28 January 2014
Recently I listened to a great podcast over at The Cardboard Republic involving a series of tips to help you decide if you should back a Kickstarter project or not. Around the same time I was interviewing with Plato Magazine, and they asked me a similar question: What factors do you consider when deciding if you should back a project?
As I wrote out my answers, I realized that these essentially equate to things that a Kickstarter project should have if you want to attract as many backers as possible. This isn’t a list where you can pick and choose one or two of the options–this is a checklist for you to account for each and every one before you launch.
So here it is. These are the things I need to see as a backer of about 100 projects to convince me to support a Kickstarter campaign. In somewhat order of importance:
- Art: I need to see a few pieces of beautiful art. I don’t need a lot–just a taste to see if I connect with the art.
- Graphic Design: I need to see that you have a graphic designer who knows what they’re doing. If you have good art but terrible graphic design, the art doesn’t matter at all. This is especially the case for games, in which graphic design can make a huge difference in the ease of play.
- Value: I need to get a good deal. Better yet, I need to feel like I’m getting a good deal. Make me an offer I can’t refuse.
- Engagement: I need to know that you are an active participant in your own project. If I see 20 comments with no replies from you and only 1 update even though the project has been live for 3 weeks, I’m leaving.
- Uniqueness: I need for you to make something new, something unique, something special. Something that I can’t already buy among the billion products out there. Even if it’s just one sexy component.
- Competence: I need to trust that you know how to deliver on your offer. If there are hints that you haven’t researched the full extent making and shipping the product, I’m not going to risk it.
- Passion: I need to believe in you, the project creator. If this is your first project or your tenth, I need to know that this project really matters to you.
- Generosity: I need to see that this isn’t all about you. You can show me this by backing other projects, by not constantly asking backers to do things for you, and by demonstrating on blogs and podcasts that you’re not there to promote your product, but rather to add value to other people’s lives.
- Quality: I need to see that you have a quality product by hearing what third-party reviewers have to say. Whether it’s a game, a box of chocolate, or a hat for cats, I need someone unbiased to tell me it’s awesome. In fact, I even just need to see that you had the foresight and courage to put your product in a third-party reviewer’s hands–they don’t have to love it for me to want it.
- Pliability: I need to see that you are somewhere between 90 and 99% percent finished designing your product…but not 100%. 100% to me is a pre-order system. I don’t fault someone for using Kickstarter as a pre-order system, but it’s not something that interests me as a backer. I’d rather you be almost done and then tap the wealth of knowledge and input from your backers to complete the product.
What compels you to back a Kickstarter campaign? Even though I’ve made a list out of this, it’s not like I pull out a checklist every time I look at a project. It’s these elements that drive that gut feeling I get that tips me from potential backer to actual backer. What provokes that tipping point for you?
Also read this artist’s 7 reasons she’ll back a Kickstarter project–it’s a good read.