Quick Kickstarter Lesson Recaps: #36-40

3 August 2020 | 1 Comment

Over the last 8 years, I’ve written over 800 articles on this blog to share my thoughts, observations, mistakes, and insights with my fellow creators. That’s a lot of content to go back and read for someone who is navigating the crowdfunding process for the first time, so in this series I continue to revisit my Kickstarter Lesson posts in chronological order, highlighting the core elements of each.
For Better or for Worse (#36): The hope is that your project will reach its funding goal. But it might not. So let’s shift focus. Reaching that funding goal is just one of the goals you might have. Through the course of your campaign you might have connected with strangers who have never heard of you or your product, learned how to market and promote yourself and your product, learned what works and doesn’t work on Kickstarter, and established yourself as a competent, communicative, trustworthy project creator. You might have even more goals in mind! So if you don’t fund, make sure you follow-through with those goals. Stay in touch with your backers and use the project update feature to communicate your appreciation. And the important lesson here is that all of this applies if you reach or exceed your funding goal too. The money is good–it means you can follow through on your dream and your promises–but let backers know that you’re going to continue to treat them as individuals, not numbers.

Conventions and Face Time (#37): I’m a little biased on this topic, as conventions and trade shows have never been more than a very small part of Stonemaier’s marketing strategy. Feel free to read this article about how I choose to approach conventions (and read more about the Play-and-Win systems we support). I think the main benefit from to big conventions is the face time you can get with your best partners (and some potential partners). I don’t think you need a big booth to do so. You really just need yourself. The one exception to this are a few companies who have done a great job at fostering ongoing customer loyalty through their big booths. Greater Than Games is one such company. Many of their lifetime fans discovered their games at conventions, and they return to those conventions to see and interact with Greater Than Games.

Be Mentally Prepared for Cancellations (#38): Based on what I’ve heard and experienced, a ~5% cancellation rate is pretty normal. However, knowing that something is normal is different than facing it when it happens. There are plenty of reasons a backer may cancel their pledge. They may not have enough money for your project and another project, they may decide they don’t like the game, or a new aspect revealed in a project update may not have sat well with them. Also, the nice thing about Kickstarter is that you can cancel your pledge any time during the campaign, so some people might sign up early and back out later. But rejection in any form stings a bit, even after you’re used to it. Whenever someone cancels, remind yourself that you also got 5 new backers the past hour. Focus on the positive, not the negative. Sometimes there might be a pattern to the cancellations, and you should learn from that if possible. But instead of focusing on the 5% of people who changed their mind about your project, focus on the other 95% who have decided to stick with you.

Anatomy of a Great Kickstarter Project Page (#39): My previous lessons have covered project videos, reward levels, stretch goals, and explaining why you need Kickstarter funds, but this one is a comprehensive post about the makings of a great Kickstarter page as a whole. In this article I break it down into bit size chunks, but it still includes too much information to sufficiently summarize in this small space. From “the top 3 project page mistakes” to “core components that every project page needs,” this lesson covers it all. Check it out.

Should You Offer the Kickstarter-Exclusive Version of Your Product After the Campaign? (#40): As soon as my Kickstarter projects ended, people contacted me asking if they could get the Kickstarter version of the game. They pointed out that they were only a day or two late–no big deal, right? But it is kind of a big deal because of all those other people who made sacrifices to push the project to the limit during the campaign. It’s much easier if you can step in after everyone else has made the hard choices and get the same thing they got. The tough part about this is that I know what it’s like to miss out on a campaign. It’s an interesting conundrum and since this article, Stonemaier has moved further and further away from “exclusives” as the solution and aimed at making our products as accessible as possible. If you’d like to read a good debate on that subject, check out this article on Exclusive Content.

If you have any questions or thoughts about these topics, feel free to share in the comments!
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1 Comment on “Quick Kickstarter Lesson Recaps: #36-40

  1. Thanks for sharing amazing articles about Kickstarter / Crowdfunding.

    I am preparing my first campaign on Kickstarter, I would like to hear your advice on the Marketing Budget. I contacted many Marketing agencies who are specialized in Crowdfunding, I found their fees around 18-20%, in addition they charge an upfront fees around $4,000, and they recommended me to spend around 15-20% for Facebook / Instagram ads.

    If I should consider the total marketing (40%) of KS Goal, and add it to each reward price, it would become overpriced.

    I don’t think this is logical. Please advise.


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