VR App Marketing - Channel Marketing Overview

In this guide, we focus on the marketing channels: social media, email, web, events, and any other platforms you leverage to raise awareness and ultimately convert your audience. It’s important to remember that every app and product is different and deserves its own unique marketing mix.

Each of the channels mentioned below could, and have, their own full marketing courses. This guide offers a snapshot of channel specific considerations + best practices for you to get started as you develop optimize your marketing efforts.

Following this guide, remember to also check out Marketing Best Practices Guide to further inform and inspire you to effectively market your VR app.

Social media + Community Forums

It will come as no surprise that social media is a core pillar of any marketing strategy. These channels give you the ability to authentically share relevant content with your audience and target a specific audience segment with your latest messaging.

See below for social and community best practices specific to your social channels.

Ground your decisions in your audience: While it should be considered within all of your marketing channels, it’s especially important for social, as it ensures your posts + content are not simply swiped past. Use your audience research to guide your social efforts and create content that speaks to your audience. Focus on common demographics, the types of content and gameplay they enjoy and any other attributes you discover in your research efforts.

A small budget can go a long way: While “small” is obviously relative to the size of your organization, a minimal budget can help you to test and learn with certain audience segments or creative direction. A budget can also enable your ability to grow your audience at a faster rate than with organic engagement only.

You can still make an impact with little to no budget: ...on the other hand, if you have no budget, social can still be a great place to inform and engage your audience. We recommend you tap into specific cultural conversations and tag relevant members of your community whenever possible. Great content can go a long way, but it will help a great deal to be a part of an existing conversation!

Reporting -- Understand what’s working and what’s not: As we discuss in the general marketing considerations section below, be sure to identify what matters most as you plan your next social campaign. Both retention and acquisition can include specific key metrics, but you might also measure success by reach (number of views/visitors), engagement (comments/mentions/likes), cost per new follower (CPNF), or you might create a way to measure meaningful engagement.

Benchmark these metrics: Reporting is important, but make sure you’re benchmarking this data against a measurable, informed data point. You might look into specific industry benchmarks, or check out what sorts of numbers similar accounts are achieving. Check these every 6-12 months and adjust accordingly.

Tooling -- Do your research + remember that many social tools are relatively affordable: There are a number of user friendly tools for moderation, social listening, and editorial planning that require little to no cost. Be sure to check out the tooling section of the Marketing Best Practices Guide, do your research, and hopefully your suite of tools will help you effectively scale your social marketing efforts.

Community Forums: Reddit, Discord

Especially if you don’t have a massive budget, your digital communities and forums-based channels should be essential to how you engage, support, and provide value to your audience. These give you the opportunity to interact directly with your community, and not only increase sales, but truly build long term relationships which can last well beyond the release of a single app.

Understand the guidelines and standards of each channel/forum: Each channel has their own guidelines, along with user expectations for the types of communication (authentic conversation vs sales-focused messaging). This includes image/video asset sizing requirements which can become quite the challenge if you don’t have these documented prior to production.

Existing communities are also essential: Research those existing communities that would value your input. Obviously this includes VR specific subreddits, but also those that align with the genre of your app, as well as any relevant Discord channels.

Be transparent about who you are: Make it clear to the forum audience that you are the developer of your app. Be authentic and honest. When you post your latest trailer, include more information about yourself, the game, and any other information that would be valuable or spark conversation. On a subreddit, ask the moderator of the channel to enable a Developer Flair for added clarity.

Be authentic and creative -- It’s not always about selling: Along with being transparent about who you are on these forums. Create valuable content that sparks conversation and engagement, and avoid simply posting content as some sort of selling tactic. It is generally not effective to focus on advertisement-esque content within forums, and may hurt your brand in the long term.

For more on the subject of building your community, check out the following presentation from Facebook Connect 2020.

Email Program

Email is one of the most consistent, reliable channels for marketers of any product, but like every channel, it does require a certain element of technical knowledge, creativity, and awareness of how to leverage data effectively. If you’re looking to use email to engage your audience within their inbox, keep in mind the following considerations, and be sure to also take into account the tooling section outlined within the Marketing Best Practices, Tips, and Examples guide.

