You’ve poured your heart and soul into making the best game possible. You’ve play tested, found all the bugs, made sure your code executed perfectly across a wide range of devices and platforms, put in great art and animations, and made sure that your payment gateway is responding properly. However now comes the part that every mobile game startup both looks forward to and dreads, getting people to play their game. While there are many potential marketing strategies that a mobile game startup can use, one of the most tried and tested methods of making any product successful is through the use of referrals.
Referrals are an incredibly successful marketing strategy for a number of reasons. First they provide credibility. When a friend recommends a product you are more likely to try it out, as you know and trust the friend, and believe they have your best interests in mind. Second they have an extremely high ROI. By getting users to collect more clients the amount of money invested by the startup is minimal. At the same time the people who are being referred to the game are most likely within the games target audience, and are the most likely to play and keep playing. Finally, using techniques unique to digital platforms, getting users to give referrals has never been easier. With all of these advantages it is easy to see how referrals can be a powerful tool to aid a mobile game startup in going from startup to industry standard. That being said, here are three ways that mobile game companies can leverage referrals.
Method 1: Premium Gifts
One of the most effective ways to get customers to advertise your products for you is by providing them an incentive to do so. The biggest barrier to users doing your marketing work is a failure by users to see the value in doing so. In the world of mobile gaming this should not be a problem! Companies can offer premium content for free or for a steeply discounted price. This extra content costs almost nothing to produce and, because of its digital nature, once produced can be distributed over and over again. Content can include skins, powerups, items that cut down on wait times, or buyable in game currency. These are all things that customers have shown themselves willing to spend money on, and by offering them free for referrals customers can see a direct value. It is almost like getting paid to play the game you love! Additionally the offer can be extended to the individuals whom they refer. In addition to drawing customers to the value created this strategy has the added bonus of making users accustomed to premium content, making it more likely they will order more in the future, which drives up your revenue
Method 2: Prestige
Users can be rewarded in other ways for referrals. Companies can offer a promotion to let the top 100, or however many, referral generators access to beta test the next game in the series. Additionally they can provide a badge on their profile or offer extra points for their google play gamer profile. None of these strategies cost the firm any money, and they create a core group of dedicated users that will not only actively advertise your game, but help to make a thriving culture of loyal fans within it.
Method 3: Affiliates
No company thinks that users will only ever play games that they make. That is why one popular method of generating referrals is by partnering with other game companies in related but not directly competitive genres. This partnership can work for both companies, increasing the number of users on each platform for a minimal cost. The affiliate method has the added bonus of allowing your startup to network with other companies in order find new project opportunities and to be aware of what the latest trends in mobile gaming are.
As you can see, referral based marketing provides a high ROI with minimal effort, and provides the sort of customers who are likely to stay around and spend money. With great advantages and almost no drawback there’s no reason not to try out a referral program today!
If you would like to employ similar tactics for your business, check out our Free Marketing Checklist.