There is an old joke where a driver is lost and ends up on tiny rural roads. Eventually, they see a farmer by a gate and pull over, wind down the window, and ask “Can you tell me the best way to get to Wigan [insert any local place name here]?” The farmer ponders for a moment and then replies “The best way you say? Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”
And so it is with marketing. Ideally, you will have a marketing plan. You will have written this marketing plan before you get anywhere near publishing your game. In the video above, the Modern AGE rules have a link to the Green Ronin website where you can download charactersheets. When you get to the Green Ronin site, you get a chance to join their newsletter. One leads to another. You can of course download the sheets without joining, but there are enough benefits of joining that if you are going to play the game you may as well join the list.
You can have your website up and running and your list set up using Mailchimp or WordPress’s newsletter plugin for as long as you like. It will just tick along collecting contact details for you. If you have this set up long before the game is even launched, you newsletters can carry updates about the development of the game, screenshots of the game in layout, or photos of playtest sessions. People interested in your game will love to see behind the curtain.
Once your game is launched you will have a small list of people who you can tell all about it.
Whenever you talk about your game, you can point people to your website. This is very much soft marketing. If they are interested they can choose to join your list, and they can choose to leave. You are not pushing anything.
That mailing list will be your most valuable asset. If DTRPG disappeared tomorrow, you could list your game on Exalted Funeral, Open Gaming Store, Itch.io or Amazon and tell your subscribers where they can still buy your game and accessories.
Getting bloggers or YouTubers or podcasters to talk about your game is hard. What you can do is write (or record) the sort of stuff that you wish people were writing about your game, put it on your own site, and then tell your list about it. They are to all intents and purposes your fan club. You can invite them to forward the emails to friends and gaming buddies or share them on their social media. You can ask, and some will want to.
When you are writing there is a simple mnemonic to keep in mind, FAB, Features, Advantages and Benefits. You see a lot of product pages that are a long list of features. While that may tick the Features box, that is not really what FAB is all about. FAB is more about explaining or showing people what is outstanding about your game.
It is vitally important to engage the emotions. Games are supposed to be fun, so what kind of fun does your game promote? Where is the excitement? The Benefit in FAB is the fun/ good times/ excitement that the game will facilitate. Not everyone enjoys the same things, so spell it out, who is this for?
The more you write, and share, the more opportunities for people to share.
One very basic technique to boost sales of your thing is to release something related. If you have one adventure, releasing a second will boost sales of the first, you can keep that up for as long as you enjoy creating adventures.
If you want to sell a game, write supplements for it.
Every new thing will appear on the newest banner on DTRPG and give you a moment in the spotlight.
You can achieve the same thing with bundles. Create a bundle and it will appear as the newest product. You can later disband the bundle and put a different combination of products together to get the same effect again. Creating a bundle is 5 minutes’ work. It is easy, quick, and free. It is also repeatable.