Kickstarter Lesson #104: The One-Week Checklist

22 June 2014

As I’ve written about here, I usually take a few months to create my project page. You should too–don’t want until the final week to put together your project page. However, in the end it usually comes down to one final week before I launch when everything comes together.

I keep a checklist of all the things I do during that week, and I thought I’d share it with you. This isn’t an exact science; if you do these things in a different order or over 2 weeks instead of 1 week, that’s fine. Every project is different. But even though I’ve run 7 Kickstarter projects at this point, I still find it really helpful to have a checklist so I don’t forget anything important.

7 Days Before Launch

  • make sure all photos on the project page are up to date and looking great
  • send out press release with key information and project preview link (KS Lesson #43)
  • send out sneak preview to retailers, highlighting the benefits for them to back the project

6 Days Before Launch

  • update the front page of your blog to reflect the upcoming campaign
  • update your Facebook page banner with a representative image for the project
  • submit your project to Kickstarter for approval if you haven’t already done so (KS Lesson #1)
  • board game projects: note your launch and end dates on this Google Doc (KS Lesson #84)

5 Days Before Launch

  • write the FAQ so you can post the questions as soon as you launch (KS Lesson #15)
  • create a 302 redirect to ensure that Google associates your project with your website (KS Lesson #89)
  • send the project preview link to a small group of trusted advisors and partners

4 Days Before Launch

  • read through the full list of Kickstarter Lessons (seriously–I do this for all of my projects. That’s what this chronologically ordered page is there for)
  • design any ads you plan to post during the campaign and send them to the corresponding websites
  • if you plan to run any ongoing polls/surveys during your campaign, create a dedicated page on your blog to host those surveys

3 Days Before Launch

  • design project avatars for backers to use as their Kickstarter profile photos during the campaign
  • send the project preview link to a larger group of people whose opinions you respect. For Stonemaier Games, that means our ambassadors. Many people also seek advice from these two Facebook groups: here and here
  • prepare a few other people to help you with comment moderation and community building during the project (KS Lesson #80)

2 Days Before Launch

  • double check with your manufacturers to make sure everything is good on their end
  • if you’re working with a business partner, have a chat to make sure that expectations and responsibilities are clearly outlined
  • finalize project video (KS Lesson #6)

1 Days Before Launch

  • do one final review of your project page, especially the elements you can’t edit after you launch: reward levels, funding goal, and project duration
  • if you have any ancillary products on your website, put them on sale (KS Lesson #70)
  • prepare your launch notification e-newsletter (KS Lesson #61)
  • disable the Kicktraq extension on your web browser. I love Kicktraq, but you’ll get delusions of grandeur if you look at it during your campaign. (KS Lesson #21)
  • adjust your e-mail settings to filter out cancellation notification e-mails (this will make more sense if you read this)

The First 10 Minutes After Launching

  • send out e-newsletter
  • update your 302 redirect link
  • copy and paste your pre-written FAQ onto the project page
  • post the Kickstarter widget for your project on your website
  • mention the project launch on relevant third-party websites where you’re already engaged in the community
  • if you wrote a Kickstarter Lesson the night before launching your project that refers to your project, update that blog entry with a link to the project (okay, that one is just for me!)

***

If it’s not on this list, you probably should have taken care of it long before your launch–that’s what the full chronological list of Kickstarter Lessons is for. :) But if I’m missing something obvious for the final week, please let me know!

28 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #104: The One-Week Checklist

  1. Great essential list! In some cases when the designer is a different person than the publisher, you may want to huddle and lay out some ground rules, like:

    – dont get defensive
    – dont neccessarily feel like you have to agree to change stuff just because one person feels you should
    – should the designer respond at all or would you prefer to handle it at the publisher level?
    – and i think a good ‘braveheart’ peptalk is good for morale Nd spirits

    good luck jamey!! :)

    1. Thanks Aaron! That’s a great perspective to share. It ties in a little bit with my point about communicating expectations, but I like how you’ve applied it to the designer-publisher relationship.

