(Indie) Game Marketing Plan – Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

Share this post


Video games are swiftly changing, and mobile gaming is making the whole market more competitive than ever before. It’s possible that the success or failure of your (indie) game is determined by marketing. It might be difficult to market an independent game, but if you make a marketing plan, you’ll get better results. This tutorial is intended for persons who have no previous marketing expertise and have never developed or marketed a game before. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for you to be a success in your first foray into the world of gaming marketing. After all, isn’t it a lot more pleasurable to market a video game than, say, a washing machine?

“A fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan.” – T. Boone Pickens

Table of Contents

Marketing Strategy

The strategy behind marketing an indie game should be part of your overall development plan. Marketing is not just about advertising, it’s also about building relationships with people that believe in you and your game vision. It’s about taking your game (or your studio) to a point A to B. Marketing strategy can be split into three parts:

  1. Where are we now? (Situation analysis) example: “Our game is a first person horror shooter made by two people.” If you are making this plan to present it to someone outside your organization, you might want to describe in more detail the gameplay, the features and the game as a whole.
  2. What business should we be in? (Vision and mission). example: “Our vision is to become an indie studio that stands out because of its creativity and innovation.”
  3. How should we get there? (Roadmap: plans, goals, and objectives) This is mainly the 3rd point that we will focus on in this article. The first two ones can be great if you present your studio to someone outside the industry through a business or marketing plan.

A good marketing strategy will cover “the four Ps” of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion. Product would obviously be your game, the price might be $19.99, the “place” could be “Steam and Nintendo Switch” and the promotion could be “online marketing and advertising”.

You’ve established your basic marketing plan after you’ve answered the 3 questions/answers and the 4P’s. Keep it simple and write it down.

Have you noticed that we’ve basically discussed very concrete subjects up until now? However, in our opinion, it is critical to include originality and creativity to your marketing plan and its execution. This is what allows you to stand out!


Target audience

It’s now time to think of who the end user will be – who is gonna purchase your game, enjoy it and be part of your community? The same way that a cook needs ingredients for cooking his or her dish, you need to think about your target audience when elaborating a marketing plan. Marketing is not just promoting a product; it’s also providing information that will appeal to people interested in buying or playing your game.

What are their interests? What do they look for in video games? How can we reach them? For whom are we making this game? What is their background? How old are they? Where do they live and what social/cultural factors affect them? These are all questions that need to be answered before you can start to attract people’s attention. Marketing is a lot about trial and error, but the more information you have—the better your strategy will be!

It might seem obvious that most indie games target “gamers” as their primary audience. However, this is a too broad audience that need to be more detailed. There are also other types of customers who could be interested in buying or playing your game. For example, if your game is about education, you might want to look at schools and professionals as a market.

It’s also important to note that marketing through some channels will be more efficient than others, and this will depend on your target audience.

Knowing how to reach people is the key when it comes to marketing, and this brings us full circle back to our initial point! This means that you should know (or have a good idea) of who your potential customers are before you start looking for ways of getting in touch with them. Reread this last paragraph and try to answer all or more of the questions asked. You will then have what is called in marketing the persona of your customers (or potential customers). A marketing persona is an archetype of your typical customer, describing the demographics (age group), psychographics (interests) and behaviors of your customers. Marketing personas can be used to give you a better understanding of who you’re marketing towards.

Here is an example of a persona for a a deep simulation and management game that follows the history of Homo Sapiens society:


  • Age: 25
  • Gender: Male
  • Occupation: History student
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in history


  • Interests: Loves historical simulations, games that require critical thinking and decision-making, and learning about different civilizations and cultures
  • Personality traits: Curious, detail-oriented, analytical, and patient
  • Gaming behavior: Prefers games with a lot of replayability, depth, and complexity; typically spends a lot of time researching a game before making a purchase


  • Plays games for several hours each day, particularly after finishing schoolwork
  • Enjoys exploring different cultures and their histories
  • Is an active member of online forums and communities dedicated to historical simulation and strategy games
  • Enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with others in the community


  • Wants to learn more about human history and culture
  • Seeks games that provide a challenging and immersive experience
  • Enjoys games that allow him to make impactful decisions and see the results of his choices

Pain Points:

  • May find the game overwhelming or too complex if it’s not presented in an accessible way
  • Expects a high level of historical accuracy and attention to detail, so any inaccuracies or inconsistencies could be a turn-off
  • May not be willing to spend a lot of money on a game that doesn’t live up to his expectations

This persona can be used as a reference when marketing your game by using keywords, images via social media channels etc. The better you know your target audience (and their interests!) – the better you can reach them.


Understand your competitors

It’s fine to have competitors and learn about them. What’s harmful, on the other hand, is not knowing how to differentiate your game and community from others. You must know what they’ve done in the past, what they are doing now, and whether their marketing efforts were effective for them. This is critical information that is typically freely available, which may assist you answer certain questions later. So make a list of games of the same genre that might be of interest to your target market. Again, websites like VGInsights, Steam Spy, or Steam250 can be incredibly useful. For ten games, you can note the price, the studio that developed it, the platforms available, the approximate number of copies sold, and their presence on which social networks. 

