Talking to your players is a rewarding but challenging experience. It’s a way to form trust between players and developers, as well as a method for boosting engagement with the game. Communication can inform, entertain, and motivate players into positive behavior that helps grow your audience.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to developer-to-player communications. Come up with killer in-game copy and the rewards can be huge. Get it wrong, and you risk alienating, disengaging or even losing some of your players.
In this post, we’ll look at the importance of having a clearly-defined voice in your copy when it comes to referral marketing – but we hope you find many of these tips useful for communicating with your players in other ways too.
Why is great copy important in referral marketing?
With referral marketing, you’re trying to get your players to do something that they might not ordinarily consider doing. In this case, you’re asking them to invite their friends to download and play your game, usually in exchange for a reward.
In that one simple action, there are four principles that your copy needs to nail for the referral program to be effective:
- It needs to clearly explain what the player must do
- It needs to sell the program to your players, to make the reward seem enticing
- It needs to help players communicate the referral process to their friends
- It needs to endear your players to your game / brand
Keep these four principles in mind when drafting any copy for your referral marketing efforts.
Here are some of our quick tips for writing effective copy for your game.
With copy, less is more
You’re not writing a Ph.D. thesis here. You’re trying to convey only the most essential bits of information, in as few words as possible.
Get your copy down on paper, and then look at every single sentence, phrase, and word and think if there’s a simpler or more efficient way of saying exactly the same thing. Are you using any technical language that your players might not be familiar with – for example, “referral” instead of “invite”? Consider changing it.
If there’s too much copy, your players’ eyes may slide right off it. Remember, they’re here to play – and in most games, that doesn’t mean reading a screenful of text. That applies to those receiving the referral, too – if there’s line after line of text, they may not follow through and download the game.
Be creative, but not if it obscures your message
Making copy clear doesn’t mean that it has to be dull. In fact, if your copy is the same generic text as you might find in 100 other games then players may not read it properly (or at all).
Your in-game copy is where you can really reinforce your brand voice: the copy that builds the atmosphere, lore, and environment of your game. That should carry over to your marketing copy too. If your in-game copy is setting the tone of epic fantasy, then a little of that brand voice should make its way into your referral marketing text too.
The key is to not go overboard to the extent where your message gets obscured. But a little flavor goes a long way to giving your players a positive experience or attracting new players by showing them what they’re missing out on.
Don’t forget the incentive
A referral is an exchange: a player gets a friend to download your game, and in return, you give them a reward.
Make sure your players know that! Show the reward on the screen, and reiterate it in your copy. Make it stand out from the rest of the text – use a different color, sizing or other highlights. As a side note, make sure the reward itself is attractive enough that your player will want to complete the action – for more on that, see our blog post.
Frontload the good stuff
Treat your marketing copy like a great newspaper headline, and frontload the best bits. In the case of referral programs, that means a reward for the referring player. Make sure that the incentive hits their eyeballs good and early.
Once you’ve caught a player’s attention with the offer of the reward, you can then give them the actual steps by which to get it. It’s the difference between “invite 10 friends and get a reward” and “get a reward by inviting 10 friends”.
Personalize your copy
Nothing grabs attention like seeing your own name (or username) in a game. If your game allows players to create an account, use that information to personalize their experience within the app.
That includes referral marketing – use a player’s name when you’re going through the steps of how the referral program works. A personal touch is always going to be more effective than generic text.
Speak their language: learn your players’ voice
Your players will always appreciate being heard. Keep a close eye on how your players communicate, not just with you but among themselves.
What kind of language do they use when talking about your game on social media, or discussing it on Reddit or in general feedback / reviews? Are there certain game-specific words of phrases that they use a lot, or certain parts of your game that get talked about a lot? Those can be weaved into your marketing copy, which will make it more relatable, engaging or even work as a kind of “in-joke” between you and your players.
Keep it fresh
Finally, keep your copy fresh. That means changing it up every now and again to avoid the experience growing stale for the player. You don’t need to have hundreds of different variations for the same user journey, but it is good to introduce some variety.
If a player is going through the same journey multiple times – as you will want them to do for a referral program – then keeping the copy fresh can be a good way to keep them engaged in the process.
Iterate on your copy, and you may find that some variations are more effective than others. Optimization is a vital step in mobile game development, and copy is no different. In the Megacool dashboard you can track your KPIs and insights in real-time to help you achieve peak performance from your referral program.
Great copy is a challenge, but it can bring huge rewards and help grow engagement with your game. Let's quickly recap our tips for getting the most out of your in-game copy in your referral program:
- Keep it concise: less is more
- Be creative, but not if it obscures your message
- Don't forget to mention the incentive for referring players
- Frontload your copy with the most attractive bits of information (usually the reward for players!)
- Personalize your copy by using player names / usernames where possible
- Learn your players' voice, and work it into your copy
- Keep it fresh by changing your in-game copy on occasion