Over the last 9 years, I’ve written over 900 articles on this blog to share my thoughts, observations, mistakes, and insights with my fellow creators. That’s a lot of content to go back and read for someone who is navigating the crowdfunding process for the first time, so in this series I continue to revisit my Kickstarter Lesson posts in chronological order, highlighting the core elements of each.
The Psychological Benefits of Framing Your Project’s Potential (#66): Borrowing a lesson from Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human, I outline how to display your project’s potential without sounding overly sensational. The heart of it is: Instead of saying “This game is the next Terra Mystica,” say “This game could be the next Terra Mystica.” The reasoning behind this is backed up by a scientific study (mentioned in the lesson), and I think the effect is even more drastic on Kickstarter. When you see a project making brash claims with complete certitude, it’s a turnoff. You might even wonder if the project creator is a bit delusional. Most importantly, by framing it as “could be,” you get backers really excited about the project’s potential, all within a frame of reference of a game they’ve either played or heard great things about.
Print-and-Play Reward Levels (#67): This was my first attempt at a video lesson! If you’re going to include a Print-and-Play option in your Kickstarter, it’s important to consider what your goals are and who you’re trying to attract. Some backers may actually be satisfied with a PnP instead of the official printed version. Others may be looking for a “taste test” of the game, either by testing the full game in PnP-form or a “lite” version of the game. One benefit to having a cheap PnP option is that such backers may get excited about your project updates (and other continued communication) and end up backing the full game. A free PnP may not have the same effect. Overall, it’s important to remember why you’re raising money: Are you raising money for people to create your game at home? Or are you raising money to create a fully published version of your game? Keep the focus on what you’re trying to create, and backers will recognize and reward you for that.
You Don’t Need to Launch Today (#68): I see this time and time again: “I’m launching my Kickstarter project today and I just found your blog–do you have any last-minute feedback?” Yes: You don’t need to launch today! There is a growing wealth of resources out there for the steps you can take to increase the chances of success for your Kickstarter project. It’s important you discover them months before you launch your campaign. So if today is the day you discovered a key resource, add 2-3 months to today and you’ll have your new launch day. Check out the full lesson for an extensive list of things to do before launch day.
The Address Update Email (#69): Hopefully during the time between sending out your survey and shipping out your product you’ve maintained communication with backers, giving them ample opportunities and channels to send you address updates. However, before you ship, you need to send out a formal request to all backers to give them one final chance to send you an address update. This will be one of the most important messages you ever send your backers, so you should send it both by e-mail and by Kickstarter update to try to reach as many people as possible. In this lesson I provide a copy of the email I sent, with many invaluable details worth looking at before you send your version!
How to Sell the Retail Version of Your Product Online Post-Kickstarter (#70): There are two overarching strategies for selling post-Kickstarter. The first option is to sell the product on your website. The landscape of sales platforms has changed considerably since this lesson was written. We currently use Shopify to sell our products (though we don’t use Kickstarter anymore). I’d recommend checking out what other Kickstarters are using post-campaign. A service like BackerKit often has this type of feature built-in. The second option is to sell on other websites. The major avenue for this right now is Amazon FBA or “Fulfilled by Amazon,” which comes with its own hurdles and costs, so be sure to research what’s best for you (at Stonemaier Games, we don’t sell through Amazon, though there are retailers who sell our games on Amazon). At the very least, no matter which option you choose, make sure you have a page on your website for pre-orders before the Kickstarter campaign ends. You’ll want to post a link to that page at the top of the project page so people who discover your project in the future will know where to go to order it from you.
If you have any questions or thoughts about these topics, feel free to share in the comments!
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