Sign up for similar email programs: Looking for ideas on how to build a successful email channel? Sign up for emails by development studios or general brands you appreciate. Notice how you signed up, the sorts of content they provide in each email, and the general layout and design. Be sure to research those email campaigns that your target audience also enjoys.

Before you send emails, promote email sign up: The first challenge of building a successful email program is building your contact list. Find ways to interact with your audience throughout your marketing channels and direct them to sign up for email communication. If you’re struggling to build your contact list, research how established studios approach this challenge.

Contact list building tactics: One way to increase email sign up is to include a modal on your website for users to enter their email address. Embed a sign up option within your header or footer that’s easy to find, or if you have the technical resources, add an Exit Intent Modal to give users the option to sign up as they look to exit your website. Make it easy to close the modal, and include a rule to display the modal once per user to avoid annoying your audience.

Welcome Email + other opportunities for email content: It’s generally recommended to send a greeting email when someone initially signs up, from here, see below for a few more email-specific content ideas:

  • Content Showcase: Highlight a recent blog post, or featured video from a relevant influencer.
  • Ongoing Newsletter: If you’re generating enough content + news to share with your audience, why not why not share these in more of a list/newsletter format? For added authenticity, include third party links that you and your community would find interesting.
  • News / Announcements: What’s the big news? Do you have an online event coming up? How about an upcoming sale? Did you release new merch? If your audience signed up for email communication, they’re excited to hear more.

Email send frequency: While it’s easy to to be weary of sending too many emails. Don’t. Mounds of data shows that if your audience is interested in your app/brand, they will engage with this channel.

Ensure you can manage unsubscription data: This should be obvious, but make sure you can manage changes in your contact list if someone unsubscribes. From a UX as well as a security/policy perspective, this could not be stressed enough. Pay special attention to privacy requirements in each region, including CANN SPAM for the USA, CPPA for the state of California, and GDPR for UK citizens. This leads us to the final bullet...

Don’t hide the option to unsubscribe: As long as you’re not losing major % of your contact list, unsubscribes should not be feared. This simply means these individuals will not receive your email, and in turn, no longer impact the email metrics that matter, CTR, Open Rate, etc. With this in mind, make it easy for users to unsubscribe if they prefer to do so.

Email Design, Writing, and Layout Best Practices

While the look and feel of your emails should align with your brand strategy and the objective of that particular message, here are a few best practices you should keep in mind for each section of your email:

Subject Line

  • Avoid generic messages. Write creatively and spark the reader’s interest.
  • Write concisely. Get to the point, write in a focused manner.
  • Sentence case is recommended for more conversational emails, in general this would be recommended for game-focused messaging.
  • While you want to do your best to avoid spam filters these are constantly evolving, a few key characters/words to avoid include the use of all caps, “free”, !, and $.
  • In regards to ideal length, a study by Marketo recommends 41-characters or 7-words, although we generally recommend focusing on the value of your message as opposed to hitting these recommendations down to a specific character or word count.
  • If available and you can do so authentically, use dates to convey a sense of urgency.
  • Be sure to include a pre-header. A preheader is a short blurb of copy that is displayed near your subject line within most email service providers. If you do not include a pre-header, these services will simply use the first string of text within the body of your email which is not always ideal.

Body Copy

  • While staying on brand, be sure to keep the use of different font types, sizes, and colors to a minimum.
  • Many consumers turn off the ability for their email client to download images, so keep image use to a minimum and integrate metadata for all imagery so the user can understand what assets have not loaded.
  • Keep your emails concise. Avoid using many lengthy paragraphs of text. Simply link to more content on your website and other owned channels.
  • Use bullet points to feature key messaging.

Footer Design

  • Enable your reader to unsubscribe through a clearly displayed link. Note that this can also be placed in the header of your email if preferred.
  • The footer is an ideal place to link out to further engagement opportunities including your social channels.
  • It’s generally recommended to include links to your Privacy Policy + Terms of Service, as well as your legal address and title of incorporation.

