23 October 2014 | 17 Comments
In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices current Kickstarter creators have made regarding their project’s reward levels, stretch goals, and overall campaign design (the projects themselves, not the content or product). This isn’t meant as an endorsement of these projects (these creators did not ask for me to promote their work–I disregard all such requests); rather, I’m looking for unique elements of projects that might inspire other creators to do the same (or do the opposite, in some cases).
1. The Beer Hammer: a longer project video that works, an effective gif, Christmas delivery as an early bird reward, and an economically interesting personal touch
I could write a whole post about what this project does well, but instead I’ll try to summarize it below:
- Long Video: The video for the Beer Hammer clocks in at 4:30, which is well over the 2-minute threshold I recommend. However, there’s an exception to every rule. This video tells the story of the Beer Hammer in a way that compels you to back it.
- An Effective Gif: I very rarely like the use of gifs of Kickstarter pages because they make the text around them really hard to focus on, but in this case, the gift shows the simplicity and cool-factor of the Beer Hammer in use better than a static image could.
- Christmas Delivery Early Bird Reward: Instead of using price as an early bird reward (which I con’t recommend), the Beer Hammer used Christmas delivery as an incentive for backers to act now. The price is exactly the same either way. In the context of a product like this that is made one at a time, it makes perfect sense for some backers to get theirs before others.
- Free Customization: This is one area where I’m not sure that Luke made the best strategic choice, but it fits well with his brand and makes me root for him. Every single beer hammer comes with a name of your choice burnt into the side, free of charge. Normally this would be a premium option, but Luke is giving it away! Very cool. The information is kind of hidden in the video, so I think Luke would have benefited from mentioning it in the reward text, but the project is doing well despite that.
2. Peptide Game: stretch goal funding levels decrease based on social goals and micro goals
John Coveyou (who recently posted a very interesting statistical analysis on $1 reward levels) returns to Kickstarter with a beautifully illustrated open-drafting card game about genetics. The unique element that stands out to me here is something I previously saw on Privateer: for every 300-500 Facebook shares, the stretch goals are reduced by $250-$1000 (it escalates).
Also, right below the Facebook stretch goals (it’s worth taking a look at the chart, which is really well done), there’s another chart for backer micro goals that’s based on the overall number of backers and a limited timeframe that actually expires tonight (I didn’t realize that as I was putting together this post). I like little goals that aren’t funding based, and the deadline gives backers another reason to join the project now instead of later.
3. The Undress: all limited reward levels, great demonstration on project video
Some products need a demonstration, even if it takes extra time in the project video. This is one of them, and the project video does a fantastic job at showing how the Undress works. There’s also an image lower down on the page that shows the step-by-step process, but I think the video shows it best.
One particularly unique element about this project (I’ve seen it only a few times before, including on Seth Godin’s project) is that other than the $5 level, every single reward is limited. There are pros and cons to doing this–it doesn’t work for every product–but I think it works well in some categories. Perhaps fashion is one of them if products are made in very short productions runs. [Update: Dennis from the Undress project chimed in to make the great point that they limited the reward levels to keep them manageable. This was a brilliant move for that purpose, as we’ve all seen some projects get out of hand to the point that the creators can’t deliver on their promises. The Undress avoids that and looks out for their backers through those self-imposed boundaries.]
For all of its success, the Undress makes one key mistake that I’ve talked about in my entry about focus: Potential backers who are looking at this project are looking for the Undress itself, not a t-shirt or shawl that have nothing to do with the innovative functionality of the Undress. Those ancillary products could be mentioned as add ons or as higher combo levels, but to have them priced below the most important reward–the Undress itself–is a mistake that I’d recommend all creators avoid. Demonstrating my point are the sheer lack of backers at those reward levels.
4. Lanterns Game: thematic $1 reward level, great shipping chart
Lanterns is a very well constructed project, and one of my favorite elements is the thematic $1 reward level. If you back at that level, they’ll place a floating lantern in water for you and dedicate it to your honor. Aside from the many benefits of the $1 reward, this shows that these creators are completely focused on the overall experience they’re trying to create for backers.
Also, Lanterns has one of the best shipping charts I’ve ever seen on a project. It takes all the calculation out of the process, as backers who want one copy can see the shipping amount subsidized and the price they pay, and backers can also easily see the amount they should pledge for 2, 3, 4, or 5 copies. It’s so clear and easy to use–absolutely brilliant.
5. Dead Drop Game: Alternate art games and stretch goals as a premium option
I can’t get over how clever this idea is. I’m not sure if it’s actually working, because Dead Drop is struggling to fund, but you have to admire Patrick’s innovation: Dead Drop is a 13-card game with a few other components. The stretch goals for the game include full decks of those 13 cards by 7 different artists, each with completely different styles. These aren’t cards you add to the game–they are completely separate cards you can use to play.
Just looking at these cards on the project page, I can’t help but be excited about them as stretch goals. I think I saw some grumblings online about people wanting more content for the original game, but if the game is perfect with 13 cards, there’s no need to add more stuff. This is the Love Letter model–AEG keeps coming out with new editions of Love Letter that are functionally the same, and because of the price point of the game, people keep buying them.
One element to keep an eye on here is that all but one of these alternate-art stretch goals are included in the $22 reward level, not the $12 reward. I rarely advocate delineating stretch goals like this (remember the mess this caused on the Tokaido Collector’s Edition?), but I actually think it works here because of the precise type of stretch goals Patrick is offering.
Obviously there’s a lot of subjectivity to these blog posts, so I’m very curious to hear what you think (in a constructive way–these comments aren’t a place to complain about other projects). Which of these innovations is your favorite?