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Kickstarter Lessons: How to keep your backers excited and engaged (both during and after your campaign)

Last week’s article was all about how to deal with negative or hostile backers. Today, I’d like to swing back to the positive side and talk about how to keep your backers excited and engaged, both during and after your campaign.

It’s been shown time and again that Kickstarter campaigns have the most attention on them at the start and end of the campaign. The middle of the campaign is known to be plagued by the “mid-campaign slump.”

You can’t make this go away or avoid this slump completely, but there are ways to alleviate some of this. Just knowing that this is normal and happens to EVERY campaign can also help you to understand that it’s not just you or your game.

You want to keep some excitement going after your campaign as well. You might not be able to match the level of interest and engagement you had when your campaign was live, however, there are definitely some things that you can do to keep your backers engaged and looking forward to receiving your game.

During your Kickstarter Campaign

As mentioned, you’re going to go through a mid-campaign slump. It’s inevitable.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re not going to be making sales during this time, but you will be bringing in significantly fewer backers and funds between your third day and the last couple of days in your campaign.

It will probably look something like this:

Kickstarter Lessons: How to keep your backers excited and engaged (both during and after your campaign) 1
Kickstarter Lessons: How to keep your backers excited and engaged (both during and after your campaign) 2

You can see a huge amount of the funding came in on day one, and then dropped off, with a few pretty strong days following this, and another increase in the last few days when people received the “final 48 hours” notification.

While you can’t do much about the fact that the middle of your campaign will attract far fewer backers per day, you can still do a lot of things to keep your current backers excited and bring in others.

Here are just some examples:

  • Run a giveaway or contest
  • Release interviews, podcasts, and reviews throughout (all arranged before your campaign to be spaced apart)
  • Announce some awesome stretch goals throughout and celebrate meeting these goals
  • Poll your backers about potential stretch goals
  • Encourage your backers to share the campaign (possibly using social stretch goals)
  • Run a shorter campaign to reduce the middle portion of the campaign
  • Partner with other creators and get your game promoted or cross-promoted (including offering a referral fee to others)

One thing you might also notice in the graph above is the boost around July 21st  and 22nd. This is when another creator, Liberty Kifer, who designed the excellent solo game Crystallo, posted an update for her backer, which included a shout-out to Relics, complete with images of the game from the prototype I had shared with her. This was a welcome boost in the middle of my campaign!

After Your Campaign Ends

Once the excitement of your campaign is over, it’s time to get to work (not that you haven’t been working hard up to this point – just a different type of work!).

You’ve got to finalize all your files, get your game manufactured, work out shipping and fulfilment, and navigate using a pledge manager (if you choose to, which I highly recommend).

It’s easy to get “lost in the weeds”, keeping your head down and focusing on getting things done. But don’t forget about your backers – they’re the ones that helped you bring your game to life!

It’s important to keep your backers up to date, letting them know about important dates related to your pledge manager, updating their address before shipping, timelines and adjustments, etc.

While these updates are important, they are not usually that exciting on their own. So, make sure to share new and finalized art, pictures and videos of samples you’ve received, images of your games being assembled, and anything else that gives your backers a look “behind the scenes.” This may not be exciting to you, but they may really enjoy having a look behind the curtain.

You can also provide your backers with a Print and Play (PNP) version of the game and encourage them to take pictures and share them with you or on social media. If you have a Facebook group for your game (which I highly encourage), ask if they would like to join and share their builds with others. Encourage your PNP backers to rate your game on Board Game Geek (BGG) as well to help get the word out further.

If you’re able to, you can look at getting your game translated into other languages. I had many offers from others to do this and I was glad to take them up on their offer! This also allowed me the opportunity to ask backers who spoke those languages to review the translations, which got them more involved as well.  

If you’re working on an expansion or another game, you could always reach out to see if anyone is interested in playtesting. You might get some eager volunteers!

What Kickstarter campaign have you been part of where the creator kept their backers engaged throughout the process? What did they do to keep the level of engagement high?

Please share your story by leaving a comment.

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