Market Growth for 2013-2017 by Newzoo

Clearly, mobile games are here to stay and there is a huge market for indie game developers to tap into. With the right marketing plan and exposure, indie game developers can achieve app success.

Marketing indie game apps on a shoestring budget

One of the top challenges indie game developers face is app discoverability, which is a challenge across all app developers. It takes aggressive and consistent marketing to make an app stand out and get noticed. A big myth that a lot of indie developers have is that marketing an app requires a gigantic budget. That is just not true. For the best results it is recommended that indie game developers should start marketing their game long before it is actually released. Marketing usually takes time to plan and implement and it’s best not to lose precious time once a game is launched. If the foundation is laid properly, it will help get the maximum exposure for the game and increase it’s chances of success.

Here are some tactics that every indie game developer can use and most of them are completely free or have marginal costs:

1. Create a website and blog

This is the first most important task you need to do as an indie game developer. If you are a serial developer you should have one main website which lists all your games and then individual pages for each of the games. As a best practice it is important to have landing pages for each specific game that should feature high quality screenshots, overview of the game/top features and links to download the game. In addition the page should include social sharing icons and the trailer of your game.

The main goal of the website is to increase awareness about your game and get people to download it. It is thus crucial provide a seamless user experience where the readers are able to learn more about the game and easily download the game if they like what they see. Here are some examples of great landing pages for games:

QuizUp mobile game landing page
QuizUp: https://www.quizup.com/en
Dots mobile game landing page
Dots: http://weplaydots.com/dots/

A blog is where developers can write interesting stories about the process of game development, update their players about new releases or in general keep in touch with the player community. It helps loyal users keep in touch with the developers. Consistent blogging can not only help build a loyal community but also increase organic reach with due to SEO. In this age of search and social, it can’t be emphasized enough just how important it is to have a website and a blog for your indie game.

2. Create a short trailer

Trailers have been all the rage for a while now and it is a tried and tested best practice. It is the fastest most efficient way of showcasing a game and it is a must have for a website. Trailers are a great tool to entice gamers and help build the first impression in their minds. Here are some tips to help you create awesome trailers for your game app:

  • Hardware and software needs: You can create decent trailers just using your laptop, a video editing software like iMovies and some screenshots of your game. There are various tools and softwares in the market that you can choose from if you are looking to create high quality videos and are ok to spend some money. Gamasutra posted a great article on creating trailers. Check it out to learn more.
  • Keep it short and sweet: The trailer video should be attention grabbing, short and sweet (ideally no more than 90 seconds) and include real in-game footage. A good trailer can help convince a gamer to download your game so make it good and make it short. No one has the time to sift through long boring trailers and you will likely lose the gamer of your trailer is too long.
  • Include game title and your company name: It is recommended to include your game’s title and your company name clearly in the trailer. This helps with brand recall and helps players remember who you are.

3. Get on the social media bandwagon

Yes you heard right. Social media is not only for the millennials. Social media marketing is a great free way to spread the word about your game and help generate word-of-mouth interest for it.

Here are some tips to help you kick-start your social media presence:

  • Create social media pages: First thing to do would be creating some social media pages for your indie game. Do some research beforehand to find out what are the social media channels that indie game players spend the most time in. Pick the top 2-3 most popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and create your pages there accordingly.
  • Optimize your social media pages: Each social media page must include a brief description of your game along, trailer video, links to the website and to the app stores. In addition, you should make sure that you use high-resolution screenshots and cover pages for your social media pages. Keep in mind to incorporate the image guidelines for each of the channels.
  • Actively engage in conversation: Make sure you consistently post across all the channels. Be sure to post things about other games and/or industry news in addition to stories about your game. No one would like self promotion and you are to make sure you put out content that your players will be engaged in. Once you start building a community and start getting players interact with you, make sure you actively respond to all the messages. It helps your potential players to get to know the human behind the game.
  • Optimize posts: It is ideal to post during peak times like 11am to 11pm EST. It has been found that posting at 11am on a Monday works best. You should post multiple times through the day to be able to reach the maximum number of people. You can use tools like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and posts.

