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14 Jan 2014

Avoiding That Kickstarter Financial Dropoff

Yesterday, I wrote a post that gave a few pointers for first-time indie devs to have a successful Kickstarter campaign that described the best way to not only set up a Kickstarter campaign and show the world what you’re made of, but how to build a community out of your campaign and get ordinary people to spread the word about your campaign. It’s chock full of helpful advice, though one point I didn’t touch on was what to do if your Kickstarter campaign has a financial dropoff.

First-time indie developers are not the only ones that are at risk either. Unless you’re a team like Double Fine or a legend like Richard Garriott, your entire campaign is at risk of hitting a financial dropoff that could cause your campaign to not be funded. We’ve all seen the campaigns that started out strong, hit a plateau, and failed to pick up enough steam and become funded before time runs out. While it’s unfortunate, there are ways to avoid this. Below are some of the best practices for avoiding that Kickstarter meltdown and ensuring your game becomes funded.


Time your campaign appropriately

It’s mind boggling that some Kickstarter campaigns go through the holiday season or through the week of E3. It is crucial that you time your Kickstarter campaigns appropriately. When figuring out the perfect time to launch your Kickstarter campaign, ask yourself the following:


“Will the Kickstarter campaign still be active during a time when the media will not be able to provide my campaign with maximum attention?”


If your answer is yes, plan around it. Think about it: if your campaign starts the day after Thanksgiving, the media isn’t going to cover your game because they have so many other games to cover that are launching before the end of the year, holiday guides to write, and ‘best of’ awards to give away. They have to tidy everything up to end the year right, so there isn’t going to be nearly as much attention given to your Kickstarter campaign as you would potentially get if you launched your campaign in February when there is little news to cover.

The same goes for the week of a big gaming convention such as E3. With so much activity going on that week, launching a Kickstarter campaign that week is going to put you in a slump from the getgo, and with time always equaling money, you can’t afford to launch a Kickstarter on a busy week like that. Thus, plan ahead. Launch your Kickstarter campaign on an appropriate time and ensure you have a window where little to no news is going on.

Real quick: I understand that planning ahead doesn’t always mean your Kickstarter campaign will be overshadowed by other news. Sometimes, unexpected news hits during the month-long period of campaigns, and sometimes even other Kickstarter campaigns tend to steal the limelight from others. This is the type of thing you can’t always prepare for, but by planning ahead, you can substantially decrease the risk of being overshadowed by bigger news.


Set weekly goals/meet weekly goals with small fundraising drives

One of the biggest reasons so many Kickstarter campaigns take a financial nosedive fail funding is because of the failure to set weekly goals. Many people simply look at the ‘big picture’ instead of looking at the funding that needs to be met week-to-week. You need to keep track of the amount of funding that your campaign needs to receive every week, and perhaps even track how much funding needs to be made daily. During the middle of the week, if you find that your campaign is not going to meet the quota for the week, you should do something about it via small fundraising drives.

What I mean by small fundraising drives is simple: kickstart the fundraising by giving backers an incentive to not only increase their funding, but to share your campaign with their followers for a chance to win prizes. For example, if you only have 25% of your campaign funding met and it’s Wednesday morning, announce on your Kickstarter page that you will be providing additional rewards for backers that increase their funding by ‘x amount’ for the week only. And for those that share your campaign with others? Announce that you will also reward one lucky winner with a cool prize.

Be as creative as possible with this. As another example, you could have a lucky winner be an in-game character or record a few lines of dialogue. The sky is the limit regarding how unique you can make these types of rewards, so use them, and improve the chances of your campaign meeting its weekly goal exponentially.


Congratulate top contributors on your Kickstarter page

Did someone back one of the top tiers of your campaign? Then thank them publicly for doing so in an energetic manner. Not only could this cause them to increase their donation, but it could also encourage others to increase their donation. Moreover, it could also encourage new backers to pledge a large donation to your indie game as well, and best of all? It improves the morale of the community that you are trying to build (an important part of yesterday’s post).


Update your Kickstarter page regularly

And be energetic in every update. This is crucial, as it keeps the momentum flowing throughout the month of your campaign. Showcase anything that you are remotely excited about, such as the development of your game, milestones met in the fundraising process, and so on. Advertise appearances you are making concerning the game such as on podcasts, guest blogs, AMAs on Reddit, etc.

In short, bring the excitement at least every other day. Keep the momentum going, keep people excited about the game, and you will avoid a financial slump like a pro. You can do it – we believe in you!

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