Imperial Harvest Kickstarter Post-Mortem, Part 2

Last time, we talked about raw numbers of the Imperial Harvest Kickstarter campaign, the dreaded mid-campaign slump, and how backers rallied around the campaign in its final hours. This week, we're taking a look at two techniques we used to connect with our backers, foster a community around Imperial Harvest and build a sense of excitement around an as-yet unreleased game.

A Simple Thank-You

One of the first things we all agreed to do at Broomstick Monkey Games, during our campaign, was to take shifts monitoring our Kickstarter backer report and send a thank-you message to each backer. The message was simple, but it got across two main points:

  • First, that we appreciated each backer's support in our first Kickstarter campaign
  • Second, we invited each backer to reach out to us with any questions or comments they might have during the campaign

This seemed like a pretty common-sense tactic, and one that we'd all experienced before, but we were all surprised by how many backers commented that it was the first time a campaign had taken the time to reach out and thank them for their pledge. In an industry that is literally flooded with new product (more than 3,000 games are released a year by some estimations), customer service is king, and taking the time to thank the people who support you is an easy way to start making connections with your customer base.

Interactive Interactions

Once we got into the swing of things with the campaign, we started releasing updates every 2-3 days. The scheduled was built around releasing an update each time a stretch goal was hit, but also in between as needed. We wanted to keep the campaign fresh in people's minds without spamming them. As a way to get folks excited for each update, we decided to include a puzzle at the end of each post.

Our first puzzle (from Update #7).

Our first puzzle (from Update #7).

Each puzzle got several backers engaged in trying to find the best solution, confirming the rules, and exploring each character's abilities within the confines of the puzzle. Conversations got started, questions were asked and many supporters went from passive audience members to engaged participants in the activity as well as the campaign as a whole.

(Incidentally, the puzzle structure was also a great way to pressure-test the rules as written. Ambiguities that might simply be agreed upon during a game suddenly had to be clarified in order to confirm a puzzle solution. It's something we're looking into for future games to assist with playtesting as well as community engagement.)

Connecting to your backers, customers or fans is critical to survival in any business, but especially in board gaming. Board games live and die on the people who play them, love them and recommend them by word-of-mouth and on sites like BoardGameGeek. It's not enough to have buyers, you need evangelists, you need friends of your brand. Going the extra step to make those friends can help make your company a success.