Three Lessons We Learned From Our Last Kickstarter

Two years ago, we embarked on our first Kickstarter campaign to help fund our first game, Spirit Lake. We didn’t have any idea what we were getting ourselves into. The amount of time it would take. The stress of wondering whether we would hit our goal. The elation over hitting that goal. The effort it takes to send out all of the rewards (on time).

Now, we’re in the midst of another Kickstarter project, which is slightly less chaotic, but no less hectic, as we seek to crowdfund for our first mobile game, Forgotten Trail.

Here are some of things we’ve taken from that first experience and applied this go round:

1. Raising tens of thousands of dollars on Kickstarter takes a lot of time, like all of your time. The first go round, we thought it would take a lot of time, but not necessarily every waking second. We quickly learned otherwise. This time, we have three people working on the campaign almost full-time, and it’s still life consuming. We’re currently in the phase that’s referred to as the mid-campaign slump (although we brought in nearly $8,000 yesterday, so it’s not too much of a “slump”) where you need to hustle more than ever.

2. It’s about more than just putting out some tweets and a couple Facebook posts. Social media is a key part of our Kickstarter outreach, but it’s not as simple as typing up a few social media updates and you’re good. We’re working social media constantly, but your updates can’t just be “back our game” for three straight weeks. We’re also posting blogs, attending events, sponsoring conferences, passing out fliers, sending out newsletters, hosting events, making phone calls, sending emails to our nearest and dearest and more. One of the great things about raising money through Kickstarter is you can do it without giving up equity, but you can’t do it without giving lots of effort.

3. It’s about quality and quantity. It’s not just about getting someone who has a ton of followers posting about your account. We’ve got several people who have tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of followers tweeting about us. And while some of our backers have come from those channels, more of our backers have come from the individual contacts that we’ve made, such as via personal emails (we’ve sent out several hundred of those).

We were better prepared launching our project this go round. We knew what we were getting ourselves into – although that didn’t mean that crowdfunding would be easier. This time we’re asking for $50,000 — more than double what we brought in last time — but we feel confident that is a reasonable figure, based on our growth as a company and the growth of our supporter/user base.

We’re more than 60% of the way there with over a week to go (which is great news as 98% of campaigns that raise 60% of their goal go on to hit the full amount). But we’re not done yet, so with that in mind, it’s back to work!

And if you want to back Forgotten Trail, you can do so here!

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