7 Critical Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Crowdfunding

March 15, 2023

Read this BEFORE launching on Kickstarter or Gamefound.

The Crowdfunding Nerds have helped game creators raise over 15 million dollars on Kickstarter and Gamefound while seeing 87% of our clients funding on the very first day of their launch. The vast majority of these clients were first-time creators!

In our weekly podcast, we use real-world examples to highlight things that are working in the crowdfunding space as well as explore some of the pitfalls we see people make. With 3k monthly downloads, we’re not showing any signs of slowing down!

We’ve found that the key to any crowdfunding project’s success has everything to do with the strength and execution of a pre-marketing plan.

Let’s investigate the 7 essential things you need to know before crowdfunding your game!

Mistake #1 – Not Bringing A Crowd To Crowdfund

You need a crowd to crowdfund. Don’t take our word for it, though, here is Everette Taylor, CEO of Kickstarter saying just that:

You know, if you don’t have the audience yourself, and you want to reach new people and be successful on the platform, it takes digital marketing… And the second thing is cultivating an audience beforehand. I tell people all the time, some people think you can go on Kickstarter, and then throw it on there, and then, you know, magically make some money. No… you gotta push your audience there. You have to cultivate an audience around your product, your company, your service, even if it’s just your friends, your family, your 30 cousins, like whoever it is… you have to cultivate your own audience and have them ready to go and ready to support at the beginning.

https://fortune.com/2023/03/01/kickstarter-ceo-everette-taylor-inclusion-ai/

This is why you need to develop a system that builds a captive audience around your game before you launch and why we put so much emphasis on pre-marketing and email capture. Check out our process that we’ve dubbed the “Virtuous Cycle” for more details:


Mistake #2 – Not Sending Emails To Your Email List

Many game developers are afraid of spamming their fans, however, if you implement the Virtuous Cycle system we mentioned above, you will have people on your email list that WANT to hear from you.

The experience of crowdfunding is just as much about joining a passionate game developer on their journey as much as it is about receiving a cool game.

From our experience of running hundreds of crowdfunding campaigns, specifically around video and tabletop games, we find email to be the most significant metric when driving high-converting traffic to a live campaign page. Check out our article on email marketing to do a deep dive into this important topic.

Mistake #3 – Not Developing A Community Space For Fans

Part of your pre-crowdfunding marketing strategy is to build a following by earning the right to communicate with your future customers on multiple platforms. You want as many touchpoints with your fans before launching.

Ideally, you want them to receive:

  • Your email saying your campaign is live
  • A Kickstarter/Gamefound Notification
  • A Facebook/Discord Notification
  • A YouTube Notification, and more.

By developing a community around your game, fans can directly interact with you on a personal level while also meeting other fans! Eventually, your own fans will be able and willing to answer questions about your game!

Make sure to follow our step-by-step guide on how to set up a Facebook group for your game here.

Mistake #4 – Doing Self-Promotion VERY Wrong

The line of people creating and promoting has never been longer, and the amount of those doing organic marketing ineffectively is ever-growing. Don’t irreversibly tarnish your brand and reputation by starting self-promotion on the wrong foot!

Check out our solutions to the 5 most common self-promotional mistakes.

Mistake #5 – Not Optimizing Your Live Campaign Page For Mobile Devices

The reality is that over 80% of traffic to your live campaign page is going to be from mobile devices. Your page needs to be 100% optimized for mobile with text being clearly seen on smaller screens.

Jeremy Howard of ManVsMeeple joined us on the podcast embedded below to explain what elements make a useful Kickstarter page for Superbackers! He explains his “three scroll” test that you need to think about when crafting your page.

Mistake #6 – Not Having A Plan For Success AND Failure

In an ideal world, everyone who has a neat idea and a well-tested game should be able to bring it to Kickstarter or Gamefound and fund with flying colors. This is not always the case.

We have often seen campaigns that we thought would scrape by their fund goal crush it, and others that we think would explode in popularity barely fund or don’t fund at all!

You need to have a plan for all possible outcomes of your campaign so that your community can look to you as the captain of the ship and have confidence that you are capable of bringing your idea to life.

In the podcast below we discuss 4.5 things you need to plan for before you launch your crowdfunding event.

Mistake #7 – Not Understanding WHY Gamers Back Crowdfunding Campaigns

We designed and developed our own board game called Deliverance which raised $39,000 in 8 minutes on Kickstarter and funded over $300,000 in total!

We surveyed the Deliverance community and asked them why they back games on Kickstarter. Understanding why gamers make pledges will shape your marketing strategy moving forward, and it would be a massive mistake to overlook this.

Bonus Stuff

Who doesn’t like bonus stuff?

Before wrapping things up, we wanted to highlight some other very important elements you need to consider before launching your crowdfunding campaign! In fact, these are some of our most popular podcast episodes:

Ready to go deeper? You might be interested in our Crowdfunding Nerds Course.

Finally, we developed a Crowdfunding Nerds Success Calculator to help you work out the potential return on investment from running a Facebook ads campaign using our methods! It uses data points from all our previous Kickstarter and Gamefound campaigns so make sure you dive into it.

For more awesome articles about marketing for crowdfunding, join our e-mail list!

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