The Board Game Design Course

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Game Design

How to keep engaged with your Kickstarter backers after your campaign ends

You’ve got your game funded, Kickstarter has deposited the money in your account, and you’re nearly done, right?

Well, not quite.

You’ve still got to finalize all your files with your artist and graphic designers, work with your manufacturer to get your game made, then get all your games out to… who was it again?

Oh, yeah! Remember those hundreds or thousands of Kickstarter backers who handed over their hard-earned money to you to make something awesome?

Well, you’re not only going to have to make that game for them, you’ll also want to keep them informed of what’s going on in the process, including any delays or interruptions. They’ve been with you throughout the campaign, and you need to keep them informed.

But what do you communicate with them, especially when things aren’t on track or there’s little to say?

The importance of consistency

One thing you can do during your campaign is to set expectations upfront. This can be around how quickly you’ll respond to comments, but also how frequently backers can expect updates, both during and after the campaign.

You can include this all right there in the FAQs for your campaign page.

That way, backers know what to expect from you.

During the campaign, you don’t want to be waking up at all hours of the night and feeling like you have to respond to each comment immediately. You’ll burn yourself out really quickly.

Instead, let backers know how often you will be reading and responding to comments. This might be twice per day (that’s the approach I took and it really kept me sane). You can also indicate that all questions will be responded to within 24 hours whenever possible.

During your campaign, you want to keep backers updated on unlocked stretch goals, new developments, art concepts coming in, etc., but don’t overwhelm them. You’ll want to be more active with updates at the start and end of your campaign, as this is when most of the activity happens. In between, 2-3 updates a week (provided there is something worthwhile to discuss) is sufficient.

As for post-campaign updates, a monthly update is usually sufficient. While you may occasionally provide more frequent updates if there is a lot going on or you need responses to your survey or pledge manager request, identifying that you will provide monthly updates in your FAQ is a great start.

When things go wrong

While you’re going to be doing your best to ensure that everything stays on track, sometimes you face challenges that are out of your control.

Your artist needs more time than originally expected.

Your manufacturer has difficulty sourcing a particular component.

A pandemic strikes.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid these issues. However, you can react to them by making adjustments and doing what you can to keep your project on track.

Plus, you should have some wiggle room. You did build in some additional time in your project schedule in case anything got delayed, right?

Just make sure to let your backers know. Be honest with them. Tell them if something is delayed, but also what you’re doing to ensure everything is still on schedule.

Or, if the delay is so great that it will adjust your timelines, be upfront about this. Inform your backers that your project will likely deliver late and give them a new estimated delivery time, again leaving some buffer space in case of any other delays.

While you may get a few upset backers, most will appreciate your openness about the situation. Alleviate any concerns and share any good news as well, such as new art or proofs of the game, if available.

I don’t have anything to say!

Sometimes you’ll find you have little to provide in the way of an update.

You might be in that lull between the completion of manufacturing and delivery to backers. It could take a month or two for the shipment to get from your manufacturer to the fulfillment centre.

In that time, there may be little to share. However, you might have some behind-the-scenes images that you can share. It may seem mundane to you, but for those not familiar with the process, it could be fascinating to see shots of your game being printed, assembled, and boxed up to be shipped their way!

One thing you can do is stagger the release of new developments and images. For example, you could share some of the manufacturing shots just before your game is shipped out. Then, you could post some pictures of the game, wrapped up and ready to ship during the shipping process, letting backers know these pallets have been put together and are on their way!

If you are able to receive notifications from your freight shipper, you can even share the ship name and updates on its progress as it gets closer to port.

The main thing is to keep up with your consistent communications, letting backers know the status and sharing some cool images or details throughout the post-campaign fulfillment period.

Next week we’re going to go over all the requirements you need to ensure your game is compliant with customs regulations. We’re talking barcodes, CE marking, and labelling requirements. It’s not a sexy topic, but it’s definitely an important one!

What do you still want to know about post-campaign engagement with backers?

Please let me know by leaving a comment.

Want to know how to launch your game on Kickstarter and keep your campaign running smoothly? Download my free Kickstarter Checklist now!

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