4. Reach out to the press

It is a very important and effective skill to know how to contact press. Everybody does it but not everybody does it well. Getting press coverage by a game journalist or getting featured in a game specific publication can be invaluable in getting the much-needed exposure for your indie game. While there is no magic pill to do it right, here are some tips on how to get the basics right:

  • Create a press kit: Journalists get thousands of emails on a daily basis and often don’t have the time to go through different links. It is extremely important and useful to have a press kit ready that they can download with the click of a mouse and get all the necessary documents they need to get about your game. Things to include in the press kit are: screenshots of your game, trailer/video of the game, team/company info page, any press mentions/awards received, links to social channels and logos.
  • Create a wish list of journalists and publications: Do your research and create a list of journalists who cover indie games and write for the type of publications that you want to be featured in. This step is very important because getting featured in the wrong type of publication doesn’t help as the audience of that publication might not be ones who are interested in indie games. Create an excel spreadsheet to list down the names of the journalists and also note down links to their social media accounts and the publications they write for. Maintaining a spreadsheet like that helps keep track of everyone you need to contact and ones who already have been contacted. It helps to start building a relationship with your target journalists by following them on social media and engaging with them long before you need something from them.
  • Draft an introduction email: It is always helpful to draft a generic introduction email to send to journalists so that you don’t waste time drafting a new one every time you need to reach out to a new journalist. Make sure the email is to the point and crisply answers why you are reaching out to the journalist. Remember, journalists get thousands of emails about “the next best game” so your email must be able to stand out from the others. Keep the email brief, pleasant and include a line about why they should care about your game.

5. Build relationships with the indie developer community

This is an absolute must if you are a newbie indie developer. It really helps if you build relationships with fellow indie game developers. This community can be an invaluable resource in learning new things, getting support, cross promoting and much more. There are various forums and groups like the Indie Games subreddit, that indie developers participate in. Make a list of the top forums and groups you want to start engaging in and then make it a habit to carry on regular conversations and slowly build relationships with the fellow indie folk. Also, make sure that you extend any help and support you can because that will go a long way in building strong relationships and those developers will be more than happy to return the favor when you need it.

Conclusion

Marketing indie games is almost as important as thinking of the game idea and developing it. To summarize this article, must-have steps to start marketing your indie game are:

a. Create a website and blog
b. Create a short trailer
c. Get on the social media bandwagon
d. Reach out to the press
e. Build relationships with the indie game community

Remember, no matter how great your game is, it won’t matter if no one hears about it. So if you think you have the next big indie game, start marketing it now!

Shruti Lele

Author Bio:
Shruti Lele is a Sr Digital Marketing Manager at Personagraph, a mobile user insights company. She has a keen interest in all things digital including search, content, SEO and social. More recently she was responsible for conceptualization, deployment and content creation of a knowledge academy at Personagraph. For more interesting articles on the mobile ecosystem please visit Think Tank.
Follow Shruti Lele on Twitter and connect with her on Linkedin.

4 Vine Hacks for Effective Marketing

4 Vine Tips for More Effective Marketing

As marketing becomes more and more creative nowadays, various businesses are seeking for new effective tools and techniques to engage with potential customers. Social media looks particularly attractive with that respect. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin – basically any well known social network provides plenty of tools for business promotion.

Vine is one of the up-to-date social media platforms – the mobile video sharing app developed by Twitter that allows its users to create and share short six second long videos. Vine is available in 25 languages and has over 40 million registered users.

So, why not take advantage of Vine for marketing activities in order to promote your business? These 4 Vine tips may help you drive more customers via this awesome social service. Check them out and make your business grow.

1. How-To Videos

Because of its video-based format, Vine offers opportunities to show things that static photos can’t – like demonstrations of products or services. If your company offers a service that people might not be familiar with, use Vine to create a demonstration for customers about what the service does or what its results look like.

If users can see what they can actually do or get with the thing you are offering (and it’s something they want), they will be more likely to invest in it. One great example of a company that made a successful how-to Vine is Bacardi UK, who showed users how to make a Cuba Libre cocktail in six seconds. The video was clear and concise, and it showed an awesome potential result of purchasing the product they are selling.

2. Behind-the-Scenes Videos

People always want to do business with real people – not robots or computers, so using Vine videos is a great way to show your customers (or potential customers) who is actually behind the scenes at your company. Introduce members of your team or company, and have them say something or show a little bit of their personalities.

