Over the last year I've run four different Kickstarter Campaigns. I wanted to share with you what I've learned from my own experience and what I've learned from more successful creators as well. Here's 6 things I did before launching the Kickstarter for Last Stand.

1) Get 21 Reviews for the Product Before the Launch

Last Stand As we went through testing the game in it's beta stage, we asked everyone to give their feedback. Not just in person, but also online through a link. It's our actual product page we setup for when to sell it in our own store.

This Allowed For

  • Honest feedback without the pressure of looking at our faces.
  • Written review content that we can use for the campaign.
  • Long term benefit for our store after the campaign is over.

A few months ago I heard that the minimum suggested number of reviews a product should have on Amazon to show some legitimacy is 8 and the number for the product to see a change in purchase rate is 21. So our minimum number before launching is 21 reviews.

2) A Month Before Launch Begin Marketing And Get Email Sign Ups

Mail Chimp Logo We started marketing at about 5 weeks before the actual launch. We created paid and unpaid marketing strategies that we wanted to test before actual campaign. Since the campaign isn't live, the marketing links go to a sign form for email notification. That satisfies two objectives:

  1. We saw what ads worked.
  2. We captured the leads to grow our audience for the launch day and beyond.

Last Stand was the first project we used this technique for and it's clear how powerful it is in getting information and long term value.

3) Create & Test Our Campaign Video Early

Last Stand Promo Video The product promotion video is the most important element for a campaign. It sets the tone. When we're finished making our promotional video, we are very confident that it leads to users to take the next step of scrolling down to see more or clicking if it's shown as part of an ad.

Here's our quick guidelines for making a good video.

  1. Keep it below 90 seconds.
  2. Use a good quality microphone.
  3. Make sure it matches the tone of the campaign.
  4. Show it to 50 people and get feedback.

We continued to change and refine our promotional video for weeks as we sent it to friends and fellow creators until we got something with consistent results. Remember that guidelines are not rules. Sometimes it makes sense to break them.

4) DON'T Keep It Secret

Last Stand Launch Announcement

I've made this mistake: SURPRISE! ... Why is no one here?

There's a line between burning people out before a launch and having them see it enough times to be ready to click on launch day. I went with the following schedule for announcing Last Stand.

  • 2 Months before launch: Announce artist partnership.
  • 1 Month before launch: Show prototype pictures with email signup link.
  • Once a week during the for 4 weeks before launch: Share different product content with email sign up link.
  • 10 days before launch: Post an article and email with details on campaign.
  • 3 days before launch: Email followers with the "how to play".
  • 1 day before launch: Email followers with "It's coming tomorrow".

Also, depending on the social platform, I shared various photos and text updates on the project with my followers. The important thing is that your followers, friends, and family know that it's coming and when!

5) Create the Campaign and Show Opinionated People

Last Stand not live image Kickstarter Campaigns have a range. Fun and delightful -> Dull and boring. We started in the dull and boring category because there was way too much explanation, confusing images and overwhelming information. I have a lot of good friends who aren't afraid to hurt my feelings though. After that first wave of feedback, I made adjustments and then shared the preview with other opinionated people and creators.

A lot of the time, my family and friends are too supportive. I need to make it better, not settle for what I have.

By the way, if you're looking for some honest feedback on a project and don't know any opinionated people, email me and I'll be honest with you! 😉

Logistically, on the content side of the campaign, here are some of the key elements I believe are needed for a successful Kickstarter.

  • Really good product images
  • Important product details (How to play)
  • Product reviews
  • A visual of the rewards
  • Talking about the team
  • List of shipping costs (If it's something shippable)
  • Social sharing prompts
  • Reasons to share the project (Stretch goals, achievements, etc)

6) Get Feedback and Price Test With Random People (In Your Demographic)

Cal Poly SLO I live less than a mile to Cal Poly State University and I take advantage of that. It's a great place to go and ask for help from a ton of people.

The important part is that I'm getting feedback from people who don't know me personally. A really good tool I use for testing out the price of a product is bringing a credit card reader.

When I ask the question, "will you back this when it comes out?", some people feel a pressure to respond "yes". Even if they don't mean it. So instead I ask if they want to back it right now and pull out the device to take their money. It gives me a clear answer now that it's real to them.

What Do You Do To Prepare For Product Launches?

Those are the 6 things I did that I felt were worth sharing. Is there anything that you do before you launch a new product that I'm not doing?

A photo of Trent EllingsenTrent Ellingsen

Trent Ellingsen is a casual magic player going to FNMs about once a month and at least one GP a year. He enjoys playing EDH and often organizes game nights with his wife at home often. His passion for Magic led him to create 5 Color Combo and the drafting simulator app.