Hello everyone, my name is Jupiter Hadley and this is the first post in a series about marketing your game. I am a
games journalist who has been working in the indie-side of the games industry for several years now and I generally attend as many events as I can.
I know marketing your game can be tough, especially when it comes to standing out among all of the games that are out there. With this series, my goal is to provide tips and best practices on how to better promote your game and brand.
In this article, I am going to talk about two different types of events and how to make the most of them. Going to events may seem like a particularly daunting task, but having a face-to-face connection with people in the industry is extremely important. Attending events and making connections will help your game thrive.
1. Meetups and casual gatherings
Social meetups and casual gatherings are a relaxed and informal way to connect with like-minded people. These events are happening all over the world and are likely a cheaper option when it comes to making contacts. These events could be a casual Meetup at a pub or a large-scale event that involves talks or presentations. Either way, you should research the Meetups to see if they benefit you.
If you start looking for events, services like Eventbrite or Meetup.com will help you quickly discover what is available around you. Other events simply have a Facebook group you can join and chat with other developers, so check there too.
Here are some resources to help you find events:
- TIGA has a superb calendar of events happening around Europe, as well as their award ceremony.
- I have also created a newsletter that focuses around events and meetups in the United Kingdom, especially around London, that you can sign up for here.
- Amazon Appstore itself does a fantastic job of hosting both casual meetups and structured, talk-focused events, which you can attend for free.
Once you have a collection of events that you’d like to attend, it's a good idea to take a look at the people attending and scope out the type of event. If you know what to expect, you can better plan your time and figure out who you need to talk to. Don’t be afraid to take your game and show it off to other attendees. Showcasing your game to others will leave an impression and making new friends is always beneficial!
2. Showcases and expos
You might think that showcases and expos are expensive to attend. In general they are, and they also require a little extra effort to make the most of them. However, these events also have an entirely different vibe to them and are filled with potential opportunities and connections. From the financial side of things, many events charge for a space to showcase your game. However, there are lots of free events to attend or free spaces you can apply for at some of the paid events.
If you do have the budget to start going to events, I would say: go for it! Remember though, events cost more than just the booth space. Food, travel, and promotional materials must all be considered. I do recommend expos, but just make sure it's right for your game.
If you do end up attending a showcase or expo, here are a few tips to get the most out of the event:
- Think about creating promotional products and materials for your game. Having t-shirts with the name of your game and relevant artwork on it, either for sale or as a prize, is a popular thing to do at events. Many developers have giveaways to draw people in, as well as free gifts like badges for people who check out the game.
- Study the press list. Before you even attend the expo, most organisers will give you a press list of people attending the event. I would take advantage of this. Taking the time to email press and invite them to play your game will almost automatically put your game on their radar.
- Make sure your booth is attention-grabbing. Have a decent poster with your games art, the name of your game, your website, and your social media accounts. If you are running a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, don’t be afraid to advertise that as well. Make your booth look great, but also have business cards or flyers dotted around. That way, people can grab them and check out your game later.
- Have a demo build of your game and make sure your game lasts no more than 15-20 minutes. I’ve waited in line to play games that have had an hour-long demo at past events. Waiting this long just won’t allow as many people to play and experience your game.
- Bring business cards. Handing out business cards will ensure people are able to contact you afterwards and most of the time they will give you their business cards in return. You can then contact them to follow up online, and you really should, so that they connect and associate your online presence with you.
Hopefully, with this information, you are able to find and research some events near you. If you do find yourself going for the expo or showcasing route, I hope that you are able to attract a bunch of eager gamers to your stand. Maybe I will even get to see you myself at events in the future!
Jupiter Hadley is an indie gamer, YouTuber, and writer. She records most of the indie games she loves on YouTube and even writes about them on Fireside and AlphaBetaGamer. Follow her on Twitter or visit her website.