The Best Digital Marketing Guide for Video Game Startups

by Game Marketing Genie, on 17-Apr-2020 11:01:29

It’s a hard world out there for new video gaming companies.

But it doesn't mean you can't make it. While not in the gaming industry, there are plenty of successful unicorn startups whose names you’ve probably heard of. These include Uber, and more recently Toutiao, which falls under the parent company of ByteDance - who you may know from their successful app TikTok.

The scaling of these startups has fueled the world’s hunger for their own powerhouse companies, but sadly many startups don’t make it far enough to see their dreams succeed. It’s said that nine out of ten startups will fail, but we’re not telling you this statistic to scare you - we want you to take this into consideration to help you work smarter, not harder.

One of the first things you should invest time into is creating a strong digital marketing strategy to build your video game company from. Let’s dive into how you can get started today.

What is a good digital marketing strategy, and why does a startup need one?

The best digital marketing strategies have a lot of thought behind them. We’ll run you through the essential steps to creating your very own.

But first, if you want to know more about digital marketing itself, check out The Game Developer's Guide to Digital Game Marketing

Understand your goals

You need to have a clear understanding of what your marketing goals are. Do you want to scale quickly, generate x number of leads in a certain amount of time, compete with a well-known brand, have a private beta launch, get people to invest or something else? Knowing this is key to making sure you hit your targets.

Understand your players’ journeys

Your players won’t all be ready to purchase. There are three key stages of the player’s journey that they will exist in. 

  1. Awareness: the prospect is experiencing an issue that could be solved by an opportunity, and may have put some time into researching what their problem is.
  2. Consideration: the prospect is aware that they have an issue that needs solving, and has spent time understanding how they can solve it.
  3. Decision: the prospect has decided on their solution option, and has decided on a list of possible vendors to make a final purchase decision.

You’ll need to alter your marketing to make sure you include all of these people. Create different content and ads to reach the right people at the right time with the right message.

"The journey is on" neon sign

Make some buyer personas

Before you can get started on reaching your players, you need to understand the types of people that it’s made of. To do this, ask yourself a few key questions:

  1. What demographic does my business suit?
  2. Who would benefit from what my brand can provide?
  3. What do my competitors’ player groups look like?
  4. How can I reach my players most effectively?

This information will help you narrow down a set of people that best match your target players. Then separate it further to identify people with similar characteristics to create a set of select buyer personas. Give each one a name, and use them as your standard targeting examples when you create content and ads.

Find out how to make buyer personas and why they're so important in Why You Need Buyer Personas For Your Game Marketing Strategy (Editor's note: The tips in this guide can be easily translated to businesses in any industry.)

Find out where you can reach them

You need to reach your players in different places. If your audience is in the awareness or consideration stages, you might want to invest in Google Ads to ensure you appear when they’re looking for answers to their problems. If they are not actively looking for your services but may require them, you might be better off using Facebook Ads or display banners to target them in different areas. Conduct some research to find out how to start.

Person reaching out

Make sure you can achieve your goals

Don’t shoot for the stars. Make your goals realistic, measurable and achievable - but make them detailed. Make sure you make specific goals that you can easily mark off your list.

Go into more detail than saying “I want people to read to my blog”. Instead, consider saying “I will create an email marketing campaign that reaches out to my current contacts and gives them a selection of my best blog posts”. This is an easily understandable task that makes up part of your overall marketing goals.

You know what you want to get out of all this. Make sure you meet your goals - no matter how small they are - every step of the way.

Measure your movements

Analytics is an essential part of any business. If you’re not tracking, measuring and optimizing your campaigns then how do you know they’re working? 

Use analytics to make informed decisions that will help you shape your workflow. Many platforms like your Facebook or Google Ads pages will have inbuilt metrics you can use to measure your success. You could also consider investing in a CRM platform to gather detailed insights into how your overall brand is performing.

Whatever your goals, ensure that you have a measurement system otherwise you’ll miss out on valuable information that will help you make it in the future.

For startups, planning the perfect digital marketing strategy is essential to ensuring that you scale for success. A startup needs to make the most of every opportunity they’re given to ensure that they’re one of the few that survive past five years. Here are some types of basic digital marketing that you should get started on.

Graph depicting future growth

Social media marketing

More and more games are making their presence known online, so gaming startups need to make the jump straight into social media. 

The number of people present on at least one social media platform is expected to reach 3.1 billion by 2021 according to data by Statista. Your target audience - even if you don’t fully understand their needs or behaviors - will exist there somewhere. 

