Why Inbound Marketing is an Indie’s BFF

Why Inbound Marketing is an Indie’s BFF

Last week I attended HubSpot’s Inbound 2012, a trade show devoted to inbound marketing. The tradeshow totally rocked, not just because I got to see Cyndi Lauper sporting dreadlocks and signing the blues (she headlined the event), but because the show reinforced why inbound marketing is the most effective weapon in the indie game developer’s marketing arsenal.

For those of you who haven’t heard the term “inbound marketing” before, let me provide a textbook definition. Inbound marketing is earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content of value. In indie developer terms, creating and posting cool stuff (blogs, podcasts, videos, etc.) about your game that potential fans would like and using SEO and social media to bring them to that content.

Sound interesting? Well, here are three reasons why inbound marketing should go beyond interesting to become your new best friend:

1. Inbound Marketing is Sustainable

Keep your money in your pocket with inbound marketing. (I tried to be a little avant-garde with the Euro 😉 ).

How many of you have tried Google AdWords and thought, “holy schnikes this $h!t is expensive?” Well, you ain’t alone. To win in the PPC game, you need one thing: money. And when I say money, I don’t mean a ton, or even a boatload. I mean the kind of money that can outbid on any keyword no matter the competition. I’m talking EA Sports, Ubistoft and big publisher money. Unless this is you, I suggest you read on.

With inbound marketing, you’re not paying for the traffic you get, you’re earning it through the content you’re publishing. This kind of traffic gets indexed with Google: the more people search and land on your page, the higher your page gets ranked in search results, which in turn drives more traffic and so forth. The best part is, no matter how much money your competition has, you can’t get outbid on organic search results. Inbound marketing allows you to compete with little to no budget and still get just as big of an ROI, making it incredibly sustainable and very indie friendly.

2. Anyone Can Do Inbound Marketing

Anyone can do inbound marketing, including developers who have never done any marketing before.

Here’s the true beauty of inbound marketing: it doesn’t matter if you’re a marketer or a developer, as long as you can type on a computer, use a video camera or speak into a recording device, you can do inbound marketing. The only thing you really need to be proficient at is knowing your audience, i.e., publishing content your readers want to consume, NOT content you want to create. You do that, and you’ll be golden like the child.

3. Inbound Marketing Turns Fans Into Marketers

If you don’t have a marketing staff, or even if you do, make your fans do some marketing work for you.

Once upon a time, there was an indie shop that dreamed of having a marketing staff to bring in gazillions of adoring fans. But alas, this shop had no budget for additional head count, or to pay for advertising. So the developers scoured the web for what they could do and came across something called inbound marketing. They read about publishing content potential fans would like and using SEO and social media to spread the word. Then, they went deeper. They discovered that if they made their content original and easily sharable, their fans might do some work for them. And so they did and suddenly it started to work. Little by little fans were not only consuming the content the little shop was creating, they were sharing it, which in turn cause onsite traffic and App Store sales to rise.

Sound like a dream? It’s not. It’s one of the key concepts inbound marketing is founded on. If you understand your fans, build original content they will love and make it easy for them to share this content…they will.

Photo Credits
Money in Pocket 2 by ilker
Programmer 1 by Milen Yakimov
Crowd in Front of a Stage by John Nyberg

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Emmy Jonassen is a marketing pro who helps indie developers build adoring fanbases. Marketing people who love buzz words call this "lead generation."

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