Promotion is the most important thing for a game dev, so here are ten ways to promote your game from a guy who's been there and done that: Elliott Marc Jones, the creator of IGS' number one rated game, Redactem.
Hold an IndieDB Giveaway
IndieDB allows one developer each day to hold a small giveaway on their site. Even if you don't give away many copies of your game, IndieDB will still feature your game on their homepage for a day and email it to their members resulting in thousands of people reading about your new indie game, and quite a few new sales!
Tell Your Story, Not Your Game's
A great way to promote your game is with your local newspaper or tv station. Local news groups are always looking for success stories about local people. Tell them your story, how you struggled, how this game is going to change your life. Make it interesting and inspirational, they'll eat it up like cake and then boom, free advertising.
Even Bad Press is Good Press
Gaming websites love a good scandal, and once a big site like Polygon has covered your "PR crisis" all the YouTubers will jump on the same bandwagon, The Know, ReviewTechUSA, TGN, etc. Usually these websites would never have even touched your game, but now because you fired your main programmer, or made some questionable comments on Twitter, thousands of people are reading about your game. As long as the scandal isn't about your game being bad or full of bugs, you'll come out on the other side with thousands of new sales.
Use Keymailer to Instantly Send Keys to YouTubers
Keymailer is a site for sending game keys to YouTubers and Twitch streamers instantly. The site has thousands of influential members and you are able to send a game key to each and every one. They won't all play your game, but you should be able to get at least ten or so smaller creators to talk about your game which is important for when potential customers search for your game on YouTube. YouTube videos are more powerful thank you think.
Secret Cheat Codes
Community engagement is everything. You should be doing everything you can to get your players talking to each other. One effective way of doing this is by adding secret cheat codes, or cheat codes that are very hard to find. When your game first releases, before the cheat codes hit the internet, your users will discuss things like cheat codes on forums, and on social media pages, which will keep your players interested and give you more exposure.
Downloadable content and add-ons get a lot of hate, but they're great for boosting the visibility of your core game. Every time you release a DLC for your game, no matter how small, or big, it will for a short time be on the homepage of Steam, which will in turn lead users to your main page. Keep your players happy by making it free.
Improve Your Game's SEO
Search engine optimization is important for every product, but many developers forget that boosting their SEO and making sure their game is is the number one result when potential customers search for it is one of the most important things to do. If your game has a common name, or there are other things with the same name, SEO should be one of your major concerns. Click here to learn how to boost your SEO from a search engine pro.
Blog Posts on Your Store's Page
If you are selling your game on Steam, you are lucky as you are able to post blog updates which your users can share, or new users can stumble upon online. Traditionally these posts are used for update notices, but you can also use them to promote your game in other ways. Consider talking about upcoming discounts, bundles or stories from the game's development, make it juicy and you'll get hundreds of shares on Facebook and Twitter.
Steam has a great functionality for developers called free weekends, and it allows you to temporarily make your game free, and it is added to every player's library. Don't worry though, after the free weekend, it is removed from their library and they have to buy it if they want to play again. It doesn't work for all games, but for games that take a long time to complete or multiplayer games it works well and can potentially drive thousands of sales.
Purchase Posts on Influential Social Media Pages
Social media is the best way to promote your game, but growing your own pages is not only hard but sometimes impossible without a big budget. Because of this, many developers instead pay for posts on social media pages with a big audience. Usually it costs quite a lot, up to $100 per post, but there are a few websites that offer promotional packages so you can get your game on to multiple influential gaming blogs and social media pages for a very low cost. We offer one ourselves, click here to post your game to a 40,000+ member Steam group.