You have put in hours of work to create something wonderful. First of all, congratulations! It was not easy, for sure. Now all you need is an audience, right? Although therein lies the problem. That coveted audience can be hard to find. Very hard, in fact. Your app can easily be buried in the sludge pile of self-published marketplaces, dismissed as worthless, or worst of all: not seen at all! If you’re sure that your only problem is that you’re missing an audience, that your product is perfect, then this guide to free marketing will certainly help.

If you’ve ever taken a look at the mobile gaming marketplaces (Google Play, App Store, Windows Store), then you’ve seen the clones occupying it. Each title is either a synonym for Clash, Legend, Runner, or has a bird or animal of some kind; the icons are usually a screaming person, a close-up of food, or a classic rehash in neon colors. While it would be wise to avoid these clichés, the bottom line here is that it will be hard to stand out. So to get started with your marketing campaign, start local. Build a base there; then expand.

Of course, tell your family and friends. So-

Print flyers with tabs at the bottom. Each tab should have your app’s URL printed on it. Interested consumers can pull out these tabs to remind them to download it later. You can find free bulletin boards to post your flyers at most laundromats and many grocery stores. College campuses also often have quite a few bulletin boards. Word of mouth is a good start, so think of each pulled tab as a new speaker, who will then tell your friends around the world, who in turn could spread the word even further. Also, consumers will often be kinder and more likely to write a positive review if they think it will help someone in their circle, even if that circle is the whole city. Loyalty work for sports teams; may work for your application.

Create business cards to hand out whenever your app comes up in a conversation. A personalized bumper sticker or car magnets are a great way to make every trip you take a publicity outing. Avoid placing fliers under the windshield wipers, as this is more likely to annoy than cultivate interest. A personalized t-shirt with your app’s name, images, and where to download it is another great way to passively advertise while you’re touring great local events (balloon races, rib contests, farmers markets).

After you market locally, move on to the internet. You will obviously find a much larger potential audience here. To get started, make blog posts on your personal website(s) about your app or game. Also, create a YouTube gameplay video and video trailer to showcase your work. Also, since you will be sending some emails, create an automatic signature with your name and links to your app or game.

Forums are a good place to find an audience. SlideDB, ModDB, IndieDB and Penny Arcade allow you to submit a post about your game as well as updates. Reddit is a very popular website with subreddits (smaller groups of particular interest) that host posts about indie games. /r/IndieGaming and /r/freegames are two such subreddits with a large following, but a simple search can lead you to many more. The development software used to create the game also has related company forums, where you can share your game. Beyond this, use social networks. Post to Twitter, making sure to use hashtags like #indiedev #gamedev and those more specific to your app or game, to get views beyond your followers. Tweet independent game reviewers with information about your app. Post to Facebook to connect with family and friends and keep them up to date; and Instagram, as well as Pinterest, again using tags to reach new markets. You can create a press release and submit it to press release websites in the hope that journalists will pick it up to write a story, or submit the press release directly to local newspapers or magazines.

Consider posting to non-mainstream platforms like GooglePlay. Other such publishing platforms include: SlideME, GameJolt, and NewGrounds. Video reviewers are also a good idea to help build buzz. ArcadeGo is one such promoter, but many others can be found by searching for ‘gameplay videos’ and following game reviewers to their account pages, where you can find and contact them via email requesting a review.

Free app review websites are another way to get seen. Submit your app to all the app reviewers you can find and a good number of them should accept your game or app if it is of high quality. App reviewers include: The Great Apps, Indie Game Dev, AppsZoom, AppBrain, AppZoom, Indie Game Hunt, and Super Game Droid.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Terminating your app or game is only half the battle. The other half is finding an interested audience. Working with and reaching out to these reviewers, forums, and your local community; however, it will help ensure that you get more attention than doing nothing.

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