9 October 2013 | 45 Comments
At this point I’ve reviewed hundreds of project pages for fellow project creators (see my advice and consultation policy here). Each project is unique, and each project page has unique issues that hold it back from being a great project. But there’s one piece of advice that I have to give to almost every project creator after seeing their project page rough draft:
Stay focused on what you’re raising money for. Stay focused on whom you’re creating it for (more on that here). Stay focused on what you’re trying to deliver to backers.
Why does focus matter? Because every time you lose focus–whether it’s in your rewards, on your project page, in your updates, or elsewhere–you dilute your primary objective.
If a potential backer looks at your project page for the first time because he wants to buy your game and he has to weed through 5 pledge levels before he can find the actual game, you may lose that backer. If a potential backer is intrigued by the name of your project, but she can’t figure out what you’re raising money for by looking at your project page, that’s a problem. You’re going to lose that backer.
Sell What You’re Selling
Here’s a common example of what I see on those rough draft project pages:
$1 – special thank you on Twitter
$5 – postcard with a photo of us making the game
$15 – art print from the game
$25 – t-shirt with our game company logo on it
$50 – the game
When I see that, I ask the creator, “What are you trying to sell here? Are you in the business of selling art prints? Is your dream to make and ship a bunch of t-shirts, or is it your dream to publish a board game?”
If you’re trying to raise money to manufacture a game, the people who come to your project page are looking to get a game. They’re not looking for a postcard, an art print, or a t-shirt. So don’t make them weed through all that to get to what they want.
(During your project, if a bunch of backers request art prints, you can add a pledge level that gets them the game + the art print. But not by itself. Stay focused on your core product.)
The “Kitchen Sink Method” Doesn’t Work
As a project creator, you might think that including every possible reward will help you achieve your goal. Every dollar counts, right?
Not only do you dilute your core mission every time you include a $5 postcard level or a $25 t-shirt level, you also add all these ancillary items to your to-do list that take up your time. Time that you could be spending actually running the bakery you raised money for or playtesting your game.
It really comes down to this: The success of your $20,000 project to raise money for cat surveillance cameras doesn’t hinge on the 10 people who choose the $5 postcard level. It hinges on you finding 200 people to give you $100 each for a cat camera. Input some sample numbers on KickTotal if you want to see for yourself. [Update 2020: at some point this website ceased to exist.]
And yes, not everybody who will support your project wants a cat camera. That’s one of the reasons why you include a $1 reward level. $1 reward levels aren’t about the money–they’re about engaging people and getting them excited enough to either upgrade or to spread the word.
More Streamlined = Less Confusion
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of not confusing your backers. Everything should be crystal clear. A backer should know within 5 seconds of looking at the page what you’re raising money for, how they can get a copy, and if that copy is the “complete” copy or not.
A few months ago I found a project from a successful company on Kickstarter that had two games in their rewards. They seemed somewhat related, but they had different names. One was less than half the price of the other. One bore the name of the project, while the other didn’t seem to fit. It was confusing, and it was a big turn off.
It doesn’t have to be that difficult. Stay focused on what you’re creating, and you will attract and retain more backers.
What do you think? Has a project ever caught your eye but then lost you due to lack of focus?