As I make the final decisions for my first Kickstarter project (Dysfunctional Families The Card Game), one of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot is this article by Paul Graham:
Right now, I don’t have a pre-existing fanbase or audience — so I have to rely on my charm and good looks to get people to notice the project and buy into supporting it.
Instead I am running what is termed a “humble campaign”:
Kickstarter Lesson #172: Should Your First Project Be Epic or Humble?
How to run a humble Kickstarter campaign
My main goal is to run an amusing Kickstarter campaign, get my game funded, and then deliver my game to my backers — and do it in a way that delights them. This is how I will start to build my fanbase, so that I can go for an epic project at some point in the future.
As a small startup (just me, myself, and I), I can’t do the things that an established player have the resources to do. I can’t expect to sell a million of some extra doodad that’s related to the main project. I can’t even devote time to doodad issues.
Instead, what I can do is things that don’t scale, but do delight individual backers.
That’s why I’m thinking about every reward level in my campaign including a hand-drawn stick figure Thank You.
And, yes, I know that I face possible legal issues for sending a Thanks to my customers — but I think it is worth the risk. Besides, the publicity I would get if Citigroup sued me would be insane!
I couldn’t hand draw something for 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 backers. However, I am expecting more like 100 or 200 backers. And I want to make sure that those backers remember Igpay Games fondly — and become lifelong fans who both buy into and promote my future projects.
Check out Dysfunctional Families on Kickstarter to see all the things I am doing that don’t scale.
Update October 27, 2016
For the January 2, 2017 relaunch of Dysfunctional Families on Kickstarter, I will also be doing things that don’t scale. However, I’m going to try some different things this time. I still believe in the idea of delighting early supporters as a way to gain long-term fans.