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  • How To Prepare For Your First Game Expo

    - Natalie Mikkelson

  • Banner

    The best graphics attract attention and convey your message, instantly. A visitor should be able to understand what you're offering in three seconds, the time it takes them to walk by your booth. Keep this rule in mind when you're designing your banner as this could be your one chance to grab your audience.

    Keep your branding consistent and make your graphics bold and eye-catching with simple messaging. Don't overuse text on your banner, the less you can use the better: just your title and maybe a sub-heading. Some might add a call to action, but at this stage we're just trying to attract initial interest; we can use flyers for the details.

    Leaflets And Marketing Materials

    highly recommend getting some leaflets printed for your stand because: 1) You're going to get bored pitching to every single passer by real quick (queue no voice left on the second day of the expo); 2) Not everybody wants to hear your pitch. Casual punters can be put off and feel pressured to play your game (queue playing a game you don't like for 10 minutes just so you don't offend the overly keen developer lurking behind you); 3) Business cards are great and all for making an impression, but they can only hold so much info. Ever been to a networking event, only to get home and flip through the hundred cards in your backpack, scratching your head at who the hell some of them belong to? Or what their actual game was? Don't be one of those forgotten business cards.

    Leaflets allow people to see what a game is for themselves, without committing to play it while the developer heavy breathes over their shoulders. Here are the key points to include on your leaflet designs:

    • Call to action. The most important point of all - where to purchase/ download or follow your game.
    • Pricing info, release date, platform.
    • Eye catching imagery that captures your game's message. Bonus points for a catchy line to draw people's attention.
    • A short description, one or two sentences long, that outlines features and what makes your game unique.
    • A varied selection of screenshot examples, if you can squeeze them in.
    • Review quotes, if any.
    • Trackable hashtags, QR codes, links, codes or discount coupons. Bonus points if you can encourage people to interact by tweeting their visit to your stand with your own hashtags.

    And then of course there's your business cards. How many is always a tough question, but better to get too many than not enough. You can always use them again next time after all. I usually take about 200 cards and have plenty to spare, but the suave socialites might need more.

    As for freebies, I'm not a huge believer in freebies being of much benefit. They're great for drawing attention to your stand, but no more than that if you're already on a tight budget. If your banner looks interesting enough and people want to play your game, they'll come to you, freebies or not.

    Expo Checklist

    I bloody love a good checklist. Seriously, this is just as much for my own benefit as it is anyone else's.

    • Hotels booked
    • Transport booked
    • Meetings scheduled
    • Leaflets and other promotional materials printed
    • Leaflets delivered to venue
    • Business cards printed
    • Banner submitted to organisers, or printed
    • All relevant forms and organiser documentation completed and submitted
    • Invitation tickets sent to fans
    • Uniforms designed and printed
    • Computers arranged or rental equipment booked
    • Playable demo ready for installation
    • Video game instructions printed
    • Fact sheets printed for press
    • Tools for affixing banners, game instructions, opening deliveries etc e.g. double sided tape, scissors
    • Lots of bottled water and breath mints!
    • Staff sent any relative information - copy of travel details, accommodation, show times, maps and expense claim info
    • Overseas Checklist:
      • Check staff have at least six months duration on their passport
      • Visas prepared (if required)
      • Travel insurance for all staff
      • Interpreter(s) booked
      • Research local customs and do's and don'ts
      • Marketing materials and announcements translated


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