How to Successfully Market Your Indie Game on a $0 Budget [VIDEO TUTORIAL]

Last October I spoke at Konsoll, a conference dedicated to the advancement of the Norwegian independent game development community. My lecture, “How to Successfully Market Your Indie Game on a $0 Budget,” provided affordable, yet effective marketing tactics. Since then, several new followers have requested similar tips. Instead of continuing to copy and paste the link to my lecture on YouTube, I figure why not make it easy and embed it in a post? After all, accessibility is what effective marketing is all about! Enjoy.

Emmy

Emmy Jonassen is a marketing pro who helps indie developers build adoring fanbases. Marketing people who love buzz words call this "lead generation."

54 Comments

Ary Tebeka

about 3 years ago

Great presentation! Would it be possible to download the slides? Thanks! Ary.

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Hi Ary! It sure is possible. Here is the link to the slides: http://www.indiegamegirl.com/konsoll-2013/.

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Liz

about 2 years ago

Hi would it be ok if I show your this presentation and slides to a group of students i'm working with at our local school? I think they would find this very helpful. Thanks

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Emmy

about 1 year ago

Of course!

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matin

about 8 months ago

Awesome presentation! thank you.

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Patrice Meneguzzi

about 3 years ago

Hi Emmy! Very clear and useful presentation, thanks a lot ! This will definitely help me and my game :) Patrice.

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Hi Patrice, glad to hear it! Thank you for the comment.

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Muhammad A.Moniem

about 3 years ago

That is not just a normal video to watch..it must be spreaded as much as possible. Thanks for sharing all this valuable content . And thanks for the slides sharing too :)

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

You are welcome and thank YOU for your kind words.

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James

about 3 years ago

Hi Emmy, Priceless information for free?! Thank you. One question - I've heard conflicting views on attaching videos/screen shots to emails to the press. Some stating that it's a no, no to attach anything to an email. In your video you mention attaching screens & videos, do you find that to be the preferred method or is a safer bet to provide quick links to the content? Thanks again. James

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Hi James and thank you for the comment. This is a good question. I personally have found success using both methods (attaching screenshots and using links), however, I have heard about others running into issues. If you are worried about attachments, I would suggest creating an online press kit that contains everything...similar to what Ryan Martin did with Glint: http://www.ensomniac.com/glint-press-kit. Online press kits make it very easy for writers and prevent them from having to click over to YouTube for this and your website for that, etc....which they absolutely hate. Hope that helps!

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Joe Chang

about 3 years ago

Hi Emmy, thanks so much for this presentation! I've just started going down the indie PC track recently and have been at a loss as to how to even get started. The last few days of premarketing have been extremely discouraging and I had been at a loss as to how to correct my approach. However, after watching your presentation, I was furiously writing down all of your points and now I have a sound strategy! So many thanks, I'll be sure to point as many of my other indie colleagues from NZ to your site! :)

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Hi Joe! Thanks for the comment. I'm glad this video helped you construct a strong marketing strategy. Good luck with your game!

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Ruthine Burton

about 3 years ago

Fabulous, useful video. Thank you. Very accurate analysis of indie developers. Particularly regarding our being good at production but not marketing. That sums me up. It's in large part because production takes so much time and energy. It's not easy to focus on different aspects of creating and selling a game when your indie team is so small. In my case, just one person :) Anyway launch is imminent so will now try to take time out from testing and put it into blogging. Thanks again. Ruthine Burton

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Hi Ruthine! Thank you for the comment. I feel your pain for sure. Focusing on making a game AND marketing it is an enormous task for one person. However, both the making and the marketing are incredibly important. I'm glad you found my video useful and good luck with your game!

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Moxon

about 3 years ago

Thanks for the tips! The statistics at the beginning were somewhat discouraging -- but by the end I had forgotten all about them. :)

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Yes, I know. The statistics are rather grim, but the purpose of the lecture is to help you "increase your odds for success" by following best marketing practices. Thank you for the comment!

