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The 3 reasons you need a pledge manager after your Kickstarter campaign

Some people wonder why creators would want to use a pledge manager when you can collect all the information you need to ship your game to backers directly through Kickstarter.

Well, there are several reasons why you might consider a pledge manager, including:

  • Saving backers money by charging for shipping after the campaign
  • The ability to allow backers to upgrade or add other products
  • Opening up your game for more sales after your campaign has ended

Any one of these 3 features are enough reason to consider a pledge manager, but the fact that you’ll get all 3 of these benefits really tips the scales.

There are a number of different pledge managers available that you can use. They all work very similarly, but they have some nuances.

I’m not going to go into all of them here. Instead, I’ll share with you a great article by Rock Manor Games comparing 3 popular pledge managers (Crowd Ox, Gamefound, and Pledge Manager), including their prices and features.

I decided to use Gamefound for my latest campaign based on the high level of customer service and the amazing price – essentially free (it costs you nothing beyond the Stripe/PayPal fee, which you would incur in any matter that you collect funds).

Let’s go a little deeper now on what you can do with a pledge manager and why you might want to consider using one after your campaign.

Save your backers money

Kickstarter takes 5% of every dollar you make on your campaign.

If you think about this, it’s fair. They offer the platform, the tools, and there are a lot of people who browse Kickstarter daily, so you will potentially find way more backers here than if you were to launch a game on your own.

It’s the cost of doing business (especially on someone else’s platform).

But that doesn’t mean you have to have to give up 5% on absolutely everything…

Here is where a pledge manager can come in handy. Instead of charging shipping during the campaign, you instead import all your backer info to your pledge manager and collect the payment and address for shipping afterwards in your pledge manager.

Depending on the pledge manager you use, this can be free for you or there may be a small fee. Either way, it is less than you would be charged on Kickstarter.

So, instead of tacking on that extra 5% to your shipping cost during your campaign, you can save money for your backers.

This also allows you to finalize your shipping costs after your campaign, which can be helpful, as you may have added extra components or made other changes that altered the size and weight of your box, for example.

Just make sure you include a fairly accurate estimated shipping cost on your Kickstarter page. Otherwise, people might get sticker shock when they see the shipping cost for the first time (or a drastically increased amount) in your pledge manager. Nobody likes that kind of surprise!

Upgrades and add-ons

If saving your backers money wasn’t enough reason to use a pledge manager, the option to allow backers to upgrade should help sway you.

Let’s say a backer pledges $1 to support your campaign. They either may have forgotten to upgrade their pledge before the campaign ended, didn’t have the funds at the time, or were still undecided.

Using a pledge manager gives your backers a second chance to back your project. Some may also upgrade from the base game to the deluxe version (you did offer a deluxe version, right?).

This is also a great opportunity to allow backers to add other products to their order. If you have other previously published games or merchandise or special add-ons that backers can get like a playmat for example, why not allow them to buy these things now and save them some money again by avoiding that Kickstarter fee?

See how I just tied those first 2 benefits together? 😊

Additional sales

With the short length of time that Kickstarter campaigns typically run (usually 20-30 days), it is inevitable that not all potential backers will have seen your campaign or had the opportunity to buy your game.

This is another reason why you need to use a pledge manager.

After your campaign ends, Kickstarter allows you to guide people wherever you like, including to your pledge manager with a CTA (call to action button). You can also run ads or post in groups you’ve been active in, letting people know that they can still get your game for a limited time.

Many creators, including myself, have seen 10-20% additional sales via a pledge manager from upgrades and new orders. Why leave money on the table when there are more people who would love to own and play your game?

Generating additional sales, the ability to let your backers upgrade and add more products, and saving them money are 3 great reasons you need to consider using a pledge manager after your Kickstarter campaign ends.

Next week we’ll talk about how to keep your Kickstarter backers engaged after your campaign ends.

What questions do you have about using a pledge manager?

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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    I’ve been really annoyed by the last few pledge managers I’ve encountered after backing a Kickstarter. Page after page of “no I don’t want to buy this” and “no I don’t want to buy that” and “just send me what I originally ordered.” Sometimes I have to spend too much time trying to find the “Continue” button. Not only do I find it annoying, I find it disrespectful, condescending, manipulative, and dishonest.

    I don’t back on kickstarter anymore. Whatever happened to an honest sales transaction, instead of this constant upselling, upselling, upselling.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, David.

    I can completely relate to the feeling of wanting to just finish my transaction and be done with it. Like most things, a pledge manager can be used positively and effectively to charge the proper shipping rates and allow backers to make any necessary adjustments, as well as allow the opportunity for those who missed out on a campaign to still get on board if it is a project they believe in.

    But at the same time, creators can turn it into a negative-feeling transaction if it is used strictly to try to upsell you on every keychain, t-shirt, and mug they’ve ever made (or could think of).

    It’s a balancing act. Hopefully, most creators will use pledge managers for good purposes, and those who don’t will lose out when people vote with their dollars and don’t back their next project. It’s all about treating people with respect.

    I appreciate your comment.

    Possibly a silly question, but if you are using a pledge manager like gamefound, do you mark all items as having ‘no shipping’ in Kickstarter when you make it?

    Actually, that’s a good question, John! You could set a pledge level to “no shipping”, however, I feel you would probably get a lot of questions about where it actually ships to as a result. It’s probably best practice to list the regions you ship to or “anywhere in the world” if you are shipping worldwide, and setting the shipping amount to $0. Within each pledge level, make sure to state that shipping will be charged after the campaign. This should make it clear to backers.