Launching a board game Kickstarter requires the coordination of an enormous amount of effort, time, and talent. For that reason, I encourage people to see success more as a holistic process than as a particular moment when things click. The one exception to that rule: the launch day of your Kickstarter campaign.
Let’s not beat it around the bush. Day 1 momentum is really important. There are a number of factors at play in the Kickstarter world that make it very important to make a big splash on day 1. Kickstarter’s sorting algorithms will tend to prioritize projects that make more money. After all, Kickstarter has a financial incentive to get people to see campaigns they are likely to back. “The project is already making money” is a pretty good indicator of the interest Kickstarter wants to stoke.
On top of that, social media, reviews, and other online news outlets are going to light up with news of your game on Day 1 more than any other day. You want to be able to ride that momentum all the way to a successfully funded project, and then well past it.
In March of this year, I wrote an article called What To Do Immediately After Your Kickstarter Launches & A Checklist, which included a list of things you need to do on the day that your Kickstarter campaign launches. I refer to that list as the “launch sequence.” For your convenience, I’ve included it below.
First 10 minutes:
- Hit the launch button.
- Copy the URL.
- Set up a redirect link on your website.
- Tweet the campaign link with a call to action.
- Pin the campaign tweet.
- Make a Facebook post with the campaign link with a call to action. (Bonus points if you use your personal page as well).
- Pin the campaign post.
- Post on any other social networks you use.
- Ask a few friends to retweet/share your social media posts. This increases visibility quick, which can help you break through social media noise.
- Update your social media bio links.
Next 20 minutes:
- Send an email to your mailing list with the campaign link and a clear call to action.
- Update the home page of your website with the campaign link and a clear call to action.
- Text your family.
- Text your friends.
- Post the FAQ – which you have hopefully pre-written.
Next 30 minutes:
- Send any last-minute press releases.
- Monitor and respond to comments and questions.
- Update any old Kickstarter campaigns.
- Get your game on this Board Game Geek geeklist.
Hours after launch:
- Post to relevant Facebook groups.
- Post to relevant parts of Board Game Geek.
- Post to relevant subreddits on Reddit.
The above list is simple and straightforward, and it will definitely help put you on the right track to a fortuitous launch day. However, there are two other angles we need to approach this topic from to provide a more complete answer to the question of “how do I have the perfect Kickstarter launch day?” A simple checklist isn’t enough.
An underrated but highly important part of the Kickstarter process is facing the raw emotional reality of a Kickstarter campaign. Whether you are in the board game industry because of your creative passion or your desire to make some cash, Kickstarter can be emotionally brutal. The criticism is tough if the game is your darling idea and the financial side is tough if you don’t have a good grasp on operations or what the market wants.
Speaking of understanding what the market wants, it’s the often unspoken assumption that Kickstarter launches are preceded by Kickstarters worth launching. If you go on there with a dud product, no amount of launch day marketing or emotional stability will save you. Don’t get me wrong – flopping isn’t the worst thing in the world. It happened to me with my game Highways & Byways. But still, who wants to do that?
Before you ever launch a game, you need to understand that there is no objective standard of perfection, there are simply people with unique tastes. You want to make a game that appeals to the specific tastes of a lot of people. You need to prove it will before you go to Kickstarter, or you’re going to be out a lot of time and a lot of money.
Those last three sentences are the most important in this article, so read them again. All things equal, a great game that fits the market with so-so campaign management will utterly smoke a mediocre game with great campaign management. If you want a perfect Day 1 on Kickstarter – focus on strategy and not tactics!
After so much effort, it’s only natural to want a beautiful Launch Day for your board game Kickstarter campaign. Even more so since your first day often determines how the rest of your campaign will go. By making sure you have a great game tailored for a specific audience, you set yourself up for success far in advance. After that, it’s simply a matter of following through on some simple steps and keeping your wits about you in a time of great emotion.
Godspeed, Kickstarter hopefuls 🙂