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How to Effectively Promote Your Game Part I of V

Pokémon Essentials Version
So you’ve got yourself a fan game. You want to share your work with the world, get criticism, maybe see your favorite Pokétubers play it. You don’t know where to start. How do you balance hype and set expectations?
In this guide, I’ll give you the inside scoop on how to market your fan game, use social media, communicate with players, influencers, and more. Couple of things to note right off the bat here.

1. While this is built with fan games in mind, these are general principles of persuasion and marketing and can be used for any game.
2. This is not a guide on how to actively infringe on any trademarks. Please do not use this guide for legal advice, and be aware that by marketing a fan game increases the chances of legal action.
3. Anyone that tries to tell you that there is “one correct way” to do things is selling you snake oil. “Gurus” or “wizards” of the marketing world who insist they know “the secret” often don’t even know the most basic best practices. This is flexible and no rule is unbreakable.

With that, let's begin. I'll be adding parts to this as I can, and if there's things you think I'm missing or you want to know about, please feel free to let me know!

How to Win Friends, Influence People, and Increase Fan Game Downloads

Part I: What You Need to Know Starting Out

Part II: Persuasion Marketing and Identifying an Audience

Part III: Direct Response and Dealing with Players

Part IV: Branding, Messaging, and Expectation Management

Part V: Managing your Online Presence and Social Media

Part I: What You Need to Know Starting Out

Types of Marketing
There are two primary types of marketing you’re going to want to do with your game, Persuasion, and Direct Response. In order to explain them, below is a copy of one of the most famous marketing diagrams out there: the customer funnel. There's many versions of this, but the concept is the same: marketing moves the customer further down the funnel, and different tactics are needed to move them down from level to level. Let’s walk through it in the context of your own amazing brand new fan game, Pokémon Marketing Adventure!


  • Awareness
    • “I’ve definitely heard of Pokémon Marketing Adventure, I saw a few tweets of theirs”
      • After people know about your game, they’ll need to be convinced to download it.
  • Consideration
    • “Hmm… Pokémon Marketing Adventure is out, maybe I should play the demo"
      • After people know about your game, they’ll need to be convinced to download it.
  • Conversion
    • "Alright, I just downloaded Pokémon Marketing Adventure!"
      • Arguably the most important step for games, the actual point where the game is downloaded and play begins. This is also where the funnel switches from Persuasion to Direct Response.
  • Loyalty
    • “Man, Pokémon Marketing Adventure is my favorite fan game! I’m going to download every demo!"
      • In a competitive market where consumers are limited by both time and money, loyalty is crucial. But for fan games, time is the only limited resources, so there’s not much need for competition!
  • Advocacy
    • "Hey Sue, have you played Pokémon Marketing Adventure? It’s amazing, you need to check it out!”
      • Get people to do your work for you! Well, not really, but social media has allowed for a revolution in this end of the funnel.

As we move down the funnel, it gets harder and harder to move a person to the next level down. In the next part of this series, we’ll get more in depth with Persuasion and talk about things such as identifying an audience, outreach, and how to get started without any brand recognition.

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Written and curated by me, feel free to quote or use with proper credit!
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