16 October 2012 | 17 Comments
One of the perks of the Kickstarter backer survey that I’ve needed my backers to fill out for address info is that I can gather and learn from the data. And share it with you, of course. Let’s start with the all-important question: How did people originally hear about the project? (Keep in mind that not all data has been collected, nor is this data perfect–this is how people responded to a survey.)
There are lots of conclusions to be drawn from this dataset:
- Kickstarter Is Helpful, but Ancillary Media Is Necessary: It would be easy to conclude that with our original $25k goal, we could have launched the project, done nothing except reply to a few comments here and there, and easily made our goal. I think that’s a gross misconception about Kickstarter, that you can launch a decent looking project and sit back for people to find you. To a certain extent, they will find you, and if Kickstarter features your project (as they did for about one day for us, helping us earn about $7,000–we still don’t know why they chose Viticulture), that certainly helps. But I think that ancillary work makes a BIG difference. By that I mean supporting media like interviews and guest blogs and video previews. And reviews. Get all the testimonials and reviews you can. People might see your project at first on Kickstarter, but for many of them, it’s not until they see other websites talking about it that they’ll pull the trigger on a pledge.
- For Board Games, Board Game Geek Is Key: This is probably obvious to those of you familiar with the site, but here’s the data to back it up. If you pay for advertising on BGG, you pay $1 per 1000 impressions, not click-throughs. So you’re paying for people to see your ad and hopefully click on it and hopefully pledge. Of course, getting people to click through is one thing, but having an attractive, compelling board game for people to look at when they click through is quite another. Also, you can see that being active on the BGG forums (and having awesome backers who post their thoughts on the forums) is an important complement to paid advertising on the site.
- The Value of Social Media: You might notice that there’s a big difference between the number of people that Alan drew to the project and the number of people that I (Jamey) did. That difference isn’t a reflection of how much Alan believes in the game. But I do believe that it is a reflection of two specific things: The biggest is probably that Alan isn’t on Facebook. His career doesn’t allow him to have a public online presence. Some of you may relate to that. I’m on the far other side of the spectrum. I love social media. I blog daily. I run multiple Facebook pages and am personally active there too. I don’t spend too much time on Twitter, but I make sure to respond to people when they tweet me. And I think the key to all of that social media is that it allows for me to connect with all types of people–friends, acquaintances, complete strangers, etc. The key word there is “connect.” Social media isn’t about blasting your project to the world. That’s a one-way street. Social media is about building relationships and connections with people. Just because they’re on Facebook doesn’t make them any less real. I individually e-mailed every person I know who I thought might be interested in the game, might be interested in the fact that I was running a Kickstarter campaign, and might be interested in personally supporting me (i.e., my parents and siblings). If there is one thing you take a way from this post–for Kickstarter or ANY type of personal fundraising–it is that you should not mass e-mail anyone to get them to support you. Not only is it considerably less effective, but it’s also a disservice to all of those people whose support you’re asking for. I cannot emphasize this enough.
- The Numbers Lie: On the day that Wired Magazine’s Geek Dad blog wrote about Viticulture, we raised about $3,000 in pledges (on any given day without special media, we raised about $1,000). We saw a similar jump when the Dice Tower preview went live. However, according to the survey, we only had 11 backers pledge to Viticulture from those sources. I can’t explain what’s going on there, but I think my point is that you should take these numbers with a grain of salt to a certain extent. Any press is good press, so do everything you can to reach out to every media outlet you can possibly think of before and during the campaign. Do so with the mindset of what you can do for their audience, NOT what can their audience do for you. If you create value for other people, they’re much more likely to support you than if your main priority is to get people to buy your game.
I have some more interesting data to share later in the week (see Part 2 here). What do you think about this data? Is it helpful for you? What conclusions do you draw from it? Let me know if you have any questions.