Starting out as an indie game developer is hard! Ridiculously hard! But it doesn’t have to be. Web 2.0 has brought us many new ways to waste... I mean spend our time: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit... However, this newly interconnected and social internet has also opened up new and exciting avenues for small startup developers and young game designers! I’m talking about Crowd Funding!
The crowd funding revolution has begun, as a recent Gamasutra feature has pointed out. We believe that places like Kickstarter are going to become hugely popular and important for startup game developers in the very near future, if it isn't already! They provide a way for fans to give back and support your development, they provide free market research, free community building, and getting funding through them is infinitely easier than seeking out venture capital and traditional investors. It's a very exciting platform to test out because there is literally nothing to loose and everything to gain!
Here at Bravado Waffle Studios, we are turning to Kickstarter to raise needed development funds for our debut game RoboArena inspired by classic games like RoboRally, X-Com, and RoboSport. You can learn more about the project and help support it here: RoboArena Kickstarter Campaign
Here’s a list of the top 10 tips we’ve gathered from researching and interviewing successful Kickstarter campaign managers:
1. A video is a MUST- Having a good quality video increases your chances to succeed massively. A picture is worth a thousand words, so show your fans what you’ve got!
2. Polish your presentation- The more polished your presentation is, the more likely people will watch the entire thing. The more honed your pitch, is the more likely they will be moved to donate. The more momentum you can build this way, the better of a chance you will have at getting media coverage and featured on the front page of Kickstarter!
3. Tell a story- Kickstarters often donate to the person just as much as the project, so be likable, be funny, be memorable, and tell them your story. People love to laugh, so make them laugh, make them like you as much as you make them like your project!
4. Set reasonable funding goals- Kickstarter is all or nothing, so be reasonable in what you need! Nobody likes to feel like they are being scammed, so be transparent as well, and tell your supporters exactly how their funds will help your project.
5. Make your rewards and pledge tiers appeal to your potential supporters- Everybody likes swag and cool rewards for their support, so think about who will be supporting you from the $1 tier to the $1000 tier. Think about what you can give each to entice them to pledge by putting yourself in their shoes, this will enhance the likelihood that they will donate to the cause. It is all about exchanging value with your audience, find ways to do this and you will succeed!
6. Study successful AND unsuccessful campaigns- This should go without saying. Study up, see what works and what doesn’t for your particular field. Find things you like in successful campaigns and adapt them to your own, and see what didn't work at all and avoid it like the plague. Don't just stick to the gaming campaigns either, look around at other successful campaigns and see how they promoted, pitched, and rewarded their supporters. You will learn a lot!
7. Use your Updates to personally thank your pledgers- Kickstarter is all about building a community of fans and supporters, so talk with them! Thank them! Be their new best friend and make them feel a part of something bigger! This way, even if you don't get funded, you will have established a dialog with your fan base and that is some of the most valuable marketing you can do!
8. Find your fans and get the campaign in front of them- Right now success on Kickstarter is often determined by how much outreach the campaign managers do. So find your fans, find your market, and get your story in front of them in any way possible. Often you may need to look outside your normal audience to find funding as well, think about ways you can get your story out there and in local newspapers, on blogs, and other places to draw in more supporters.
9. Give and you shalt receive- The Kickstarter community is a friendly bunch, so be active in the community and they will return the favor.
10. If at first you don’t succeed... try try again- Kickstarter is only one of many crowd funding platforms, if you fail at first, hone your pitch and try again! Be sure to include a link to your new campaign before your Kickstarter campaign runs out since after that, you can no longer edit the home page.
There's many more tips out there for running a crowd funding campaign, but these top 10 should get you thinking in the right direction. We guarantee that no matter what, it will be an incredibly exciting and very educational experience! I know it has been for us!