Standing Out from the Crowd, Part 3: Marketing Tips and Tricks | Casual Game Revolution

Standing Out from the Crowd, Part 3: Marketing Tips and Tricks


Every year the board game industry grows and incorporates more and more dedicated players. The last few years have been termed the "board game renaissance," and in a lot of ways it truly is the best era in gaming thus far. By the time industry magazine ICv2 reports of the most recent figures (typically 10-20% annual growth since around 2008) a plethora of new board game publishers have already sprung up. With the growth of Kickstarter, starting a publishing company has become a lot more accessible for those that don't have the financial resources to afford printing thousands of copies of a game on their own. This is great for consumers, though the immense competition requires all publishers to be on top of their game (pun definitely intended). 

With this drastic industry growth, competing is becoming ever more difficult. As a publisher, there are some things you can do to stand out from the crowd, which we'll outline in this article series. This is the third article in the series (click here to read the first, or here to read the second).


Marketing Tips and Tricks

Once you’ve chosen a theme that appeals to your audience, playtested the game countless times (including blind playtests), and found excellent artist(s) and graphic designer(s), you might be ready to produce your product either through Kickstarter or direct to retail. Though, in order to be successful with your game you must market your product — this is imperative.

There are several great, beautiful games that unfortunately don’t find funding on Kickstarter because the company does not have the correct fan base in place. We have some marketing tips to make sure your games are successful.

1. Attend industry conventions.

Before a company has a finalized game, it does not make much sense to have convention booths. Most of the larger conventions charge enough for booths that even smaller publishers with only one or two games likely have to share a booth to break even or profit at all. Though many companies wait until they have a large portfolio to attend conventions, this limits their ability network within the industry. It is always a good idea to attend conventions and schedule meetings with important potential connections, plus maybe play a game or two with industry folks.

2. Post regularly to your business pages on major social media channels and update your website.

It’s important to post regularly to your social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are arguably the most important platforms for board game companies. Typically, brands post some form of content at least three times a week, though posting at least a day on the various channels is ideal.

Building a business is hard work and very time consuming, but time must be made for marketing efforts. Building out the fan base of consumers and gaining followers is important, though not as important as creating email lists.

3. Create an email list.

Leverage your time at conventions by working to build your social channels to funnel potential consumers into your email list. With new policies in Europe for the collection of emails, it is important to make sure that all consumers opt-in to your data lists and that it complies with all local and international laws.

Email lists are a great way to gain additional supporters for your project and let these potential consumers know about your upcoming releases, whether your games are going straight to distribution or being funded on Kickstarter. Though, this is especially important for Kickstarter, as a campaign should seek to be at least 30% funded within the first 48-hours. Kickstarter has an amazing community of backers — however, unless a creator brings potential consumers to their page, they cannot expect Kickstarter to magically pull in enough traffic for them to fund.

4. Become a part of the community.

Post regularly on (BGG), the board game sub-Reddit and the industry Facebook groups and make sure to help others. Become a part of the community. When you actually create a game showing it off in the group as your first post, you will likely not receive the best response. However, if you become an active member of a group and then share your campaign, there will be more supporters and friends to like and share the post and thereby assist with sales of your game.

Also, if you plan on using Kickstarter for your game, regularly surfing Kickstarter and supporting other projects is key. Supporting other campaigns will show you’re a part of the community and create new friendships and allies. Though, equally important, it will show you which campaigns drew your attention and why you back certain projects and skip past others.

5. Run advertisments.

Creating advertisements can be tough and expensive. Though there are mixed reviews on BGG banner ads, most creators have some Facebook ads, which can be very effective with the correct targeting. There are plenty of PR firms that are scams, but there are several legitimate industry persons who will assist other creators with marketing services and consultations — finding someone who knows what they’re doing if you don’t will be worth the money, but make sure it is someone with board game knowledge.

If your primary audience is casual gamers, you might want to consider some of the marketing options offered by Casual Game Revolution, including print and online ads, Kickstarter previews, and more. The marketing needs of every company are different, so be sure to evaluate all of your options thoroughly.