It’s often the case that indies are just stuck for ideas of what to do next with their marketing efforts. They’ve done all the basics like setup a website, a press kit and social channels – they’re chatting with influencers and running ad campaigns. But success hasn’t quite been achieved…so what next?
Steam recommends similar games to yours and this can be a great way to find out how others have achieved success (whether it’s naturally occurring or part of an intentional marketing effort). This is a great source of information and ideas for you – one of the most important marketing activities you can do is to constantly find new approaches to compliment your own.
So, some tips for researching similar games;
- Focus on similar games that have a high player base (you can get a quick idea of this from the volume of reviews and SteamSpy data). These games will have had the most exposure in some shape or form, so your research will produce more results.
- Search on Youtube for the game. If it’s been around longer than yours, then it should have been covered by lots of Youtubers. You’re keeping a list of Youtubers to contact, right? A morning spent updating your list and emailing the new additions can be very effective – you know they’ve already covered a similar game.
- Search on Google for the game. There’s a theme here – have you spotted it yet? Google results will give you an idea of websites that have reviewed the game. Sure, you’ll likely see all the usual suspects, but there will be loads of low to mid tier blogs and news sites that you don’t already have on your press list. It’s also good to get an idea of what the press are writing about similar games – it can give you some direction when producing content or writing a press release.
- Have a look around their Community Hub. If you’re new to publishing on Steam, there are lots of things that can be learned from how other devs manage their communities. What sticky posts do they have? What sub forums? How often do they post announcements? Replicating what another company does isn’t always a great idea, but cherrypicking great ideas that can fit with what you are doing is useful.
- What curators recommend the game? You’ve contacted them to ask for a review, right?
- What’s the price of similar games? Are you sure you’ve priced your game correctly? It’s OK to have a higher or lower price depending on your game’s age and your marketing strategy, but check out what others are doing. If your game is very similar to another, then players may (consciously or unconsciously) compare the two.
By planning to spend some time on market research and getting solid actions from your work, you can make positive gains to the performance of your game. It’s something that’s easy to overlook or not have time for, but it’s as important as honing your own skill set.