KS Lessons from the 7th Day
We're a week into the Hocus Kickstarter and it's going very well. We're at over 215% funding and 664 backers. Our fewest backers in a day has been 37, and our lowest amount raised has been $707. If this is at all indicative of the rest of our campaign, well, that bodes fantastically for us. I'm sure it'll decrease, but what a killer first week!
Here are some more notes from our campaign.
Have a hook. This is true regardless of your pitch medium, be it to a potential publisher or to customers on Kickstarter. Ours is "Poker Plus Spells." With Apotheca, Andrew Federspiel mentions "Spatial Strategy plus Hidden Information." Many people have commented on this in their notes to me and it seems to really be sticking with them. What's your catch phrase that's easy to remember? Try to craft one and put it front and center for your campaign.
Plan your updates. We haven't actually been terribly busy during the campaign, no more than normal development. But, updates are a reality, in addition to Thank You notes, and other such tasks, and you should plan for them. Especially if you're a slow writer! Thankfully, we have 8 Spell books, which make for great updates. Plus, there is always news and clarifications to make.
Plan your updates out for the approximate span at the campaign, leaving room to be flexible as you communicate with backers. Preparation is truly at the heart of any product's success and this is just one more area where you can be patient, do your homework, and appreciate the light dividends.
Make a routine of things. This continues the note above, but plan for pockets of time, in your daily life, to look over the campaign, communicate with folks, write thank you notes, and follow up on things. The more you plan before the campaign, the less of a burden this will be. But, if you're shooting how to play videos, and writing thank you notes, and posting a PNP, and chasing down previews, you'll be in trouble. Therefore, the first priority, that we've really appreciated, is to try to take care of as much stuff as possible before launch. The second priority is to craft a routine and stick to it so that your "chores" are properly cared for!
Obsess over your Kickstarter page. Review your page a few hundred times for typos, poor sentences, confusing sections, and anything that detracts. Ask friends, people who dislike you, and random folks to read it over. Treat your Kickstarter page like a rules document -- make it clear, concise, and useful. Organize the data in order of importance, provide clean page breaks, and use basic formatting or graphic design, as your budget and skills allow, to highlight important details.
Really obsess over your page. Whenever we ask people if they have questions, an overwhelming number of people say "Nope, your page had everything." That's really the best response. It's very satisfying and it has saved us a great deal of time. A few specifics, like ones regarding the wooden box, have been added to the FAQ. And really, these are the types of things an FAQ is meant for. Review your page and remove all bumps.
Just 2 days ago we found a bump on ours -- our link to our rules was pointing to a not too old, but still out of date copy of our rules. Whoops! How embarrassing! Just think how that could have hurt us if someone downloaded the PNP and couldn't figure out how to play!
Obsess over your Kickstarter page, then do it again. Typos and sloppiness will only make you look like you don't care, or at least, you didn't care enough.
Invest in Art. Our fundamental belief is that great art and a great price will take a Kickstarter very far. It's a one-two punch. Great art gets the customers in the door. They like what they see in the "window" and pick up the box. They then see the price, shrug, and go "hell I'm in!"
Really invest in your art. It's super easy to just find someone who can technically do it, but really seek out a partner that will make your game look beautiful and outstanding. It makes a great first impression, makes you look professional, and is the most beautiful way to demonstrate you care about your game.
Have your PNP Ready. Since June 22nd, just 3 days before our Kickstarter launched, we've had about 470 combined downloads of our black and white and color PNP files off BGG. If you include the downloads from our pre-campaign Hotness push, this goes up to almost 700 downloads!
Now, surely many of those can be written off as repeat downloads, and surely the majority of them will sit on a desktop, never to be printed or cut. But, we've heard from many backers who have played the PNP with friends and family. We've seen several cases of backers pledging at $5 to get the high resolution PNP, they send us a nice note, then increase their pledge to get the physical copy. Have your PNP ready before you launch!
I don't really have a way to collect data on this, but I'm convinced this is helping us in a big way. It shows preparedness, confidence, and helps people move beyond the flash and really become committed fans. Some of the nicest comments I've ever heard about a game I've designed have come from our PNP players. Just think how that might work in word of mouth with other potential backers.
Several folks have asked us to write our post mortem and we'd like to do so in a way that's useful for you. If you have questions about our campaign you want answered, send them my way or comment below!