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Trapper Zoid

Marketing with zero dollars?

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This is a hypothetical question: suppose I have an amazingly fun and well polished game that I'm looking to self-publish or sell as shareware. Suppose I have a shareware demo that screams entertainment, and will entice most people who play to buy my game. However, unless people know my game exists, they will not try the demo or buy my game. However, as an indie my marketing and advertising budgets are practically zero. What would be some good ways to get as many people as possible to know about the existence of my game? Reminder: this is a hypothetical question; I'm thinking about eventually publishing something shareware but I'm still in the beginning stages. But I've been thinking about this and it might help if I had some ideas before I start about how I'd eventually sell something at the end.

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Quote:
What would be some good ways to get as many people as possible to know about the existence of my game?


Your reputation + the people you know. Plain and simple, really. It's all about knowing the right people, pretty much as it goes in life. Now just remeber, the people you know can help you a lot, but if your game is not of good expectations, then *poof*, so you better have something amazing and addiction [grin]

So to start, here's my ideas. First, start giving out stuff for free and build up your reputation and existance. People do remember you if you release useful stuff that is free, everyone wants free... To aid in this, get a web site up and running to hold all your stuff. You don't have to make it a 100% professional site that is all business yet, so add in some fun stuff to draw people and make them want to come back.

Next, start help around forums to try and meet people. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Most people are in no inconvience to return help that was provided when they were in dire need. It's not a guarantee, but it's definitly a good way to go.

Finally you can make a public plea for help [lol]. Just ask around if anyone is interested in helping you out. It may be hard to work out a decent deal since you will have shareware, but if you can convince someone it'll be worth their while, and you do plan to sell more, then hey, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur [wink]. Just some thoughts. Good luck!

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Get your game reviewed by every site you can find. Sales are sales, it doesn't make a difference if it came from ReallyBigIndieReviews.com or JoesIndieReviews.com.

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Hey,

Certainly focus on the online sales part, but...

I'd try to get your stuff put in as much media as possible. Get in touch with people behind computer magazines, try to convince them to bung your software onto the disks they include. Maybe offer a couple of full versions to them for prizes for something. Whether or not this will be particularly successful will probably depend on the kind of game that you're making though...

Of course, self publishing is incredibly complicated, and I haven't heard of many people who have done it successfully, particularly recently. Perhaps consider getting published by an indie label, or at least see what services/prices they provide. Although they take lots of money, they also make you a bunch more by seeing that your product sees some promotion.

Or you can do what I'd do, talk to them about their hypothetical promotion of your game, and then take those ideas and do it yourself :P

--CJM

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Having done this, several times unsuccessfully, and once very successfully.

1. budget the *exact same* amount of time + work to market your game as you did to design + develop it. You'd be amazed how often they turn out to be the same amount of man-hours.

2. run an ARG to promote your game. That's a slightly facetious thing to say, but making a simple story/marketing campaign gets lots of people much more willing to promote your stuff for you, because it's actually *fun* to do. these days, consumers are fed up of all the indie projects expecting them to become "loyal early-adopters" - you now have to give them more.

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Some good responses! However, I'm not sure how easy it is to get your game published in review sites without having a previous reputation or a publisher to back you up (of course, that's a very good reason to get a publisher, but I'm wanting to consider the self-publishing route with this hypothetical example question).

redmilamber, I'm assuming you've already done this; how did you manage to get an ARG working as an interest generating device? That sounds like a really interesting way to generate some marketing potential for a game.

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