Fundamental #1 - You Need A Crowd To Crowdfund
We at the Crowdfunding Nerds have found that the key to any crowdfunding project’s success has everything to do with the strength and execution of a pre-marketing plan.
The harsh reality is that you need a crowd to crowdfund. Don’t take our word for it, though; here is Everette Taylor, CEO of Kickstarter, saying just that:
“You know, if you don’t have the audience yourself and you want to reach new people and be successful on the platform, it takes digital marketing… And the second thing is cultivating an audience beforehand. I tell people all the time, some people think you can go on Kickstarter, and then throw it on there, and then, you know, magically make some money. No… you gotta push your audience there. You have to cultivate an audience around your product, your company, your service, even if it’s just your friends, your family, your 30 cousins, like whoever it is… you have to cultivate your own audience and have them ready to go and ready to support at the beginning.”
This is why you need to develop a system that builds a captive audience around your game before you launch it, and why we put so much emphasis on pre-marketing and email capture.
Fundamental #2 - Communicate With Your Community Before Launching
Many game developers are afraid of spamming their fans; however, by getting people on your email list who want to get correspondence from you and by meeting that desire, you should have people on your email list who WANT to hear from you.
For this reason, the quality of your list is more important than the quantity of your email list. You want to see people engaging with your content before launching it.
The experience of crowdfunding is just as much about joining a passionate game developer on their journey as it is about receiving a cool game.
Fundamental #3 - Developing A Community Space For Fans
Part of your pre-crowdfunding marketing strategy is to build a following by communicating with your future customers on multiple platforms. You want as many touchpoints with your fans before launching.
Ideally, you want them to receive:
- Your email saying your campaign is live
- A Kickstarter/Gamefound Notification
- A Facebook/Discord Notification
- A YouTube notification, and more.
By developing a community around your game, fans can directly interact with you on a personal level while also meeting other fans! Eventually, your own fans will be able and willing to answer questions about your game!
Consider building a Facebook group, Discord, or sub-Reddit to share updates with your fans and answer their questions.
Fundamental #4 - Leveraging Non-Paid (Organic) Self-Promotion
The line of people creating and promoting has never been longer, and the amount of those doing organic marketing ineffectively is ever-growing. Don’t irreversibly tarnish your brand and reputation by starting self-promotion on the wrong foot!
The general rule is to earn the right to self-promote in the community you are sharing in.
You want to give more than you take and make sure that your self-promotion posts are in the best interests of the reader, not in your own.
Always read and follow community rules before posting. Some are fine with self-promotion, while others are not. In our experience, the best place to do this is within various gaming-specific Facebook groups.
Fundamental #5 - Optimizing Your Live Campaign Page For Mobile Devices
The reality is that over 80% of traffic to your live campaign page is going to be from mobile devices. Your page needs to be 100% optimized for mobile with text being clearly seen on smaller screens.
Jeremy Howard of Man Vs. Meeple joined us on our podcast to explain what elements make a useful Kickstarter page for Superbackers! He explains his “three scroll” test that you need to think about when crafting your page.
By reviewing the 12 most successful Kickstarters of all time, we noticed a commonality in the page layout, every scroll introduced a new visual or concept and kept people engaged.
Consider how your landing page experiences impact mobile devices and make every scroll engaging.
Fundamental #6 - Have A Plan For Success AND Failure
In an ideal world, everyone who has a neat idea and a well-tested game should be able to bring it to Kickstarter or Gamefound and fund it with flying colors. This is not always the case.
We have often seen campaigns that we thought would scrape by their fund goal crush it, and others that we think would explode in popularity barely fund or don’t fund at all!
You need to have a plan for all possible outcomes of your campaign so that your community can look to you as the captain of the ship and have confidence that you are capable of bringing your idea to life.
Fundamental #7 - Understanding WHY Gamers Back Crowdfunding Campaigns
We designed and developed our own board game called Deliverance which raised $39,000 in 8 minutes on Kickstarter and funded over $300,000 in total!
We surveyed the Deliverance community and asked them why they back games on Kickstarter. Understanding why gamers make pledges will shape your marketing strategy moving forward, and it would be a massive mistake to overlook this.
From our findings, here are some of the reasons why gamers back crowdfunding campaigns:
- Wanting To Help Bring Something Cool Into The World
- Supporting Something That Can’t Be Produced Without Assistance
- Having A Say In The Design & Development Process
- The Excitement Of Randomly Receiving Their Game In The Post (Loot Box Effect)
- Receiving Better Value In Components Than A Retail Release
- Getting The Game Before Anyone Else
So there you have it, the 7 fundamentals of crowdfunding. We hope you found this helpful!
As part of our partnership with the Crowdfunding Nerds, when you order a prototype with Hero Time Manufacturing you will get their Crowdfunding Nerds Course (Valued at $599) for FREE!
The course will show you the inner workings of how to develop your marketing strategy, run Facebook ads, and launch your campaign for the best chances of funding on day one in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step system.
The Nerds will even answer any of your questions along the way!