You’ll need to conduct some research into finding the optimum platforms that you should exist on. It is more effective to have a strong presence on few platforms that your players exist on rather than a weak presence across multiple platforms that they may not use.

Don’t waste time on traditional marketing methods until you’ve got a solid social media presence where you can target new audiences, communicate with them and share insightful content that provides value.

Become a social media master and excel towards growth with our insider small business tips in Why Social Media Helps Indie Gaming Studios Succeed.

Content marketing

You need strong, authentic content for all of this to succeed. Content marketing focuses on the creation and delivery of material that is designed to attract a specific audience and convert them into qualified leads.

The type of content you create and where you distribute it relies on your business goals. Tech startups might choose to create informative videos for YouTube, whereas lifestyle startups might prefer going to Instagram to share their content. Allocate the time to research and decide on what channels you want to use, and ensure that you use the right methods to reach players. 

You need your content and social media channels to succeed however, so you need to invest time into optimizing it to ensure this is the case. This brings us to our next section, search engine optimization.

Content is at the heart of every successful business - whether you know it or not. Don't get left behind! We answer the age old question, Is Content Marketing Worth Your Time?, to help you find out why you need it.

Person writing in notebook

Search engine optimization

One of the main ways you’ll reach players is through search engines. As a brand new business, they won’t already know your name, so you’ll need to make sure your web pages are optimized to show up when people are searching for services that you offer. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) should be one of the starting areas for your business. If you don’t have your web pages optimized from the get-go, then you’re missing out on opportunities to rank higher, reach potential players and be a visible presence in your market.

To achieve SEO success from the start, you’ll need to do a few things: 

  1. Understand how SEO can affect your business goals
  2. Develop a process for regularly creating content to have an active website
  3. Get backlinks from authoritative sources
  4. Hire an SEO expert for your team, or gather knowledge about common SEO issues so you can avoid them

Startups need to take any opportunity to strengthen the future potential of their business. Getting started with SEO will not only build you a foundation on which you can develop new ideas, ads and content, but also eliminate obstacles that you may face later down the track. 

Know your goals, plan and generate good content that will be picked up by search engines, identify influencers that might recommend your brand, and be one step ahead of any SEO problems you may face - and you’ll be set up for success.

Get ahead of the competition and drive qualified new leads with 6 SEO Strategies That Help Game Developers Beat Their Competitors.

Digital marketing startup case study: HubSpot

In 2006, a little marketing group called HubSpot started. By 2011, they had grown to over 4000 customers and more than 200 staff. Today they sit at somewhere around 73,400 clients in over 120 countries.

How did they get all of these customers? It’s all because HubSpot took the reins and experimented with countless different types of content creation. You’ve probably used at least one of their case studies, whitepapers, eBooks or videos to gather information for your own needs.

The specialists in inbound marketing, HubSpot gains somewhere around 75% of their customers from their own inbound marketing efforts. This includes content creation and social media among other things. Their blog alone has more than 300,000 subscribers. 

Here’s a few key reasons they’ve succeeded and will continue to in the future:

  • They have lead magnets on several topics on their blog
  • They’ve got personas for every segment of their buyer’s journey
  • They spice up their content, and ensure that it doesn’t get boring
  • They look at their data to see how they’re performing
  • Providing value is a consistent focus in their work

You might have noticed that these reasons align with what we’ve recommended you start doing in your marketing efforts. Build your business off this marketing structure and develop it as you grow.

For more digital marketing strategies we recommended for businesses in 2020 and beyond, check out our blog The 7 Best Digital Marketing Strategies for 2020.

Person with plan and tablet

Want to learn more about digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a vast industry, and you need a strong understanding to master it. That's why we've compiled all of our best resources to create the ultimate guide to digital marketing. Check it out here: Everything You Need to Know About Video Game Digital Marketing.

A good digital marketing strategy isn’t easy to build. It takes time and effort to ensure you’ve started strong, and then even more time and effort to continue to grow towards a positive ROI. For startups it can be even harder. You likely haven’t got the strength that existing businesses have. You need that extra bit of power to make your brand shine.

That’s why the marketing strategy experts at Game Marketing Genie can help you meet your digital marketing needs. With a full-service team, we can create, setup, optimize and analyze your strategy from start to finish. If you’re looking for some help, let’s talk soon about how we can get you started.

Need more info? Let's have a chat about how we can help you become the business you want to be!

Topics:Social Media MarketingContent MarketingVideo Game MarketingDigital Marketing StrategySmall to Medium EnterpriseCustomer JourneyDigital Marketing

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