I own a small internet startup in the business of online games. We are launching our first project within a month or so, and it is a service where users must sign up to create a free account. Our goal is to simply get as many users signed up as we can in order to grow as large and as quickly as possible.
Since we are a small firm, we only have a few thousand dollars to put towards advertising and marketing. We’ve already decided on positioning and a target market.
So the question is: How can we get the most bang for our buck? We’ve considered Google Adwords, MySpace or Facebook advertising, and online contests/giveaways. Any other ideas or strategies?
Jay’s Answer: Focus on your strategy first. You have a lot of competition online (over 31,000,000 pages when I searched for “free online games”, and 1,000,000 for “free role-playing games”) so it makes sense to plan rather than spend your money randomly.
Are your games much different/better than what’s out there? Is there another company that you can team up with – offering your games (content) in exchange for ad revenue on their site?
PopCap Games (www.popcap.com) has been around since 2000, and has successfully grown their company. They have free web-based games. Free downloadable games (but you need to pay for higher levels or longer play). Multiple hardware platforms. No ad revenue, though.
If you’re focusing on role-playing gamers, then it would make sense to find the popular role-playing forums & blogs and tell them about your games, why they’re great, how they’re different. Send a press release to role-playing magazines or a personal introduction letter to the web game reviewer on staff.
Create a blog about your site. Allow people to share tips/tricks. Rant. Applaud. Actively respond to questions/problems. You’re trying to build community – make it easy for people to hand around.