First off, I’d like to point out that this is just an opinion piece from someone who often browses Kickstarter as a consumer. Most ‘How to’s’ are done from the perspective of someone who’s launched a successful campaign, or have spoken to people who have. I thought it’d be a good idea to write a sort of ‘how to’ opinion piece from the eyes of the person you’re trying to get to back your campaign.
Kickstarter is an interesting concept. It takes your idea and says “Hey world, this is my idea, if you get on board and help this thing become a reality I’ll give you something in return!” but it’s not as straight forward as that. Personally I don’t know what it takes to set-up a campaign, and that’s not what this is about, you can figure out the complicated parts yourself.. But if your campaign gets accepted, there’s a huge possibility that no-one will take interest and you end up wasting your time and effort but then there’s the complete polar opposite of that and you might raise 3X your original amount.
Hopefully this little guide from the consumer point of view will help you out with your campaign and hopefully lead to getting all the funding you require!
1, Sell it to me.
Before things like the Pebble E-Paper Watch shot to fame by raising a whopping $10,266,845 (all they wanted was $100,000) you could have asked around if anyone wanted a ‘smart watch’ and you’d have been inundated with blank stares. But as soon as they introduced their “use cases” people began to realise the potential a smart watch could have. How a smart watch could send out a little vibration when you receive a notification on your phone, control your music on the fly without having to take out your phone or fumble around for the earpiece control.
You need to give people a reason to pledge to your Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign, not just throw your product or game out there and expect the fish to bite. In some cases that might be good enough but not always.
Try and target people who aren’t necessarily your user base, this will help create a more down to earth campaign that anyone can understand and possibly get involved with because they feel that they can make use of your product.
2, Communication is the key.
In some cases your campaign might have quite a high target to achieve, this then requires potential backers to pledge more money so you can reach your end goal. One way I think it helps is if you communicate with your current backers as well as potential ones too. Update your campaign a lot, perhaps create some social network accounts where people can get more involved.
Remember: Kickstarter or IndieGoGo isn’t a social platform so people don’t tend to check them as often as say; Twitter or Facebook. So create a page, or a Twitter account, or even a Tumblr blog and use that to provide little bits of information as well as updating your campaign page (which you can of course cross promote).
When backers are pledging a lot of money for a new game concept that isn’t fully completed or hasn’t even began development, people want to know what’s going on. They want to know that you’re serious about what you’re doing and that you want their involvement too. Adding a personality to your campaign also helps much like with social networking, people just don’t want to hear run of the mill “Here’s something new” why not ask for opinions on how to improve the concept?
3, Pledge rewards.
Pledge rewards can be fairly hit or miss in my eyes and has been also met with quite a bit of controversy with people beginning to use Kickstarter as a sort of “shopping platform”. That aside, your rewards need to be something people want, and for a realistic amount too. It’s no use having a Kickstarter for your game that would say.. retail at £30 and giving your game to anyone who pledges £30 – they’re just going to wait and see if it’s a success and then purchase it in store. If you give people an incentive to pledge like £20 for the game (RRP £30) or perhaps £30 for the game & a few extra goodies, that might work.
Be realistic with your pledge rewards. Personally I feel that if you’re offering your product to potential backers at the price that it’ll retail, don’t expect anything from me.
4, Stretch goals.
Personally I’m not a fan of stretch goals. I feel that if you can do these types of thing in the first place, then why not go ahead and add it in to the original concept. It might encourage me to back your campaign. I don’t think there’s any point of asking for £10,000 for one thing, and as soon as it exceeds that with a few days left, don’t start throwing new ideas at me hoping for an extra £1,000.
5, Don’t forget us!
So we’ve followed your campaign for 30+ days, don’t go disappearing on us! We understand you’ve got lots of development to do, but keep us in the loop! Tease us with images of packing boxes or game screenshots, I may have pledged a fair amount and I don’t want that to be forgotten about until your project launches!
Your project alone might cause a bit of a stir online and people might share it amongst friends, but don’t just sit there staring at your statistics pressing F5 every five minutes to see if anything has changed. Cause a stir yourself, do a bit of promotion online, send a few emails around to websites like ours, tweet people who might have an interest in what your project is about. What have you got to lose? You never know someone in your niche might get wind of your idea and post it on their site/blog what has thousands of readers!
7, What’s the rush?
Take your time when creating a campaign, have a realistic outlook on things, if you think it’s going to take six months to complete, say that it’ll take eight. No one likes it when a release date gets pushed back. It’s bad enough that we have to hide our excitement for your idea for months, but then to say it’s delayed. No. We’re all impatient, excited children when it comes to receiving a cool gadget, or game don’t cause us to throw our dummies out of the pram by saying that it’s not ready yet!
Hopefully this provides you with some ideas you hadn’t yet considered, or has helped clear up a few things you weren’t too sure about. And good luck!