Game Business Workshop
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Welcome to the final episode of our “Game Business” workshop! So far, we have learned how to pick a profitable game niche, how to use Google’s Keyword Planner with the goal of discovering the best game-related keywords, how to choose a catchy domain name, how to build a WordPress-based website from scratch, and then optimize it for SEO purposes, how to set up a lead capture form, and how to install a powerful visitor tracking tool.
I assume that you already know how to post news, screenshots and videos on your website; feel free to search Google for “WordPress tutorial” if you run into trouble. So, it’s time to learn how to promote your gaming-related website.
The key idea is to show your site to people who really care about it. It doesn’t make any sense to try and promote it on a travel-related forum, for example. Why? Because people visit that particular forum to discover great tourist destinations, get discounted travel packages, and so on. So, don’t waste your (and their) time.
But how can we discover people who are actually interested in learning more about our games? Here are some of the best, highly targeted website traffic generating sources.
1. Influencer marketing. Influencers are famous people, who have lots of fans and followers. Simply send them a Twitter message, asking them if they’d like to take a look at your great little project. Some of them will answer, and if they like your game, they will post the link to your website on their social media accounts. Some may even mention it in one of their blog posts, sending lots of targeted visitors your way.
You may need to bribe some influencers, especially if they have a huge number of followers. Still, it’s an expense that you should consider, especially if they ask a reasonable amount of money. I had people asking me $400 to promote a website, for example. I won’t pay that much for a mention, but I am happy to pay $50-$100 if I am confident that I will get a real benefit (a big number of targeted visitors) out of this. You should always contact people who are active in the gaming industry, of course; ideally, you will want to have your game reviewed on their websites, featured on their podcasts, and so on.
To find influencers, use Google searches that are similar with this:
“twitter influencers gaming” (without using the quotes)
And here’s just one of the results that I have gotten after running the search above:
It's a big list of people and companies that you can follow, and then contact, with the goal of promoting your game.
2. Guest posting. If you can write great articles, you can become a contributor to popular gaming-related websites. I don’t consider myself a great writer, and yet I was able to publish several articles on dozens of high quality, industry-related sites.
Your guest posts should always include an “About” section, which has a link that points to your website. And if your article is great indeed, people will click that link and hopefully discover and purchase your game. As you get more and more links from high quality, niche-related websites, your site will start ranking for more and more relevant keywords. This means that you will get lots of visitors straight from Google, people who search the web for keywords such as “new puzzle games” and arrive to your website.
To find guest posting opportunities, use Google search queries like these:
gaming intitle:”write for us”
gaming intitle:”contribute to”
gaming intitle:”submit” + inurl:blog
gaming “submit a guest post”
gaming “guest post by”
gaming “accepting guest posts”
gaming “guest post guidelines”
gaming “become a contributor”
As you can see, even a single search query will return thousands of opportunities, so you’ll have plenty of sites to choose from. Be sure to visit each site and see if it has enough potential, though. Does it have lots of fans and social media followers? When was it updated last time? Is it a site you’d be proud to get a link from? Then, write an outstanding article that practically forces the website owner to accept it. You can also hire a talented writer if you lack the needed skills, of course.
3. Social media. Create a social media account at each popular website (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest), including a link that points to your website in each profile. Then, start publishing and sharing relevant, interesting content. Post game screenshots on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, for example. Upload gameplay videos on YouTube, and so on. Then, start following people who are interested in what you are doing; some of them will follow back.
4. Build your list. Do you remember the lead capture form we’ve installed on the website a while ago? That is by far the best website traffic generation method, because it involves people who are VERY interested in your game. So, treat them with respect and always email them high quality stuff, including industry-related news and game discounts.
I had a Twitter account which was listing free software deals a few years ago. It reached 20,000 followers within a year, and all those people were looking forward to hearing from me. You can use a similar approach for your list building campaign; discover free and discounted games on the web, and then send your subscribers emails that include links to those offers. They will start to love you more and more, so they'll gladly accept your promotions as well.
5. Paid ads. You can also use Facebook ads to promote your game; it is a simple, cost-effective advertising method that can bring lots of visitors to your site in no time. Organize a contest and give away 10 copies of your game, for example. Then, ask the people who want to participate to sign up to your mailing list; this way, you will get targeted subscribers as well.
6. Gaming forums. Use Google searches like the ones below to find gaming-related forums:
gaming “discussion board”
Then, determine which forums are relevant for you, have lots of registered members and an active community. Create accounts that include profile links which point to your website, and then start answering questions, helping people, and so on. Some of them will want to learn more about you, so they will click the profile link that leads to your site.
You can also purchase ad banners at most forums; some webmasters will only ask $50 (or so) to display your ad for an entire month.
7. Cross-promotion. Join a network of game developers, and then promote each others’ games. You could even set up a thread at Conitec’s forums for this very purpose, for example. Then, review other people’s games on your site, and have your game reviewed on their sites.
All these promotion methods are useless if your game isn’t great, of course. So, take your time to create a fully polished game that keeps people hooked - before releasing it! You’ll only have the chance to impress your audience once.
Let's be frank: your game isn't great just because you took the time to build and finish it. So, show it to your honest friends and distant relatives; if they can’t stop playing your game, you may have a winner. On the other hand, if your digital masterpiece isn’t well received, it’s time to learn more about the top selling games, discover an unexploited sub-niche, hire a better artist and/or music composer, and then start working at a new game.
One more thing: the link below lists several gaming-related news and reviews websites (close to the end of the pdf file). I thought that it may be of help.
This is the end of the Game Business workshop. As you probably know, my company helps promote businesses online. So, you can find lots of detailed articles which show how to properly set up a new website, and then promote it, on my blog: