• Thu. Aug 5th, 2021

You ve built a great, game and you, want, to, get it out to the masses The problem is. That you don t have any money to pay for a marketing.

Campaign, What is an independent developer to do In this video? We re going to show you how to get great, a marketing and public relations outcome from your game with little or no money invested.

We are Ask GameDev, AKA Min Max The Code Warriors AKA Code, Cudi Kanye, Test AKA, the Ben Steins of Game Designs, and this is indie game marketing on a shoestring budget.

Welcome back! If you re new to Ask Gamedev, we make videos to help.

You learn about the games industry so that you can elevate your games and Inspire others.

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Consider subscribing We d love to help you along the way.

So you are closing in on the end of your development, your team has been working, hard, writing freshly, authored game code and everything is coming together nicely.

You are starting to wonder how you can get the word out about your soon to be released masterpiece, and the unfortunate reality is that you don t have much money to allocate to your marketing efforts.

This is a pretty common scenario. Most indie developers operate on a shoestring budget and don’t have the money needed to pay for expensive marketing or public relations firms.

So what options do you have? Luckily, there is a path that you can take to help get the word out.

That will only require your time and effort.

You will need to focus on creating and sharing online material, such as videos, blogs or social media posts.

That does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest or solve a problem That s content, marketing and the tools that you will need in this area have never been more accessible.

Let s start by reviewing what you are trying accomplish with your marketing campaign.

Your goal with your content marketing campaign is to build a small group of loyal and passionate evangelists of your work In the early days.

This work will be content, But, as time passes, it can be many different things, including games.

The initial content should be valuable and high quality posts that they care about and on their preferred social sites or other web platforms.

You will also need to provide this content regularly and for an extended period, including participating in conversations about your content and helping your audience with questions and problem. Solving.

Remember that when it comes to making content, no matter, how big you get always remember, the A S K, rule Audience Stays King.

This type of content strategy has a long track record of success.

The Michelin Brothers created the Michelin guide, books on hotel and restaurant quality and then leveraged that audience to help sell tires.

General Mills created the Betty Crocker brand to build an audience around recipe content and then proceeded to sell kitchen and food products into that audience.

So move forward on building that initial audience, even if the content you provide them, isn’t promoting any particular product of yours.

It is these passionate early evangelists that will spread the word about your content to others, thereby increasing the amount of attention it receives.

If you do this right, you will build audience loyalty.

It is that loyalty that you can lean on when you want support with the promotion of your game.

The goal is to get this audience to carry the promotional torch for you, thereby keeping your personal marketing costs in time and effort reasonable. So let s talk specifics on how to do this.

The first thing to do is to define the community of prospective customers of your game.

The starting point for this is to look at purchasers of other games and genres that are similar to your future release.

You will need to find out as much as you can about these people.

Where do they spend time online? What are their characteristics? What type of content resonates with them Do your homework as these individuals are where you are going to focus your initial efforts.

Let s pretend you have identified our favorite Ask Gamedev mock title Super Teal Robot as a game whose audience you want to target Super Teal.

Robot is a side scrolling shooter in the action platformer genre.

It is similar in genre to games such as Megaman or Shovel Knight.

It has a mid to hard core theme and is available on the PC platform.

The audience for these types of games are predominantly male – 14, 35 in age and located in the western nations When they consume content around side scrollers. They do it by watching game trailers and lets play videos on Youtube, live streams on Twitch and via voice and text chat about their games on Discord.

There s a lot more to learn, obviously, but this initial research shows some basic information that you might use to target the audience of Super Teal Robot.

So now that you have your initial audience defined, the next step is to build authority with this group.

In an subject matter area that they care out, ideally the game genre that your title fits within.

How do you become an authority of that space? Make great thoughtful content, Do a search on the popular sites that your audience frequents? What are people posting about that game? Genre, This could include high quality streams of similar titles on Twitch or let s plays on Youtube or image content for Instagram.

If you are looking for more information on Twitch the popular streaming platform with the gaming community, we recently did a video on how to get your game played on Twitch Click.

