The #1 Secret To Indie Game Marketing Success
I want to talk about the secret to indie game marketing success. Now, before I tell you what the secret is, I want to tell you a quick story because you may be wondering, “Tim, how are you going to talk about indie game marketing success? I’ve never heard of one your games hitting the top charts…you don’t have a million plus downloads…what are you doing?” Well, back in 2008- 2009 I started a marketing company that was officially incorporated in 2010. The reason why I started a marketing company is that before that I had created a piece of software that was for game developers to help get their assets in engine in an easier way. At the time there wasn’t a lot of drag-and-drop software for this kind of stuff.
I built an easy application that allowed artists to get their models and assets and stuff into a game engine, wherein they could drag and drop it in in like some of these other applications. And I did really well with that application but not at first. At first I tried to sell it for $5 and I got zero sales—and that’s the story about a lot of different stuff that I’ve done. At the time, I didn’t know anything about marketing or software. I kind of just taped that whole thing together. I then decided I wanted to figure it out and I started reading a bunch of books and articles. I went to local meetup groups, met some marketing dudes, and asked a bunch of questions, found some mentors who were successful in the field that I wanted to be in and I learned a ton from them. So after a couple of months, I went back and I applied what I learned to my software.
These are what I did:
One, I raised the price from $5 to $29.
Two, I completely redid the landing page. I wrote a lot of marketing specific stuff, I jazzed it up, and I made it a lot more user-friendly.
Three, I really tried to understand who would buy this, why, and where they were hanging out.
When I did these things, I got such a massive reception for my software, it was ridiculous. It allowed me to move from Florida to Los Angeles. At the time, I completely supported myself off that income for what seemed like forever and that was an amazing experience! People would buy my product, they would pay $29 for it and the money would go into my PayPal account. I had PayPal debit card and it was as if it never ran out of money. It was an awesome experience!
I was thinking to myself that there are so many software and game developers that are better than me and they need to be able to do what I did—generate money from just understanding human psychology. It was crazy, almost like a superpower and it blew my mind!
A company approached me to do websites for them to help market their products and stuff. I decided to go that route because at the time I found it was super interesting and I love the idea of being able to share what I’ve learned with people and so a marketing company seemed like the perfect way to do that. And after my stint with the marketing company, I started working with a lot of game and software companies specifically because that was my area of expertise. But I also worked in other product and services niches such as health and fitness supplements, lawyers, doctors, and personal trainers. I’ve worked with like all kinds of people. Everyone you can imagine, I helped market their stuff and every time I did, I got something better. I learned a nugget of knowledge.
This brings us full circle, to what the whole secret of marketing is. Because I’ve generated a shitload of money for a ton of people—I have made well over seven figures for some of my clients with marketing and it all comes down to one specific thing that I think is probably the most important thing in all of marketing. There is a TON of tactics and strategies, many things that you can do, but these methods change over time. 10 to 15 years ago, there was no social media marketing; it did not exist. Therefore, when social media became a thing, it was adapted into marketing because it’s really just another form of getting the word out there. It’s building a network consisting of people that love you, your product, and your service.
It’s easier to market games than other types of software because people are very passionate about games. When you find a game that you love, you want to share it with the whole world. I’m a big Destiny fan, which is a triple-A game I have been evangelical about from the beginning. I tell everybody about that game over and over and over again—everybody’s sick of hearing about it from me because I just I love the game so much.
Even though I had a certain amount of success, there were many failures in between. I started a marketing company that was successful. I wrote a piece of software that was successful. Six other companies in that same period failed. Many times I lost money and went broke. It came to a point wherein I had to choose between feeding my dog or me. I’ve been homeless so many times from just taking risks and trying to be an entrepreneur and trying to make things happen. Here’s the secret to marketing and to life, I think: and that is, there is NO SECRET.
It’s all still hard work and consistency. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work 19 hours a day. It doesn’t mean that you have to use all these cliché hustle and grind. It doesn’t mean that you have to work 24/7 and all that. It just means that whatever you do, you have to be consistent. Consistency is one of the hardest things to do but it’s THE most effective. I’ve met and talked with a lot of millionaires and what I’ve noticed is this: A lot of the people that are very successful in life, especially in games, they’re not the brightest and smartest dudes. You would not think that they would be successful. One thing they all have in common is they’re very consistent at what they do.
There were so many times when I had been at the end of my rope or down at the bottom of the bottom and ready to give up. But I held on and just kept going. Everyone told me that I was crazy, that I should have given up years ago. They’d say, “What are you doing? Does it make sense?” but having the consistency to stick through it is what makes all the difference. And when I was working with a lot of the game and software companies, marketing their stuff, I noticed a very clear trend. It was the guys that were amazing at what they do, they were the guys that consistently did it.
If you watched my quality versus quantity video, I said there that quality comes from quantity and that works in the actual development of the game. It also works in the marketing of the game. If you are not consistent with what you do; if you don’t do it repeatedly every day and you only do it in these little spurts, like, “I’m going to do a bunch of stuff right before launch and then just quit”, that’s not going to get you anywhere. That’s going to put you in the exact spot as every other game developer out there because that’s what every other game developer out there does. If you want to be different, if you want to succeed, you have to do something different. I’m telling you, it matters less what you do and more how consistent you are at it.
If you post one thing a day on all your social media channels about your game for days, every single day, non-stop—I guarantee that you will start to build a following. Are there strategies and tactics that can help amplify that reach? Sure! Are there hashtags that you should know to make sure that your posts get to the right eyeballs? Sure! There are a lot of little tactics and strategies but nothing will ever come close to consistency. Take it from someone who has been there, done that, failed, and succeeded. I have been broke more times than I can count—I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve failed in order to have the the few successes that I have but they are all based on consistency.
Success is based on the slow step of one foot in front of the other stepping forward over a long period of time. It takes a long time and if you’re impatient, you’re one of those dudes that just does a bunch of shit for two weeks and says, “Ah, I didn’t get any results, I’ll just quit”—you’re not cut out for this, because that’s not going to work. You have to if you want to build a business in a brand and an audience, you have to be at it for years and years doing consistently doing stuff. The good news is, even though it takes long, it’s easy to do. It’s easy to just think, “Okay, I just have to do one thing a day consistently, I have to post one thing a day on marketing, I have to work one hour a day on my game.” Whatever you want to achieve, just be consistent at it.
With marketing specifically, you just have to be out there every day. You have to get in front of people every day. If, for example, you make five people see or test your game or look at your pictures or animated gifs or whatever per day, and you do this every day, that’s easy, right? Can you do that? It will take you maybe 10-20 minutes a day tops but if you do that for 90 days, you know how many eyeballs that is? That’s a LOT! Those people will start to share it and start to support your projects. When you’re consistent at something, no matter what you do, people get behind you. It’s like the scene from Forrest Gump where he’s just running. He’s running for no reason, he’s just running, and people start running with him. They don’t know why, they just started doing it. People love to see consistency because it’s so hard and rare and people genuinely appreciate and love it.
If you want to get somewhere in your game development, business, or life in general, make the decision to be consistent at it. Please, I guarantee that this will have the biggest return out of anything you could possibly do. Just deciding to do something every day or every week just be consistent for the long term if you can do that I think you will be successful. If you have any thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.