Unlike the big AAA studios with their massive resources, indie studios need to utilize what they have to the best of their abilities. I’ve had the chance to listen to the stories of so many indie developers and what inspired them to create their passion projects. I have also stumbled upon a common issue among many indie studios, they don’t take marketing seriously.
Too often the head of the studio either ignores the need for marketing and as a result, the games fail to gain an attention or sales. Here is a look at five reasons why indie studios need to take marketing seriously.
5. There are a Lot of Indie Titles
This one is a no brainier but it needs to be said, there are a lot of indie titles on the market. Every dedicated gamers is either trying to be original or tap into a players nostalgia by recreating a classic. At the Game Developers Conference alone, I’ve seen numerous developers trying to recreate the magic of Contra alone.
The point is that the indie market is very competitive and studios need to have some plan to get gamers attention.
4. Going Viral is Basically “Winning the Lottery”
I have been giving lectures on how to establish along with grow an independent news outlet at universities and conventions. When it comes to the concept of marketing, The most important lesson I need everyone to know is organic marketing is total bulls***.
Even in the days of MySpace; going viral was basically the marketing equivalent of winning the lottery. For every Five Nights at Freddie’s there is going to be 100 indie horror titles that failed to gain attention. Going viral is all about getting lucky and only an idiot puts their destiny in the hands of luck. Any developer who wants their title to succeed needs to take charge of their destiny and actually promote their work.
3. Social Media Alone will not Help
Next to having no marketing plan, the biggest mistake any Indie developer could make is being too dependent on social media. Too often I have talked to indie developers who felt a simple Facebook or Instagram page was all that was needed to promote their game. Setting up a social media profile is free and easy, hence everyone is going to do it.
Social media should be part of the marketing strategy and not the marketing strategy. There are alternative ways to promote an indie title that are very cost effective while producing the desired results. There are numerous game mixers that will allow developers to showcase their project (to developers or gamers). Video games have also become a staple of fan conventions, hence it’s a good opportunity to showcase your project at local ones. Also reach out to local bloggers and streams to share what your game is all about.
The means of how to promote a title are endless but all options must be explored. Get out and meet your fans.
2. You’re Competing With Garbage
Most indie developers thinks they are going to be competing against quality titles like Cuphead, Five Night’s at Freddie’s, or UnderTale. The reality is that indie devlopers will for the most part be competing against asset flips, knock-off’s, troll titles and total garbage.
Not all indie titles are well known for their quality, some are famous for being the poster child for total garbage. Case in point: Life of Black Tiger, a game so bad that it has been paraded by Jim Sterling as a representation for everything wrong with having a lack of quality control in a digital marketplace. There are so many better titles available and yet everyone is familiar with Life of Black Tiger because of how bad it is. Then there are Twitch personalities who have built their channel by talking about bad games.
The issue is not only a crap game can get so much attention but how much they pollute the marketplace. For every one good indie title, there will be over 100 different verities of shovelware burying it to the bottom. Due to the lax policy of so many digital stores, basically anyone can sell a game and too many people with no skill or ambition are doing so.
1. It’s an Investment Worth Making
Indie developers are on a tight budget which means they are hesitant to invest in marketing their title. Truth be told, all businesses are major risks but if planned and executed properly have the potential to grow. Same when it comes to marketing, if done right and effective then it’s worth the investment. Investing in marketing your game will improve the odds.
With a well written down marketing plan, the results could be endless. Sure, your indie titles could be a hit and make a massive profit. Another outcome is getting the attention of everyone in the industry and winning numerous awards. Also the game could become very popular among streamers and speed runners. The outcome could be endless but people need to know that your game exists.
Do you think these are helpful advice when it comes to promoting an indie game? Was there more advice that could have been offered? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.