The card above to check it out It s important to figure out what types of content are getting engagement like upvotes or comments with the audience you are looking to target Once you have a shortlist of content that your audience engages with.

You will need to determine how you can improve on those pieces by providing additional value.

Let s go back to the Super Teal Robot audience.

As an example, We ve identified that they have an interest in games like the one we have developed. We also know where they spend their time and the type of content they like.

We should look to create content for that audience by improving on the existing content options in some way, Maybe find some good blogs posts on that game genre and turn them into 2D vector art, snippits or image posts for Instagram, Maybe take popular Youtube videos that are Long in duration and consider creating shorter videos that are easier to digest Or maybe take a tutorial series that is in text format and instead turn it into a live stream.

Does your target audience read a lot of webcomics? Maybe you could start one that targets their specific interests.

The options are endless here and should really be customized to the specific audience you are targeting and their specific interests.

When deciding what kind of content to make, obviously consider what you are capable of, Not everyone can make amazing game art or has the equipment for a professional looking streaming channel.

That said, there is always something you CAN do, whether it is text image or video content depends on what you are comfortable with With time.

Your regular posts should result in an quantifiable audience of followers.

Maybe 10 of these subscribers are of the passionate sort, the type that regularly come back to view and engage with everything you create.

It is this group of followers that are your evangelists and the larger you can build this base audience the better.

So now that you have an audience that you are pushing regular content to the next step is to build a real time conversation with those audience members to further drive value and deepen the relationship. This involves adopting a presence in one of the real time social platforms on the web.

This might include streaming on twitch, youtube or facebook, or setting up a chat environment via slack or discord Either way.

The goal here is to be available in real time and engage in discussions with your audience.

If you can be genuine and useful in this environment, you can really develop deep loyalty amongst your community, as your audience will ideally leap from supporting your content to supporting YOU.

We recently set up a discord server so that the Ask GameDev community can share ideas on how to elevate our games and share best practices.

Take a look in the description for this video to find a link to our server.

So now you have a growing community of passionate supporters who regularly consume your content on a valuable game genre AND you have a presence online that supports real time conversation.

You now need to notify your audience that you have been building a game that they may be interested in.

How can you do this to ensure they will support you? The first requirement in any promotional campaign is that the game you are intending to drive prospective customers to MUST be good.

Trying to build excitement for a game that doesn t delight is extremely difficult. It doesn’t matter how loyal your audience is.

They are not going to evangelize a bad game, So we re going to assume you ve got a great title.

The next step would be to approach your most loyal community members first and give them a sneak peek of your game, a beta, build or something pre release and ask for their feedback.

If you treat the feedback seriously, and you should given that this audience has a passion for your game genre, its shows that you value their opinion, and this can help to get those users invested in your efforts.

Also ask them about your plan to communicate the game to your wider audience, Make sure they agree with your proposal as they can give you early warning if your promotional effort will be poorly received by your community Once your game is ready for release, let your audience Know via your regular content, posting process Be honest and transparent in your approach, you made this game as a commercial effort and would love for your audience to check it out.

Their support would obviously be appreciated.

A successful game can help you finance the continued creation of great content, Be sure to not make the ask for support excessive or heavy handed, Also be clear on how your audience can help.

Do you want them to spread the word? How, and where Do you want them to make an online review? You should probably give them a free game copy if you are going to make requests like this, If you want them to buy the title, what special perk can you give them for taking a chance of your title? Maybe a reduced price, additional content or special SWAG Either way show your appreciation for their early support and as much as possible, reduce the time and effort that need to expend So there you have it a step by step plan on how to build an audience without Money by making valuable content around your game genre, We ll leave you now with a look at an inspiring game made by Ask GameDev community member Mohammed Mokhtar Mohammed built the first person shooter Zattack as an individual development effort.

Mohammed wrote all the game code and then bought all the art assets online.

Another great example of the type of games that can be made by independent developers. Mohammed had made Zattack available for Windows via Github It s free, so check out the video description for the link to check it out.

If you are on a gamedev journey, please link to your game, art, animation or audio in the comments below to get your work included in future.

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