Take the time to study the marketing strategies of at least 3-4 other games. For each, note:

  • The game duration
  • The game price
  • The game reception/rating
  • The game available languages
  • The game platforms (where it’s distributed)
  • The game cumulative sales
  • The social medias platform where the game is promoted and the community is gathered

Studying the marketing strategies of competitors can provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t in the marketplace, allowing you to learn from your competitors’ successes and mistakes. It can also help to identify gaps and opportunities in the market, as well as to differentiate your game from others and create a unique selling proposition (USP). 


Unique Selling Proposition

So how is your game different from others? Is it the type of art you used for your graphics? Would your story be more exciting than other games in the same genre on the market today? Or would a greater degree of player freedom and customization have an impact on players’ experiences that improves upon what’s already out there. Whatever the reasons, you must identify them and communicate these differences to your audiences.

So what should you do if there is a game that’s similar or matches many of the elements described above? Instead of trying to compete with those games on features or price point, look for other ways where they might be lacking. Maybe your gameplay experience will set it apart from others as players prefer an easier learning curve than say something more complicated like Dwarf Fortress. It could also help by making sure your game runs well even on low-end computers since plenty indie developers optimize their games only after release resulting in some negative comments about how it ran before patching etc.. Or maybe instead of focusing directly on competing against other titles within the same genre, try making a game that stands out in other ways. That could mean adding something innovative or unique to the gameplay, story dynamic, etc..

Player feedback is extremely important and can be useful for your marketing efforts as well – and it’s easy to read them on Steam! So if certain aspects of their games are strong points for them but not working so well with players (maybe too much grinding), consider whether it might work better in yours. If possible, ask current players about how they feel about similar titles on Steam right now – maybe there’s something you haven’t thought of yet? Also encourage positive comments by providing an easy way for people who played your game share what they loved most about it without having to write a lengthy review or tutorial. You could use a simple system like the one on Steam where players can tag their reviews with a certain number of stars and then you’re able to aggregate them easily.

It’s important to remember that being different from others doesn’t mean being better or worse – it just means having something unique about your game experience which is what will help you stand out among so many other indie games. This is not an absolute measure but more as a relative one.


Create your marketing action plan – your tactics – and marketing channels.

To create and engage with a community around your game in development, it’s essential to have a marketing action plan that outlines your tactics and marketing channels. Your marketing actions are the specific tasks you need to do each day, week, month or quarter to get new players interested in and excited about your game. Here are some ideas for tactics and marketing channels you can use to promote your game:

  • Posting videos on YouTube and Twitch that showcase your game’s development progress, features, and gameplay mechanics.
  • Building a website or landing page for your game to provide more information, screenshots, and videos to your audience.
  • Creating a Discord server where your audience can interact with you, share their thoughts on your game, and connect with other fans.
  • Being covered in gaming blogs that include link backs to your game’s website.
  • Attending events, game jams and conferences to generate interest in your game.
  • Using social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch to promote your game and engage with your audience.
  • Encouraging your audience to participate in game testing and provide feedback to help improve your game before release.
  • Creating a press kit with high-quality screenshots, videos, and other assets that journalists and influencers can use to write articles or make videos about your game.
  • Creating a newsletter to keep your audience up-to-date with your game’s development progress and news.
  • Hosting Q&A sessions with your audience through live streaming or social media platforms to answer their questions and address their concerns.

It’s important to have a calendar or planner to schedule your marketing tactics and keep track of their progress. Your marketing campaigns will be more effective if they have a start date, end date, deliverables, and resources required to execute them. By leveraging these tactics and marketing channels, you can create a strong community around your game and increase your chances of success in the competitive world of indie game development.


Establish a budget 

How much will you spend? When will you spend it? Where will the money come from and what is your spending plan? These questions are important to answer before starting any marketing activity. Marketing can be done in many ways. You need to know what you want and how much it costs to prioritize your options accordingly.


Monitor, measure and improve your marketing tactics

Marketing is not just about how much you spend, but also measuring the results. Evaluating marketing efforts is essential to determining whether they are worthwhile and whether they can be improved.

Monitoring is the aspect of tracking where you analyze how your marketing activities generate traffic and conversions. Tracking includes website analytics, ad campaign tracking (using tools such as Google Analytics), press coverage analysis, your Steam dashboard, etc… Monitoring is the process of gathering raw data, while measurement is your interpretation of this information.

A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator. It is a metric that can help you measure the performance of your marketing activities.

Some examples of marketing KPIs are: number of retweets, conversion rate on Facebook ads, return on ads spend (ROAS), sessions to purchase ratio on Steam, number of people on your Discord server, etc…

You need to establish the right KPIs for your game and track them over time. Only by measuring can you determine whether Marketing activities are generating results or not, and if they should be improved or stopped altogether.



In conclusion, marketing is essential to the success of an indie game. It can turn a good concept into something amazing and has the potential to make or break a game. Keep in mind that your marketing strategy should always be adjusted in the short and long term.

For those who want a more personalized experience, I can offer services to help take your game to the next level. Contact me through the instructions in the footer below.

Contact Me

Feel free to reach out to me via Discord at Galabyca#5789 (this is case sensitive). You can share me your project and we’ll discuss how I can help you. Additionally, if you have any comments or questions about the last article, don’t hesitate to send them my way through Discord as well.