Crowdfunding is one of the most integral parts of most self-published projects. In this post, Catholic Card Game creator and PrintNinja customer Matt Martinusen shares 4 of his favorite tips for running a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Crowdfunding campaigns can be tough to start. Having run five successful Kickstarters, here are the few things I have learned.
We had to ask for a ton of money. We had no audience, no brand recognition, and nothing had been done like this for the audience we were looking to serve. To get to our goal, $22k, we would need hundreds of people to back us. Keep in mind, I did not want to be on the hook to create a game that would cost me over $20,000 only having raised a half of that because I was too afraid of asking for the whole cost.
Do the back work ahead of time. Run the numbers. Use PrintNinja’s quoting tool to find out what it is going to cost to print and ship different quantities.This quote tool has become my best friend. I use it all the time to gauge a new project and how much it would cost to make before I do any sort of game development.
I learned this the hard way in my first Kickstarter campaign (for a different product). I knew it was going to cost me $10,000 to print the product so I made that my goal. I did not realize that shipping charges are included in that goal. Meaning, when I asked people to pay $30 + $6 shipping, I thought only the $30 would be added towards the goal. Nope. All money that you make on Kickstarter, including shipping, goes towards your goal. So if you need $10,000 to print your product and another $2,000 for shipping costs to fulfill your orders, make sure you set your goal for at least $12,000!
It can be really tempting to add a lot of incentives to reward levels like T-Shirts and stickers and lots of extra merch type things. While those may be cool, you will be creating extra work for yourself and adding lots of extra expense. Keep your rewards simple and focused on the book or game or whatever you are creating.
It can also be tempting to add the high-level reward brackets like the ones for $1,000 or $2,500 because, if you just got one of those, you would be more than halfway to your goal! But, to be bluntly honest, no one is going to back at that high of a level for a new self-publishing project. Again, keep your levels simple and focused on your product. People are happy to support your product for the price it will be, maybe they will buy 2 or 3 if you create a level offering multiple products. Ensure that you are getting money for the thing you want to create, not extra things that will ultimately add more stress to your reward fulfillment.
Kickstarter campaigns are roughly 30 days long. I have found that running for much longer than that, it is hard to continuously keep excitement up, and running for shorter lengths might not give you enough time to reach the peak amount of people.
As you are running the campaign, the initial hype and sharing of the campaign will land you a lot of backers right out of the gate. People like being first and people who support you will want to help you out right away. Seeing these come in is SO exciting and is really motivating to make your project great.
But there will be a lull in the middle. The first excitement has passed and the urgency at the end has not come yet. Don’t let yourself sink into despair as the backings dwindle a bit. Do your best to keep communicating with your backers and making connections with people to have them help you spread the word. The last 4-5 days of the campaign will inspire urgency to get your campaign funded and there will be a spike again with consistent marketing.
Thanks, Matt! Check out the Catholic Card Game here.