So you want to crowd fund?

Kickstarter is a fickle beast, we all know this by now, for those of you that have made the leap, I salute you. Win or lose it takes courage to put yourself in front of the internet. Recently I had a chance to share some of the information I have hoarded for a long while, and I wanted to polish that up and put it down in a more readable way. Most of what I talk about will be in the context of indie game developers/development.

Pitch Video:

This is a big topic, that I have seen covered many ways but what it boils down to is this:

  • Keep it Short, Sweet, and to the Point.
  • The star of your video is the game, chances are no one knows who you are, and looking at you in a video run on about your passions will cause people to click off. So show of something interesting(game play, production art, etc)
  • Branding, Branding, Branding: Have a polished logo, use it, use it a lot. Yes, in the video, at the start, at some point during the video, at the end of the video(find a way to make it stick to people minds’ eye)
  • This is not an independent film, there is no time to build to a climatic reveal, you must hook the viewer as fast as possible so give the viewer something to see early on (first 30 seconds or sooner) that pulls them in.
  • Update the landing page image for the video with updates graphics calling out updates on the project(New Stretch Goals, Funded!, Last Day, etc.)

Community:

Often times, much like audio, community or even simple marketing are not taken into account for indie games on Kickstarter. If you are planning to crowd fund, start a mailing list, get some hype on the project(not the kickstarter) before you publish your crowd funding venture.

Some Key points:

  • As stated, start a mailing list people who sign up are potential champions for you and can have a huge effect on drawing more people to your project.
  • About two weeks to a month before you launch your Kickstarter send out a newsletter to the people on your mailing list giving them a heads up about your intentions.
  • Tweet, blog, Instagram, Facebook – be active in all of these, remember your building hype so the more people talking, the more people that will jump on the bandwagon when the time comes.
  • Ramp up community activity and promotional events those two weeks leading up to the launch of your Kickstarter (build hype).
  • Interact with the community(answer questions, banter) this is the time to show your passion.

Website:

Running a website can be a pain, yes, but it is a necessary evil, while running a kickstarter you may want to keep in mind the following:

  • Your landing page should be calling out the crowd funding campaign. I should be able to click a link from your website and be taken straight to the  Kickstarter, this should not be hard to find.
  • Get as much information as you can on the main page, the less a user has to click through a strange website the better.
  • Images, videos and the like should be prominent.
  • Remember that mailing list I mentioned a bit ago, yeah that should have a home for signups on your main landing page.
  • Link all the thinks, besides your crowd funding campaign, makes sure you have the rest of your social outlets available for people to check out.

Backer Rewards:

One final chunk of information to pay attention to:

  • Physical rewards cost money, not just to produce, but to ship, keep this in mind when you not only finalize the amount of money you are asking for, but when you put together your expense list.
  • Kickstarter takes a percentage of your funding, also keep that in mind.
  • There is a transaction fee/Taxes to take into account when finalizing your Kickstarter.
  • Any chance you can engage a backer and make them feel like part of the development cycle is a great up sell(not just a name in credits or a thank you, but something actually in game).

What is written above in no way guarantee that you will have a successful Kickstarter. Hopefully it sets you on the right path though. I wish my fellow indie devs the best of luck in their crowdfunding adventure.

Bonus: