5 Ways to Market your Party Card Game and Surpass Cards Against Humanity as Most Popular Game Ever.
We’ve been selling the Word Mines card game since 2018 and we’ve tried many different methods to spread awareness about the game. To be frank, the adult card game space is very crowded and competitive, so you have to think outside the box to make your game stand out! Here’s the five methods that we’ve found to be most effective.
1. Drop off a free game at breweries or bars.
Many breweries have game shelves full of party games and depending on where you live, breweries can be popular social hangouts for a younger crowd and they may be looking for games for entertainment while they sip their suds. It’s a great way to get a ton of eyes on your game. Start off with dropping games off at local breweries, then whenever you go on vacation or travel for work, pack a couple of games with you and drop them off at breweries in new cities. You could try to covertly drop the game off at the game shelf without anyone noticing, but I’ve found that it’s always better to ask the bartender if you can give them a free game. I have never been denied (because who doesn’t like free stuff?), and sometimes they even give you a free beer in exchange!
a. Pro tip: be sure to check back in a few months to see if the game is still there because someone may have liked the game so much that they took it home with them (or the cards might be soaked with beer). It’s a slight bummer as it is a lost sale, but suck it up and just drop off another game.
2. Participate in local holiday markets.
There’s likely a ton of pop-up markets around the holidays that highlight local vendors and this is a great way to market your game and get some direct sales (and save money on shipping costs). Sometimes the markets are focused on local “makers” of handmade goods so if you use another company to print your game, you won’t make the cut. But, there are other markets that are looser on their rules, so reach out to as many markets as you can and see if they’ll let you in. I’ve never seen another game vendor at any of the markets we’ve been at, which really made us stand out and we’ve sold a ton of games. And even if you don’t sell a ton of games, it’s a great way to build awareness of your game. To find markets, follow local brewery Instagram pages as they’ll post upcoming markets, or search “craft markets” on Facebook. As you participate in markets, be sure to network with other vendors to learn about other markets. Also, it’s fun to talk to other vendors as they’ll often want to swap products, so you can both get deals on each other’s products. It’s a win-win!
a. Pro tip: create a contest for market attendees so they can directly experience how fun the game is. For Word Mines, we had pairs of people play for one minute, and the group who guessed the most cards in a minute by the end of the market received a free game. This can be a little tricky because you might have a pair of players have a great score towards the beginning of the market and they may leave by the time the market is over, so jot down their email or cell number in case they end up winning. Then mail them a game!
3. Post on Social media.
This is a tough nut to crack, but it’s almost table stakes for the business world these days. Before buying a game, customers may try to find your game on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube to learn more about it. So, you want to have the best content available to give the potential customer a good impression. The more you post the better, but it can be a real grind. So, at the very least, post a “How to Play” video and post a couple gameplay videos. If you can get a group of friends together to play your game, capture some footage of them playing (and hopefully laughing) and post that video. You could also post some graphics of funny quotes or favorable reviews. You could look into boosting (paid advertising to increase the reach of the posts) your best posts too.
a. Pro tip: We’ve had mixed results with boosting, but sometimes Facebook offers deals for boosted posts, so we try to take advantage of those (for example, they may offer $20 in free advertising if you spend $20).
4. Reach out to local radio stations and try to get team to play game on live radio.
Ok, this one may seem impossible, but we’ve had not one, but TWO local radio stations play Word Mines during their morning shows. Typically, these morning shows have 2-3 consistent hosts and then they usually bring in guests from time to time. They’re always looking for new ideas to spice things up and to entertain their listeners. Also, I think they appreciate when your game was made locally (or at least invented locally). The first radio station to play it was lined up through a friend who worked at the radio station, so that was more of a unique situation, but the second radio station was totally out of left field. We sent them an email and mentioned how we were big fans of the morning show and we had a game that may be fun for the morning show to play. They said they’d be interested so we mailed them a game and they actually played it on live radio! You can try to reach out and get a recording of the session to use for social media posts too.
a. Pro tip: depending on the vibe of your game, definitely choose a radiio station morning show that fits the vibe. I definitely wouldn’t have a Christian rock radio station try to play Word Mines.
5. Be picky about Influencer marketing.
This is another tough nut to crack, but I’ve found that it’s best to approach this in unconventional ways. For example, I wanted to try to give the game to a local comedian and I decided to shoot for the moon and try to give a game to Nick Swardson. My plan was to find where he lived and drop a game off at his front step with a handwritten note (this is potentially creepy / stalker-ish, but my intentions are good and harmless), but I couldn’t figure out his address after hours of searching online, BUT I did figure out where his sister lived. So, I dropped a game in a gift bag and left it on Rachel Swardson’s front step and low and behold, she posted on Instagram about it a few days later! She also ended up bringing it to New Year’s Eve party and posted another pic of a friend holding up a card. Sometimes, the most dramatic efforts get the best results.
a. Watchouts: ok, quick story time. We had a so-called “influencer” reach out to us and offered to post a video of him playing the game for $400. He had a ton of followers so it seemed like a good investment. He sent us a video to review and it was TERRIBLE (like he made it in five minutes in his basement), so then we asked him to make another video, and that was a little bit better, but still not great. Then he posted it and we paid him the $400. Then we waited for the sales to come in, but, we waited and waited, and no joke, we did not receive a single sale from his post. Then we investigated his followers and we think that the vast majority of his followers were bots. Then he sends us an email later that year and said that he’s removing all of his old posts, so we lost any chance of others happening to stumble upon his old post. This was a big waste of time and money. FYI – his name was Chase Crawford, so avoid him.