7 Elements Of An Effective Teaser Website

by Justin Carroll

Carbon. It's an element. Get it?

You put up a website before your game launched, but is it effective? This is a checklist for getting the most out of your game’s teaser website.

A teaser website is the first version of your game’s website. It exists to inform your target audience about the game, generate early buzz and serve as a hub for which all other online marketing points.

But there’s a higher purpose.

The real goal of a teaser website should be to begin building your audience for launch.

Just because your game isn’t yet available doesn’t mean your website is simply informational. There’s a way it can work for you from the very beginning.

To make the most of your game’s teaser website, here’s 7 actions to take for converting it into a selling tool long before your game is released…

1. Branding

A game’s brand identity is the sum of its visual elements and style. Your brand identity should at least include a logo, colors, typography and key art (or character art if you don’t have key art yet).

Take for example the official website for Crossy Road, their website is an adequate representation of what players can expect from actual gameplay.

Crossy Road official website

Not having a consistent brand identity frustrates a potential players ability to connect your website’s experience with the game you’re trying to promote.

Imagine if your teaser website looked like World Of Warcraft and your game was actually more like Super Mario.

It’s important to ensure your game’s brand identity in marketing materials manages the expectations of potential players. Otherwise players may feel you have great marketing, but a terrible game.

Action: Ensure your teaser website reflects the visual style potential players can expect from your game.

2. Value Proposition

Your value proposition is also called your pitch. This is your best copy explaining exactly why your game is different from all other of the same type, and why players want to play it over your competitors.

Keep it short, and don’t get too wordy. It should make perfect sense to potential players. Take a look at the pitch for Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft value proposition

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if your game’s value proposition could be used by one of its direct competitors. If so, then it’s time for a rewrite.

Ultimately, the media and players are looking for something different, something that’s never been done before.

Are you making a popular genre of game such as a match-three puzzle game or endless runner?

Your value proposition must communicate what you’re doing that’s never been done before. And if you don’t have that, your game is likely in trouble.

Action: Write a compelling, two-line value proposition for your game.

3. Call To Action

The single most important thing a potential player can do on your website is take an action.

When your game is released this will obviously become a button for them to click through to the app store page for your game. But on a teaser website I highly recommend this action be inputting their email address.

Here’s a great call to action, again, for Hearthstone

Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft call to action

Pretend that’s an email input box.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a newsletter, never-before-seen screenshots or a PDF comic book. Offer your potential players something valuable in exchange for their email address.

This builds up your reachable audience for day one when your game launches.

Action: Create valuable content that can only be obtained with a potential players email address. Put this input box below your

4. Trailer

Launch your trailer on YouTube and embed it into your teaser website.

Playing your trailer may be the only action potential players take on your website, so it better be good. Follow my checklist for creating effective trailers.

Consider the format of this trailer for Star Wars: Galaxy Of Heroes

Think of your trailer as the next best thing to actually playing your game. If there were one place (besides branding) to spare no expense and pore over the details, it’s with your trailer.

A trailer sets the tone for the entirety of your game’s experience.

Action: Put your trailer directly below or in the next section following your call to action.

5. Social Proof

Social proof are things that show your game is being accepting or championed by someone or something other than yourself.

For example, a testimonial from the lead of another studio commenting on the game you’re making. Or a quote from a game publication who anticipates the release of your next game.

“GAME will be the hit match-three puzzler of next year. I’ve not seen anything like this before!” — PERSON

Take a look at this social proof for the game, This War Of Mine

The official website for the game, This War Of Mine.

If nothing else, previous accolades or social network buttons work too.

Action: Put social proof directly below your trailer for the best impact.

6. Mobile

When a potential player is visiting your website on a desktop computer they literally can’t install your game. But when they’re on a mobile device they’re 2 clicks away at all times (one click to visit your app store page, and another to install the game).

That’s an extremely important difference.

All internet traffic and e-commerce is 30% mobile. And since you’re a mobile game, your traffic will likely be a higher percentage.

Covet Fashion can do it, so can you…

The mobile website for Covet Fashion by Emma Roberts

To put it bluntly, I’d much rather you have a mobile website than a desktop one. But don’t create a separate mobile website for your game. Simply make the design of it responsive for mobile devices.

If you’re a mobile game then it’s imperative you have a mobile responsive website. This is the 21st century, the tools to make that happen are cheap (if not free) and you’ve no excuses.

Action: Make your game’s teaser website mobile responsive to maximize conversions.

7. Speed

Speed is typically looked over when it comes to websites. In fact, there was a hit mobile game that released this past year for which the website takes well over 7 seconds to load because… parallax.

Huge mistake.

Here’s the truth… a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Speed matters more than your fancy animations.

Use tools such as Google Analytics and Google PageSpeed Insights to ensure your website is loading as fast as possible. PageSpeed Insights even shows you what to fix and how…

Google PageSpeed Insights

You’ll be tempted to use super high resolution graphics to really set off your branding. But don’t. Far more important than the best graphics in the world is the speed at which potential players can learn about your game.

This point is often controversial, but analytics don’t lie.

Action: Optimize your website to load in 2 seconds or under.

The Best Tools For Making Teaser Websites

Ok, so you know what to do with your teaser website, but how do you make one?

First of all, please don’t do it yourself. I know, you’re a developer, I get it. Save yourself the headache and use a tool. There’s few bigger wastes of time than designing and developing your own custom website.

Don’t do it.

Here’s a few, excellent tools to help you create a teaser website in record time without sacrificing that great design I know you’re after…

  1. LeadPages — A tool for creating landing pages that reap the most possible conversions. They’ve got fantastic measurement tools.
  2. Squarespace — Probably the best bet for balancing design and power. Hesitant to say it’s my favorite, but it’s good.
  3. Unbounce — Similar to LeadPages in that it’s geared for maximizing conversions on landing pages.
  4. WordPress.com — Don’t confuse this with the WordPress software (below). This is a hosted website builder similar to Squarespace.
  5. WordPress.org * — I’d only permit this option when using a theme that pretty much does everything for you.

* Use this option at your own risk. If you’re a professional Web developer (and be honest with yourself here) then I think this option is ok. Otherwise, just use a fast tool.

All of the above options require a relatively small, monthly fee. For example, Squarespace is about $100 a year. That’s ridiculous cheap consider the team and effort of building a custom website from the ground up.

Conclusion

Websites aren’t merely fantastical shrines of how amazing your game’s key art is, how great you are at Web design or cheap vehicles for the latest trends.

Websites are selling tools.

I want you to design your game’s teaser website in such a way that it works on your behalf, and becomes one of the most lucrative marketing tools for you to sell more games.

If you’ve followed my steps and put up a teaser website for your game, please share it in the comments below!