Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics
Pixels & Profits: Chapter 13
How to Win Without Spending a Dime
Throughout this series, we’ve explored the fundamental; methods of creating a hard-hitting marketing campaign, even when your budget is tighter than a new pair of jeans.
Remember, the secret lies in delaying any big spends until you’ve got your audience and offer dialed in, your MVP built, and your traction strategy mapped out.
But don’t let all that become an excuse for procrastination.
A stellar marketing strategy begins before your game even gets off the drawing board but, you will still need to choose tactics to best support that strategy.
Here are some cost-effective yet high-impact tactics to get your game into the spotlight:
Community Building via Social Media
Social media is your ticket to global visibility. It’s free, it’s universal, and it’s potent. But to truly harness its power, you need to master the art of crafting compelling content and building strong relationships.
It is easy to forget that the category “social media” includes far more than just the behemoths. If your audience doesn’t use Facebook, there may not be much reason for you to either.
On a related note, the influencer landscape in social media makes for a wide range of tactical possibilities. You don’t necessarily need to land the mega-influencer right off the bat; there is equal merit in a micro-influencer approach.
And there are a spectrum of options between those two.
Regardless of which platforms and tactics you choose, the act of regularly interacting with your community, answering questions, and consistent updates will help keep your audience engaged and excited about your game.
As we’ve covered a few times throughout the series, community building is key.
Social is hands down the most useful channel for that, but it is not the most profitable.
Email: The Undisputed King
Despite being one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, email remains the undisputed king of ROI with an average of nearly 40:1.
If I offered $40 for every $1 someone gave to me, I think we can agree that only the idiots would turn me down.
The best part is, providers like MailerLite, Mailchimp, and SendinBlue offer free tiers that cover your initial needs.
Prioritize building a focused list of people who actually want to hear from you, rather than spamming a large, uninterested audience — and don’t even think about buying a list, you’re better off setting your money on actual fire.
Instead, build your own hyper-targeted list via the methods we’ve discussed in this series. Every company on Earth wants your best email, and it’s because of the ROI I cited earlier.
Here’s the process in a nutshell…
First, you get people talking and interacting about the game on socials (or whatever your traction channel is), then you get their email sign-ups, and then you consistently (though not irritatingly often) show up in their inbox with relevant, useful information.
Do this well, and you will gain sales.
Do it like all those emails that you ignore, and you’re completely screwed.
It’s on you to reflect on your own behavior as a consumer and root out the reason you ignore them, even after you’ve opted-in to their lists.
If you’re feeling brave, leave your answer in the comments.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is changing as I write this. The truth is, nobody knows yet what kind of impact AI will have on search. Still, I expect the core of it to remain more or less the same:
Understand the intent of people’s questions, and answer that intent as best as possible.
In the future, when we have personal AI assistants whose answers are trustworthy and comprehensive, SEO may simply disappear altogether.
For now, nobody knows what’s coming.
What I can tell you with certainty is this:
Today, long-tail, focused edutainment is still a great place to start your marketing efforts.
Teach people something, and make it entertaining.
But definitely not easy.
It will take practice to get it right but, once you do, the results can be remarkable.
Incorporating the Modern Approach
From social media and email marketing to understanding the changing face of SEO, these tactics offer potent, cost-effective routes to boost your indie game’s visibility.
But they aren’t the only possibilities.
If you want to read some incredible case studies, check out the book Growth-Hacker Marketing, by Ryan Holiday, the former director of marketing for American Apparel.
It’s a short read that offers a deep dive into the principles powering this style of (guerilla) marketing.
Don’t worry though, I’m not quite done with this subject. There’s still one more incredibly powerful tactic left to share with you.
I call it: Working with the garage door open.
We’ll cover that, and how to measure the return on your investment, in the next chapter.
Click below to keep reading…