Indie Game Marketing

Indie Gaming Influencer Marketing: Easier and More Effective pt. 2

Last time, we talked about the benefits of influencer marketing, and especially with micro influencers. It’s cheaper, more effective and easier. Assuming you can find some worthy influencers that match your needs. Which is pretty hard all by itself.

In this post, we’ll discuss a little more about creating a plan to pitch to your influencer. You see, it isn’t enough to simply get their attention. It’s a start, sure, but this isn’t a popularity contest, it’s a coldly calculated campaign centered on getting noticed, making a splash. This is professional influencer marketing for indie devs, dammit! You need a plan!

Let’s go over some marketing basics to make sure you are thinking the right way about what you want to accomplish.

Elements of marketing

While it is a unique flavor of marketing, influencer marketing for indie devs is still just your basic marketing. While there are infinite approaches and methods, every marketing campaign has one of just a very few basic goals. Here they are:

  • Increase awareness
  • Increase engagement
  • Increase leads
  • Increase sales

That’s it. Don’t overthink this. And generally, it’s not a good idea to try to accomplish multiple goals per campaign. Try to do one thing at a time, and do it the best you can.

Very briefly, let’s look at each of these potential goals.

Increase awareness

This one is the easiest to accomplish and the easiest to measure. Most influencers know how to access and share their analytics data from their chosen platform.

The basic “unit” of awareness is an impression. An impression is what happens every time a social media user sees or scrolls past something. A common way to charge for exposure marketing is by “CPM” or “cost per mille”. CPM is how much a client pays per thousand impressions. On Twitter, a common CPM (July, 2018) is around $6.50. Keep in mind this is currently on the rise and prone to volatile shifts.

Also worth noting: Twitter seems to have the lowest CPM of any social media, Instagram and YouTube are significantly more expensive.

Increase engagement

Engagement is anything that gets viewers to interact with you. This can be by getting them to follow a link to your site or Steam page, getting them to comment on a post, getting them to like or share something.

Engagement is also pretty easy to measure since likes, shares and replies are publicly displayed. Link clicks will require either you to check your web or social stats, or require your influencer to share their engagement data with you. On Twitter, this is very easy.

Increase leads

A lead is when somebody officially declares their interest in you or your product. This can be in the form of a social follow, like or subscription or—hopefully an email sign-up. Email lists are particularly effective marketing tools, as I’ve mentioned before.

Increase sales

Driving up sales is the ultimate goal, of course. But if your game isn’t done yet (and influencer marketing for indie devs starts long before launch), this won’t be an option for you.

If your game is currently in-market, then this is the obvious goal of a campaign. However, it’s incredibly difficult to measure the impact your influencer has on your actual sales. And having an influencer actually pitch your game for you is going to decrease the effectiveness of your campaign. Here’s why:

Gamers are a notoriously tough audience. Influencer marketing for indie devs should not involve pushy tactics.

Affiliate marketing – where influencers are paid per sale or “conversion” – might work for diet pills and workout plans, but it is certain to fail in this field. Gamers, and especially indies, are very careful about who they trust. That’s why they flock to Reddit, where sales pitches and self-promotion are punished with banning and canning. Gamers are much less likely to buy something if they are being told to buy it.

To understand a bit more about that, I’m tempted to invoke the concept of Content Marketing, which involves offering free information and interesting non-promotional content to help bolster the feelings about a certain product or idea. A positive game review that doesn’t end with a sales pitch is much more likely to sell a game than an in-your-face insistence that a game is “groundbreaking” and “a must-buy!”

So if you’re doing influencer marketing for indie devs correctly, there’s no direct sales pitch so viewers aren’t going to click away from your influencer to immediately buy your game. They’re going to watch or read the review, go look up the game, maybe ask some of their friends (on Reddit, where opinions are strictly “real”), and then make a purchase.

Clear as mud?

So hopefully I’ve cleared up some things for you. It’s tough to find indie game influencers, but influencer marketing for indie devs isn’t really that hard. Working to increase awareness is super easy to track, initiate and afford. All you’ve got to do is find the right people.

And let me re-iterate: Don’t expect—better yet, don’t allow your influencers to make a hard sales pitch. It will kill the innate trust they’ve built with their audience and will decrease sales rather than increasing them.

So go find your influencer. And remember that IndieWatch is a great place to interact and engage with like-minded thinkers and enthusiasts. If you haven’t signed up already, go ahead and do it to keep up with more articles like this one.


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Steven Long

Steve is an IndieWatch O.G. He has long supplied marketing information for the aspiring developer. More recently he has been creating content for retrogaming enthusiasts on his YouTube channel. Find him on Twitter @Longie_long and at Patreon.

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