How to avoid crowdfunding traps that can ruin your campaign
Most successful board game creators have their own rules they follow that make their campaigns extraordinary. Today we are sharing just a few that can be very useful for crowdfunding beginners, but if you stick to them, there is a chance your project will perform well. There are many factors that go into a thriving campaign, and with these suggestions, there’s a chance yours will find success as well.
Trap 1: thinking (too) BIG
Instead: Do research and make realistic assumptions.
A sensible approach is key. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver, and do proper research on actual costs. Find a good manufacturer and estimate the production prices. Ensure the manufacturer will be able to handle the production and deliver on time, especially if you promised your backers shipping before a specific date, like Christmas. Analyze shipping costs and see where you can effectively ship the packages. Focus on what you can do and not on what you want to do. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver, not the other way around.
Trap 2: expecting the community will build itself
Instead: Nurture your community and use marketing opportunities.
The board gaming community is huge and easy to reach – there are hundreds of groups on Facebook where you can present your game and gather feedback (and attract followers to your project at the same time!). Promoting your project from the earliest stage can help you gain credibility in the community. Keeping your potential backers in the loop, answering their comments, and listening to suggestions will help you build your community around your game.
Besides promoting your project organically (on your social media channels) invest some money in paid ads. Plan your marketing strategy or find someone who can do it for you. If you have no experience in this field, hire those who have. Depending on the company, such services may become a high cost, so make a good estimate of what ROI (return on investment) is good for you. If you need to earn 3 dollars out of every dollar spent, keep the campaign as long as ROI is over 3. This suggestion works only during the crowdfunding phase, obviously.
Trap 3: thinking backers are not waiting for the updates
Instead: Keep backers in the loop.
Boardgame crowdfunding is a shared project, and backers want to have their say. Followers of your game will reach out to you in many ways. Not responding to backers’ feedback is one of the red flags that can scare off potential supporters. Reply to comments, add regular updates, and help the community grow. Talk about your mistakes – be transparent about what’s going on with the game. Keeping information about delays to yourself is a no-no in this industry. Whether it’s a problem with manufacturing or health problems, be fair with your backers and let them know about it. They’ll appreciate it.
Trap 4: looks don't matter
Instead: Remember that people judge the book by its cover.
Don’t we love beautiful designs in games? The look of the project page plays a significant role in the reception of your game, so don’t neglect it. First, present your game, and show its best parts. Then, think about rewards, add-ons, and stretch goals. These are the products backers will want to get, so use good reward sets and unique, encouraging stretch goals. Try to make the project page easy to understand: add a proper game description and explain its concept clearly, make a few reasonable rewards with different options, and don’t forget about information about shipping and localization.
Trap 5: people will trust your word
Instead: Build reliability on independent opinions.
Backers mostly rely on reviews. Let the board gaming influencers give it a test ride when your game is ready. Reviews will help you reach a wider audience and get even more comments on your game’s strengths and weaknesses. Remember to add the review videos and quotes to your campaign page to gain credibility. If for any reason you can't get any independent review of your game, make a playthrough video yourself, it's still better than not showing the game "live" at all.
Trap 6: the project speaks for itself
Instead: Support your project with all possible measures.
Why should people back your project? Apart from preparing a professional project page, you can use different incentives for purchase. Highlight why the crowdfunding edition of your game is worth backing. Is it a limited edition? Are there any dedicated elements available only in crowdfunding? Will this edition be cheaper than the one sold in retail? Or will it even be available in retail? Make a list of how you can attract backers and make all its elements visible.
Trap 7: be fast!
Instead: Take your time and make informed decisions.
Crowdfunding is a long process, and every stage takes time, sometimes even years. So, why hurry when working on the launch? Use this time to get prepared well by gathering community and doing proper research. Let your project sink in, because if you launch it too quickly, it may get lost among other projects. There’s no right answer on when to launch, but it’s safe to assume the preview page should be live for at least a couple of weeks.
These examples are just a few chosen ones. There are many more aspects that should be taken into consideration. However, if you use the power of the community and whet the appetites with proper graphic presentation and marketing, you’re likely to fund your campaign.
Author: Dorota Jasińska
Join our webinar to see how to make the best out of your campaign. It'll take place on 19 May 2022 at 9 am (PT) / 12 pm (ET) / 6 pm (CET).