Website and Other Web Channels

Your website should act as the hub of your organization or app title. Be sure to create a user friendly experience that enables the user to find what they need with minimal friction. Like all other channels, your audience research and product strategy should inform the technology, UX, and design that make up your website. See below for a few more considerations as you look to plan this key marketing channel.

Is your web presence app specific or organization focused?: If you look around the VR ecosystem, you will notice that some developers prefer to create a single website that houses all information about their organization. These sites include a general homepage focused on the studio, a career page, about us, as well as information about existing/upcoming apps. Consider your resources, technical needs, content available, and channel goals, you may want to create a unique site specific for each app. In the end, a web strategy should ladder up to your product strategy, or goals for the organization.

Consider your audience segments: Different users have different goals when they arrive at your website. Think through potential user goals, like simply finding more about your app, learning more about your studio, or potentially purchasing your app. Be sure to take into account new and existing members of your community.

Think about your consumer journey: With your audience segments in mind, consider each user’s journey, how they might find your website and each step they will take within your website as they look to accomplish their unique task.

Consider press and influencers: If press or potential partners want to learn more about your organization, help them find what they’re looking for by making a press kit and contact form easily discoverable.

Integrate your email/CRM within the site: This does require a certain amount of time and resources, but if you have a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, or a relatively robust email system, be sure that you integrate these within your web experience. This will help you better understand your audience, their journey, and the success of your marketing efforts.

Co-Marketing and Partnerships

While partnerships and co-marketing are more of an overarching effort, it can be an extremely impactful way to generate value for your community while maximizing the efficiency of your budget.

This method of marketing is constantly changing as it requires, creativity, communication, and a little bit of luck, that being said, here are a few things to keep in mind:

What to remember as you look to integrate co-marketing into your marketing strategy

Establish symbiotic relationships and win-win opportunities: Establishing relationships is obviously a bit of an art and a science, but once you’ve got a connection, be sure to understand their needs and their target audience, listen, and be an authentic partner.

Potential areas of focus for your partnership: Partners can come from all industries, sizes, and geographies. Here are just a few examples of stakeholders that might be a good fit for future co-marketing opportunities:

  • OEM / hardware manufacturers
  • Intellectual property owners that align with your app style
  • The engine you leverage to drive your app
  • Platform-owners
  • Audio tooling companies

Channels and opportunities for collaboration: Once you’re connected with a potential partner, work with them to understand their goals, and align on specific channels where you can maximize the value of this partnership, these might include:

  • Digital or analogue events
  • Email
  • Webinars
  • Video streaming opportunities

Marketing Tools for Added Efficiency and Impact

To maximize your team’s efficiency, you will naturally leverage different tools for planning, management, and production for each of your marketing channels. Your team’s size, budget, and target audience will all impact how you research and select your ideal suite of marketing tools, but here are a few considerations to take into account as you acquire the tools that are right for you.

Understand what you need and do your research: The marketing tool environment is vast. You can spend many resources on a tool for each channel before you’ve sent a single newsletter, published a web page, or scheduled a single tweet. Be sure to understand your goals for each channel while recognizing that you can spend as much, or as little $ on each tool you select.

Consider you/your team’s expertise, especially in regards to asset/channel management: While many marketing tools are relatively lightweight in regards to LOE, some may require technical knowledge to build a channel, design each piece of content, and/or analyze the resulting data. Consider these technical requirements, as you may want to select a simpler tool that enables you to get started quickly and manage your channel autonomously without required support from a third party.

Consider data analysis capabilities: Your ability to analyze the results of your social channels, email campaigns, and web traffic should be a key consideration for each tool you select. While many enterprise-level tools provide added capabilities for analysis, they may require a more data focused expert to pull and analyze this data.

Tools, features, and options are vast: The above list of considerations is rather high level, as we would need a few more pages to go into all the different features available for each tool for each channel. From personalizing content based on cross channel behavior or geography, to out of box design features, A/B testing, and analysis, depending on your budget you have plenty of options. Remember, these tools should save you time and resources, not become a burden.

What’s Next?

You now have an understanding for the channels available to you, and a few of the key insights to be successful. Be sure to check out the Marketing Best Practices Guide for a number of best practices and considerations that will impact all of your channels and your full marketing strategy.