Kickstarter Relaunch – Unsuccessful to successful.
With our first attempted Kickstarter an eye opener, we went into our Kickstarter re-launch with a new strategy. If you have not had the chance to read our blog for the first Kickstarter campaign, you can find it here.
We knew from our first campaign that our biggest struggle was going to be converting our audience to be backers. So for the 4 months between campaigns, we focused primarily on building up our audience.
Below is an audience comparison between our first and second launch:
First Campaign Relaunch
Facebook (all pages) 1374 likes 2883 likes
oommgames Twitter 229 followers 502 followers
oommgames Instagram 91 followers 175 followers
oommgames Pintrest 837 monthly viewers 1007 monthly views
Mailing List 169 signups 1507 signups
Total Audience ~2700 ~6074
What We changed – for the better
We put most of our focus into growing our mailing list over this time, which is strongly shown in the numbers above. This proved key for our re-launch. We had to put more money into advertising to accomplish this, but found it well worth the effort. To accomplish this we created dedicated landing pages to encourage people to join our mailing list.
We also adjusted our thinking from the first campaign. Previously we took the audience total and estimated the number of backers we required to have a successful Kickstarter. The reality however is that each audience source reacts differently to your marketing.
We decided to focus primarily on 3 sources for advertising, with occasional posts onto our other social media sites over the campaign. The primary sources were our Mailing list, Google Ads and Facebook ads. We also did two Giveaway promotions, one through Giveaway Geek, and one through Everything Board Games
Mailing list 2.9 : 1
Facebook Ads 10.9 : 1
Google Ads 2.1 : 1
Giveaways 6.8 : 1
These show the amount of money raised for the Kickstarter campaign for every dollar put into a source. Facebook Ads was by far the leader in bringing in backers to the Kickstarter. The mailing list can not be ignored however as your mailing list stays with you, so all future campaigns we launch will always have a starting audience.
What we tried – and failed at
We decided to try something completely new for this relaunch.
There is a University and Collage where we are situated, both of which have large, active board gaming groups. We decided to try a joint advertising venture with them. This was a major undertaking, as we had to create a program they would both agree to, create and print advertising material, and be on-site at the university for part of the first week of the campaign (as per the agreement we worked out). We also had to agree to share all analytics data with both groups. In return we would have prime advertising space during the first week of classes.
Both of these resulted in a significant advertising loss for us, as well as taking up precious time during the first week of the campaign. The combined ROI results were less than 0.01 : 1. We thought it could be a new and innovative way to advertise, but this was sadly not the case.
Once we funded, we launched ads onto Board Game Geek. The reality we have discovered though is that we are too new a company for many people to take notice. BGG had an ROI of 0.13 : 1. We plan on holding off on future BGG advertising until we have more products out.
We also launched the Kickstarter at the Toronto Fan Expo. This ended up being a bad idea for this Kickstarter for the following reasons:
Time. Running a both at a convention takes a ton of time and attention. Running a Kickstarter during the first few days takes a ton of time and attention. If you are a small company with only a couple people, do not launch a Kickstarter at a convention. You will not be able to give both the proper attention they need.
First time attending. This was the first time we attended this convention. To be quite honest, we were an unknown. Because of this, we had much less of an audience draw then we had hoped for.
Outside the gaming area. We were not part of the board gaming area. Our booth confirmation came 2 days before the convention, which resulted in us being setup in a different area. Next time, if we do not receive booth confirmation well before the convention, we will not attend. Scrambling to get ready, and finalize the last details on the Kickstarter page was a bad combination.
We analyzed how the campaign was going at the end of each day, and a bigger one at the end of each week. This allowed us to address issues as they came up, and make adjustments to our strategy. The first week showed the lack of interest from the University and College crowds, and so we pulled the plug on other planned activities involving these groups.
Engagement and feedback from the Kickstarter audience was very positive, with a lot of support that we had followed through with a relaunch.
The majority of backers during the first 3 days were from our mailing list, Facebook advertising, and people we had spoken to.
We hired Carlisle Media Consulting, an advertising company, to help manage our day-to-day social media posts, and help with customer responses during the campaign. This freed us up to focus on all the other aspects of the campaign that were occurring.
We sent several prototypes to the Indie Game Alliance and arranged for them to demo the game at several conventions we were unable to attend. Once we launched the campaign multiple people messaged us saying they had been waiting for the campaign to go live, because they had played the game at one of these conventions.
We wasted a lot of time attempting to be new and innovative with our advertising, trying new angles that nobody else seemed to be using. This only resulted in using up time and money that could have been better spent else ware. While trying innovative approaches are not bad in any way, we should have spent more time researching them first.
So what did we learn?
Focus. We limited our online advertising more during the relaunch, and had great success from it. We also tried all new advertising angles, and performed dismally. In the future we will become even more focused with out advertising efforts, primarily using our mailing list, Facebook Advertising, and Giveaways.
Have a prototype present at as many conventions as possible, even if you are unable to attend yourself. Arrange to send a prototype with others to a convention you cannot attend, and gain as much exposure as possible.
Don’t waste effort on trying something new if you don’t have the time to properly research it. All you’ll end up doing is taking time away from something else.
The final tip is start early and have patience. It takes time to build a solid list of followers who will back your game when it comes to launch.
Good luck on your next campaign!