Here are five steps derived from the knowledge of the experts and advisors I've talked to, plus my own experience in preparing the Woven Kickstarter.
1: Have an awesome game and make it shine.
Step one is to have a great game. A great concept people will obviously love, but this isn’t enough to get you through Kickstarter. Going through a community based platform like Steam Greenlight will help you get a sense of if you are going in the right direction. Read each and every piece of critique carefully – the good, the bad and the outright ugly. Check out my blog about Greenlight here
Ok, so you’ve stopped reading, thought long and hard, polished and condensed, came back, and now you have a great game. Great! This will need to be presented the right way on Kickstarter. Make your page look as awesome as your game and you will need to devote a lot time to this. Have lots of pictures in there in the style of your game and be sure to let everyone know how your game feels, right from the start. Get close friends, colleagues and family to look at your drafted page, get their criticisms and adapt. As you become more confident with the page shaping up, give access to a select few outsiders who can, once again, give you even more feedback on the page’s content, the layout and the message you’re attempting to portray of your beloved title.
2: Make your game clear.
Step two is making sure that people know exactly why your game is great. Please understand that the average visitor to your page will not read the entirety and will scan for key elements that they deem important. Be sure to have all of the key elements and USPs (unique selling points) absolutely clear, concise and incredibly easy to understand.
If you expect visitors to draw out their credit cards to support you, they will need to know what it is they are getting themselves into. This is not the Steam Summer sale in which everyone starts spending like there is no tomorrow! ;)
Remember just because you and your team are pleased with the video, it doesn’t mean that an outsider will totally understand the message you’re attempting to convey. It really helps to get a few fresh sets of eyes on the video to see if they totally understand your message, game and what it is you will deliver – should you be successful.
In every way you can think of, communicate clearly what your game is about.
For those that come to your page, show it in your video.
For those that don’t watch your video, make it clear in the text.
For those that don’t read your text, make it clear within your images.
For those still unsure, have a playable build easily accessible; you can get ours at the top of our page.
3: Give as much as you can.
Step three is make funding you a truly great experience. You might be mistaken in thinking that the Kickstarter is about you and, ultimately, getting funding. Trust me; it is not. It is about the backers - your community. They are willing to take a risk so that you can make the game that you’ve always wanted to and that they want to play. Give back generously. Make it worth their while by giving as much Kickstarter exclusive content as you can. Access to the official soundtrack, artbooks, skin packs, give them a say in the game-design, or even hand out mascots of your main character, as we did with the Stuffy stuffed animal.
However, be mindful to give only as much as you can. You can promise everybody your game plus a rainbow Unicorn, but you will go bankrupt, people will not be receiving their beloved mythical beast, and your game will never be finished. Or worse, you have a game nobody will play because they actually wanted the Unicorn you can’t pay for.
Calculate all your costs beforehand and make sure that you actually ARE able to deliver your promises, which includes taking in account shipping costs, reward production costs, Kickstarter fees (they take 5-10%) and taxes. Shipping is costly, there’s no two ways about it. To get a physical product delivered in various countries around the world will potentially cost you thousands – make sure that you account for the cost of the materials you’re actually going to use to package the items within, the man hours it’ll take to get these things secure and for the actual shipping itself.
4: Don’t limit the options.
Step four is making sure you accommodate different people with different budgets. Make enough tier reward options and don’t allow for large gaps between pledges. Let someone that wants to support you for $30 have an option as well someone that would support you with $50.
Help those people with smaller budgets at their disposal. Include early bird tiers, in which you offer your game digitally at a lower price tag for the first hundred backers or so.
And make room for those special KS enthusiasts that do want to support your efforts big time, and make sure it’s worth their while with exclusive collectibles and game merchandising.
5: Reach out
So now you have a game concept people will like and understand. You have thought about their budget and their wishes; there is just one last step; reach those people and let them know you and your game exists.
Steven long writes very nice blogs about this very matter. Months before you think of doing a Kickstarter, you need to communicate with the people that might like the game, give them cool art, build up a relationship with them and keep them posted on your progress!
You can do this through blogs, newsletters, social media channels and many more ways. Put out messages to the media, send your demo to Streamers and Youtubers. Dedicate time to these tasks.
Dedicate time to your audience, because, after all, in the end, it’s for them that you make your game.
Don’t have extensive ties with the media? Hire a team that does. Like the PR-hound. They are well connected and do an awesome job at helping you set up the KS as well. Lots of what we’ve learned comes from them, and they know lots more ;)
Last bit of advice
You might not have much experience in Kickstarter, but other people do; ask them! You will notice everyone gives different advice, sometimes contradictory, but you will learn a lot and find out your own way of doing things. Just like with this post. Read it, ignore atleast half, and learn atleast one thing.
We are on Kickstarter now so if you liked this article, check out the page here and if you like the concept; don't hesitate to support us any way you would like.
I wish you good luck on your endeavors, and thank you for reading.
The Woven Team.