10 things you can do to keep up the momentum of your campaign (even if you’re going through a mid-campaign slump)
No matter who you are or how great your game is, your campaign will go through what is known as a “mid-campaign slump.” This simply means that your campaign will get less attention, fewer backers, and fewer funds coming in during the period after your initial launch and the end of your campaign.
This makes perfect sense. If you’ve built up your audience and there’s a lot of interest in your game, you’ll have an initial rush of backers coming on board within the first day or two of your campaign. It will also be fresh and new, so more people will see your campaign when there’s this increased attention on it.
But at the same time, you’ll also have a number of people who aren’t quite sure, don’t have the money at the moment, or will have to decide between your game and another game (or many other games). People don’t have unlimited money (or shelf space), so decisions must be made. That’s why you’ll also have a lot of followers who wait until the final 48 hours to back your game.
This is the same pattern you’ll see in many product launches, not just on Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms. There’s an initial wave when it launches and another spike when the deal is about to end, with a trough in the middle.
So, first of all, don’t freak out if your campaign’s progress dips off after the first couple of days. This is perfectly normal.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t remain active and continue to get your game and your campaign in front of as many potential backers as possible.
So, I’m going to run down some strategies you can use to keep the momentum up and continue to get backers coming to your page and supporting your campaign.
One of the most obvious things you can do to encourage backers to return to your project and get other potential backers excited is by including stretch goals in your campaign. Stretch goals have become very common with crowdfunding projects, particularly board games.
The idea is that once you have hit your funding goal and have made some additional money, your cost per game will go down and you’ll have your sunk costs like art, graphic design, marketing, etc. covered as well, so you can afford to “deluxify” your game a bit. This can be achieved through improved component quality, additional content such as more event cards or other means.
You can space out these stretch goals at different intervals so that they are all achievable and will give you interesting things to update backers on and encourage more participation in your campaign.
However, it’s best to have these stretch goals figured out well before your campaign launches, as they will add more cost and weight to your game. They may even put shipping into the next tier, which could be very costly for you. So, make sure you know that anything you’re going to add is doable and won’t result in enormous costs or potential delays for development and production.
Run a Giveaway or Contest
You can run contests outside of your crowdfunding campaign as well to attract more people as well. You can run a contest yourself or partner with a board game site that runs these giveaways.
You can ask people to sign up to your email list, follow your project, share a post, or whatever method you choose, with each action increasing the participant’s chances of winning a copy of your game.
Then, when your campaign ends or the deadline hits, you draw your winners.
Share New Reviews & Playthroughs
Perhaps a reviewer you were working with received a copy of your prototype late or they weren’t able to get their review done in time for the launch of your campaign. This can actually be good, as it will allow you to add more content to your page and allow new people to discover your project after it’s already underway.
You may have also arranged for a reviewer to do a live playthrough of your game for their audience. Or you could run a playthrough of the game yourself.
It’s always best to arrange your reviews and playthroughs well before your campaign though, as you need to allow others enough time to learn your game well before recording any content for you.
Poll Your Backers
Asking your backers questions is a great way to keep them engaged and may even turn some into superfans, sharing the campaign with others.
So, why not ask them what they’d like to see?
It might be a choice of 3 different upgrades that could be unlocked as the next stretch goal or something else they may like to see added to the game. It could even be a poll or request for submissions to name a new character.
Use the results to introduce something new and thank them for their feedback.
Talk About How Your Game Came to Be
Many people love a chance to look behind the scenes at something they know very little about. This may include how a game is designed and developed.
So, sharing your story about how your game came to fruition, including early prototype pics and what changes you made along the way can be very effective at bringing more people into the fold. These can be used as updates, blog posts, or discussion points when talking with others.
Get on Podcasts
Speaking about talking with others, you should try to get yourself on some podcasts in the board game space and other podcasts related to the theme of your game. Some might be very targeted towards your game, depending on what it’s all about, including solo, co-op, or Euro game podcasts.
Where possible, these should also be lined up in advance of your campaign so that they can be released during the window that your game is available. However, you may be able to find some podcasts that can accommodate you during your campaign. You may even be lucky enough to have some podcast hosts reach out to you!
