The Board Game Design Course

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Game Design

Learning from and following up on your Kickstarter success

In the previous article in this series, we discussed finalizing the shipping of your games and dealing with customer service issues. Today’s article will be the final one in this series. We’re going to get into what to do to follow up on your success, and how to apply the learnings you had from your Kickstarter campaign.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Following up on your success

Depending on how well your campaign did, you might start to consider expansions for your game or other games in that universe (or maybe you already had planned for this). At the very least, you’ll want to think about your brand and about creating games that have some similarities to your previous game. It’s much easier to bring fans back than to have to find a whole new fanbase for every game.

Of course, a lot depends on exactly how well your campaign did. If you barely reached your funding goal of $5,000 with 200 backers, there’s really not enough demand to be thinking about an expansion just yet. Only a portion of people who backed the original will return for the expansion (I’ve heard typically 20-30%, but this can vary), so the numbers do go down from here.

However, if your game did much better than this and has been very well received, an expansion, if it is appropriate and doesn’t feel tacked-on, can make for an excellent next campaign. The benefit is that you can also offer the original game as well for anyone who missed your previous campaign. Then you can also offer a discounted combo, including both the base game and the expansion. You’ll attract both new and previous backers this way.

Another option if your game did quite well is to create other games in that universe. This could lead to a series of games, which can be quite successful (see Azul, Century Spice Road, North Sea trilogy, and West Kingdom trilogy). You’ll want to make sure these games share some of the same DNA so that players can recognize the similarities and what they enjoyed about the original game but also add in some twists to make them different.

If your game funded but didn’t “blow up” on Kickstarter, you should still be thinking of turning your success into more growth. If your follow-up games have some similarities to the original, you can build your brand and bring previous backers to your next campaign and get them excited about the new game you have created.

Assess your campaign and apply your learnings

After running your crowdfunding campaign and getting all your games out to your backers, you’ll undoubtedly have learned a lot and will plan to do some things differently the next time. At the same time, you probably discovered many things you did well or that worked out better than expected.

It’s often helpful to do a Kickstarter postmortem once your campaign is over and again once your campaign has been fulfilled.

Make a list of all the things that went well. Maybe you excelled in answering questions quickly and thoroughly. Perhaps your stretch goals really got people excited and returning to the page. You may have had a lot of compliments on your videos.

Also, make a list of everything that didn’t go as well as you expected. Maybe you underestimated shipping costs and this bled into your profit margin. Perhaps your Facebook ads didn’t perform as well as you had hoped. Maybe you found yourself overwhelmed and had a hard time keeping up with everything.

Now write down what you would do differently. In the case above, you might get more shipping quotes and build in more of a buffer or wait until a later date to charge for shipping once you had a better handle on the expected costs.

Perhaps you will hire a marketing agency to run ads for you on your next campaign. Or maybe you will do more testing in advance with a low-budget campaign.

If you felt overwhelmed, next time you could take more time off from work during your campaign or enlist some help. Maybe a friend or family member or someone else you trust can help you with some aspect, such as replying to comments and messages or updating your page throughout the campaign.

Make a plan so that next time you can do even better (and with less stress).

Wrapping it up

Congrats! You’ve successfully funded and fulfilled a Kickstarter campaign. You should be proud of yourself. It was a lot of work but you did it!

Now, take those learnings to keep making amazing games and build on your success. Take the necessary steps to make your next campaign even better as well as easier on yourself. For ideas on how to build an audience and market your game for your Kickstarter campaign, check out this article.

That’s it for this series on what to do once your Kickstarter campaign ends. Over the next little while, I will be sharing my thoughts and tips on a variety of game design topics and re-visiting (and updating) some of my most popular articles from the past. So, if you missed the original articles, you’ll get the benefit of the original content plus some new insights from my more recent experiences.

What other ideas do you have to follow up on the success of a Kickstarter campaign?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please click the button below to share your comment.

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