Marketing your indie game is just as important as making it. Let me tell you why…
Many game developers seem to think that marketing is something that can be thrown in haphazardly towards the end of the development cycle.
They might ask questions such as…
1. Should I start marketing my game now, or later?
2. What kind of marketing should I do?
3. Will paid ads work for my game?
Those kinds of questions are only a small part of the marketing pie.
You see, if you’ve got a finished game and are trying to convince players to buy it, you’re not in a position with much leverage marketing-wise.
Your success in getting people to buy your game is limited by how appealing the game seems to be.
In order to tackle marketing head on, you need to continually consider what’s appealing in your game, continually iterating and integrating, and showing that appeal to your target audience.
When making your game, everything choice you make is that of a marketer.
From the game’s name, to the art design, to the mechanics… everything should be designed to appeal to your audience from day one.
Back when I started working on SanctuaryRPG, I pictured the audience clearly in my mind: me.
I wanted to create a game that I would personally enjoy — and realized later that there were many others like myself.
I got lucky — things could have played out much more differently.
Don’t make the mistake of wasting years of your life (that you can’t get back) on making a game that no one will play.
I’ve learned a metric ton of stuff about marketing over the past half decade, and if it’s one thing that has really resonated with me, it’s this:
Marketing is a catch-22.
YouTubers, press, and streamers will usually only cover things that are already popular.
Your job as a game developer? As someone who cares about the success of your game?
It’s to get the traction needed to make your game popular to your audience prior to getting any “real” coverage of your game from the press.
There’s hardly a difference between making your game and marketing.
You need to focus on marketing every step at the way.
That 3D Model in Blender that you’re creating after five failed attempts? That’s marketing fuel.
That concept art that you hired your cousin to draw for you as a favor? That’s marketing juice.
That cup of coffee that kept you going when you thought you couldn’t muster out another line of code?
That’s ammunition. Use it, and share your story.
Tell a story that resonates with people.
The hard part?
Putting in enough hours to get good at storytelling in the first place.
The part harder than that?
I’m determined to be consistent. Are you?
I hope you enjoyed reading this short essay! If you did, It’d be amazing if you could share this with your friends/family/network.
Also, comment below, I love hearing from you!
About Daniel Doan
Hi there! I’m the Co-Founder & CGO of Black Shell Media and the developer of SanctuaryRPG and Overture, among dozens of game prototypes. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
If you’d like to steal my marketing and/or game development knowledge, you can book a consultation with me for only two bucks.