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Roderic Andrews

about 3 years ago

The hardest part is diving in. No one wants to fail. We are finally kicking off our app and it's not so bad. you just have to make that long list of things from Emmy's amazing presentation, and rank them in importance. then concentrate on a few each day. Piece by piece looks natural and you find yourself moving fwd and getting results. Thanks Emmy!

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Hi Roderic! This is an excellent way of approaching marketing. For inides who have never done marketing before, I know it is overwhelming. Making a list and knocking items off one-by-one certainly makes it more manageable, plus I love the feeling I get when I cross something off a list. Ahhh...accomplishment! Thank you for the comment!

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Joe Mandia

about 3 years ago

Wow this is some seriously great stuff! Just starting to develop my first game with a friend and this info is just gold! Thanks so much and just subscribed to the future goodness! Thanks!!

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

You are welcome Joe! Thank YOU for the thank you.

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Ryan

about 3 years ago

Great presentation, all very sensible advice. Even though I am hobbyist developer as far as games go, I should sort out all of online presence. Work at a large organisation where the marketing dept' take care of all this, so much I have never considered! I think I could get as interested in the PR as actually making game. Look forward to following your website and videos, thanks!

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Emmy

about 3 years ago

Great! Best of luck on your upcoming projects.

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Liam O'Connor

about 3 years ago

Great presentation, I'm still learning but that advice will really help me in the future, it's great to see the support people are willing to give people who are starting out or struggling to find their way, it really gives me hope and helps me to keep learning and improving my skills.

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Ahmed Alheday

about 2 years ago

hello this is a great great video helped me to start today before tomorrow pls may i get in contact with u for lil help on some things that i am facing

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

Hi Ahmed! Glad the video helped out. Please feel free to send me an email at emmyATindiegamegirl.com.

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Eric Rossman

about 2 years ago

Emmy, thanks for the article. I have been developing an iOS game in partnership with my brother under the name of Rossman Brothers Games. I recently made a twitter account under that name. While I use other social media myself, I haven't used twitter personally. Would you recommend reaching out to others (fans, developers, writers) and building relationships with the account under our studio name, or one under my personal name. I see using the studio name would be more recognizable and memorable, especially when it comes time to release the game. But may seem less personal or inappropriate for starting conversations with. Your thoughts?

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

Hi Eric. Thanks for the comment. This is a great question that I get asked a lot. In my opinion you need to have both...for exactly the reasons you mention in your comment. People like the feeling of connecting with other people, not a faceless brand. In these instances, you would reach out with your personal account. However, for brand building and discoverability, you NEED to have an account for your business. In addition, it is good to have a company account to reference in personal tweets. For example, when reaching out to a fan, you can say in your tweet "@MyCompanyName" and direct that person over to your company's Twitter account. Hope that helps.

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Emmnuel Osi

about 2 years ago

Pls Emmy can u send me a pdf format of ur tutorial? I shall be very greatful. pls

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

If it is my slides you're looking for, they can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/IndieGameGirl/successful-indie-game-marketing.

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Arun Tuladhar

about 2 years ago

I developed my first iOS game that took 15 months to complete. The app is finally got published in iTune Store. Now it is sitting at apple store without any downloads. I do not have any budget for marketing. I have been looking for good tutorial that teaches me marketting an app without spending any money. I came across your video and, Emmy, you showed me exactly what I am looking for. It is a great video. I appreciated it very much.

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

Great! So glad to hear it and good luck to you!

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dogpigfish

about 2 years ago

Great presentation and extremely relevent. Thanks

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Diego Ossa

about 2 years ago

Amazing presentation and very useful tips. And I love your voice :3 Thanks!

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Rohit

about 2 years ago

Very useful presentation Emmy, not just for indie game developers, but also for other start-ups wanting to create a buzz around their product launch without spending much. I for one have surely picked up many useful tips. I would like to ask you a question- when there is more than one editorial staff at one publication or blog who have covered apps in your domain, who do you contact to get some coverage? Is the best practice to contact the site or blog to leave a tip, or contact one of the relevant staff, or get in touch with all of them? This is going to be my first product launch- so can use all the help I can get :) Thanks heaps.

