17 June 2015 | 21 Comments
In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices current crowdfunders 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).
I have a lot of projects to highlight this week, so I’m going to truncate my response specifically to the “unique strategies.” If you want to learn more about the projects themselves, just click on the links.
- Project Video: While this video is missing a few elements I typically recommend for project videos, it’s still pretty awesome. You don’t see many project videos like this.
- Graphic Design: The graphic design on the project page is really polished and thematic.
Note: The company publishing this game has close ties to my company, so I consulted on the creation of this campaign. Unfortunately, after 3 days and 30% raised, Morning Players decided to cancel the campaign and relaunch in a few months. A primary factor involved was they didn’t secure third-party reviews before launching as I advised. The bigger-picture reminder to all creators is if you’re not 100% read, you don’t need to launch today!
- Matching Pledge: I’ve talked about the power of a matching pledge, but so few projects have implemented it. For a portion of this project (it’s applicable now), the amount of every pledge will be matched.
- Good Cause + Good Reward: I love projects that want to improve the world, but they don’t act like a charity. This project is trying to bring attention to a critically endangered porpoise called the vaquita by filming a documentary about this rare animal. Backers get the finished film.
- Savvy Use of Platform: If you still need a reason to start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, here’s one: It gives you a way to reach out to people of influence and have them share your project in a way that adds value to them and isn’t intrusive. The creator of this project reached out to me to ask if we could talk about Kickstarter on his podcast, and of course I accepted, and now I’m talking about his project here, completely unsolicited.
- Thematic Updates: One of the creators of this project, Travis, writes all updates for this and their other projects in character–that is, he writes from the perspective of a member of the Scoundrel Society. Backers love being immersed in new worlds, and this is a great way to do it.
- Strategically Few Reviews: I thought this was curious, so I asked Travis and Nick about it. They only have a few third-party reviews on the project page, and they told me this was a strategic choice. Rather than have a wall of reviews, they’ve tried to make it more inviting for people to click through by limiting the options. This is also more appealing to those reviewers, as they’re not getting lost in the shuffle.
- Project Page: It’s rare that I come across such a flawless project page. You can tell that Andrew put a ton of thought into the structure of this project.
- Credit: As I was scrolling down the project page, I noticed my name in the credits (“for sharing your Kickstarter Lessons and providing models for the rest of us to learn from”). That made me feel good, and it made me want to mention the project here (especially since it’s very clear that Andrew followed many of my lessons when creating the project). It never hurts to credit people and make them feel good–it’s a much more compelling way to get them to share the project tweeting at them to share it.
- Free Worldwide Shipping: This project is using a service called Send From China to ship worldwide. It’s not a flawless system–make sure to read the fine print–but it’s quite ambitious for Kim to try it, and I look forward to hearing the results.
- Engagement: Over the last year (perhaps even longer), Kim has been extremely active on the KS Best Practices Facebook groups (here and here). Becoming a part of the community well before you put anything on Kickstarter can be a huge asset when you finally launch–it builds trust and confidence in you.
- Collaborative Rules Editing: Kim has made the rules for the game available as a Google Doc for backers to comment on during the project to make them as polished as possible before formatting them–another neat way to make backers feel like they’re part of the creative process. (Thanks to alert reader Gino for sharing this with me.)
- Multiple Languages: I love seeing how more and more projects are making their games friendly in unique ways to backers around the world. Demigods Evolution offers the game in English, German, French, and Spanish.
- Clear Depiction of Miniatures: I’m not really into miniatures projects, but I always like to look through the project page. Usually I’m incredibly confused about which miniatures come with which version of the game. Not so with this project–the graphics on the project page erase any possible confusion.
- Fun but Professional: This is a smaller project for a video reviewer I’m a big fan of, largely because of the passion and personality Forrest exudes in his videos. This project page is the embodiment of that passion and fun. However, whereas some projects may end up cluttered and jumbled when they attempt to have “personality,” this project page is clean, polished, and professional. It’s tough the describe, so I’d recommend clicking through to see what I’m talking about.
- No Stretch Goals: Is having no stretch goals a good idea on Kickstarter? Probably not. But I kind of like how this project says (in my words), “We have a complete product, nothing more, nothing less. We haven’t held anything back. If you want it, here’s how to get it.” It seems to be working for them. (Thanks for alert reader Stephen for sharing this with me.)
As always, there are hundreds of projects on Kickstarter doing cool things, and I can’t feature them all here. But if you ever stumble upon a project doing something unique that other creators can learn from, please let me know at email@example.com.
What’s your #1 takeaway from the projects I discussed today?