Have you and perhaps your friends developed a fresh new game title for the mobile market and are about to release it? Then you may want to think about the game’s marketing and exposure before it’s released.
Today I’m going to elaborate on the experiences I’ve had thus far in marketing our mobile games. Keep in mind that I will be talking about marketing a mobile game without a budget. There are a lot of people and new companies who cannot afford a decent (or even miniscule) marketing budget and the same went for us when we launched both Thunder BANG and Wisp.
Be advised: I am not an educated marketer, I am a Game Designer. Thus, my life as a marketer has been pretty much trial-and-error all the way through.
So let’s begin, shall we?
This is probably one of the first things you’ll think of when you, the newly appointed marketing specialist of your team, have to come up with places to sell your game. I was no different. So then, does it work? The answer is a very strong ‘maybe’ as it depends a lot on the type of forum you’re in, the traffic and its type of users. Posting in a single forum will not be sufficient in terms of reach, so you’re going to have to spread out to as many large forums as you can.
The pros: if you capture people’s interest you’ll get a lot of smooth hands-on communication with them, which can lead to both game improvements and further reach due to impressed people telling their friends. PROTIP: If the forum is slow, never bump your thread if it’s on the first page. Wait until it hits the second page! That way you’ll maximize the amount of time you’ll spend on the first page!
The cons: it’s really time consuming. You’ll have to manage a lot of forum accounts and go back and forth between different pages. That, coupled with a low user base, will render this option highly inefficient and ineffective.
Free banner ads – Project Wonderful, etc.
Yes, you can get banner ads for absolutely free. I tried Project Wonderful after a friend gave me the tip. Here’s how it works: you get a list of web pages that are filtered according to your specifics, and then you can bid on these pages. Since you’re bidding $0, it is first come, first serve. You can bid on 200 pages at one time, and then you’ll have to wait until the next day to place new bids.
I found that I actually got a decent amount of views from the banner ads. The click-through was terrible though, and bidding on 200 pages every day was also very time consuming. During a 30-day period we did get a collective ~300,000 views on our ads, but I am very uncertain if that did anything at all except maybe increasing awareness slightly. Our sales weren’t affected by it anyway.
This is probably where you should put your most effort into. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to dig! Find as many app review sites as you possibly can! These sites probably have a lot more readers than you, even if they are small, so send them an email and humbly request a review!
However, it is extremely important that you craft your email as polite and as selling as you possibly can. Sending a sloppily written email will make you look very unprofessional. Also, bear in mind that not having a poor grasp of English is not an excuse for bad structure. You will have to impress your reviewers as much as your users (if not more so).
This point I believe is the only one that justifies hard and redundant work. You’ll send a lot of emails, but you’ll gain a lot of exposure and your chances of generating sales are pretty high, especially if you can land a review on one of the major sites, like TouchArcade or 148apps. Get to it!
To conclude these three aspects of unbudgeted marketing, I can sum it up as follows:
Forums – Good chances of user communication, but time consuming
Free banner ads – Good chances of decent banner views, time consuming
Review sites – Good user reach, time consuming but rewarding
If you’re an experienced marketer you may have been sitting here asking yourself ‘why doesn’t he bring up facebook and social media marketing?’ That is a good question and my answer is that we haven’t been doing facebook and social media marketing very much, since in order to do that, you have to have a large following.
We are, however, quite active in the social media and you should be too! Social media is probably the best platform in order to reach your customers and users directly and without hassle. Getting significant amounts of followers? We’ll, I gotta be honest; we’re still working on that.
I hope I’ve been at least some help to any of you who are taking your first steps onto the mobile games market.