19 June 2017
You’re a first-time Kickstarter creator, and one of your biggest concerns is how to make a splash on Day 1. You’re not alone–we’ve all been there.
I believe that the first few days of a campaign are hugely important. If a project starts off strong, the perception from subsequent backers is that the project is worth their attention. The opposite can happen if the project starts off slowly.
There are lots of ways to increase the chances of an early boost. However, one thing I’d recommend that you keep in mind is that your campaign is longer than 1-2 days. Does your Day 1 strategy discourage potential backers who discover the project after that day?
Here’s a list of strategies and incentives, ranging from most organic to most likely to turn off “late” backers. Some of these can be used in combination with each other.
- Build a community of eager backers in advance and present them with an appealing product/project. No gimmicks, tactics, or tricks. Just good old fashioned hard work, careful planning, and solid execution. A recent example of this is Lucidity.
- Send individual invitations to each of your friends and family members. This is how I spent the first two days of my first board game project, Viticulture. I didn’t send a mass e-mail; rather, I wrote a special e-mail to everyone I knew who might find something interesting in the project.
- Add a free bonus to every copy of the game if the project funds within a set amount of time. On Trickerion, if the project was successfully funded in the first week, every copy of the game would get 4 new roles (twice the number as the original). This provided a huge incentive for people to back now instead of later and to share the project with friends. It fostered a sense of community among all backers instead of separating some backers from the others.
- Offer a soft benefit to early backers. A “soft benefit” is something intangible (i.e., not an item or a discount). An example of this would be a backer toast for the Day 1 backers or, as Clans of Caledonia did, a higher money-back guarantee for those early backers.
- Give a special component to early backers for free; offer it as an add-on later. Two current projects, Lords of Hellas and Human Interface, offered a miniature to Day 1 backers that other backers could add on later (unfortunately they made it a KS exclusive, which runs into issues post-campaign, but that’s a separate topic). Lords of Hellas has a good answer in their FAQ about how Day 1 backers know who they are: “We have exported all 24,5 hour backers and we can confirm that all backers with number 6442 or lower qualify for free Leonidas.”
- Create an early-bird pricing tier. An example of this is a project who offers Day 1 backers or the first 100 backers a lower price than all other backers. Based on a survey I ran a few months ago, 49% of people who discover a project after they’ve missed out on an early-bird price are significantly less likely to back it.
Which of these options appeals to you the most as a creator or a backer? Are there other strategies or examples I missed?
Also, thanks to Peter S. for suggesting this topic.