  2. Great read as always! I would add BGG (read “relevant community website/resource”) to the mix, both taking care of the game/project forums a few days before launching (“KS launches next Monday!”) and using it to alert people right after launch (to maximize your exposure during the first hours).

    Incidentally, you should submit the Chest to BGG. There’s an Accessories category for that kind of stuff – it’s rather hidden and most people don’t notice it, but it’s there.

    1. andvaranaut: That’s a good idea. I added it to the Launch Day list.

      I’ve tried submitting it to BGG, but admins nixed it every time I tried because it’s not associated with a specific game. The only way to get it on there at all is to list it under “Miscellaneous Gaming Accessories,” but it doesn’t get its own entry–it’s just an item on a generic list. Perhaps you know a better way?

  3. Thank you, Jamey, great stuff.

    I am actually a little surprised how close to the launch some of these things are happening.

    Would you not share the project preview much earlier for both feedback and awareness generation? Things like designing project avatars and ads also seem so close to the launch (I might be projecting some of the lax timeline handling of designers I work with).

    You also touch on a very interesting point about retailer relationship building. Something you could expand on in a future lesson?

    1. Artem: Definitely, it can’t hurt to do many of these things earlier, particularly getting feedback on the project page. The page needs to be in a good place before you share it, though–otherwise the feedback may end up being irrelevant or the people who gave you feedback might feel like you didn’t put in the time to develop the page yourself before going to them. As for avatars and ads, they can be designed at any time, but usually if you’re in the midst of designing a product, those are the lowest priorities and get pushed to the last minute.

      I might write about the retailer relationship building in the future. It’s a little too board-game specific for this blog, but I did an entry about BGG, so perhaps. :)

  4. Hmm, I didn’t know that accesories can only be associated to specific games. I think that it’s likely that it’s the first time the BGG admins have come across such a generic beast. :P

    If there’s a game with a 1:1 resource correspondence it might be listed as an accesory to it, or perhaps to Euphoria, which was the game that started it all. Not ideal, but still better than a generic entry.

    Other than that it would be a matter of the admins allowing the entry even without an associated game, although I can see why they might be reluctant to do so (there are only so many “Cheapo Dollar Store Glass Beads” entries they might be able to tolerate :P)

    1. Yeah, you have to link it to a specific game, and Euphoria was the one I attempted to use. But the admins are sharp, and they recognized that Euphoria doesn’t have wood, gems, or ore (they noted this in the rejection message!).

  5. Thanks for this, Jamey!
    Just today I had a backer cancel and it’s so deflating! Then your post came into my inbox, and I immediately set up a filter to not receive cancellation notices. So, I didn’t do it before launch, but during the campaign it still helps. :) I feel better. Thanks!

  6. Great list! We’ll definitely utilize this on our next KS in a month. Would love more detail on the 3rd bullet of the second day regarding contacting retailers. Any links to past lessons there?

  7. I had my own checklist worked and was happy to see it was pretty close to what you came up with with all your experience, but it points out a lot of details I had not specifically outlined. Great information as always!

  8. This is amazing! I am planing to Launch my project at the end of this year or starting the next one, and I am really grateful for all the information that you share with us. I think that with all this steps, and advices, if you really put your heart and soul on making your project you will certainly reach your goals and your project will be as successful as you want it to be.

    1. Thanks Francesca! As you said, in addition to following these steps, a lot of heart and soul (especially if directed towards creating a great experience for your backers) can translate into success on Kickstarter!

  9. Jamey – Man thank you so much for your site and KS lessons. This is my first Kickstarter and it has been daunting to say the least. I feel like you have been there sitting and helping me through it all. We launch Lil’ Cthulhu on KS tomorrow (at 11am EST) and hopefully with all of your tips it will be successful! Thank you Again!

  10. Well, I’m finally just 2 weeks out from launching my campaign, hence my revisiting this page :)

    I wonder if it might be better to contact retailers after launch? Do you think it might be more successful if any interested parties can go & back the project immediately, rather than doing it a week or so in advance and risk them forgetting about it?

  11. David: I would recommend that you contact retailers twice: Once before the project, and once midway through. Some will need to plan ahead and will want the time to scout out the project, while others will want to see that the project is going well.

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