Case Study – Rising Lords
“Game If You Are have done a great job in developing our social media and community from 0 to thousands in just a few months, and generating an initial wave of press coverage for our game. Lewis and Jon are very friendly, helpful and competent, and we’re glad to have them accompany us all the way from announcement to release. This way we’re able to focus on development, knowing that marketing is in good hands.” – Christian Fernholz, co-founder of Argonwood
When Argonwood first approached us early in the process of planning their debut strategy game, Rising Lords, we knew it would be a good fit. Argonwood were looking for a marketing partner with whom they could collaborate right from the start – designing and developing their title in tandem with the marketing plan, rather than trying to retro-fit publicity campaigns later on.
We’re big advocates of an integrated approach to indie game marketing, so we were delighted to be able to help Argonwood establish how they could make their game fit a gap in the market and appeal to strategy game fanatics from the off. Here’s what we did.
What we did
With the benefit of time on our hands, we set about designing a robust strategy phase for Argonwood, including in-depth market research and competitor analysis that put the studio’s early work and ideas through their paces with their target audience. We took to the internet to find 100 strategy game fanatics to answer a survey about their feelings on the current strategy game scene, and provide feedback on early ideas and visual mock-ups Argonwood had produced. The result was a robust set of data that showed clear patterns of interest within the market – which meant Argonwood could shape their game design accordingly, and we could plan a highly targeted campaign to appeal to this niche audience.
With this information, we set about crafting a multi-phase strategy designed to make the most of a limited budget over a period of time. Working closely with Argonwood to understand their production schedule, we hatched a plan to deliver an initial announcement campaign to the media to generate early interest from the target audience, before encouraging social media and mailing list sign-ups by promising exclusive early alpha access to people who signed up by a certain date. This alpha would allow for further feedback and refinement of the game, before a subsequent press preview campaign and public demo to ramp up excitement in the run-up to the game’s launch.
Throughout the process, we used granular targeting methods to attract more and more social media followers, and continued to engage them via daily social media content – using analytics data to understand which post types would be the most successful to continue to reach the widest possible audience of interested parties.
What we achieved
Rising Lords’ announcement was covered by a wide variety of games publications including the world’s leading strategy game-specific outlets. With the initial interest we were able to capture a dedicated social media and community following early on, across Twitter and Steam in particular.
By embedding into strategy game communities and reaching out personally to social influencers in the sector, we were able to generate significant interest in Rising Lords’ upcoming exclusive alpha. Within just three months, we had generated a list of several thousand engaged followers on Twitter and an official mailing list – followers we have kept engaged via regular mailing list and social content. Our Twitter content achieved an average engagement rate of 2.4% while our mailing list content engaged an average of 35% per newsletter – both figures substantially above sector averages.
The alpha was well-received by the community allowing Argonwood to further refine their proposition, and support for the title grew in the run-up to our second campaign in Spring 2019. With a dual focus on the next testing phase and an exclusive press demo, we secured a range of media coverage including a double-page spread in PC Gamer magazine. We are now actively planning for the game’s launch later in 2019.