Indie Game Promotion: A Step-by-Step Guide

steps promote indie video game marketing

Let's look in detail at how to promote indie games with no additional funds. 

The word indie does not always mean no savings, but, more often than not, it is true. A small team of independent developers (or even a single developer!) undertakes to publish a game on their own. This is how many success stories begin. Independence means freedom, creativity, being outside the box, innovative features, and unconventional solutions, and yet this does not guarantee that your project will make it just like Angry Birds did. However, there are lots of ways to make your independent video game product visible and competitive without financial backing. 

Let’s take a look at them. 

Where Is Your Website? 

Once ideology and creativity have become a reality, a gaming app often comes to a standstill: mobile marketing has to come into play now, and it’s quite a challenge if you are inexperienced. It was the promotion that made many cool teams burn out. Nobody would have known about the super hit Among Us if it hadn't ended up being streamed by some blogger. That team got lucky, and you shouldn't rely on good luck alone. Break your path to success into stages and proceed step by step. 

To get started, you will need your app website. Do not neglect this stage: let it work like a calling card of the game. If your app is creative, make your website creative too, and display innovative features and discoveries there. In general, a web page should have all information about your game. This is where a loyal user base begins to shape, who will then go to an app store and install your product. For your audience to come from organic traffic, take your time to learn the basics of SEO. There is a lot of information about it available online. Although, it wouldn't hurt to hire an experienced SEO professional too. 

• Checklist: What an indie game website should have 
• Product description; 
• Video/trailer with an overview; 
• Links to app stores and social media accounts; 
• Screenshots; 
• Reviews, feedback, positive criticism; 
• Information about developers; 
• Media kit; 
• Contacts and links.  

Indie Game Promotion Strategy: A Cost Effective Option 

Fan Community 

Free organic traffic can bring in a couple of users per month for years. This is most likely not what you want. So it's time to start creating a supportive community. You don't have to be a blogger to function as a media now: word of mouth, personal recommendations, and random reviews will help your product become more visible. If you offer some interesting strategy like game reviews by hashtags, collaboration through new development ideas coming from the community, etc., the inflow of content mentioning your game will be steady. By the way, this is what Minecraft did at one time. Let's learn from the best! 

Social Media: Starting Small 

If your website has a good design, but your social media accounts are dead, this will most likely slow down your progress. To promote an indie game, start boosting your social media: post updates, encourage fans to repost and create fanart, etc. In other words, be more open! Even if your game is aimed at a conventionally adult audience (but not 18+), you can use and abuse TikTok as life is in full swing there now. Come up with a custom campaign for fans, let them post tracks or stream your game on TikTok. 

Of course, it’s quite a challenge to be equally proactive on all platforms, but you can stock up some content at least for visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube, or Tik Tok, and let your motivated fans create content on Facebook and Twitter. 

All your web pages should contain information about the game and links to the website and app store pages. 

Important to know! You may want to use the advantages of social media in full and set your goal right. Again, it's good to have a targeting specialist, but, in any case, it's worth taking the time to study this point. It will bring you some new users. 

Personal Brand: Product Positioning 

Being unique and easily recognized is important. Make sure you save your tough play for the times when you become super popular though. Right now, being sincere and open is key for you. Share life hacks regarding the gameplay, updates, screenshots, visuals, and trailers very frequently. Don't be afraid to talk about bad decisions, but always in the past tense! 

Important to know! Call-to-action is often underrated. Accompany your posts with calls for installs and clicks. 

Looking For New Ones: Forums And Platforms 

Gamer forums are a true "chocolate factory" for indie game developers. The same applies to themed websites. You can use them to post information about your product, find an audience, get promoted for free through feedback, etc. Just be prepared for some competitors' content. You can find out more about popular forums. A good option is to offer an indie game for review. See what works for you. There are some successful free services like Product Hunt where users vote for the Product of the Day, which is then displayed on the home page. In theory, it could be your app. 

Understanding ASO 

By optimizing your app store page, you can have a positive impact on traffic. Track everything equally. Both text and graphic ASO (app store optimization) should be polished. The rules are the same: more keywords, more matches, more audience. Beautiful icons and unique screenshots that don't resemble those of your competitors are usually converted into new users. Good ASO may help you get picked by the editors in App Store or on Google Play as well. 

Online Events: It's The Taking Part That counts? 

Not really. Winning at gaming festivals gives tangible bonuses like being promoted in one of the app stores with expert support. However, the very fact of taking part in an online event may greatly increase indie product recognition. Stay tuned for events and keep improving your app. 

Well, what we said above might make it seem like promoting an indie game is harder than developing one. This is only partly true: practice shows that each team eventually develops its own PR strategy, acting through certain channels. Some developers promote videos on YouTube and TikTok, others use Instagram, forums, etc. It's worth trying different channels, and experience will help you find out which one suits you best.

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