We’ve past the tipping point in this whole video game affiliate marketing guide.
So far we’ve:
- Got into video games as a means to develop a niche affiliate business
- Found which games define your niche to give your business a focus
- Developed a gaming website and found out a bit of its content strategy
Already this is quite an impressive feat (congratulations if you’ve made it this far) but the biggest battle is yet to come.
At this point you may have a bit of a trick of traffic. That’s good and all but if you really want to start earning a sizeable income off this niche than you need higher numbers.
It’s time to expand the operations, reach out, and build a strong community.
Phase 4: Leveling Up the Audience and Community
Social media marketing, search engine optimization, video marketing, content, and all that jazz gets the job done when it comes to growing your audience and community.
There is no doubt that I believe you already possess the majority of these skills even on a fundamental level (which is actually more than enough for the niche since many gamers don’t really push the marketing angle because they either don’t know how to do so or they don’t like doing the actions).
However (of course there’s a however) …
Gamers are a fickle bunch.
It’s important to understand that many gamers do keep their finger on the pulse of the industry.
They understand the things like:
- When companies are blatantly trying to overly promote and hype a launch
- When companies change their terms of service or back down on their promises
- When companies do a bait and switch with the products
In an essence – they are smart about the whole marketing thing because it’s like any other industry – there are times when they are burned and others when things go way better than expected.
What I’m getting at is that your promotion, marketing, and relationship building needs to be sincere and avoid feeling too pushy.
You have to grow naturally.
Sure, you can pull out all the stops and use every marketing trick in the book but this is likely to just get in the way of your community.
They want to get in, see some cool stuff, follow a cool individual, and then get back to gaming.
Another thing is that you have to play ball with other video game content creators out there.
Some fighting here and there is good for the community if it gives opposing, valid viewpoints but gaming is meant to bring people together and by buddying with fellow enthusiasts (instead of starting a flame war) you’re more likely to pull some of their community into yours.
Gamers don’t rely on just one source for their video game news, reviews, and game play videos – so remember that as you’re putting marketing strategies in place to grow.
Growing – The Gamer Way
Now let’s take a look into some of the ways you can get a start in this whole thing:
- Gaming Websites – Most major gaming websites have a community board. This is your area to shine. You can do write ups, share your feedback, and begin building relationships at this place because it’s a mecca for gaming enthusiasts. It’ll also give you the chance to leave comments and start to know the names in the industry which you could later use to reach out in an attempt to bring them back to your community.
- Gaming Forums – Similar to the above is a strategy I’d highly recommend because you can get the chance to leave signatures, links, and build a profile which will help drive people back to your website.
- Live Streaming – Perhaps the best way to go about gaining fans is to start doing daily live streams of your gaming activity. This puts on a show for people to regularly tune in and within the profiles for these streaming sites, Twitch being the biggest, you can encourage individuals to follow you on other social channels.
- Images & Macros – Images are easy to distribute when you share them to image sharing websites and communities like Reddit.com/r/gaming. Saw something funny in the game? Take a screenshot and get it up. Know some video game facts? Make a little series about them. Watermark your images and it could trickle in some people.
- Direct Contact – Don’t be afraid to get in touch with fellow gamers outside of the games. Buddy up with people and get to know them on a real level. Surely they having gaming friends, too, and even a small group of 10 – 20 people, in the beginning, can lead to a couple hundred once you start to take off. Plus, you could invite them to create content which they’ll feel compelled to reshare since it’s their work.
- Local Meetups – Get out there and attend the local tournaments. Rub elbows with the organizers that put on these events. Do a write up for the site. Sit down and chat with the other gamers instead of just competing. Mention you’re running a site and would be happy to have them on it sometime. Otherwise, host your own events.
- Social – Get that Facebook fan page going and start using Twitter to reach out to gamers and gaming journalists. You can use these types of lists to get a start then dig into their followers which should give you enough gamers to build a strong community.
1. Start really digging into the communities already available and take notes as to which way they lean in terms of enthusiasm. Make note of the most vocal individuals. Make note of those on your level. Start building a rolodex of regular contributors, authors, and gamers that create content.
2. Start completing each of the items detailed above. Get active on a handful of forums (or put all your focus into just one). Get things really rolling with your social by contributing to other sites and sending them back to your best content or social profiles. Sit down and talk with people to build real connections outside of just video games and get them back to the site either as a regular or contributor.
3. Track and measure each promotional technique. Assess and apply the 80/20 principle to your efforts which will weed out those activities which aren’t delivering so you may put your focus into those that do.
Community building is the same for any website, really. The difference, in this niche selection, is that you really have to go above and beyond to bring people back over because once gamers are established with a community they tend to stick to their chosen few. Give them something more by building a one-on-one relationship with them. Do things one at a time until you’ve reached a solid 100 or so true fans and then start making the big plays.