10 tips for the perfect Kickstarter update (funded)
Your kickstarter has just finished and your game is going to become a reality, but it’s going to take a long time to get it made and this is where many creators start to go wrong. Having spent months preparing to launch, building a community, and exciting them throughout the Kickstarter, there is a tendency to start forgetting about backers and leaving them out of the loop.
I believe as a creator the after-campaign updates are just as important as anything else, as it’s an opportunity to build a long-term relationship with your backers and to create a community that will follow you into future projects.
Here are my 10 tips for writing the perfect Kickstarter updates between your project ending and fulfilment completing.
10. Set expectations
You may be familiar with how Kickstarter works, the time it takes to process cards and prepare pledge managers but not everyone is. Once your campaign has finished, send an update explaining the process and letting people know what to expect in the weeks and months to come.
9. Regular updates
You should be sending regular updates from the day your Kickstarter ends up until the fulfilment completing. The frequency of updates should vary depending on how much is going on, I recommend:
- Every 2 weeks from the Kickstarter ending to pledge manager launching.
- Every 4 weeks from the pledge manager launching to products leaving the factory.
- Every 2 – 3 weeks from the products leaving the factory up until fulfilment.
Did you know if you don’t send an update within 1 month of the last update, Kickstarter will put messages on your campaign asking backers if they want an update? As soon as this message appears it will start to cause some backers concern and they will think something is up. Never let this message appear by sending updates at least once every 4 weeks.
8. Marketing second
I see too many updates which focus on marketing new products and while I understand the desire to do this, it’s really not the purpose of Kickstarter updates. The recipients of updates are your backers, they’ve agreed to support you and buy something from you already, they haven’t agreed to receive marketing materials.
Sure, ask them if they would like to join a newsletter, but don’t bombard them with marketing in your updates, it’s the fastest way to get people to ignore your other updates which may include important information.
7. Use descriptive titles
I’m a big fan of fun and thematic Kickstarter update titles, but I’ve learned over the years that using descriptive titles is much more effective. Titles such as “Last chance to receive your reward as the pledge manager closes this week” is going to catch more eyes than “The sun sets on the marketplace”.
6. Always say something, even if there’s nothing to say
If everything is going great and you have no news to share, then still send an update and say just that. Believe me, this type of update will often excite people much more than anything else as they want things to go well just as much as you do!
5. Have a conversation
People like to be recognised and enjoy being a part of something, this is one of the best things about Kickstarter over buying from a store, it’s more than just a purchase.
Whenever you send an update you should respond to every comment, even if it’s just to say thank you. Once an update has been sent, at the very least you should schedule yourself to respond to the comments 2 hours and 24 hours later.
4. First time backers
In updates you should assume everyone is a first-time backer and provide descriptive information and guides. Not everyone knows what a pledge manager is!
By doing this you will help reduce the amount of frustrated people, increase the amount of people who provide you with the correct details for shipping, and have a place to link to people who message you asking for help.
3. Next update date
At the end of every update tell people when the next update will be sent and always make sure you send an update on that date (put it in your calendar!).
This is so easy to do, keeps everyone happy and stops you from forgetting to send updates regularly.
Note. If something happens and you need to send an update before that date, it’s absolutely OK to do so, just acknowledge it in the update and set a new date for the next one.
2. When it goes wrong, be honest and upfront
The easiest way to ruin your reputation and stop people from supporting you in future projects is to go silent when something bad happens. People love honesty and understand that mistakes happen, in fact, many people back Kickstarters because they want to see new creators go through the journey to success.
If something goes wrong, relax, work out your plan moving forward, and send an update telling people what has happened, what it means, and how you are going to fix it. If you can’t find a solution immediately, then it is OK to say that and to tell people you will update them again on a specific date.
For example: Unfortunately, I have received a production sample for the meeples which has an error which must be corrected. This means we will have to start production again for this piece which is not going to be a quick process. Right now I am working with the factory to understand what we need to do and how long it will take, I will update you again on Tuesday next week and let you know the impact this will have.
1. Estimated delivery date
The simplest but easiest tip here, at the top of every single update the first line should always say the current estimated delivery date.
The number one piece of information people want is “when will I get it” and being able to scroll through the updates page and see this without having to search is more valuable than anything else I can suggest.
I hope this article helps you write better updates for your Kickstarter and I would love to know what other tips you have for writing updates?
Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!
15th January 2022 at 6:01 pm
Great article and thanks for all you do for our community!
18th January 2022 at 4:12 pm
It’s my absolute pleasure!