What Do You Need to Consider in Your Game’s Pre-Launch Phase?

by Game Marketing Genie, on 30-Jun-2021 10:41:49

You've got to nail your game's launch to boost your chances of success in the competitive video game market. Thousands of video games are launched every minute, but statistics by Startup Grind show that only 0.01 percent of them succeed. Most of these failures are because developers didn’t take the time to publicize their games before releasing them to the public.

This makes it important to start building an audience for your game months before it's ready for release. Ignore that voice saying you're not ready to go public and start sharing game updates with your target audience.

This article shares the best strategies for building an audience for your game. Let’s now get started with your pre-game launch checklist.

Your budget

Do you have a budget to do what you want to do? Marketing your game at any stage needs money since you will have to pay for research work, creative design, marketing copy, influencers, paid ads, and other marketing activities that will help connect with the right audience.

For smaller development studios, this can be extremely challenging because of the limited budgets they have. If you find yourself in this position, you may need to consider crowdfunding to raise extra funds to promote your game. Start the process earlier to ensure you have enough time to raise funds to market your game effectively.   

Coins drawing

Your competition

Analyzing your competitors is another thing you need to include in your pre-launch marketing strategy. Competitor intelligence will guide you on how to market your game effectively to your target audience. Find out what they did well and which strategies failed. Use this information to tailor your pre-launch marketing strategies to ensure the audience properly receives your game.

Your target market

The success of your video game launch depends on how accurately you can reach your target users. You need to know who you’re targeting, where to target them, and why. This isn’t something you should guess, and that’s why you should take the time to research your target market.

Granted, it can be difficult to define your target audience when you’re launching your first ever game since there is no existing data to go by. To navigate this problem, take a keen look at your game and imagine the kind of people who might enjoy it.

Also, review similar games in the market to identify the people they're targeting with their marketing content. These are the people who might enjoy your game, and you can make that demographic your target market.

Buyer personas

After defining your target market, the next thing you need to do is create buyer personas. Buyer personas define your target users in detail. They highlight the age and demographic of the people you’re targeting. It spells out their interest and other characteristics that make them unique.

Buyer personas are a key part of any marketing campaign because they guide brands on the best ways to connect with their customers. By understanding the ideal characteristics of your target users, you will know the type of content to create for your marketing campaigns and the best avenues for connecting with them.

We’ve explained how to create effective buyer personas in our blog, Why You Need Buyer Personas For Your Game Marketing Strategy.

Marshmallow smiley faces

Your style

Every top game developer knows that a great brand image is one thing you need to stand out in the competitive gaming market. If people can recognize your company when they come across your branding elements, your product uptake will be high because of the feeling of familiarity that exists.

For this reason, you need well-designed assets to define your style. You need a logo that defines who you are as a company. You should also choose brand colors that match your persona and a unique font for your online and offline communication. These branding assets make your company recognizable from far and help you create a real connection with your audience.

Find out how to create a distinct image for your brand in our blog, Designing Your Gaming Brand Image To Grow, Engage, and Retain Players.

How to set yourself up

You need an online presence to succeed with your pre-launch marketing plan. Start by creating a website that you’ll use to showcase your game and announce the launch. Your website should be eye-catching and provide players with all the information they need about your game.

Use the website to share relevant news and updates about your game. Interested users will visit your site to find out how the development process is going on, and they should find relevant updates when they get there. Your site should be easy to navigate to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for.

We’ve discussed how to improve your website user experience on our blog, 8 Tips to Ensure a Smooth User Experience for Your Website.

Besides a well-designed website, you should also design an engaging pre-launch landing page. This is the first point of contact for users who get to your website from your marketing resources, and it should contain all the relevant information they’re looking for. Visitors obviously want more information about your game, so make sure there are plenty of screenshots and gameplay videos. Publish an irresistible description to get visitors excited about the game. You can also add a newsletter subscription button to capture the contact details of those who want to receive news and updates about your game.

Lastly, don’t forget to create social media profiles for your game. Your target users are on social media, and creating a profile on the right platforms will help you build hype for your game, and more importantly, connect with players.

Publish amazing content on your pages to attract more people to your brand. Interact with players in their online communities and answer the questions they have about your game. Use social media ads to promote your game to the right audience.

Minions with paint

When to contact the press

Contacting the press is an effective way to generate publicity for your game at the pre-launch phase. Gamers read gaming publications to stay informed about the latest releases. Getting your game featured on the best publications is a great way to get your title out there.

Before approaching members of the press for a feature, you need a press kit with all the relevant information about your game. It should have a short description of your game, a trailer, screenshots, and your game’s icon. Don’t forget to mention the release date, support platforms, and price to make it easy for the publishers to write about your game.

Influencer marketing

You should also consider bringing in influencers for your pre-launch marketing plan. The right influencers have a huge following with the people you target, and getting them to talk about your game will greatly boost your promotional efforts. The value of influencers in product marketing is rising by the day, with a recent survey finding that 49 percent of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers when making a purchase.

Value of influencers on Twitter

Figure 1: The value of influencers. Source - Influencer Orchestration Network

Find the influencers that match your brand goals and values to make your collaboration a success. The influencers you choose should be knowledgeable in marketing games like yours to generate sufficient exposure and create excitement with your target audience.

Want to skip the part where you have to find influencers and select the right ones from a long list? Check out our sister company over at Atisfyreach. All you need to do is set up your profile and create a campaign - we'll handle the rest!

Soft launching

After popularizing your game with the strategies highlighted above, you need to do a soft launch with specific users. A soft launch allows you to test your video game with a live audience and get their feedback. It happens for a short period, during which you will be collecting feedback that you'll use to improve the game.

The soft launch will help you refine your game design to attract more users when you finally launch it to the public. It will also help you plan how to monetize your game and point you to the best marketing strategies for connecting with your target audience.    

Working with the pros

Most of these activities are complex, and you'll have to bring experienced professionals for technical tasks. Working with a video game marketing agency like Game Marketing Genie will help you avoid the common mistakes people make at the pre-launch stage.

The agency will research your audience, design your marketing plan, create marketing content and help you find relevant influencers for your marketing campaigns. They will collect feedback from the early testers that you will use to refine your game before the actual launch.

Stormtroopers and V graffiti

Get your game on with our game launch guide!

Enjoyed this article? Want to know more about launching a game? We've got much more to share with you in The Game Dev’s Guide to the Best Game Launch!

Your game will not make it if you leave it to struggle on its own. There’s a lot you need to do at the pre-launch stage to make your game a success, and the slightest mistake will see you lose favor with players even before you launch your game.

Support it with the professionals at Game Marketing Genie to guarantee your title’s success when you launch it. As a video game marketing agency, we are responsible for the successful launch of many video games in different niches.

Are you looking for the best promotional tactics for the pre-launch stage? Take a look at our video game marketing strategy for inspiration.

Topics:Video Game Marketing StrategyVideo Game MarketingGame LaunchVideo MarketingDigital Marketing

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