Video games have been around for quite a while now and the industry itself has only continued to grow along with it. No longer can video games be called a child’s toy because even parents are joining in on the gaming bandwagon. Thanks to the emergence of digital marketing and technology virtually anybody can play a game anytime they want.
Video games are a thriving, billion-dollar industry and it’s only natural that big businesses compete every day for relevance. With all of this in mind, how can a Video game company stand out and shine amongst its competitors?
Thanks to digital marketing it’s never been easier to market yourself online. Creating a successful video game company is all about implementing the right business strategy and being open to changes along the way.
Measure your current success
Before your character can venture out into the unknown that is an effective business strategy, one must first measure their current success. What I mean by this is that if you use Instagram for example, then you can use Instagram Insights. It will help track analytics in an easy and efficient manner.
More examples include:
- Facebook analytics for Facebook
- Hootsuite for other social media
- Brandwatch for brand monitoring and engagement
Going on a goal quest in your Video game business
Now that you have completed the quest of measuring your current success, we can now focus on listing goals for your business. These goals can be divided up into short- and long-term goals.
Business goals should be challenging but not too unrealistic from a business perspective. They should be tied to your mission, vision, and company values.
The good news is, you do need to set too many goals for a good strategy plan. 2 or 3 main goals are fine goals along with 3-5 supporting goals. So what should a video game company’s main goals be?
Our main goals can be considered long-term goals and the supporting goals can be considered our short-term goals.
- Make a playable game
Even though we put these steps down simply, these issues can sometimes often become complex and take a long time to complete. Never fear! As we will guide you through these steps in a more consumable fashion.
- Determine the game making budget
- Get a team together
- Build a demo version of your game
- Get test players
- Use word of mouth
- Use resources 3-5 for extra funding or Kickstarter if you lack investing for finalizing or marketing the product
- Sell the playable game
- Determine the sales budget
- Acquire digital and physical stock
- Advertise your game using digital marketing
- Advertise your game using traditional marketing
There really isn’t much else to it. If you’re able to nail down the first two steps. The rest is a cakewalk.
Searching for your gaming target market
Finding a target market is important for any business, but especially so, for the gaming industry. Are you developing a mobile game? A console game? Both?
It’s important to nail down the audience you want to market your type of game too but also be careful because if you make it too specific, it could cause discrimination or people feeling left out.
The video game industry is defined by convenience for the players and brand loyalty as various consoles enable playing only a variety of games, this is known as platform exclusivity. Game developers and console makers contribute to this atmosphere by teaming up in hopes of an advantage over competitors: Do you want to play this game? Then you gotta play it on this other console, and so on.
On the contrary, with Computer games where the market aims to reach as many as possible without having to worry about exclusivity and hence is less common. Therefore, when marketing your games branding is crucial due to the fact that if a console has a well-embedded relationship with a certain game it leads to a win-win situation between the parties in brand loyalty and recurring customers.
A few things to note about reaching your target audience are:
- The type of customer you want to market towards e.g pc gamer/streamer
- The size of the market that customer fits into e.g 728.8 million
- Where that customer spends their time e.g Twitch/ Youtube
- What those customers consume e.g streams, newest games
- Why do those customers buy games e.g fun, work
- Where and how they buy e.g Gamestop, Steam
- What they need to buy e.g Games to play on stream
Creating an effective marketing strategy
Now that you’ve set up your goals and determined your target audience, it’s time to build on your goals and develop an effective marketing strategy.
We won’t go into too much detail about the creation of games, so if you want to know about that you can click here. Basically, you want to determine the scope of your game first and then acquire a team and budget that best fits that scope.
Let’s say you want to develop a large-scale open-world game. Well, then you definitely are going to need a budget that reaches a few million at least but that works better with established businesses.
Okay, let’s take the reverse approach. You have a modest budget, enough to hire a small team and maybe make a mobile game or a low-budget RPG. Well, if those are your options how would you go about hiring said team?
Alright. Let’s say after you’ve hired a team and gotten a studio space that you have begun production.
It’s important to establish a social media presence for your business, even if it starts out very small. We say this because 1. So people know where to find you and 2. So you have a platform where you can post updates about your game. We will go through social media in more detail in a moment.
But first, you and your team have created a demo version of your game. This is where word of mouth comes into play and why we briefly go over why you should make sure your game is in working condition.
Not only can word of mouth help you raise funds for your game but 64% of marketers agree that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing. Seriously, we can’t stress the importance of word-of-mouth enough.
If you want to know more about why word of mouth is so effective, check out this great blog here!
Implementing marketing strategies
Now that we’ve covered word-of-mouth, let’s go over how best to sell your completed game. This is also where we believe you should spend most of your sales investment.
This is where your social media presence comes in. Content marketing is essentially producing content for your target audience. You can create posts on Canva or from scratch in Adobe Photoshop. The choice is yours.
SEO and website creation
It’s important for your business to create a website that can be easily navigated by anyone interested in your game or any other product you would be interested in selling.
Probably the most crucial aspect of creating a website is Search Engine Optimization. SEO helps your website rank higher in internet search results. Here’s a video that will help clarify the basics of using SEO.
Websites also allow you to make use of Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are basically just another way to measure your current success. For example, you may be able to track your unique visitors per day/month.
If the platform that you created your website on does not allow you to see analytics. You can always use Google Analytics to track KPIs.
Pay per click is a form of advertising in which you, as the advertiser, can pay search engines to display ads on their tab. You can see this type of advertising if you search for anything on Google and the top result is labeled with an ‘ad’ next to it.
Email marketing is a form of advertising, in which you send commercial messages to large groups of people.
Say you have your website and create a newsletter for that website. Email marketing allows you to send updates to customers who have signed up for your newsletter. These updates can include your games development, deals for your games, or even information about new games you plan to develop.
If that’s not enough, email marketing has the highest Return On Investment( ROI) number, another great KPI.
Mobile ads, tv commercials, and Online videos
This is mainly where your particular target market comes into play. Are you making a mobile game? Then mobile ads are perhaps the most suitable. Are making a pc or Playstation game? Then either a tv commercial or Youtube ad is probably your best option.
Improving your digital marketing gameplay
There are many types of marketing campaigns that you can go into besides the ones we mentioned above.
That’s the great thing about digital marketing and strategy plans in general. Digital marketing is easy to measure, affordable, and way more user-friendly than traditional marketing.
Digital marketing allows you to pivot strategies quickly and efficiently if one strategy you’ve implemented does not pan out like you imagined.
Running a business takes time, effort, and most of all persistence. As long as you keep improving your marketing strategies and being persistent with them, there is no limit to possibilities you can achieve.
About the authors:
Elijah Fredericks is a passionate young artist and digital marketer. He graduated from Pinelands High in 2020 and is currently doing an internship at the International Institute of Digital Marketing. You can find him here on Instagram and Twitter.
Ollie Ivarsson is a musician & Bass player as well as a digital marketing intern at the International Institute of Digital Marketing. He is in charge of production and performance behind the band Cuprion as he is currently working as a freelancer in Berlin, Germany. For more about Ollie reach out on his Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.