Things Every Brand Should Do to Promote Their Branded Game
Branded games really are the king of premium content that can help engage your audience, give your PR the hook it needs to get coverage in online and traditional media, help your SEO efforts and more. But like with any content, your branded game can be the most amazing piece ever created, but if few people know it's there, it will fail.
Without a promotion strategy to drive a good number of players in the first instance, you're fighting an uphill battle and will likely be disappointed with the results of even the most amazing branding game. On the other hand a good promotional strategy, implemented well, can produce great results. But it does require some work, above and beyond just producing and posting a branding game.
I'm not going to go into every single creative method you can use to promote a game, many of these are likely to be industry specific, or even specific to your particular brand. What we're going to go after here is the low hanging fruit. The easy stuff that every brand can and should be doing as a bare minimum to promote a branded game in order to dramatically increase their chances of making it a success.
Most of them seem pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many brands fail to do even the most basic promotion and end up missing out on potentially huge amounts of exposure. Anyway, here we go:
Leverage Your Existing Audience
Existing Website Traffic
This is the most obvious one and it can make a huge difference, especially for brands that already have good amounts of traffic to their website. Promote your game with a link from your homepage (or some other high traffic page).
If it's a web based game sitting on a page on your website, it's not enough just to put it up and not give your visitors an easy way to find it. Same goes for a mobile app, or a game that sits on Facebook or some other external website. Link it from your homepage.
A nicely designed image link is obviously preferable, but you'd be surprised how many brands don't even promote their game with a text link (either to the game, or games index page, if you have more than one) on a high traffic page of their website. If you don't do this, you're missing out on a great, extremely easy opportunity to give your branded game a promotional boost and dramatically increase play numbers.
I'm going to assume your business is active on social media (Twitter and Facebook at least). Anyone that's chosen to follow you on social media is already interested in your business. So make sure you promote your branded game to them.
I should also mention, this isn't a once and done thing. Now I'm not advocating spam, but if you have a reason to post again, do it. E.g. if you do an update to your game, tell people about it.
It also depends the social network. Twitter for instance is very much in the moment and tweets "expire" very quickly. So if you have a very active business Twitter account, why not consider promoting your game there more frequently (maybe once a week).
If your business has a mailing list (email or snail mail) use it to tell people about your game. Once again, this is a prime opportunity to target people who've shown an interest in your business, or have even been past customers/clients. Not leveraging your mailing list to promote a branded game is a big mistake.
Integrate With Your Other Marketing Activities
A branded game usually ties in with a specific marketing campaign, yet many brands forget to cross-promote their content.
Whether you're a huge multi-national corporation, or a small business, I'm guessing you're doing some sort of advertising to promote your business. Whether online or offline and no matter what the scale, why not at the very least mention the game in your other advertising? Otherwise it's a missed opportunity to generate interest in your game and ultimately promote your business.
Same goes for your PR activities. Businesses (particular smaller, less established ones) often struggle to get media coverage. Without a good hook, it can be difficult to stand out from the mountain of similar, bland press releases received by media each day.
If you have a branded game, that may very well be the hook you need to stand out from the crowd and get the coverage your business needs, and deserves to help promote your brand. Unfortunately, many brands squander this opportunity by either not doing this at all, or not doing it effectively.
Increase Your Chances of Success
Don't be one of the businesses that takes the "Build it and They Will Come" approach and forgo these easy steps to promote their branded game. It almost never leads to success, with any form of content, however good it is.
Make sure you go through this checklist and at the very least do everything on it. But don't stop there, I'm sure you can think of many more creative ways to promote and drive even more traffic to your branded game.