Kickstarter Lesson #31: Micro Goals

16 April 2013

Arena of Peaceful Conflict (Euphoria art spoiler)
Arena of Peaceful Conflict (Euphoria art spoiler)

We’re closing in on the end of the Kickstarter Lessons needed during a Kickstarter Project, but there’s one more I wanted to mention before delving into the final week and final 48 hours: micro goals.

The other day I was listening to Richard Bliss’ amazing podcast about Kickstarter, Funding the Dream. He was interviewing Natalya Faden, the creator of a game called Torn Armor, which was about to finish its successful run on Kickstarter at the time of the recording.

What you may not know about Torn Armor if you look at its final rake of $67,742 is that it almost didn’t get anywhere close to its goal. I had my eye on the project for quite a while, but I didn’t realize what turned things around until Richard brought up the reason on his podcast.

No mystery here: Torn Armor became successful because of micro goals.

By “micro goals,” I mean that Natalya started posting updates on Kickstarter, Facebook, and elsewhere asking people to help the project reach certain arbitrary thresholds. These weren’t stretch goals–they were micro goals leading up to funding.

Here are a few examples of micro goals:

  • If you’ve raised $9,000, encourage people to help you reach $10,000.
  • If you have 239 backers, encourage people to help you reach 250.
  • If you have 453 Facebook Likes, encourage people to help you reach 500.

Why do these work? Two reasons:

  1. They give people a reason to act now. It’s really easy to click the “remind me” button on Kickstarter and forget about the project for 30 days. Every time a backer does that, you’re losing a person who could be an active advocate of your project, someone who genuinely feels passionate about your dream. The more reasons you can give people a reason to act now, the better.
  2. They are achievable. Focus on the word “micro.” You aren’t asking people to help you jump from $2,000 to $20,000. That’s too big of a gap. Give people the satisfaction of achieving something in the short term, like unlocking a new level in a video game.

As Torn Armor proved, these micro goals slowly but surely added up. They gave forward momentum to a floundering project.

Now, keep in mind that this is not an excuse to spam people on social networks. People will tune you out if you stop adding value to their Facebook feed. Fortunately, the value is built into the micro goals. Have you ever been the 100th backer of a project, or the person to help the project reach a milestone? It feels good, doesn’t it? Give people the opportunity to feel that too.

Have you seen a project effectively use micro goals?

Next: The Final Week

8 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #31: Micro Goals

  1. How do you make sure people clearly see your micro-goal? If they already hit remind-me, there’s no way to message them, right?

    So you’re basically talking about your social media messages, right? Maybe the update title or something posted at the top of your page?

  2. I was very excited to help Fantasy Frontiers break $19,000 (a very arbitrary goal). They did a great job hooking me! Their twitter post said they would sing my praise (and now i am waiting for the proof on YouTube!).

  3. Now that I think about it, I have probably backed half of the projects that I did because the project creators announced a threshold they were striving to pass. I felt like I was going to be part of their project, like I had something significant to contribute to the overall mission, and I backed them. And even as I articulate this, I still feel like I had a more significant impact by making my backing decisions based upon this micro goal. Great incite here Jamey. My only question would be; how often should a project use this option. I mean theoretically you could announce a new micro goal every day, or even more. Obviously this would be a terrible annoyance, but what is your opinion?Twice per project, once a week, only when absolutely necessary? Thanks!

    1. John–That’s a great way to put it. Even though the thresholds don’t necessarily “mean” something, it still feels good as a backer to help cross them (I’ve had that feeling myself).

      Honestly, I think you can mention a LOT of micro goals as long as you mix up the format. Do one on a project update, then one on Facebook, then one on Twitter, and so on. You don’t want someone to look at your Facebook page and only see micro-goal updates, you know? So I think if you mix it up, you can keep them coming on an almost daily basis.

  4. What are your thoughts on campaigns that market “Funded within 24hrs” or “Fully funded”? To me this screams “we set the bar low for marketing purposes” but wanted to know your thoughts? Thanks.

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