How to Make a Game Marketing Plan Work

by Game Marketing Genie, on 27-Oct-2020 10:19:02

Marketing a game has become just as important as designing levels and polishing the user interface. The gaming market place is as crowded as ever, and this makes it easy for your game to get lost in the noise. The big development studios are spending millions on ads and celebrity endorsements. If you cannot compete on these terms, your best bet when it comes to finding players for your game is a solid digital marketing strategy.

Making a game marketing strategy is easy but creating a good game marketing strategy that works isn't. Steam has close to 800 million games, and according to Arstechnica, a whopping 36.9 percent of the titles have not been played ever. The same fate awaits you when you fail to promote and market your game.

To prevent this from happening, we have shared the best marketing techniques that will help you lay the foundations of a successful promotional plan that will give your game the attention it deserves. Let’s get started!

Why is marketing necessary for video games?

You have spent all that time making your game, but it won't succeed on its own. Gamers have many options when it comes to titles they can play, which could make it difficult for them to find your game when you don't promote it.

Video game market value graphic

Figure 1: Video game market value worldwide. Source: Statista

The gaming industry will be worth $200 billion in 2023, and the number of games competing for a share of this market is growing every day. The industry is also very ruthless, with the big companies investing considerable sums to push the small studios out of the way.

These factors make it difficult to penetrate the market, but you will make the most of your game and attract gamers to your side with the right marketing plan. Marketing places your game before the appropriate audience, and this makes it easy to convince them of its worth and the entertainment value it adds to their lives.

When marketing your game, digital strategies are the best since the target consumers can be reached easily through digital mediums. It’s also more affordable than traditional advertising as it allows developers to target specific audiences with creative marketing campaigns.

Making it work – what you’ll need and need to do

The following are some of the essential things you need to do to maximize your brand's visibility in the competitive gaming industry.

Set goals

Goals define what you want to achieve with your game. You can start by setting a goal for your desired income. Continue by adding goals for downloads, sales, and conversion rates for the game. Clearly defined goals will help you know the marketing tactics to deploy to achieve your targets.

When setting your goals, make sure to set the date when you hope to achieve them. This measure will give you the drive needed to go after your goals with everything you’ve got since you will have a strict schedule to adhere to. If your goals are massive, break them into smaller divisions for easy tracking. Monitor your progress and adjust your goals when need be.

The word Goals writting on a white paper

Define strategy

You will be competing with other brands for the same audience, and you need a video game marketing strategy that will set you apart from the rest. The marketing strategy should bring out what is unique about your game to entice players to choose it over other titles in the market.

Look at other developers to see what’s working and what to avoid when marketing to gamers. However, you should not copy their marketing plans as gamers will see through this right away and cancel you their communities. Engage a gaming marketing agency to define and develop a strategy that will help you connect with many gamers.

Study your target audience

Developers should take the time to study the people who are likely to download their games. Understanding this group saves developers a lot of time and money and stops them from promoting their game to an audience with no interest in it.

Think about what your audience looks like. What are their interests, and what channels do they spend most of their time online? Clarifying these issues will help you know the best marketing methods to use to reach your audience.

Know your game

You will not be able to market your game properly if you don’t know it inside out. Players want to feel like they are talking to an expert when they hear you talk about your game on different platforms. It would help if you understood how the gameplay progresses from one scene to the next.

If your game has different characters, you should tell the story of each character and how they contribute to the game narrative. With this information at hand, your passion for the game will be evident when discussing it on your social media pages and offline publications.

Man closing his suit buttons

Study the market

Before you introduce your game to the world, take the time to study the market. Check the market trends to see what other developers are doing to attract players to their games. Analyze different brands' performance at various times to see when the best time to launch your game is.

With this information, you will know how to position yourself and have a real impact in the industry. You will know what to do and what to avoid to guarantee the success of your game. You will also learn the average earnings for games like yours and what needs to be done to improve the revenue.

Understand your distribution platforms

There are different options for distributing a game. Most indie and casual games tend to have these platforms as their primary distribution channels:

  • Direct website store
  • Portals
  • Retail stores
  • Content delivery systems
  • Publisher channels

Depending on your marketing strategy, you might need more than one of these channels to distribute your game. An easy option for direct selling would be to set up a website and concentrate on optimizing it.

You can also consider casual game portals like Big Fish Games, Gamehouse, and Yahoo Games if you have a casual game. Check the bestsellers on each portal to see the types of games that do well there and how you can improve your game to meet those guidelines.

