20 February 2017 | 15 Comments
A few days ago, I received notifications from Kickstarter that two of my starred projects were nearing the end of their campaigns. I had discovered these projects weeks ago, and even though I liked how they looked, I decided to click the “Remind Me” button instead of pledging.
When I got the notifications from Kickstarter, I clicked through to the project pages. Both projects were very successful, with plenty of funding, comments, updates, and stretch goals.
That’s when it hit me: I deeply regretted not participating in the journey these campaigns offered. The ups and downs, the moments of creator brilliance, the reveal of new information (backstory, narrative, designer notes), achieving new stretch goals together…by clicking the “Remind Me” button, I missed out on all that.
It’s my fault, of course. I had the choice to support these projects early on, and I didn’t. It’s my loss.
But as I thought more about it, I realized that there are certain things a project can do to invite backers to join the journey. It’s like a map at the beginning of a book–it’s a clear indication of some kind of quest.
Here are a few ideas of ways creators can hint at the allure of the journey ahead:
- Include cliffhangers in early project updates. Perhaps the biggest parts of the journey are the project updates. That’s how the creator is going to reach the majority of the backers throughout the campaign. I try to post a project update within the first 24 hours of the project launch, and it might not hurt to do it even sooner. This demonstrates to potential backers that you have a story to tell throughout the campaign. Also, in those early updates, I often try to hint at what we’re going to talk about in the next update. Results of this method may vary, but I like to think that it creates anticipation.
- Include just the right amount of information on the project page and be specific about what’s next. The best project pages don’t include every single detail about the project from Day 1. Rather, they offer the core elements. One approach that I haven’t tried but could work well for this “journey” idea is that in addition to those core elements, you can be very specific about what’s next and when it’s coming. For example, you could have 1 or 2 reviews on the project page on Day 1, and under them you could say “Day 3: New Review from Vom Tasel!” That way backers have enough information to inform their decision, but they can also be excited about what’s coming soon.
- Ask backers a question via a poll. On both Kickstarter and on this blog, I’ve found that when you give people the opportunity to vote on something, they’re likely to stick around long enough to discover the results. It’s the “Choose Your Own Adventure” type of journey. I think the key is for the polls to be fairly low states, like the story-driven Tournament of the Apocalypse for Euphoria. If the stakes are too high, you run the risk that people might completely disengage or cancel if the results don’t go their way.
- Position an included must-have component near a sexy stretch goal (with a stated backup plan). The key for this journey concept is you want to inspire backers to be a part of something bigger than themselves to achieve the stretch goal. But sexy stretch goals can be a blessing and a curse. The possibility of reaching them may inspire backers to support the project, but if they’re so amazing that backers can’t imagine the product without them, they may not back at all. My proposed solution is feature the project’s most drool-worthy element that comes standard with the product right next to the sexiest stretch goal. That way you’re reminding backers that they’re getting something awesome if you don’t reach that goal. To take it a step further, you could note that if you haven’t reached that goal by Day X, it will instead become an add-on item for $Y. That way backers can feel confident one way or another that they’ll get it.
- Assure backers that they haven’t missed out on much. I think the #1 way to do this is to include the current day of the campaign on the main project image. The reason this is necessary is that when I discover a project, it’s really difficult to figure out when the project launched–all Kickstarter tells you on the main campaign page is “X days to go.” That’s why on my campaigns I update the project image once a day to indicate that it’s, say “Day 3 of 18.” That way a potential backer knows right away how much they’ve missed out on.
Do you enjoy the journey of a Kickstarter campaign while it’s live? What can projects do to entice you to join for the journey? Note that this is distinctly different than things projects can do to encourage you to pledge (that’s a much bigger answer). This is specifically about the journey.
- Live-Blogging Lesson #7: What Do Backers Look for When Returning to a Project via the 48-Hour “Remind Me” Message?
- Kickstarter Lesson #108: The Final 60 Hours
- Kickstarter Lesson #33: The Final 48 Hours