As with any industry, the number one challenge for a start-up is to stand out from its competitors. Especially when it comes to publishing games, you will have to find a way to catch people’s attention and differentiate yourself from the thousands upon thousands of other games out there, whether self-published by developers or also put out there by other game publishers. This is where marketing becomes crucial.
In the online space and ever-developing modern world, marketing through social websites has a greater reach than ever before. With all the possible tactics and strategies that exist, it is important to take a step back and do some analysis to determine the best approach for the game you are releasing. When you are not only putting an unknown game out there, but also your entirely new brand for the first time, every detail will have to be taken into account. To provide some insights into this, here are a few key areas that have proven valuable for us to focus on.
The very first question you should ask is: who is this product for? Who is the audience? Think about any demographic information you believe might be relevant, and come up with one or more customer profiles. How old are they? What are their hobbies? What about their purchase habits? Any goals or challenges they might have? Once you have identified who you are targeting, you can start thinking about how to target them. Where are your potential customers? How do you talk to them, what type of marketing appeals to them? If you are selling videogames, chances are your audience skews a bit younger than for the average product, and chances are it is easier to reach them online than using, say, the newspaper. Think about the websites they might use, and all the touchpoints they could potentially come into contact with. Then you can make sure the most important touchpoints become a reality.
When no one is familiar with your brand, a great way to build trust is through the help of opinion leaders. If you are trying to build a brand community from scratch, then it will put people at ease to know someone they trust endorses the brand. Figures in the gaming community who have fans that identify with them are incredibly powerful to have on your side. Of course, don’t try and push your brand on creators that do not have an affinity with what you are selling: authenticity is a critical ingredient. When you do find someone that is a good fit, then their audience is sure to be interested as well. Initially, a lot of time and budget will be spent finding the perfect brand ambassadors, but if the game gains organic traction and your brand increases in popularity it will all pay off.
One great way to interact with your community is Twitter. Whilst the future of Twitter is currently somewhat uncertain, the following tips are transferable to other platforms as well. The very first step, is to build a following so people will see what you post in the first place. A good way to do this is to promote a few tweets to an audience with relevant interests, and adding a call-to-action to follow. Some examples of tweets that would do well could be sharing trailers of your game or doing a giveaway. Following on from this, you want your new followers to engage with your content. The type of content that usually does best is content that evokes emotions, and on a platform like Twitter, the most successful one would be humour. You can make jokes that are related to your game, jump on trends, and create memes. Additionally, asking questions and providing challenges are other good ways to engage. Finally, don’t forget to provide your followers with any important updates and educational content as well.
If you’re a small company, you might have the ability to work closely with the developers across the board. Feel free to propose involving them on the social media marketing side. As the people closest to the game, they will be able to give the most direct insights into the development of the game. Additionally, fans who love what they created will value the developers’ words the most, as the developers’ love for their own game will always be the most authentic. You can organise interviews with the developers, involve them in humorous or educational videos, share tips and tricks on their behalf, and show off different stages of the game’s development. They might have some funny or interesting stories to share about the game’s development journey too. If they want to, they can run their own page as well and interact with yours, and talk to the community directly in comments and replies.
This is just a small and very general glimpse into this particular aspect of marketing, and is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all guide. What is most important is to try out different things, analyse results, and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, if you are very busy, prioritising the most valuable tasks is essential. If any specific topic appeals to you, there are tons of resources online to learn more, or reach out to us if you want to have a chat. We also love hearing your additional thoughts and feedback, so please do share them! If you haven’t had a look yet, check out Falling Out, now available on PC and consoles. And don’t forget the recently announced Planet Cube: Edge, coming early 2023.
Written by Sanne Greijdanus, Social Media and Influencer Manager, Firestoke