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The Budget Game Designer

How to Create a Game: Marketing Strategy

Finally picking back up where I left off with my game creation memoirs.

First, if somehow you have finished all the steps, you are a lot better at this than me and should just leave now. Second, you are ready to show your game to the world.

If you are anything like me, it gets really tricky when you get to this part. To start out I had no clue where to talk about the game or who to show it to. When it really comes down to it, that’s not what made this part hardest.

Even though I had put over a year into the Scorched Kingdoms at that point, I was afraid to open it to the world. I definitely would not call myself an open person, but this was a new level.

What if people thought it was dumb, or weird, or just plain bad. I hit a wall that had frozen me in fear for a good deal of time. Fear is the biggest hurdle in life, and the more you feel, the more important it is to keep pushing. If this happens to you, I want to let you know it happens to everyone. That’s why most people talk about doing things and stop there.

But that’s not you.

Which means you will be showing off to everyone you know.

This is where the real blog begins, now that I'm done rambling. You have to figure out how much promoting and marketing you will invest into your game. Then the last question is, how will you go about publishing it, and finally getting your hands on a final copy (which might be a second blog, depending on how long winded the marketing gets.)

Marketing can be quite tricky. You have to attack every social media outlet first. Get a Facebook Fan Page, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and I'm sure there are 2 new ones popping up as I type this.

These are important because they are free, and you can track interest in your product with a lot of new analytics that come with most of the pages now. Make sure to go for quality above quantity at all times. People respond much more to quality when you are asking them to put thier money in the mix.

Your next step, and for many, the most important one, boardgamegeek.com. Get your game up there as fast as possible and talk about it in as many forums as you can. This site can be the make it or break it step for some games. Be prepared to have strong opinions coming at you constantly, but keep pushing the game without aggravating too many people. This is the site many people use to find their new games.

It will take patience, but you will slowly build a following. Now it’s time to retain some of these new fans. You need to build things that create membership that people will eventually want to join in on. That’s the hope.

For example, this website you are on has a subscribe button on the bottom. This is linked to a mailchimp account that gives me a name, email, interest, etc. for each person that clicks on it.

I now have people to email and update when something new comes out. I also created a Facebook Group, which can be useful because people can’t just join or like it, they have to be invited. This makes the experience feel exclusive and better to new fans. I have not done a lot with this last part yet, but growing the group is high on my list of things to do.

All of this can get overwhelming if you are alone, or even a small group. Believe me, I am constantly behind on everything I have mentioned. Luckily, I am here to show you many mistakes to stay away from.

The examples we have covered so far I refer to as the market grind. You don’t have to spend any money during these parts if you don’t want, but you will be working as hard on social media and sites, as you were on the game itself. People can’t buy what they don’t know about, so this grind is essential.

There are hundreds of other things out there to spread the word that you might want to look into througout this process. I have entered competitions, gone to open game nights, and contacted establishments that do anything with indie developers. It comes down to what you can find time and energy for. After you have exhausted all of these options, you have to decide if you will use any high budget marketing.

These will be sites you pay to have your game advertised on, reviewers to post about your game on their blogs or YouTube, and advertisements on social media. Figure out exactly what your budget is before you start these. I have done a lot of research and it adds up fast. Board Game Geek costs $800 for 1 or 2 days on their front page alone.

You probably thought the hard part was behind you, but you'll be earning that business degree yet.

Also, most of you will most likely use Kickstarter or Indiegogo to take your first steps into the world. This in itself is a remarkable marketing strategy. Even if you don’t successfully hit your goal on the first attempt, the game will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands of people. Make sure to have links to all social media and sites for your product, and your views will skyrocket left and right.

I will cover creating the Kickstarter page soon, and will hopefully have the publishing portion/final budgeting process up a couple days after this one- especially since I was hoping to cover all of that in this post, but no one needs to read that much at once.

I'm sure I missed a few things out there, and didn’t go into great detail on each social media outlet, so if you have more specific questions you can contact me at dieselatorgames@gmail.com as always.

I have links to all of mine below as an example, but everyone has their own style.

I think this is a good place to stop for today, so I will talk to you guys again soon.

Written by
Joe Rozier
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