Podcasts are often dying to find new content and interesting guests, so you might be surprised how many will say yes if you have something interesting to talk about (other than simply promoting your game, that is).
Some podcasts you might want to consider include:
But also make sure to look for other podcasts that relate well to your game and audience as well.
Write a Guest Post
In addition, you can get in front of other people’s audiences by writing a guest blog for them, just like I’m doing right now. 😊
It’s a lot of work writing blogs regularly. It can be tough to come up with interesting content every single week. So, many content creators will jump at the chance to have someone else write a guest blog, provided it is well-written, relevant to their audience, and isn’t just self-promotional.
So, if there are blogs about games or game design that you enjoy, try reaching out with an idea for a guest post and see where it goes. The worst they can do is say no!
Share New Art & Other Cool Updates
If your artist is working on some new sketches or art pieces, this is a great time to share these with your audience. Visuals really appeal to most people. So, if you have some fantastic art to share, do it!
If you’ve just created an add-on or new pledge level that backers requested, let them know you listened to them.
Again, people are interested in what goes on behind the scenes. So, share with them whatever you’re working on related to the project and that could bring even more excitement to your game.
Encourage Social Sharing
Another variant of stretch goals is social stretch goals. You can unlock different items when enough fans share a post, follow you on a social media platform, click the notification button on your campaign, or complete other objectives.
For example, if a Facebook post about your game gets shared 100 times, you’ll add a new character to the game.
This can also be tied into sharing art, as the new stretch goal could be already created but requires some action to be unlocked.
However, you can also simply encourage your backers to share posts or tell others about your game, which may bring more eyeballs to your page as well.
The Power of Partnerships
This last strategy is a very underutilized one but it can actually be one of the most effective.
Sure, you can post pictures about your game and talk about how great it is, but you’re not exactly unbiased. I mean, it’s your game. Your baby. You have a lot invested in it.
Plus, not everyone knows you.
But if you see a friend or trusted creator or influencer posts about a game and talk about how much fun they had playing it or how awesome it looks, wouldn’t you pay more attention to this? There’s already some trust there, so it’s more likely people will look at this more closely.
So, you can always reach out to other creators with games that share the same or a similar audience with you. These might be creators currently running a crowdfunding campaign or who have recently finished a campaign or just others you know in the industry. Also, if you’re able to send them a prototype early enough (preferably pre-campaign), they will have a chance to actually play your game and can take pictures and comment on the actual gameplay.
You could arrange a cross-promotion where you share each other’s game with your backers or you could offer a referral bonus to them for sharing your game with their audience. You can even set up personal links in your crowdfunding platform that they can use, which will track the number of sales made through people using their link. Then, you can share an agreed upon referral fee with them once the campaign has ended for each sale they helped to bring in.
Below is the funding graph for a previous campaign of mine, Relics of Rajavihara. One thing you might notice 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 backers, which included a shout-out to Relics, complete with images of the game from the prototype I had shared with her.
She and her family really enjoyed the game, so it was a natural and honest appraisal of the game, along with encouragement for her backers to check out the campaign.
These were by far my best 2 days in the middle of my campaign. This was definitely a welcome boost at the time!
So, as you can see, there are several things you can do to keep up the momentum of your crowdfunding campaign and help you through that mid-campaign slump.
What effective techniques have you seen used to increase engagement during a campaign?
Please leave a comment and let me know!
Game Designers I talked to, who had a stand at the Convention “Spiel 22 in Essen” during their Kickstarter Campaign. They said it helped them to get more backers Mid-Campaign by play testing and promoting at the Convention. I personally would be worried that during a campaign the attention should be online? I wonder if you would need a team to pull this off?
Hey, Sir Peanut! Great question.
So, promoted and demoing your game at a convention while the Kickstarter campaign is running can be useful in some cases. This can allow people to try your game before they commit to anything. However, most people at a convention are looking for games they can take home with them, so it might be a harder sell to have to say “you can pledge here and get the game a year from now” when they can simply buy any game around them right then and play it as soon as they get home.
You’ll also be taking time away from monitoring your campaign, updating your page, and conversing with backers and potential backers. This may be ok if you’re part of a team and you can have someone focusing on the online tasks, but you probably want to have all hands on deck at the convention. So, there are some negatives to consider.