People will appreciate being able to associate faces with names – and it could make them more likely to business with you. Fashion legend Marc Jacobs shared a vine video showcasing its staff’s styles with users; it gave people a taste of what happens behind the scenes at the company and a better look into how the brand’s aesthetic is carried through day-to-day.

3. Product Launch

Want to build hype for a new product you’re launching? Vine is a great way to give users a heads-up or peek into something that will be available soon. Show features of the new product, tell people the date it will be out, or build suspense and mystery about its details.

These short videos are a great idea for marketing because they give the public a taste of what’s coming next, but only a very brief one – giving them enough info to pique their curiosity, but leaving them wanting more. Taco Bell did this well when announcing its Doritos Cool Ranch Taco.

The video showed Cool Ranch Doritos coming out of a Doritos bag, followed by a whole taco from the same bag. It also included the Twitter hashtag for the product and the date it was coming out. Watch the video here:

4. Interesting, Engaging Content

So, you don’t have to directly market your product or service to market on Vine. One of the best ways to market your company is to prove that you are an engaging, clever and creative brand – and one great way to do that is to creative funny, well-made or just plain entertaining Vine videos.

Make something hilariously funny or cool to watch, and people will follow you on Vine and want to see more of what you will create. This will keep them around so that when you do advertise or market something directly related to what you sell or do, they will be more likely to buy or promote for you. General Electric handles this concept well. Some of the entertaining Vines they produced were an endless pie for Pi Day:

and a cool demonstration about what happens when you combine milk, food coloring and dish soap:

Author information

Maryam Taheri

Like a true San Franciscan, Maryam has a passion for dogs and the Giants. She heads up Content Marketing at creativemarket.com where she writes about all things creative. You can find her on twitter at @caracaleo.

Via:: Inspirationfeed – Social

How to use Twitter for Marketing

How To Improve Your Marketing with Twitter: 4 Essential Tips

So, you’re marketing your product or service and considering whether social media tools can still be helpful? Yes, Twitter can and should be used to improve your marketing! Here’s at least 4 tips for better customer acquisition and retention from business experts that use Twitter every day.

1. Engage with other experts.

One of the smartest things you can do on Twitter to boost your reputation is interact with other Twitter experts. If you’re first starting out, find someone who is popular on Twitter in your same field, or who has the same audience you do (or hope to). Then, observe how they interact with people, what they post, and how they engage others.

You should also interact with them as well – tweeting at them, favoriting posts, and posting content they might find engaging. If you get noticed by this expert, you might be retweeted or mentioned, which will not only get you a whole bunch of new attention but also help build your credibility on the site. Twitter experts tend to help build each other’s popularity by interacting with one another.

2. Offer Deals Exclusively to Followers

It’s great to Tweet interesting and relevant pieces of information on Twitter – but if you want to convert potential customers to paying customers, you’re going to want to offer them deals (or special opportunities). A great way to both boost your business and get more followers at the same time is by offering specials only to people who follow you on Twitter. Not only will people jump at the special deals you share, but they will also want to follow you on Twitter to make sure they don’t miss any you offer in the future.

3. Make your brand shine through.

One of the things that Twitter experts are best at is communicating their brand and aesthetic (or creating one) via Twitter. When you Tweet, make sure every single message you send and every word you write is in sync with the company that you are and the voice that you use. Followers should be able to recognize a Tweet from you without even seeing your Twitter handle first. Building a very strong, specific identity and voice helps create brand awareness on Twitter and beyond.

4. Write quality content.

This one seems pretty straightforward, but the best and most important way to be considered an expert on Twitter is to write expert-quality content. First, and most importantly, your tweets should be grammatically correct without spelling errors (unless they are intentional, of course.) Then, you should offer facts and information that are well researched and don’t contain erroneous information.

Finally, you should only Tweet to your followers with relevant, interesting information that will engage them and make them want to hear more from you. Tweeting just to tweet is pointless for anyone. Make sure that every message you send out ups your credibility and encourages people to want to be engaged with you.

Author information

Maryam Taheri

Maryam Taheri

Like a true San Franciscan, Maryam has a passion for dogs and the Giants. She heads up Content Marketing at creativemarket.com where she writes about all things creative. You can find her on twitter at @caracaleo.

Via:: Inspirationfeed – Social