Marketing Takes Time
I've been working on SpaceMail for a little more than three years. I began without minimal programming knowledge. I began self-taught while studying physics in my first year of college. I decided to use GameMaker Studio to make SpaceMail because it seemed accessible and straightforward to me.
Sometime after the first launch on mobile, I decided to put more effort into my programming skills. I switched my major from physics to computer science. I worked endlessly on learning everything I could that was related to software and computer engineering. In those past 3 years, I have grown a lot in this skill, but I have recently realized I have been neglecting a power that all good game developers need: marketing. To be successful at making games, as developers, we want to make sure our games get in front of lots of people. We want many people to enjoy the games we put effort into and give us feedback on what they liked and didn't like.
With so many amazing games being produced every month, sometimes it is hard to stand out. For this reason, marketing is an essential part of the development process. I've learned that you must consistently interact with your audience online, and through social media to stay in the minds of people who would be interested in your game. Often times, getting the userbase you want is a matter of telling as many people you can about your game. As far as I am interested, there are two main ways of doing so: social media interaction, and paid advertising. Because paid advertising is not as feasible for many studios and developers, I will finish this devlog by elaborating on social media interaction.
The critical thing to keep in mind is that promotion through social media will take lots of time. No matter what, you can be assured that months of consistent work are required to bring attention to your project. When marketing, you must have the same mindset that you do when developing your project. It is as essential to tell the world about your game as it is to create and fine-tune it.
Over the past few weeks, I've been mainly updating people on my projects through Instagram stories, and the results show how useful this can be over extended periods. Instagram stories have, by far, been my best method of attracting attention to my project. This is because Instagram stories allow me to produce lots of content for people to follow up on every day. These have worked better for me than Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter posts, and are far more repeatable than paid advertising.
Direct Advice in Bulleted Form:
- commit to a pattern of social media updates that will work with your schedule
- ensure your schedule will not cause you to get burned out
- don't refrain from showing incremental changes and even blocks on your platform of choice
- be prepared to stick with your marketing plan for many months before you expect to see grand results
Ideally, anybody would take this advice right from the start. But nobody is perfect, which is why we have sayings that illustrate the power of consistent work. My favorite example is: "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second-best time is now." Marketing your game is exactly like growing a tree, it will take constant time and effort, but the results are ultimately worth it.
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