3 April 2014 | 21 Comments
We just entered the final week of my Tuscany campaign, prompting me to read my own Kickstarter Lesson about what a project creator should do at the start of the final week.
One of the key points on that entry is the “call to action.” A call to action is a request for backers to do something–share the project, upgrade their pledge, etc.
So I started to write a project update about a call to action for Tuscany, and I realized: Other than asking backers to share their opinion through a few polls during the project, I haven’t issued any calls to action until today.
Now, I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing–in particular, it’s helpful to recommend creative ways for backers to share the project during the campaign. But I think it’s also really important not to ask too much of your backers. Here’s why:
Your backers have already done SO much for you by becoming backers in the first place.
I think it’s really, really important for project creators remember that. Out of 6 billion people on this planet, a few hundred people have decided that they want to give you their hard-earned money months in advance of getting anything tangible in return. That is remarkable. In many ways, that’s more than enough for them to do. It’s not their responsibility to also share the project with their friends and add more stuff to their pledge.
Now, social network sharing and upgrading pledges can be beneficial for everyone, especially in terms of reaching the funding goal and unlocking stretch goals. But keep the calls to action in check.
This topic came up on the Tuscany boards the other day, and several types of project creep (when project creators keep adding more stuff and asking backers to do more stuff) were mentioned:
- Excessive add-ons: Some projects start out with a lot of add-ons, but perhaps the worst culprits are those that accumulate more and more add-on options during the campaign. This preys on gamers’ “completionist” tendencies. Miniatures projects are somewhat notorious for this, and sometimes it can have a drastic impact on the project schedule. Solution: create some new add-ons during the campaign to keep the momentum and excitement, but limit them to 1 a week at most.
- Excessive upgrades: Some projects start off with a few pledge levels, but as the project grows, more and more rewards are added, and the right sidebar becomes bloated with options. Not only is this confusing for people looking for the “complete” game, but if you keep adding more, the backers become jaded about whether or not the project creator knows what “complete” means. Solution: I’m a huge proponent of the “premium option,” a reward that makes the regular option same blase in comparison, and at a fair price. Have a few of these on your project, but not too many.
- Excessive polls and surveys: Some projects are constantly asking backers for their opinion. Now, I love polls and surveys–they’re a great way to engage backers. But everything can’t be up for discussion, and after a certain point backers get tired of them. Solution: Limit yourself to one poll a week, and be clear about when the poll will close. Remember to share the results.
- Excessive calls to action: This is probably the most common example of project creep. Some projects constantly ask backers to share, Like, Tweet, thumb, etc. Backers start to wonder, “Is it ever enough?” Solution: It’s important to empower backers with specific, creative ways to share the project. But limit these requests to no more than 1 update a week. And definitely don’t do this or encourage it in the comments section. You can kill a vibrant backer discussion really fast if someone is constantly telling backers to go share the project instead of building community within the project.
- Excessive project updates: We’ve discussed this before on the KS Lesson about project updates: Don’t drown backers in updates! Save up until you have something really important to say, then say it in one update, putting any ancillary information at the bottom of the post–don’t write an update on consecutive days unless it’s absolutely imperative that backers read it right away. Solution: The best way to learn about project updates is to subscribe to a project and follow the updates until you get so annoyed with them that you unsubscribe. Jot down why you unsubscribed, and then make sure you don’t do the same thing when you run your project.
Can you think of any other types of project creep? Please don’t use the comments here to point fingers–this is a learning experience for all project creators, including me.