Another one of the fine gaming industry individuals that I had the pleasure to talk to while at GenCon was Tom Anders of Impact! Miniatures. The main topic of conversation was Kickstarter. Impact! has started 9 projects up on Kickstarter with only 1 failing to be funded. However, that “failure” turned into a success as the non-backed model was integrated into their Urban Achievers set, which was funded successfully.
Tom was very happy to talk about Kickstarter and how it has changed the gaming world in such a short time. “They can almost become a new sort of mini-store” he said. He went on to talk about how projects he had never dreamed of before could now be funded and created thanks to the help of Kickstarter. Here’s Tom’s steps to making a successful Kickstarter campaign:
1. Build up anticipation: Show off prototypes of what you plan on selling before the funding campaign even starts. Let people know it will be coming up so they can start buzz happening before the clock starts ticking on your event.
2. Have attention-grabbing images: If your Kickstarter is just a page of text, nobody’s going to fund you. Tom said the most important image is the one at the top of the page. If they’re not interested enough to scroll past that, then they’re obviously not going to back your project. Make the campaign catch the eye.
3. Have reward levels that actually give the backers product: Tom mentioned almost being confused by some other Kickstarters he’s seen where it takes quite a hefty backing to even get the start of product actually into the hands of those that fund the project. He says to make sure there are low-cost backing options that get people the product they want. $20-$25 levels are very popular. Getting a mini or dice or something into the hands of backers at that level is fundamental.
4. Make regular updates: Make use of social and traditional media to get your product seen. Tom says he’ll regularly google-search his own projects to see where it’s being talked about. Then, he’ll actively engage with people who have questions or comments on the project. Regular updates and conversations with the community keeps your project fresh in the minds of others and will keep the stream of backers coming your way.
5. Make sure you do what you say you can do: Know your own limitations for production. If delays happen, that’s ok, but keep your backers updated, especially after the event is over. Remember, you already have their money and they’re expecting results. You can’t just go silent for months and then just show up with their product. Let people know how things are coming along and they’re more likely to fund your next project because they know they can trust you to do what you say you’re going to do in a timely manner.
So that’s how you make a successful Kickstarter. When asked about what exciting things Impact! has coming up, Tom mentioned more Impact City Rollerderby coming out in December. They’ve also just started a Kickstarter for a set of new hockey miniatures that’s up and running now.
It’ll be interesting to see what more Impact! is able to come up with in the future.