Most of the developers we met during the past years confessed us to have considered starting up a Kickstarter campaign, at least once in their life. There are many things to know before diving into this frantic experience; surely to think twice about it would be on top of my list.
With over 14 millions active accounts on the website, 10% of which backing more than a project, it is not that difficult to reach a successful campaign – unless you’re planning on releasing a game. Only 15 % of video game campaigns reach the final goal. Success only happens after a period of up to 30 days, in which you might risk wasting time and useful resources.
In the next paragraphs we’ll discuss some ways to score at your Kickstarter game, while hopefully keeping your mental sanity.
In marketing, a month really means nothing. What you can do in this lapse of time are just minimal touches, following the stats of your campaign and talk about it with your friends.
In order to succeed in your Kickstarter, instead, you will need to plan ahead and get ready by gathering the biggest number of emails and contacts you can… But how to? Here are a couple of the most diffused marketing strategies you can use, singularly or combined.
Once you created a landing page and a few videos, that have to be essential and entertaining, you can proceed studying your marketing procedure. This particular one is pretty interesting and effective for a Kickstarter campaign; aside from being one of the most diffused.
Referral is a particular form of pyramidal marketing, which has been adopted by many and many companies, Facebook included. It consists in inviting your followers to invite more people to check your game out, giving a reward back. The same people, if interested enough, will do that again, starting an exponentially growing support chain.
While talking around with various developers, I stumbled in Ahmet Dayanıklı, one of the guys behind the impressive project of Manmade for PC and VR. Their Kickstarter campaign is due to begin on May 2nd, and we talked a bit about their approach to its marketing. Here’s what he told me.
We have 3K mail subscribers till now but we need much more to hit our $50K […]
We released our cinematic teaser on 2nd Dec, 2017. We started to build a mail list that day. We are using “referral marketing”. But this is not a raffle thing. If somebody subscribes using our landing page, a wall appears and asks them to share with his friends. If he invites 5 of his friends, he gets the 1st episode for free. If he invites 50 of his friends, he gets physical gifts, free season, official soundtrack, official artbook etc.
Of course, there are some middle steps in rewards, but we got 40% of our subs this way.
Many developers give away a demo in exchange for an email, using a landing page on their website. This can work wonders if done properly, stepping up your Kickstarter game.
Have people try your work, streaming it or putting it in a youtube video, spread it this way; you would be surprised about what the word of mouth can do!
This is something we saw happening really closely with a videogame Kickstarter from Switzerland, concerning a game called Nimbatus. The guys of Stray Fawn Studios had to find a way to come up with a solid strategy in very little time. They started sending free demos on their landing page in exchange for email addresses, and succeeded to go viral with a simple but genius idea.
Not only you were encouraged to share the link to the demo with your friends, but also they soon sent a challenge to all their fans. Being the game very unique (in fact, its scope was to create spaceships and to battle with other spaceships), they asked everyone to take part to a gif challenge.
Create a gif with the craziest spaceship you can build, and we’ll give a free game to the best ones. Boom. My twitter got flooded with amusing gifs of spaceships, and I had no doubt the Kickstarter campaign would’ve turned out to be really successful.
Let The Celebrities Take Over!
Now, this one can be a little bit tricky; most of the streamers and youtubers out there ask you to pay something in order to have your game featured in their channel. Ridiculous amounts of money -thousands of dollars- can be involved for a single stream or video; to the point where we wonder if that’s really worth it, especially for indie creators.
…But are there ways to overcome this obstacle? Of course yes, there can be.
What you’re asked first, is to be personally involved in any relationship with the streamer or youtuber. Get to know them, try taking your relationship on a deeper level than the work one. There’s nothing that makes us happier than helping the people who support us, really.
Something else you can do is to send your game to the biggest number of blogs/streamers/youtube channels you can. Platforms such as Terminals and Keymailer, as well as a proper mailing list always come in handy. You can set an embargo or decide what kind of content you want created with it, if you wish. If you’re looking for a good paid influencer marketing tool, you also can have a look at matchmade.tv.
Start from the bottom and try putting the eyes of the right people on your game. It is really unlikely that PewDiePie or JackSepticEye will play your game. However, chances become higher if you make it about them. Try asking some popular streamer to invent a character or a particular weapon, and then put it ingame naming it after them. They’ll be proud to share it with their public, increasing your visibility. Many responses could turn to be negative, but this does not mean you will have to stop trying!
Once you hooked some streamers and youtubers, remember to comment on their streams and be there for its full length. Engage conversations, offer raffles, share the content on all your medias – your professionalism will be noticed!
Be Creative With Your KickStarter Campaign
What I gave before are some good examples of creative marketing use. If there’s something that’s appreciated in this field, is in fact originality. Don’t be afraid to experiment new ways to have your people talk about your game, try using effective techniques with a twist.
Mix some, meet people, be kind.
Always set a realistic goal, and remember that you’ll only have 30 days to reach it. Be aware that no choice is the right choice, but that there can be wrong ones for the kind of person you are or the game you’re creating. Hire a professional if you need to, and don’t forget that even a failed campaign is a way to learn from your mistakes.