Indie marketing

Posted on December 5, 2010

It’s been a busy week for us at Four Door Lemon, not helped at all by the UK failing to deal with a few inches of snow! Some of our team haven’t been able to get into the office and normal train / car journeys have taken around 5 times longer.

Despite that we’ve been busy working away on our top-secret projects as well as having another great trivia game hit the market.

The new app is You Are The Umpire another visual trivia game but this time around the wonderful international sport of Cricket, obviously it’s pretty good timing for us with the Ashes series going on in Australia right now and we’re looking forward to building on this and our You Are The Ref football products in the coming months.

A new release means an initial marketing push for us as a company on top of the normal work we do, we’re still fairly new to this side of things and from speaking to PR companies no one has a golden bullet to iOS marketing success even with a large budget.

I’d just like to talk about two small things we do that are part of the recommendations you see elsewhere but not really spoken about as much. I’m not claiming these are majorly successful techniques (as you probably know it’s very hard to trace the route of a sale on the App Store).

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free service that sends you email notifications of new results based on specific search queries.

I’ve seen a few people in traditional marketing discuss Google Alerts for monitoring your brand, this is something we certainly do and we’re normally able to find people discussing our games on forums or on specific blogs. This also highlights us to people sharing copied versions of our games (though this looks like it may be a thing of the past as far as ‘casual pirates’ using Google to find copied apps ).

An interesting use we’ve been experimenting with though is to monitor terms for either similar games to our upcoming ones, genre specific terms or popular people relating to the game. This has allowed us to improve our targeted efforts in terms of blogs and forums as well as the sort of content that our potential users may be interested in.

It’s also interesting when you have alerts for things other than your games title specifically that you can spot topics of interest around your games genre or perhaps a big news item that you may not see for a few hours (or perhaps till you get home at the end of the day), this gives you an immediate opportunity to jump on it and either start discussing that particular issue on social channels like Twitter or to adjust your active adverts to take advantage of new search trends you predict.

Twitter

This certainly isn’t new to people thinking about marketing their games however we’ve begun trying to map out influential users (not just celebrities) for our games. Attempting to go viral by posting up a few links and then forgetting about it is what normally happens but if you have actual very active and interesting users who are interested in your game then you can build upon their power over your potential users. This is very much like the big brands who are paying for random celebrities with huge amounts of followers to tweet their product but we indie developers have no money and tend to rely on the people we’re talking to liking the product and wanting to work with us instead πŸ™‚

Also on Twitter we’ve been trying similar techniques to those mentioned on Google Alerts, again this is something we’re just starting with but we’re hoping we can build up more knowledge about how information spreads across twitter and how we can make our news more appealing to the viral spread.

Marketing link roundup

I’m going to list a few marketing links, if you regularly look for marketing tips you’ve possibly seen most of these before. There is however some great advice out there which if you can adjust and make it work for your team and product can be really successful.

http://www.gaminghorror.net/indie-game-developer-resources/

  • Various indie links including marketing

http://gillen.cream.org/wordpress_html/?page_id=693

  • A really good blog / talk by Kieron Gillen about using (and abusing!) gaming press.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4117/building_buzz_for_indie_games.php?print=1

  • Good tips on building buzz

http://www.pixelprospector.com/indev/2010/08/the-big-list-of-indie-marketing-and-business-tips/

  • Some repeat links from my list but some really great links to individual articles

http://www.devmag.org.za/articles/78-ZERO-BUDGET-INDIE-MARKETING-GUIDE/#topall

  • I saw this one get posted around a lot last year

http://offworld.com/2009/03/indie-games-summit-2d-boypolyt.html

  • Notes from Kyle Gabler and Phil Fish’s talk at the Indie Games Summit at GDC.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2695/the_basic_marketing_plan_for_indie_.php?print=1

  • More of a higher level marketing plan but very relevant

http://blog.wolfire.com/2009/03/5-indie-pr-tips-from-wolfire/

  • Wolfire are really great at keeping their community active and they’ve shared a few tips here

http://www.snowferno.com/2009/10/07/indie-game-marketing-for-developers/

  • A few repeat ideas but with more of an iPhone tint to things

iDevBlogADay had two great marketing related blogs this week, be sure to check them out

http://pocketcyclone.com/2010/11/30/the-perfect-newsline/

  • In-app marketing and cross-promotion I believe is more important as you grow as a developer with multiple titles and this is something we’re wanting to improve at.

http://runmad.com/blog/2010/11/social-game-marketing/

  • A look at a few game features that encourage viral spreading of your game (while also offering value to the player)

Things we’ve been enjoying this week

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RGBDvision
    • Not actually using the Kinect but with the same depth camera used in Kinect, these guys are able to walk around an area and in one pass get a fairly cool navigable point cloud. Looking round a home you’re looking to buy is going to work like this in the future πŸ™‚
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4 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simon Barratt, Frederic Tessier, Mike Berg, Four Door Lemon, idevblogaday and others. idevblogaday said: Indie marketing [Simon Barratt, Four Door Lemon]: It’s been a busy week for us at Four Door Lemon, no… http://bit.ly/ghrR2R #iphonedev […]


  2. GamingHorror
    December 5, 2010

    Hey, thanks for linking to my Indie Game Dev resources page. πŸ™‚


  3. […] Various Indie Marketing Links (Four Door Lemon) […]


  4. Nicola Ward Petty
    December 12, 2010

    Such an important topic for little indies trying to get started. Our puzzle game, Rogo, was released last week, and even with a great review from 148-Apps, and a newspaper story in the Sunday Star Times is having trouble getting noticed. I can see we have a lot of reading and work to do!


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