Kickstarter Lesson #227: Click Me! Share Me! Like Me!

8 June 2017

Three digits. That’s all it took last week for me to see a 81% decrease in click-throughs.

Last week when I was writing the Stonemaier monthly e-newsletter (here’s the web version of the June edition), I made a mistake. Somehow I added “%20” to the beginning of an important URL linking our readers to our 2016 stakeholder report, which took people to an error page instead of the post.

However, it was due to this mistake that I gained some really invaluable data about how the smallest barrier to entry can absolutely destroy conversion (i.e., the number of people who click to read the thing you want them to read).

Despite how easy it was for people to edit the URL to remove “%20” (or let Google take them to the correct post), only 119 people found their way to the correct post. Compare that to the 629 people who viewed a similarly appealing post that was linked much further down on the e-newsletter.

Why does this matter? It was a reminder to me that making content easy for people to access is extremely important. I wanted our e-newsletter subscribers to view the shareholder report, but because of the typo, very few of them did.

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This opens into a bigger topic of when creators should ask for followers to click, share, and like content.

I recently read an article on the Signal v Noise blog by Nathan Kontny about how it’s okay for creators to frequently make calls to action. Here’s how Nathan says it:

“I think far too many people feel embarrassed to ask for action. They don’t want to “put people out”. But what’s really happening is that most people watching content, reading your articles, trying out your stuff, might like to subscribe or share, but don’t realize that’s important to you until you ask.”

I can certainly relate to the first part. I’ve also been a backer of Kickstarter campaigns where the creators are constantly pushing backers to share the project, which ends up feeling like we’re being asked to do their job. So as a creator myself, I rarely ask people to subscribe, like, share, etc.

But I think Nathan has a good point: People–including myself–often don’t think about how much a click, like, retweet, subscription, or share can matter. That’s how content spreads. That’s how creators survive and thrive. So it’s okay to remind your followers how they can help you as long as you’re not annoying about it.

YouTubers in particular do this quite well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a YouTuber say at the end of a video, “If you enjoyed this, like it here.” I’ll already be moving my mouse to close the window when I hear this and realize, “Hey, I actually do really like this!” Then I’ll click the thumb.

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Here are the two main takeaways from all this:

  1. It’s okay to ask your audience on a regular basis in a non-annoying way to click, share, like, etc.
  2. Make it really easy for your audience to execute the call to action. Even the slightest roadblock (like a link that is broken or unavailable) will drastically decrease your conversion rate.

What’s the last time you listened to a call to action from a content creator? Did you find it annoying for them to ask?

Also read: 

13 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #227: Click Me! Share Me! Like Me!

    1. And by this problem, I mean failing to ask people to do something with my work. To more specifically answer the question though, no. I am never really annoyed with a call to action or pitch. I am usually annoyed by a flawed execution, such as a friend request followed by a solicitation.

  1. I think the %20 is the code for “space”. You somehow copied an unnecessary blank space and pasted it.

    On another note, yes call to action moves are a necessity to first tine creators. CMON or Stonemaier games may not need to spread the word on their own because of the large following already established . But for me, a yesterday’s nobody it is as important as advertising.

    Not being annoying is the golden ratio we must find. Lots of FB groups state ” it is ok to promote your campaign, as long as it is limited to one post/month or one post /person” and then comment under it for not annoying the rest who do not want their newsfeed full of your project. I find this an honest rule.

    I liked the conversion comment: )

    1. Yep, it looks like I must have added a space then. :)

      I like the idea of not filling peoples’ newsfeeds–perhaps it’s a good rule to put these calls to action in a place where someone has already opted in to consuming at least a little bit of the content? It’s the difference between sharing a post every day on Facebook (while asking people to like/share it) versus posting the link once, and then list the calls to action at the link’s destination.

  2. As a unfaltering-Brit, I find it very difficult to call people to action – I know it’s OK, and I know I need to do it but I always worry that it will be annoying.

    Finding that line in the sand where ‘regular’ becomes too often and the ‘way’ that isn’t annoying is very difficult and I think varies by medium and status.

    I think it is a lot easier for a Youtuber and Podcasters to ask for likes and shares as part of the sign off/good bye, because television and radio have prepared us for this “advertisement”, but also the fact that their voice/face gives them that familiar attachment that isn’t available for written content creators.

    Facebook and Twitter all allow polls now, maybe that should be the key Call to Action as it fits the ease and accessibility criteria you mention above…you’ve inspired me Jamey, I’ll give it a go…

    1. Rory: I love the use of polls as calls to action! I think what I mentioned above might be helpful too. Wherever your home base is (blog, podcast, YouTube channel, etc), if you put calls to action there, people have already opted into consuming at least a single dose of that content when they see the call to action (opposed to a frequent call to action showing up day after day in someone’s newsfeed–they haven’t opted into that).

  3. For me, if it goes something like:
    ‘Remember you can help spread the word about XXX by clicking conveniently provided link X Y or Z’ then that is fine, it feels like the YouTube sign off.
    If though it is more:
    ‘Please spread the word by clicking conveniently provided link X Y or Z’ then I feel almost obligated to do so, it just feels pushier, which then rails further when I am not a user of X Y or Z. Asking once (or even twice over say a month) in this way is fine but more than that and it really starts to grate.

    The difference between the two is subtle and I suspect very specific to an individual, and at the end of the day there is always someone who will take offence however politely you ask so:-

    If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

  4. Great post and great comments, thank you Jamey and everyone. Love the title:) We’re barely getting started in building our fan base and I’ve been researching this topic just as your blog arrived in my inbox! I’m somewhat of a social media introvert so all of this is a steep learning curve and I really appreciate all the knowledge you share.

    I agree with others that finding the balance of not being annoying but making sure you in fact do the ask is the holy grail. I loved the outreach and calls to action by the Rise of Tribes crew. Their FB group contests, the interaction on their group pages and play testing activities, and the various blog posts they had describing the design journey and showing us the beautiful art.

    Jamey: I wondered why some creators set up FB pages for games and some set up groups? Is there a benefit to having a group with members over a page with fans? I started a page but I’m thinking perhaps I should change to a group?

    1. Thanks for the great comment! I really like FB groups because any member can post a topic, photo, or question to the main thread. It creates the potential for a great community to form, while a page is much more about you broadcasting information to people. I have a page for Stonemaier Games and groups for each game.

  5. A creator recently sent a compelling email to me as a backer of their project. The Perfect Notebook project was nearing its end and I had backed at the level to get the PDF version of the pages, not the beautifully designed and printed version of the notebook. The email was well-timed and nearly got me to increase my pledge by -$60 until I noticed on the pledge page that they had increased their price earlier in the pledge and were about to do so again for the final 48 hours. That tactic actually prevented me from increasing my pledge (I didn’t like the idea of them penalizing last minute backers) so I remained at the PDF level. The call-to-action email encouraging me to convert from a virtual reward to a physical reward did its job, but other choices by the creator prevented me from taking that final step.

  6. I never mind a call to action, but I tend to try to be proactive about sharing things that I like so when I hear one I tend to have already done it or wasn’t planning to. I’m not good at issuing calls to action, because they don’t do much for me from the other side I’m not really sure what people want in them – so this post and the comments have been handy :)

    Now I feel like this comment should include a mention of something I like – so I got Streets of Rogue (a pc top down real time roguelike) on early access and am enjoying the creator’s involvement in the forums, but resistance to putting in shiny new things over spending time bugfixing when necessary.

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