Hey everyone. You may have noticed, if you visit this site at all, that i’ve been rather quiet for the past…couple of months, it seems. Well, i’ve been hugely busy with the Kickstarter for Feed the Shoggoth, which i’m happy to say was very successful; i raised nearly double my initial goal of $8,000. I’d been meaning to post more about that here, but the KS consumed so much time, that i wasn’t able to write about it…until now. And while there’s still a ton of work to do on it (like, you know, getting the game actually made, printed, and shipped out to pledgers, for instance), i can share what i’ve learned in this wacky and wild world of Kicksteringness so far:
1) The video- like i posted previously, i’m so, so glad i ended up making the video. It was a lot of work, and took the help of a great number of people, but it was absolutely worth it in the end. According to the stats kept by Kickstarter, the video was played over 1,500 times! Now, i don’t have any conversion metrics; meaning, i don’t know how many people who watched the video ended up pledging (i may ask that in my survey). But i do know that there were people who did pledge largely because of what they saw in the video.
Do i think the video is why my KS succeeded? No, not in of itself. But i think it went a long way in helping. My advice for any budding KS creators out there- MAKE A VIDEO.
- Advertising- I spent…well, a significant amount of money on advertising. I targeted four websites:
- Yog-sothoth.com, which is the premier and most popular Call of Cthulhu website
- Rpg.net, one of the largest gaming sites on the interwebs
- Lovecraft e-zine, a very well respected site for all things Lovecraftian
- Kicktraq, a site that tracks trends of how well (or not) a KS is doing
There were a few other sites that i wanted to place ads in, but frankly, i was running out of money.
As i learned, different sites handle ads differently. Some will just constantly display your ad for a pre-determined amount of time. Others will charge by “impressions”, which is just a fancy way of saying how often your ad will appear when compared to the other ads in rotation. The more you pay, the more “impressions” you get, and thus the more often your ad will appear in comparison to other ads.
So, was it worth plunking down all that money for ad banners? I don’t have any numbers to prove it, but my gut says yes. I know (from what people told me) that they found out about the KS thanks to ads. However, i’m pretty sure that ads were secondary to…
3) Social media- As far as getting the word out, this was the obvious winner. Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, e-mail were huge factors in telling the world about the Kickstarter. Reposts on FB and Twitter were instrumental.
4) Hashtags on Kickstarter- this was something i didn’t know about until it was brought to my attention, and a function that Kickstarter doesn’t readily make known (i had to search through their blog posts to find one written in 2013 to find the instructions). On the main Discover page, on the right side, there’s a section called “#Tags”. Natrually, there’s one for Cthulhu. If you send Kickstarter a tweet, asking them to put a #tag on your Kickstarter, it will then appear in these Tag searches.
Why does this matter? Because there are folks out there who visit Kickstarter and look often to see what new games or Lovecraftiana or whatever have appeared on KS. I had one person tell me that they *only* buy games from Kickstarter.
5) Shipping- this will be a significant issue for any Kickstarter (unless all your stuff is in electronic form). Get your numbers figured out before you start. DON’T just guess. Go to the post office, or use their online shipping calculator, to get accurate numbers on how much shipping is going to run you.
And don’t forget packaging. I’d recommend using U-Line(http://www.uline.com); all they do is sell shipping materials, and it’s super cheap. Make sure to factor that into your costs.
Declare your shipping charges up front. I made a handy chart that anyone can consult, depending on which country they live in, to show how much they need to add to their pledge.
This still left to confusion. Some people expect that shipping charges are rolled into the pledge, if they live in the same country. Others don’t. I’m frankly undecided which method i would use in future KS projects, but be prepared for having to put in some extra work in corralling pledgers to get their shipping costs in.
6) Stay on top of communication- You’ll end up getting questions and comments from pledgers and prospective pledgers…possibly a lot. Be nice, be clear, and be respectful. Most of all, be honest.
7) Expect a few pledgers to bail- It just happens, for whatever reason, that some folks will need to either reduce their pledge amounts, or pull out entirely. Don’t take it personally. I remember being surprised when i first saw that happen, but i realized that it’s something that’s just going to happen. Unless you’ve done something to actively piss off your backers, don’t stress about it.
8) Trolls- Yep, even in a wee little Kickstarter such as mine, i managed to attract a couple of trolls (one of which went so far as shelling out a buck just so they could drop in and “comment” and offer “advice” on my game).
9) Keep talking about it- This goes back to using social media and e-mail. Don’t stop talking about your Kickstarter. In person, through mail, on Facebork, whatever. Keep your KS on everyone’s mind. It’ll remind them to pledge, or spread the word…or both.
That’s it for now. If more topics come up (and i’m sure they will), i’ll post about them here. Cheers!