how to market a board game

How to market a board game. It can be a long, extracted procedure. Some of this returns to the process of creating your video game, getting it made, and raising funds. Yet if there were a single thing that self-publishers frequently fail at, it’s marketing.

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Marketing covers a large selection of activities that persuade individuals to appreciate and eventually buy your video game. Yet that meaning does not do it justice. Marketing is best comprehended as a continuous process that breathes itself into everything you do as a self-publishing board game developer. As an example, take a look at this old job timeline for Highways & Byways. That gray bar at the bottom of the chart that stretches from the starting to the end is identified Marketing.

Marketing is something I put tons of time and thought into. I have actually finished with my MBA and I’m a published scientist in the topic of online viral marketing. Even still, there is a lot to find out that even with that background, I have a hard time getting my arms around marketing as a whole.

Because of that, this is going to be a long post. I’ve broken it into 12 unique areas for the sake of readability.

  • Targeting
  • Attention, Interest, Desire, And Action
  • Product
  • Your Specific niche
  • Rate
  • Process & Logistics
  • Core Principles of Promotion
  • Outreach
  • Evaluations
  • Distribution
  • Kickstarter
  • Marketing


Game of Darts

There is no best product. There is no perfect audience. When it pertains to marketing, there is no other way to make something that is objectively the very best in all scenarios. Since value is so subjective, what you need to focus on is making the ideal item for a really specific audience.

In board gaming, there are lots of little neighborhoods. Keep in mind, the board game community is not a monolithic singular entity, but rather an entire lot of different mini-communities with interests that roughly line up. For instance, I’ll never ever get people to play Golden Battle with me at a celebration, but Codenames ? now we’re talking. All the considerations that enter into making a video game– length, weight, rate, art design, gameplay, packaging, and so on– requires to be tailored for a very specific audience. Additionally, you can make whatever you want and just discover the ideal audience later on. Both approaches work and have different benefits and drawbacks.

The goal of marketing, especially when you’re little and simply getting going, is not to broadcast your message. Till you have a big media presence, you can’t truly utilize “the buzz machine” to your benefit. You just do not have the power to do that. You can, however, target an extremely specific audience– this is the best usage of your restricted resources and it’s a lot more efficient. Do not transmitted. Narrowcast instead.

Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action

I have actually pointed out the AIDA design before in How to Get Huge on Twitter as a Board Game Dev. Much of what I said there bears duplicating.

AIDA Design

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. When you’re a marketer, the first thing you require to do is get individuals to know you exist– attention. Then you have to make individuals appreciate your game– interest. If they begin to want your game, that’s a good sign– desire. Next, they get on your site or Amazon with objective to buy– action. Marketing is a slow dance. You need to very gradually build your credibility.

The concept here is that marketing is not practically getting attention and targeting your audience well. No, it has to do with convincing people to buy your video game and to speak about. This is a multi-step process and you need to comprehend that. You can not merely shout about your game into the void of Twitter and wish the best. You require to produce a “sales funnel.”

Here is an example of a sales funnel:

  • Usage social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to “generate leads” or garner Attention.
  • Ask individuals individually if they wish to sign up for your newsletter. If they say yes, that’s Interest.
  • Utilize your newsletter successfully to create Desire.
  • Once you have actually created desire, ask to take Action, like backing your Kickstarter.
  • There are a million methods to do this and I can’t inform you the best. In fact, I’m still tweaking, learning, and growing all the time on this since I’ve not yet refined my sales funnel.


If you look on Board Game Geek, you’ll discover that there are numerous types of video games out there. It’ll make your head spin. You would like to know exactly what sort of video game you’re making so that you can select the ideal target market and tweak around them. If you can’t describe your game, you’re in deep marketing trouble.

I suggest you look on Parlor game Geek to discover comparable video games to yours. There will constantly be comparable games. Know how to make contrasts of your game to other games. Highways & Byways, for example, is a racing video game with a board that appears like Ticket to Flight crossed with a highway map.

Know how to describe mechanics that remain in your video game and see who it interest. Some people dislike “take that” mechanics since they’re too mean-spirited, such as the well-regarded customer, Rahdo. It’s no usage offering a game with “take that” mechanics to him, then, is it? Similarly, some individuals truly, actually like “take that” mechanics and they’re the ones I offer War Co. to.

Know precisely who you’re trying to interest. This identifies your target audience. Your target audience will vary with each game.