Besides portals, you can also use content delivery systems to distribute your game. Steam is one of the most prominent examples of a content delivery system that appeals to indies.

Know your pricing

The pricing for your game depends on different variables. You may decide to look at what others are doing and settle for a similar rate, say $19.95. Or you could go with a bargain price of $9.95. It all depends on what you think is appropriate and what the industry standard for a game of your size, quality and depth is.

Depending on the game, target market, and company profile, you may decide to set a different price for your title. Remember that you can adjust the price of your game later after reviewing the revenue performance. You may realize that $9.95 is very low and set the price at $14.95 and still generate comparable sales figures.

Bear in mind that the ecommerce provider will take a portion from each sale, so factor this in when pricing your game. 

Blue piggy bank

Have social media presence

Social media is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to connect directly with your players. Nowadays, almost everyone is on social media, and if you are not promoting your game on these platforms, you are missing out on a lot. You can use different platforms to connect with your players, but the key is to find the channels where your target audience spends most of their time and concentrate on them.

Post engaging content to let your potential players know about your game. Share game updates on the pages and respond to any questions or concerns your followers may have about the game.

Use press releases

Getting press for your game is one of the best ways to get more people to know about it, and that's why you should prepare releases that you can share with members of the press. You can use press releases to make an official announcement about your game or an upcoming event.

When creating these, make sure they have all the necessary information to make it easy for journalists to produce their own stories. Press releases may appear old school, but publications are still a hit in the gaming community, and your game could get a huge boost when it appears in one of the top journals.

Work with influencers

Millennials are not only active gamers, but most of them also follow individual influencers. These could be different bloggers, Instagram celebrities, streamers, or other people who are famous online. Today, their aid is essential in video game promotion.

Brands are now piggybacking on these social media stars' influence and reputation to reach broad audiences on a variety of platforms. All it takes is the right collaboration with a relevant influencer, and your game could go viral. Work with an influencer marketing agency to identify the best influencers to market your game.

We have covered this topic in detail on our blog How to Pick the Best Game Influencer Marketing Strategy for Your Studio.

Use digital advertising

The gaming industry offers digital products, so it's easy to use digital advertising mediums to reach these audiences. Imagine an average gamer playing a game on his phone. If an exciting ad of another game appears when they are playing the game, there is a high chance they will download it.

Digital advertising targets specific audiences with promotional content. It leverages mediums like social media, search engines, mobile apps, email, and affiliate programs to show advertisements to audiences.

Brand ads

But how do you make all that work?

Making all of this work requires proper planning. Don't wait until you launch your game to start promoting it as this could see you miss out on weeks’ worth of marketing opportunities. Start your marketing at the pre-launch stage to create hype for your game and get players excited to try it out.

Set a release date to let people know when they can officially get the game. You also need to decide on the marketing story that will help you connect. Is there something revolutionary about your game, or does it have some educational benefits to the players? What's so unique about your game that will make people interested in playing it? Create a narrative that’ll make it easy for you to sell your game.

As a developer, doing all of this on your own can be quite overwhelming. Marketing is such a strenuous activity that could see you spend less time on other important issues, such as refining your game to meet market needs. That's why you should work with a reputed game marketing agency that understands the gaming scene and has what it takes to make your game a hit with the players.

Game marketing agencies know the best techniques to use to connect with gamers. They will also measure the success of the implemented methods to maximize your marketing campaigns' potential.

Man pointing on paper from the desk

The ultimate guide to game marketing

Hope you enjoyed this article! For more insider game marketing information, check out The Ultimate Guide to Game Marketing: Everything You Need to Know.

Marketing to gamers can be challenging because they have a lot of options when it comes to the titles they can play. Without a good video game marketing strategy, your game will be one of the many untouched and forgotten titles on the different distribution platforms.

After spending a lot of time and money developing your game, this isn’t the outcome you want for your game. You want downloads, sales, and to gain favor with the gaming community. The video game marketing professionals at Game Marketing Genie can help. We have done game marketing for a while now and excelled at it. We have helped poor-performing games boost their download and sales. We can do the same for you. Get in touch today and let us elevate your brand in the gaming community.

Are you struggling to monetize your audience? We've got the marketing strategies to get you started.

Need more info? Contact us today!

Topics:Video Game Marketing StrategyVideo Game MarketingDigital Marketing StrategyVideo MarketingDigital Marketing

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