KS Lessons on the Fourth Day

Hocus is still performing incredibly well. We've had about 60 backers over the weekend, which is enormous for a small campaign like us. You can see the Kicktraq here.

A few days ago I wrote a post about things I'd learned in the first 36 hours, and I wanted to follow that up with a few more observations.

Kickstarter is still growing. There's a good chance you're going to be someone's first five backed projects. This has really caught me off guard. We're at the point now where our dedicated social circle has made a decision on Hocus and backed, so most of our new backers are friends of them, friends of friends, or just random folks off the Internet.

As I write my Thank You notes, I can see how many projects every backer has backed. In many cases, Hocus is their first! Or their third. Or fifth. This tells me a few things that are important to keep in mind:

  1. Kickstarter is still a growing platform. If we take care of this ecosystem, it can be around for new companies for a long time, long after I stop using it as a creator.
  2. You have a huge opportunity to make a great first impression. Though this impacts others, think about the relationship you can build for your company if the first time they dip their toe in the water they have a great experience. More than anything I want people to remember their experience with Hyperbole Games fondly. If we're one of the first companies, we can make a great first impression.

Europeans very much want to buy our games. Even with international shipping, the number of Europeans interested in Kickstarter is huge. Our game is small, so our costs aren't too bad, plus we're subsidizing it slightly and have a good group offer. But, we're definitely losing a few customers due to our shipping.

Unfortunately, many of the European Friendly methods aren't feasible for us at this time. They require a level of investment and additional complications we're not comfortable with. But, if you have a bigger game, or feel you can take on these methods, I recommend it.

As an aside, I find it quite fascinating that brand new companies are expected to have killer international fulfillment options out the gate. Think about this: incredible companies like Portal and Czech Games Edition have been in the business for years, but are only now handling distribution outside of their territories. Previously, they worked with companies like Z-Man to sell in the United States.

When you launch a Kickstarter, you will be compared to everyone that came before you. Even if someone else's methods are illogical, do not make financial sense, or don't work behind the scenes, the customers will now have expectations. Either be prepared to meet them, or discuss them in a frank manner.

Folks have had bad experiences. A few times, I've mentioned that we're going to try to not spam folks with our updates and share them at a reasonable pace. Every time I say that, many people come forward to say "Please don't go silent! More is better than less!"

Now, we have no intention of leaving folks high and dry or going silent. Silence in a crisis only worsens things, if we have one. But, people have been burned before, have seen it done badly, and are willing to come forward and speak out when they have the slightest notion that it'll happen again.

Have your communication plan in order. Know how you plan to speak to people. Be ready to engage them frequently. You'll see me say this over and over, but provide a great experience for your customers, whether it's on Kickstarter or otherwise. You have the opportunity to make them smile and remember good things. That'll pay dividends long into the future.

People will change their minds. This is a little maddening, mostly because you want to know why, but people will cancel their pledge. This has happened a few times with us already. There are so many possible reasons for this:

  • People are annoyed we've sent 3 updates already.
  • People don't like our no Stretch Policy.
  • People have another use for their $15.
  • People pledged, then played the PNP, and decided they didn't like it.
  • People want to back a man with more hair than I have.

The possibilities are truly infinite. Don't let this wear you down or frustrate you. If someone cancels? Fine. You have to be okay with that! They probably just changed their mind, which is what people do all the time.