Your Niche

The intersection of your item and your target makes your niche. This is an unique location in the market that you occupy much better than anybody else (preferably). Your specific niche in the parlor game industry is your competitive benefit. You want to own a specific niche. You wish to scratch a specific itch for a particular individual much better than anyone else.

When you have the perfect item for a specific target, that’s how you get a specific niche. When you have a working sales funnel that your target audience responds to, that’s how you turn a specific niche into money.


Rate is not terribly important. I understand, blasphemy, but bear with me for a 2nd. If you’re making the best game for your specific niche, your consumers are lot less most likely to nickel and cent you. For that matter, in my observation, board players want to spend cash hand over fist for a great deal of brand-new video games. That’s why you see a lot of huge titles retailing at 70, 80, or 100 dollars.

The degree to which customers make choices based entirely on rate is called “rate sensitivity.” Board players aren’t all that sensitive to rate, and here’s some evidence ?

Process & Logistics

Marketing is more than merely item, niche, prices, and establishing a marketing system. It’s likewise about the subjective experiences that individuals have while they’re handling you. It’s also about what people think of when they hear about your video game, when they hear about your website, and when they hear your name. This can all be classed under the bailiwick of “branding.”.

How do you manage your viewed branding? Yes, your site, logo, and all that stuff matters, but let’s speak about 4 specific logistics processes which affect how people view your brand:.

The sales procedure. Everything about how you approach people impacts your brand name. From the language you use, the venues you reach out to individuals through, and the entire procedure by which you persuade people to buy your product falls under the sales process.
The purchasing or pre-order process. The website or offline sales channels you use to help with purchasing or pre-ordering impact how individuals see you. You want buying to be as seamless as possible so you appear professional.
The fulfillment procedure. You require to meet games as effectively and cost-effectively as possible. You desire people to think about you as somebody who keeps their pledges.
The returns procedure. If people choose they do not like your game, you require to have a seamless return procedure. Individuals who return your video games but have a good experience returning the video game will have a more favorable view of your brand name. They may choose to buy from you later on.

While procedures and logistics may seem just like methods to an end, it’s important that individuals seem like they’re being dealt with well at every step of the procedure. This is a vital part of marketing due to the fact that these processes will identify your credibility.

Core Ideas of Promotion.

Wikipedia says that” [p] romotion covers the techniques of communication that an online marketer uses to offer information about it’s item.” Simply put, promotion is how you spread the word about your service. When you’re a first time company owner, or specifically a very first time game dev, proficiency of promo is definitely critical to your success. That’s why half this guide is committed to promotion and promotion alone.

Promo is a big tent that covers a great deal of different principles which I cover in more detail listed below. The first is outreach– how you discover first-time consumers (also known as “lead generation”). One extremely specific type of outreach that is critical in the parlor game industry is the evaluation process. Then you have circulation, which tends to overlap with promo in some crucial methods. Kickstarter itself, which lots of people incorrectly view as the means of being successful in the parlor game industry in and of itself, is a kind of promotion. Lastly, there is likewise advertising– an extremely effective and nuanced type of promotion that tends to frighten individuals off since it costs loan.


Outreach is how you discover individuals to care about your game. It is how you find your target and tell them about your product so that you can carve out your niche. Some people call this “list building.”.

There are a variety of fantastic methods you can run an efficient outreach campaign. You can use social media, go to conventions, do an e-mail newsletter, start a chatroom, create a Facebook group, and even advertise. While there are some approaches that are more reliable than others, you want to choose a kind of outreach that you like and truly stick to it. Simply try one or two kinds of outreach in the beginning and work your way up if you find that you have enough time to do more.

Social Media.
Social media consists of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other popular sites where people tend to hang out. This is what people right away leap to when they think about outreach. Nevertheless, mastering social networks is a difficulty all of its own and that needs nuanced thinking which I define in Setting Up Social Media as a Board Game Dev: A Guide Course. This is the most approachable method to discover and connect to your target audience, but it’s also a wonderful method to get ignored in the endless shuffle of these continuously noisy networks.

You can likewise meet a lot of people very rapidly by going to parlor game cons. By fulfilling people face-to-face and getting contact information such as contact number and email addresses, you can get connect to great deals of people in a brief amount of time. Cons, nevertheless, are daunting, cost a great deal of money, and take a lot of time. As I have a full-time task and can’t take off that many days, cons are not right for me the majority of the time– though I am beginning to look for more weekend cons. Don’t write them off just because they do not work for me yet!

