While listening to a recent episode of the Board Game Binge podcast, I was really impressed by how succinctly Mythwind designer Brendan McCaskell summarized his methodology for attracting over 15,000 people to sign up for a launch notification. He broke it down to 3 categories:
getting people in: Brendan mentioned Facebook ads as his main strategy. I started seeing ads for Mythwind much earlier this year, and while I didn’t click on them right away, each ad was different enough to pique my interest, and I eventually signed up for their newsletter and a Kickstarter launch notification. Some creators also authorize previewers to start discussing their products well before launch. In addition to enticing outsiders into the project, I also think it’s important to entice those who have already started following your company.
giving people a place to go: Brendan mentioned a game-specific Facebook group (a method we fully embrace at Stonemaier Games) and the BoardGameGeek page for the game. There’s also prelaunch page itself on Kickstarter or Gamefound (the latter of which offers creators the ability to reward backers who signed up early with perks or discounts), the company’s general newsletter (this video from Content, Inc emphasizes the importance of this), and a launch-specific newsletter notification. At Stonemaier Games, we encourage people to sign up for that last option by donating $1 to a specific charity for each launch notification request we receive.
engaging where people are: For everyone who sees ads or seeks out your game after seeing others talk about it, there are still many others on social media who either haven’t heard of it or need a more direct connection to the people behind the project. This is where I’ve found it super helpful–especially in the early days of Stonemaier Games–to be active in forums, tabletop FB groups, BoardGameGeek, blog/YouTube comments, etc. I’m there as part of the community, not to promote anything, but I do share examples from Stonemaier or ask questions grounded in things I’m pondering at Stonemaier.
Brendan had 15,000+ people (including me) eagerly awaiting Mythwind’s launch, but if you have far fewer prelaunch signups, it’s an opportunity to evaluate if you’ve properly covered the above categories. If not, it’s okay not to launch yet.
What other examples would you add to Brendan’s list? Think about the last time you signed up for a prelaunch notification–how did you learn about the product/project, and what inspired you to take the time to request the notification?
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