The Board Game Design Course

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Why it’s crucial to communicate with your backers

In last week’s article, we talked all about organizing freight shipping and fulfilment. Today, we’re going to tackle another important topic, ongoing communication with your backers.

As much work as it is to prepare for and run a Kickstarter campaign, it doesn’t end once you reach your funding goal or when your campaign ends. In some ways, this is just the beginning.

If you’ve been reading the previous articles in this series, you’ll realize there’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes once you’ve got the funds in your account. You’ll need to finalize your files, organize your pledges, sort out shipping and fulfilment, and finally deliver your game to your backers.

But throughout this process, you need to communicate to your backers and let them know where everything is at.

Frequent communications

You don’t want to wait until you start receiving messages and reminders from backers to provide them with an update. They shouldn’t have to prod you. Instead, stay proactive and continue to update your backers regularly, at least once a month, but preferably more often than this.

You’ll especially want to let them know once your pledge manager is open and walk them through the steps of completing their pledge, including adding shipping and taxes (if applicable), and allowing them to upgrade their pledge or add on any other items available. You’ll need all this information to finalize your order and provide addresses and order details to your fulfilment partners, so you need to keep on top of this. Frequent friendly reminders are helpful.

If you have received new artwork, this is a great opportunity to share this with your backers. Let them in behind the scenes and share with them comparison pictures of your prototypes and the final art.

Keep your backers in the loop at every stage of the process, letting them know how everything is progressing. You can share info on the digital and physical proofing approvals, share pics of the sample game you receive, and give them a behind-the-scenes look at the manufacturing process.

Let backers know when they can expect their game and any changes in timelines or plans. Even if you are facing delays or other issues, it is better to let everyone know and be honest and upfront about this. You’ll be surprised how understanding most backers will be as long as you are open and transparent.

What to say when there’s nothing to say

Sometimes you may find that you don’t have anything important to share with your backers. You may hold to the old adage, “no news is good news” but this often won’t be how your supporters are feeling.

Even if your games are currently on a ship heading across the Pacific Ocean and you’re simply waiting for them to arrive, you need to keep in contact with your backers.

You can share images of the shipping or provide tracking information about this if your freight shipper can share this with you.

You can talk about how the original idea of your game came about or share more about the lore of your game. Take the opportunity to give shout outs to those who were part of the project, such as your artist, graphic designer, developer, rulebook creator, or playtesting groups.

Release the print and play version of your game. Get backers to post and share their builds. Then share these in your updates. This will help to keep people excited about receiving their own copy of your game soon.

You can even set yourself a reminder that goes off every 2 weeks to post an update about the campaign. If you REALLY don’t have anything to share, holding off on one post will ensure you are at least posting monthly updates.

Even when you don’t think there’s much interesting to share, keep active and engaged with your community. Keep the conversation going with your backers and don’t let updates slide for months on end.

Wrapping it up

I’ll say it one last time: You need to keep communicating and updating your backers.

You may think an update is insignificant, but it will let your backers know that you’re working hard to get their games made and delivered to them. You never want them to get the feeling that you have abandoned them.

Next week, we’ll talk about putting together the print and play (PNP) files for your backers that I mentioned above.

What Kickstarter creators or publishers have you found to be great communicators?

Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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    Wow ok. I don’t usually use Kickstarter for this exact reason. Fear of lack of communication from a publisher after a certain point. I am incredibly excited to read this information. Wonderful. Also, I would say XP to LVL 3 has communicated really well.