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

Hi Rohit, it's best to reach out to an individual who you already have a connection with (i.e., someone who you have been emailing, who has been following you on Twitter, etc.). That said, if you do not have pre-established relationships with writers at a publication, I would recommend contacting the site via its preferred method (which it usually states on the "Contact Us" page). There, the publication may list individual writers' email addresses, or a general email address. When you email a writer or general email in this scenario, make sure your email is tailored to that site's readership's interests, or the writer's interests, not just a copy and pasted email. Also, I wouldn't advise emailing multiple people at the same pub at once. This could come across as spam. Hope that helps and good luck!

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Noel Campos

about 2 years ago

my youtube is blocked which means i have to use the https url instead can you give me a link to your video? (please)

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

Hi there! No problem, here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkEQtMP2CuA.

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SoftEgg

about 2 years ago

I found this video through the Unity Blog just now, so sorry for asking about it so long from the release. I was wondering, when sending press releases, how do you convince them to actually write a review or even mention your product? I have sent many, many cover letter e-mails pointing reviewers at our press release and press pack, and frequently get no response. This is especially true with print publications, who have never responded to any information I sent them. I've even gone to the press organization's booths at E3 and they won't talk to me, can barely be bothered to take a business card, and won't give me any sort of contact information at all. After awhile, I just gave up on trying to get any sort of press and have focused on promoting my product with live events, social media and going direct to my users. It isn't tremendously effective, but it seems to be the only thing I can do. What am I doing wrong?

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Emmy

about 2 years ago

Hi there. Thank you for your comment and sorry to hear that you have been having such a hard time getting press response. You are certainly not alone. It is very hard because it is very, very competitive. Many writers receive hundreds of requests each day, so standing out can be tough. Without seeing the materials you're sending, it's hard for me to tell what might be getting you passed by. But what I can say is the following are absolutely critical when reaching out:

  1. Awesome Marketing Materials: if you watched my lecture, you know what materials are must haves (i.e., trailer video, screenshots, etc.). It's also important that these materials are incredibly high quality and engaging. For example, your screenshots should not only be high resolution, but show incredibly engaging parts of your game that can hold a viewers attention.
  2. Easy to Access Marketing Materials: make sure that it is easy for writers to access all the materials they need to write a story or do a review of your game. Creating an online press kit using presskit() is a great way to do this. Using this template allows you to easily link writers to everything they need instead of attaching it to the email.
  3. Custom Emails: finally, don't send a writer a generic email that you send to everyone else. Try to engage that writer by speaking to his/her interests, or why he/she should care about your game. If you expect a writer to give your game the time of day, you should pay the same respect to him/her with a thoughtfully crafted email.
Hope this helps and good luck! Emmy

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consumer database

about 1 year ago

You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I find this topic to be really one thing that I think I'd by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and very vast for me. I am having a look forward for your subsequent post, I'll try to get the hang of it!

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Koji Murata

about 1 year ago

Hi there, Thank you for the nice post. I have one question. When creating a blog or video post (development progress) of game development progress for pre-launch marketing, should I start blogging about the game as early as possible? or should I wait until I submit and get approved?

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Emmy

about 1 year ago

Hi Koji! Thank you for the comment and great question. You want to start blogging about your game progress as soon as you have engaging content to show. I.e., if you're going to ask potential fans to be interested in your game, you have to give them something to be interested over. This could be in the form of concept art, a playable demo, a GOOD video showing something cool, etc. Until that point, it's best to promote your game in other ways (check out some of the ideas here). As long as you have this engaging content, blog as soon as possible.

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Giridhar

about 1 year ago

Great selfless job Emmy.I'm glad I found this video. I ve become a fan!!!!Indies need more people like you to step up and provide the all necessary guidance. Thanks a lot for the priceless information by the way :)

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Cococute

about 1 year ago

Hi, This presentation is so inspirational especially for an individual like me who is dreaming of making hit games. I can watch this over and over again to re-inspire myself while waiting for my games to hit the market. Thanks a lot.

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Michael Maughan

about 11 months ago

Just came across this video. Thank you for the information. It really gave me a ton of things to work on. I appreciate when people are willing to share their expertise with others. Your site is now book marked and I will refer to it often.

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