Don’t Panic! Know you’re ready to launch.

don-t-panic-buttonRecently a friend of mine said he had the pre-launch jitters and while confident with the product, was unsure if he did everything he could to make sure the launch was a success. Given that the first 2 days of your campaign will bring you over 1/3 of your funding and are extremely important for a campaign to fund well, I don’t blame him for worrying.

A lot of information is scattered throughout my blogs, but I felt it maybe it was important enough to warrant a sort of summary post of current best practices for launching a successful crowdfunding campaign. Below is a short checklist / guide for what I feel is the most important and currently relevant things to make sure you’ve done right:

  • Kickstarter is not going to market your game. It may bring you 25-50% of your backers. But the rest is up to you. So make sure you’ve done a few months of marketing BEFORE your ever launch. Get involved in the communities that would most likely want your game and start your own game group on Facebook and give some stuff away to make people join it.
  • Send out some teasers to your followers and make sure your game is listed at BoardGameGeek.com – do not launch in a vacuum or as a surprise.
  • Show off your preview link to our Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice FB group as these people can help you fine tune things before you launch. They’ll even proof read for you 🙂
  • Submit your page to launch a week or more before your actual planned launch date. If your campaign is then flagged for review you’ll still have plenty of time. You can edit your page as much as you want after approval so hell, do it a month before you launch!
  • Launch your campaign on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and do so in USA morning hours. Avoid holidays! Be there during that time to quickly edit the story page and respond to comments. Don’t launch while at a convention! Your campaign should run between 21-35 days.
  • Start collecting emails anyway you can before launch. You want to send to your mailing list and all your social media accounts and post notices to BGG on the release day. This is the most important day and you need to try to get at least 20% funding.
  • You should have third-party reviews already posted to the story page when you launch. Without reviews, people will not trust you. Plus, these reviewers can message their followers too.
  • Make sure you have some good quality pictures of the bits and game board and your game in progress, not just the contents list.
  • Facebook, Kicktraq.com, and BGG ads (not contests) are effective. Make sure you restrict your ads on Facebook to only a few top backer countries (USA, EU, Australia, Japan) or you’ll waste a lot of money.
  • Don’t use early birds (discounts for first few days of backers) as those just are leaving money on the table (from your most eager backers) and it will irritate future backers. The number of people they turn away is more then the extras you gain.
  • You’ll be spammed by a whole bunch of people trying to say they can help promote your campaign. They are all ineffective at best and scams at worst. Do not waste your time or money on any of them.
  • Only show a few of the yet to be reached stretch goals at a time, if you’re doing them, so you can adjust based on the velocity of your first couple days. If your campaign blows through all the stretch goals in the first couple days this leaves you attempting to make up more on the spot which will almost always go bad.
  • Make sure you have a link to your game’s rules in the story section.
  • Keep your video to 3 minutes or less and have the gameplay video in the story section below.

Also from my blogs:

http://www.jamesmathe.com/the-enlightened-path-to-virtual-popularity/

ADDTIONAL READING:

Was your campaign radioactive?

11 Things All Failed Kickstarter Projects Do Wrong

 

8 thoughts on “Don’t Panic! Know you’re ready to launch.

  1. Joshua Geimer on

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! So great to have this updated list of critical information all in one post.

  2. Great list James,

    I always wonder about the “25% – 50%” of backers that people say you may naturally get through KS. Are these typically spread across the course of the campaign or do a good chunk come on the first day when you launch?

    • They only come if you are running a good solid campaign to begin with. They rarely just show up and back. So they come during the initial rush and the final 48 mainly. But some will trickle in during the rest.

      • I feel this has been changing over the years. Early on I would have said don’t count on many if any backers from simply browsing the KS website, but nowadays, Kickstarter seems to be the way tabletop gaming happens, and many including myself DO simply browse the KS listings for a good game!

  3. I didn’t think to list my game on BGG BEFORE launching! Heck, I probably would have only done that after the campaign ended, IF it succeeded.

    Is that allowed? What if my campaign fails? (It won’t.) Does BGG allow games listed that never see the light of day? (It will.)

    Thanks for this info! Either way, I am going to take this advice!

    • For sure you can and should list your game at BGG before you launch. They will let you and it’s needed to help promote the game there and elsewhere.

  4. Jeffrey Brunner on

    Have not attempted a kickstarter as of yet. But I continue to educate myself and your advice and experience has been invaluable in giving me the confidence to eventually move forward if and when the courting of publishers at conventions completely dries up. Thanks again.

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