29 August 2016 | 19 Comments
I work from home at an adjustable standing desk, alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day. Like clockwork, whenever I adjust my desk to stand up for a while, I’ll turn around to find that one of my cats (Biddy) has taken over the chair.
This is cute and adorable for about an hour, but then the soles of my feet start to ache and I want to sit down. But Biddy looks so comfortable–I don’t want to disturb him by dragging him off his perch.
So I’m faced with a dilemma: How can I remove a cat from my chair?
Backers and customers are sometimes like cats. I say that with the fullest of affections, as I adore my cats, just as I adore my backers. Sometimes I really need them to do something, but I don’t want to annoy them. Here are a few examples:
- During campaigns, I want backers to share the project with people who might be interested in it.
- After the campaign is over, I want backers to fill out the project survey right away so I know how many games to make.
- When I run retailer-driven pre-order campaigns, I want retailers to estimate in advance the number of games they’ll need so we don’t sell more than we make.
I could pester people to share the campaign. I could threaten backers who don’t complete the survey in time. Or I could punish retailers who over/underestimate.
But what good would that do? Those approaches might damage my relationship with customers, and they might not even accomplish the goal.
Consider these alternatives that I implemented in those situations:
- To get people to talk about my campaigns, I mostly try to just create some fun challenges that people might want to share on social media. Like, on Scythe, Jakub and I gave backers permission to Photoshop several pieces of the Scythe art with funny captions and images of their pets. I also created avatars that I awarded to backers based on when they pledged and which reward level they supported. I still see some backers bearing those same avatars on Kickstarter.
- To get backers to fill out project surveys quickly, I sometimes offer a reward to one randomly selected backer out of those who fill out the survey within the first week. It’s open to all backers–even those who didn’t pledge for the game–so it appears to meet Kickstarter’s vague contest guidelines.
- To get accurate estimates from retailers for certain pre-order campaigns (like Tuscany Essential), I offer them a bonus copy of the product if their final order (placed during the campaign) is within the original estimated range (stated well before the campaign when production is ready to begin).
I’ve found that these types of incentives are much more powerful than pestering, threatening, or punishing.
So how do I remove a cat from my chair? I walk down the hall, grab a bag of catnip, and shake some of it onto the floor. Within seconds I have a happy cat (two happy cats, really) and a free chair. Much better than physically removing Biddy from the chair.
How have you seen incentives used effectively on crowdfunding campaigns?