Email newsletters are a fantastic way to connect to people, too. You need to request for a lot of email addresses and put out a routine, high-quality newsletter with a service like Mailchimp. It’s difficult to do both of these things, however email is by far one of the greatest methods to contact individuals online. Offered a choice in between a newsletter of 100 and a Twitter following of 1000, I would take the newsletter every single time– no contest. I have actually personally had fantastic results with my newsletter (which you ought to completely sign up for).

I can not begin to list all the different forms of outreach. This element of company benefits creativity and effort. As long as you can reach out to an extremely targeted group of people and stay connected with them on an organized basis, you’re well on your way to succeeding with outreach.


Evaluations require their own section as a really particular form of outreach. They are such a vital credibility-builder for brand-new game devs. Excellent reviews persuade people to purchase your game. The occasional bad review still gets your name out there for others to discover you later, plus it makes you look more genuine.

Usage Reddit, Board Game Geek, and social media to recognize customers who fall within your target audience. You’ll want to send video games to them when it comes time for the evaluation stage of your game’s development. If the reviewer is a professional with an engaged audience and you select based on them falling within your target market, you have a likelihood of getting a good evaluation that is seen by individuals who were currently predisposed to like your video game’s style from the start.


Circulation includes ways that your game is seen beyond simply your site or company Amazon account. It is in some cases helpful to have third-party sellers or membership boxes offer your video game on your behalf. When you’re starting out, the direct exposure alone can be extremely helpful to you. Good distribution gets your game seen by more individuals.

Would like to know a trick? This is in fact something I’ve mishandled on War Co. in the past, so I do not want to profess to be an expert on this. I encourage you to ask concerns about the ideal method to disperse your game and do much better than I did my first time.


Kickstarter is the last action in a long marketing dance for a lot of video game developers. Your Kickstarter campaign is generally only the Action part of AIDA. Getting people to pay Attention, growing their Interest, and cultivating Desire– those are all up to you. Kickstarter is nothing more than a struck match on a pile of tinder that you assembled yourself.

That stated, about 30-40% of backers tend to find you through the search, implying Kickstarter is a great kind of outreach. A great deal of individuals who don’t care at all about social media are trawling Kickstarter searching for the newest new. Still, the degree to which Kickstarter contributes dollars-wise tends to pin itself to how much of an entourage you bring on your own.

I believe it’s also worth mentioning that $1 rewards are among the very best things you can have on Kickstarter. Yes, it makes your backer count go up, which is itself a good thing. More importantly, though, once the project is done, you can ask everyone to submit a study– suggesting you can ask for e-mail addresses if you have a newsletter. Kickstarter is not just a method of persuading individuals to offer you money, it can likewise be a way to catch and hold attention for future games.


Advertising is the last thing I wanted to cover. Individuals tend to get alarmed by marketing because they dislike the idea of quiting their tough made cash for something abstract. Plus, it’s extremely easy to get burned by marketing and you see a great deal of clever individuals talking bad about marketing due to the fact that they stopped working to understand more vital, basic marketing lessons. Still, the possible time savings might just deserve a few hundred dollars in Facebook ads. You ‘d be a fool to dismiss advertising entirely.

Facebook and Parlor game Geek tend to be respectable places to promote board games. I ‘d adhere to Facebook when you’re new, however, because Board Game Geek has an actually high minimum expense. Facebook does not need you to spend much at all and it likewise comes with robust analytics that let you make the most of your advertisement.

When you make an advertisement, you require to imitate a scientist, developing advertisements and seeing how individuals react to them. You subtly fine-tune them up until you get better and much better responses. However where do you start? Start with something that your target audience will react to. Start with the tightest, tiniest possible audience.

When you have a tight target and a good basic concept of what to say to grab attention, you need one last thing. You require to make certain your advertisement goes to a page that leads to high conversions. The word “conversion” here suggests “a person who does what you desire them to do” in marketing jargon. Do you want them to follow you on Twitter, buy your video game, back your project, or sign up for your newsletter? Concentrate about what you desire individuals to do as soon as you start an advertisement.

Final Ideas.

Marketing board games can be extremely tricky. This short article was designed to provide you a broad summary of all the various things that enter into marketing. My hope is that by spelling everything out, you’ll be more equipped to pitch your game to people who care. Use this guide to ask more concerns, run more tests, and get your wheels turning.

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