Kickstarter Lesson #203: The Impact of “Tell Us Anything”

24 October 2016 | 8 Comments

Stonemaier Games recently (and quietly) reached a private milestone: We had the 1,000th submission to our Tell Us Anything form.

If you haven’t submitted the form, this probably means nothing to you. Basically, if you go to the Contact page of our website and scroll down just a little bit, you’ll see this:

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This was one of the first features I added to our website over 4 years ago when Viticulture gave birth to Stonemaier Games. I kind of did it on a whim, but it felt right: I wanted to give people the opportunity to tell us anything.

How is this different than any other contact form? In many ways, it’s nearly identical. It’s built into the website, which is handy for some people who don’t want to use their e-mail client. You type your message, name, and e-mail address. You’re contacting us, plain and simple.

But I really like the phrase “tell us anything.” I think it sends a slightly different message than “Contact Us.” In a way, it’s giving people the freedom to send a message that they wouldn’t otherwise send. Anything goes.

As a result, I’ve gotten a wide spectrum of submissions via this form. People have praised our games. People have ranted against our games. Many people have questions about our product line or game rules. Some are solicitations.

I get an instant notification from Google Forms when someone submits this form, and I usually reply right away. The only messages I don’t respond to are generic solicitations, especially since I included the “pro-tip” instruction within the form to help people not be generic.

Tell Us Anything isn’t for everyone. In fact, there’s a list of other ways to contact me on the Contact page: email, replacement parts form, blog comments, Facebook, etc.

I’m often surprised by people who choose the Tell Us Anything form for an urgent question or for information located in an obvious place on our website, but for some reason it must resonate with people.

I’m really happy that 1,000 people (and counting) have told us anything, and I look forward to the next 1,000.

Do you have a form like this on your website? What have you learned from it?

Also read: Kickstarter Lesson #189: Can’t We Have This Conversation in Public?

8 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #203: The Impact of “Tell Us Anything”

  1. I do not have a form like this on my blog, so I haven’t really learned anything about this. Quick question though, I’m having a hard time figuring out your opinion on the topic. You say at the onset that you wanted to have this different type of Contact Us form, and you do say that you are looking forward to the next 1,000 but I get the impression (perhaps wrongly) that you are perplexed by many of the people that use it.

    Do you still like the way it is named? Do you think it needs to be clearer what should or shouldn’t be submitted there, even though it is for “Anything” (Sense there are likely places where certain things are better suited to be submitted)

    1. Well, take a look at the Contact page and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a long list of specific ways to contact us for different things, but some people still prefer to use the form. Sure, I don’t quite understand it, but it doesn’t bother me–rather, it says that the form is working to facilitate communication.

      1. So your impression over the first 1,000 submissions is that it is useful for engaging with people, even if some things end up going there that are better suited for another means of contact.

  2. I don’t have it as a form on my website, but I put something equivalent into my KS Surveys. They’re a wealth of useful feedback, interesting (if sometimes questionable) advice and questionable (if sometimes interesting) humor.

  3. Hi Jamey. I’ve been meaning to get in touch to thank you for your book and blogs which I’m finding really useful in planning my first Kickstarter project next year. Your total commitment to listening to and building a relationship with your customers comes across clearly in everything you write.

    I like the idea of giving people multiple ways to contact you, though I suspect far more significant is your responsiveness in getting back to people. I’ve yet to set up a website for my new game yet, so this blog has got me thinking about best feedback channels. I’ve got a very busy day-job, so for me a key consideration is to ensure that whatever comms channels I have as a designer/publisher are quick and easy to use, so that communicating with backers/customers doesn’t become a chore or detract from the limited time I have to spend on other important aspects of game design and production.

    1. Dave: Thanks for your comment! The relationship with my customers is very important to me.

      In regards to a contact system being quick and easy to use, I must admit that Google Form replies isn’t optimal. For each alert received, I have to open the link, copy and paste the text, copy and paste the e-mail address, hide the entire row, then reply via e-mail. It’s much faster and easier if someone e-mails me, but for some reason many people choose not to do that.

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