18 March 2019 | 38 Comments
In my opinion, one of the best ways your project page can entice potential backers is to show that the campaign has reached its funding goal.
For years I’ve talked about this in various ways in relation to selecting your funding goal, preparing for the final week, momentum, etc. In recent years, we’ve seen creators use it as a badge of honor on their main project image: “Funded in 2 hours!”
I’m starting to wonder, though, if it’s a necessity for projects to fund within the first 48 hours. That is, if your project hasn’t funded within that time, my theory is that there’s almost no chance it will eventually fund.
This isn’t news that I relish delivering, and I honestly hope I’m wrong. Stonemaier Games wouldn’t even exist if this theory were true back in 2012 when I launched Viticulture, as the project didn’t reach its goal until Day 18:
Whether or not my theory is true, I don’t think there’s any creator who wouldn’t want to fund in the first 48 hours, so today I’m going to discuss a few techniques to consider.
Considerations for the First 48 Hours
Please keep in mind that there’s MUCH more that goes into a successful campaign than these tips; rather, these are specifically things to consider at the beginning, and especially for new creators.
Several of these techniques are inspired by (or quoted from) a detailed message I received from creator Brent Keath, whose project, Furtherance, is currently on track to prove my theory wrong (I hope it does).
PREVIEW: Advertise the link to your project page before you launch
For new creators in particular, I think it can make a big difference to spark curiosity in your project page before you launch. It will let people click the “notify me upon launch” button, sending those people an automatic message when you go live. I talk about this more here.
TIMING: Launch on the right day of the week (or, simply not on the wrong day)
There are plenty of theories about the day on which you “should” launch your project. For board games, a culture has developed around Tuesday launches, though I think that opens the door for more Monday and Thursday game launches. For other categories, I think any weekday is advisable.
Brent launched Furtherance on a weekend, and he mentioned to me that he regretted doing so: “I shouldn’t have launched on a Sunday. Many of our followers did not back until Sunday night or Monday morning (partially because a lot of our family and friends attend church) and the number of people driven to it through Kickstarter itself seemed low (compared to other game designer friend’s launches).”
FLASH-FUNDING REWARD: Offer a bonus to all backers if the funding goal is reached within the first 24-48 hours
This technique, used by a number of projects like Trickerion, Tidal Blades, and Infinities: Defiance of Fate, gives potential backers a compelling reason to back (and share) the project now rather than waiting. Because the bonus is given to all backers–not just backers who discover the project right away–it’s more compelling for post-48 hour backers than early-bird rewards that only reward the lucky first few.
I also think this might be more effective than showing stretch goals before you reach your funding goal. Brent let backers vote on the first stretch goal, but he notes that the idea has backfired a bit: “Since I don’t know that the Kickstarter will be able to reach the first stretch goal, now backers are just taunted with a goal that seems difficult to attain for many of them.”
FRIENDS & FAMILY: Reach out to the people who care about you
I spent my first day on Kickstarter sending personalized messages to pretty much everyone I knew. Not mass e-mails, not social media blasts–these were emails specifically written to people in my life, offering each of them a compelling reason–catered to their tastes–to check out the project. This is something for first-time creators to help get you off the ground.
GRATITUDE: Message backers to thank them for their pledges
For the entire Viticulture campaign in 2012, within a few hours of someone placing a pledge, I sent them a quick message thanking them for their support. Parts of the message were very similar from one message to the next, but I always tried to add a few personal touches (their name, a mention of their location or another project they backed, etc).
The fruits of that labor were some meaningful, lasting connections with people that helped reinforce their pledges and, in some cases, inspired them to share the story of how they heard from the creator. I still believe this can have a hugely positive impact on any project that is attempting to fund.
Thanks to Brent for offering the inside scoop on Furtherance! Do you have any thoughts about the necessity of funding within the first 48 hours?
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