Ah, the World Wide Web (does anyone even say that anymore?). Thanks to the Internet we can connect to someone halfway around the globe in just minutes. And thanks to websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, anyone with a great idea can raise the capital they need to turn that idea into reality.
The problem is, getting your project fully funded isn’t as easy as writing some random things and posting a quick mockup and hoping that the crowds will come. It takes a little more effort than that. And, hey–some creators just AREN’T marketers and aren’t sure where to start when getting the word out about their project. Here are a few steps you can take if you’re an indie developer hoping to fund the next great game-changer.
#1 Have a clear idea
Don’t plagiarize something. Make sure that your idea actually has an audience. If you take a look at the most-funded projects on Kickstarter, you can see that they’re all creative in their own way, have never been done before, and have few competitors. Confused about the last point?
Basically–offer something unique, and provide value to your customers. Successful projects have clear target audiences! Kickstarters aren’t charities like Gofundme. It’s more like…pre-ordering the product before it’s even made! So make sure the product is going to be a good one.
#2 Don’t skimp on design or copy
Mockups are hugely important because they establish trust with your backers. That being said, don’t advertise your product as something sleek and clean if it’s actually rugged and tough. Often, providing great visuals can strike a positive chord in potential backers and help them connect to your project. Images work in a way that sometimes, the text doesn’t.
That being said, don’t just post images and expect people to be wowed. It’s best to have a great story or message behind your project, one that’s bigger than you. If your backers can unite behind a shared vision or idea, they’re more likely to 1) fund it, and 2) share it with their friends.
#3 Share your project with relevant blogs
Chances are, if you’re a game developer, you know a few bloggers or video game writers. Try sharing the news of your project with them. If they’re keen on your idea, they might write about your project and share it with their followers.
This also goes for your friends and family, local board game club, you name it. Share the news and get the word out. Just don’t share the news so much that they get sick of you. This is probably the most important part of the crowdfunding process: you could have the most gorgeous project ever, but it won’t mean anything if no one sees it. Kind of like that quote, “If a tree falls in the forest but no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?”
#4 Keep your backers in the loop
The first thing you should do is create some awesome rewards. Don’t price them too high or you’ll alienate your fanbase. Be honest about the costs and make reasonable estimates of what you think each step of the process (developments, designs, etc.) will cost. Then, set reasonable goals and make fun rewards. People like to read funny things, and they love catching inside jokes so the rewards section would be a great place to get a little cheeky.
Don’t forget to post those updates, either. An update at least once a month or every few months should go without saying–don’t be like those huge failed Kickstarters that went radio silent for months on end only to cancel way later. When you include your backers on the journey and ship out the finished product to them, they’ll (hopefully) have good memories of the experience. It’ll be a story they can remember fondly for their whole life. Regular updates and thank you e-mails go a long way, and are arguably just as important as physical rewards!
#5 Plan before you launch
There are a lot of steps to a Kickstarter. It’s tempting to just scrap things together and let things figure themselves out later, but that’s not the way to go when you’re dealing with a massive production.
If you plan on shipping out a CD or disk of your game, you’ll need to figure out how to carry out manufacturing and fulfillment. Are you going to turn to a Chinese factory? Who’s going to design the CD skin? Would you rather stick to a local producer? Accurately factor in the costs of shipping and manufacturing, and be ready to ship internationally to your worldwide backers. Make a checklist of steps that you need to take so that you can make sure the project is completed on time.
Okay, those are just a few quick tips that can help you get the most out of your Kickstarter or Indiegogo launch! I hope that if you’re planning on funding the next great game you:
1.) Have a smashing success and
2.) Tell me about it!
Let me know if I missed any crucial tips in the comments section! 🙂