10 September 2013
I’ve talked about reward levels here before, but today I want to focus on a specific reward level that is a key element of most successful Kickstarter projects: The Premium Option.
This is very closely related to the concept of the anchor price that I described in the previous lesson about reward lessons. An anchor price establishes a base price for your product so your backers have something to compare the price of the other reward levels. It offers quantitative context, and it’s low enough that it gets people in the door.
The premium option is the opposite of the anchor price. It is a separate reward that is tantalizingly close to the anchor price, but SO much better. It should give people a truly compelling reason to upgrade, or simply an outlet to spend more on the project if they want to help you reach more stretch goals.
Here’s how I’ve used the premium option in my campaigns:
- For Viticulture, the anchor price was $39 for a copy of the game (61 backers). The premium option was $49 for the game + the expansion (427 backers).
- For Euphoria, the anchor price was $49 for the game (2,314 backers). The premium option was $59 for an extra set of 24 custom dice and an alternative-art deck of 44 recruit cards (1,794 backers).
However, there was a big difference between the two campaigns: I offered Viticulture’s premium option from day one, while Euphoria’s premium option was something I added about two weeks into the campaign after gathering backer feedback.
I discussed the idea of adding a premium option mid-campaign with Michael Iachini over on his retrospective on the Chaos & Alchemy campaign (a great read). Similar to Euphoria, Chaos & Alchemy originally had only a base price of $25 (301 backers), and midway through the campaign Game Salute added a $39 premium level (610 backers).
The fruit of the discussion is that even though adding a premium reward level during the campaign gives the project a nice boost, it’s best to have that level from day one. Although it was neither of our intentions to hide things from backers (both ideas came up during the campaign, not before), the more transparency and information up front, the better. Plus, plenty of people will go after the premium option from day one, so there’s no reason to make them wait.
However, there are two things you should do during the campaign:
- Once during the campaign, send a message to all backers of the anchor price with your best pitch on why they should upgrade to the premium option. Don’t be pushy. Just let them know the option is there, and tell them exactly how to change their pledge on Kickstarter. Do this exactly once, about 3 weeks into the campaign.
- Gather feedback during the campaign about what backers want, and if possible, turn that feedback into a backer-driven extra-premium option. This should happen organically, and thus it may not happen. But allow your project to be a living, breathing entity–if backers want an extra set of custom dice that serve absolutely no function in your game, give them what they want (providing it works for your manufacturer and budget).
How have you seen the premium option effectively used in other projects?