Hello everyone! We all often face the same problem of marketing from the bottom up. We don't all have the thousands for marketing teams but there is plenty we can do! Between you and a small group of people who know how to use technology and get the word out on the best channels effectively.
I strongly recommend The Referral Engine by John Jantsh, that explores multiple venues of indie and upstart marketing for developers, producers, managers and designers alike.
An active dedicated Twitter can bridge your alerts with community reaction. An active blog gives in-dept material for interest and spread of your game, studio, persona and message. Customer recognition and communication can help you discover what made them discover and highlight your product among the thousands. Going beyond a presence on the web through Word-of-Mouth and responsive emphasize a human element of support and brand recognition.
I could go on through the insights we discover the hard way on our own and at times re-invent the wheel. Instead, this book is what I strongly recommend to get started, even to broaden your perspective on your marketing and awareness initiatives.
This really is an excellent book for indie game devs - thanks for the link! It feels sort of strange to be happy about being referred to a book about referrals, but it's true: referrals are a powerful mechanism for breaking out of the old system of 'paying' for customers by advertising.
Focusing everything on referrals also feels a lot more natural - we actually have an excuse to work on interesting avant-garde stuff, rather than just another bog-standard puzzle game. Seth Godin argues repeatedly (in his various books - e.g. Linchpin and The Icarus Deception) that in a world where your competitors are only a click away, the risk of working on avant-garde stuff is actually lower than that of working on boring, non-innovative sausage factory stuff. I think he's on to something.
Maybe this applies far more to B2C than to B2B, but I'm sure as indies we have a kind of unique position: we've paid for all that creative flexibility by not working in a traditional brick-and-mortar game studio that pays a regular wage, so we might as well use this freedom to run innovative rings around the big players. =)