Three Free Ways to Promote Your Indie Software Application that Work

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Contributing writer: Travis Healy, Business Development Manager, Microexcel CSD Division; Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse

So…a bit of background. I was part of an indie game development team as a producer, charged with a specific area of focus – marketing and promotion. You can apply this same strategy whether its a game or a business-class app to get more exposure and downloads.

The Situation…

My job involved three primary areas:

1. Creating buzz and laying out initial brand recognition before game launch.

2. Promoting the game full-throttle before, during and after launch.

3. Hitting defined targets for the number of desired game downloads and purchases (initial and or in app).

The Basics…

The success of your indie developed game or app is comprised of two basic areas – development and promotion.

Since we’re assuming that you’ve got the development realm of your game covered, we won’t dive into that in this post. If you need recommendations, DM me.

The Strategy…

There are a number of effective ways to promote your app for free…too many for a single post, so we’ll focus on the most obvious methods first. Here are 3, free ways you can promote your application.

These methods do have a “cost” factor though in time and effort and include a rough time to complete estimate.

Free Indie App Promotion Methods

Social Media

You’ve heard this one before. The problem is that there is much out there in the way of portals…which social media portals to use and which ones to forget is a real consideration point. In my experience, here are the top 3 that help with indie app promotion.

1. Twitter

By far, I have gotten more exposure from Twitter, than via any other mainline social portal. The foundational keys are to make sure that you have a great banner (Google banner sizes) a great profile image and key word descriptors with relative hashtags.

If you want to see a direct example of the game property I worked on and to see the set up, check out https://twitter.com/deadriotgame

We started the page in late September of 2015 with zero followers and climbed at its peak to just over 2100.

Now, that’s not a monumental amount of followers, however, those followers are specifically interested in the type of game we put out, the zombie shooter genre.

Time estimates to promote via the Twitter Method:

a. Set up, banner and profile image creation – 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how custom you make your designs.

b. Ongoing brand promotion, and growing your fan base – 2 to 3 hours per week.

2. Facebook

Whether you’re a fan of Facebook or not, indie app promotion via this portal is something that you should do, simply because it will give you exposure potential to a large base of potential users.

Setting up a Facebook page for your game is relatively simple, but requires that you have a personal Facebook page set up first. Knowing that, here’s one big thing to consider.

Since you’re promoting your indie game and building your brand, make sure there is nothing offensive on your personal page that would negatively affect your brand. They are tied together…this includes pictures, groups, rants, etc.

When you set up a page for your indie application, you’ll add a banner, profile image, description and so on. The banner image sizing is different than Twitter, so make sure you make sure it looks clean. The link to get started is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

During set-up, the most effective “call to action” that has worked for us is applying the download link button that auto-appears in your banner, with a link to the game download.

Here’s the set up example for DeadRiot: www.facebook.com/playdeadriot

Getting “Likes” is a much harder process than getting “Followers” via Twitter. Start with your personal “Friends” and invite them to like your page. From there, do a search in Facebook and look for groups that either you promote your game to their user base. Then search for and join groups that indicate a shared interest for the type of app you are promoting, or the genre surrounding the app (in our case – RPG, shooter, horror, etc.) and join those groups.

A BIG RED FLAG for you. Make sure that you read an understand the rules for each group for posting and follow them…otherwise, you’ll look opportunistic and get the boot. *The actual secret to getting more likes and followers has nothing to do with direct promotion posts of your game. I’ll teach you how to do this and cover the strategy in depth in an upcoming post.

Time estimates for Facebook Promotion Method:

a. Set up, banner and profile image creation – 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how custom you make your designs.

b. Ongoing brand promotion, and growing your fan base – 2 to 3 hours per week.

3. YouTube

The MAIN thing you should do to get exposure for your indie app is to create a Youtube channel, add your branding via a great banner and profile image AND add a trailer of your creation.

Setting up your channel is a straight forward process as well. Here are the basics: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1646861?hl=en

You’ll need to adjust your images again. When you place your banner image, YouTube’s sizing recommendations will automatically pop up.

*A quick side note on creating and adjusting images. There are a few tools to do this. Some, easier than others. Some are expensive, some are less expensive, some are free. Difficulty levels, vary. Personally, I use Pixelmator. It’s relatively easy to use and has great tutorial videos to help you out.

Experienced users will probably use Adobe Photoshop, that’s an option. Prices vary from a monthly subscription of $10.00 to stand alone versions that also vary based on version. There are free / open source options as well. Search “free image editing software” and pick one that works for you.

Back to to it – the hard part…creating an indie game trailer…

You’ll need, at a minimum:

  • Some app images.
  • Some background music.
  • An in capture or two.
  • A tool to do video editing.

Once your trailer is created, upload it to your YouTube Channel, and let fans know about it via posts to your Twitter and Facebook pages.

Here’s the initial DeadRiot trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WayvRKYVnBQ

Time estimates for YouTube Promotion Method:

a. Set up, banner and profile image creation – 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how custom you make your designs.

b. Game trailer design and production – at least 8-24 hours (dedicated effort).

b. Ongoing brand promotion, and growing your fan base – 2 to 3 hours per week.

4. The Extra Mile.

Look for unusual ways to promote your app. I geared up as the main character of the property and attended ComicCon. With hand out cards for the app in hand and requests for pictures, we were able to promote in a live environment as well.

The Extra Mile

The Result…

Through continuous promotion and applying these three methods, the app won Top 5 Players Choice award on Indie DB. Apply these same methods and you’ll make some great progress in promoting your application.

So, there you have it. 3 foundational, free ways to promote your indie app.

If you have questions or would like to collaborate deeper, shoot me a message.

Thanks for Reading & Good Luck!

travis.healy@microexcel.com

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