Kickstarter Lesson #108: The Final 60 Hours

8 July 2014 | 16 Comments

Here’s a little secret about Kickstarter: When you have 48 hours left to go in a campaign, anyone who clicked the “Remind Me” button gets a notification letting them know the project will end soon. However (here’s the secret), current backers don’t get that notification (unless they also clicked the button at some point).

Granted, as a project creator, you can let your backers know via project update that the project is about to end. But no matter how awesome your updates are, many backers aren’t going to pay attention to them at all. So many of your backers don’t realize the project is ending soon.

No big deal, right? After all, they’ve already taken care of their pledge–why would they need a special reminder?

That’s what I thought until a few backers gave me some really good advice after the Tuscany project ended. They wrote to me and said they wished I had contacted them before the end of the project so they could upgrade their pledge or at least double check it to make sure it was correct. In most campaigns, new add-ons and rewards are added during the campaign, and backers might wait until the end of the project to make a decision about adding those elements.

Even with that feedback, I was hesitant to send out a reminder for the Treasure Chest a few days ago. It’s not in my nature to upsell backers or keep asking for more–backers are constantly asked to buy more, add more, share more. I want to make them feel valued for what they’ve already given instead of making them feel like they haven’t given enough.

However, a backer today reminded me of the whole point of sending out a reminder message to backers–many backers want the opportunity to add more stuff. They don’t want to be pressured into it, and many of them won’t add anything. But they appreciate the option.

Ideally this message would be sent sometime between the 60-hour mark and the 48-hour mark. You don’t want to wait until after the 48-hour mark (as I did) because the influx of backers you get from the Remind Me message don’t need another notification that the project is about to end. They just backed the project, like, 15 minutes ago.

So what you do is go to “View Backer Report” and select “Message Backers.” You’ll then choose a reward tier to send the message to. My message contained the following recommended elements, but yours might be different:

  • Write the message as if you’re writing to one person, not everyone. I was just talking about this tonight in a YouTube interview with JR Honeycut. When a backer gets a message from you, they’re much more likely to read it if reads as if it was written to an individual, not a group. (e.g., don’t start with “Hello everyone!”) [I learned this from Michael Domeny on the League of Gamemakers blog]
  • Be grateful. Thank the backer for making the project a reality.
  • Tell the backer that the project is ending soon. That’s the main point of this message.
  • Tell the backer how to change their pledge. You do this by clicking the blue “Manage Your Pledge” button on the project page and manually changing the $ amount at the top of the page (or the reward level, if applicable).
  • Tell the backer that their pledge is great just the way it is. Because it is. If they want to upgrade, they now have the information they need to do so, but I think they appreciate not being pressured to pay more.

What do you think about this concept? I’m very new to it, so if you have suggestions on how to refine it, I’d love to hear them.



Next: The Final 48 Hours

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16 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #108: The Final 60 Hours

  1. I didn’t even know backers didn’t get those notifications! I think the idea you should direct your writing as if to a single person is one of those things that seems obvious in retrospect but isn’t really that intuitive. Great content as always!

  2. [I think this is the post you are looking for about writing to one person:

    I received the email, and I thought it was really great. When you run a Kickstarter campaign, you are very much aware of how much time is left. But most backers have other things going on in their lives than your campaign. I clicked back to the campaign, verified my pledge was where I wanted, spent a few minutes looking back at some of the recent comments, and felt a little more connected to the campaign. Nice work!

    One question, tying this lesson in with lesson #106: I assume you copied and pasted this message, and I don’t blame you for it. Could you talk a little bit about how this differs from the copy-and-pasting creators should avoid?

    1. Randy: Awesome, thank you so much for that link! I’ve put it in the post.

      “and felt a little more connected to the campaign.” I hadn’t thought about that element, but I’m really glad that happened. I hope others felt the same way.

      As for the copy and paste, it wasn’t a pure copy and paste, but it was close. I started to rewrite it from scratch for the second email, but I realized that after the second paragraph, it was literally the exact same content, and I liked the way I had expressed it the first time around. I think that’s an exception to the rule. And the first paragraph was different for different groups I sent it to.

  3. I’m a treasure chest backer and I thought the message was just right. It was a thank you for everything we had done so far and a reminder that if you were planning on adding something time was running out. I felt no pressure to increase my pledge. As a matter of fact just a day or two before the message went out I had one of those oh crap moments and went back in to add the stars and a toast to my pledge. If I hadn’t randomly had that thought the message would have been a nice reminder to get in there and get that done.

    1. Eric: Haha, yeah, it’s that “oh crap” moment I’m trying to help the backers out with (one less thing for them to remember). I’ll make sure to send it at the 60-hour mark next time instead of the 30-hour mark. :)

  4. I was very happy to be a part of the interview today, and I think Jamey nailed it pretty well both on the show and in this blog. I tend to pay less attention to the salutation and more attention to the tone of the email – if a thing is asking me for money, I prefer not to be patronized – “We hate to ask, but would you…” – as Jamey noted, there are plenty of things we’re asked to do as backers.

    I think the proper tone is the one employed in the actual update (and I think there’s value in including one here, Jamey, as an example), that there exists an opportunity to make a change if needed, here is the information, and by the way, you’re perfect just the way you are.

    It reminds of my time in relationship management for an investment firm – you’ve got to call folks to check on them, but the easiest way to have the best conversations is just to present the premise and allow them to make a choice outside the constraints of the immediate conversation. Most people will thank you for the new information, and at the very least respect you for handling things the right way.

    Keep it up


    1. Thanks for your comment, JR. Here are a few snippets from the email that follow the ideas you mention here:

      “In the past I’ve made the mistake of not notifying current backers when the campaign is about to end–many backers like the reminder so they have the chance to change, edit, or upgrade their pledge. That’s especially important for this project, as we’ve treated the entire project like one long early bird reward level.”

      “I’m elated that you decided to be a part of this project with your current pledge, so feel free to leave it exactly the way it is. Thanks for your support of what we do at Stonemaier Games!”

      I like that example of relationship management. It reminds me a little bit of the concept I discussed here:

  5. Great blog entry, as usual! This is an interesting topic because I think many backers do appreciate this option to change their pledge. As a creator, I don’t think I could send a reminder message like this or anything that feels like an upsell. I would just feel a little slimy and that’s not the impression I want to give anyone. But I do understand that it will disappoint some backers who may miss out on changing their pledge. It’s another one of those tough balances that campaign creators have to decide between… which is the lesser of two (or more) evils?

    1. Henk: I’m glad you can relate to my dislike of the upsell. It feels slimy, doesn’t it?! :) I think that last bullet point goes a long way in assuring backers that their pledge is great the way it is.

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