It’s been an exhausting 20 days or so, but we’re finally back with a news post :) For those of you who have been following our Kickstarter campaign, there might not be much actual news, but IndieDB was our first “home” so I really want to keep this page up-to-date for everybody ^_^’
So, twenty days ago, pixel artist Cyangmou and myself launched our Kickstarter campaign:
It’s been an uphill battle, but so far we’ve managed to avoid the dreaded “mid-campaign” lull, instead showing a nice steady progression towards our goal.
Here are some key learnings from our experience so far:
It’s a s**t ton of work!
No kidding! Good thing we had prepared update drafts in advance, but even then it takes up to 1-2 hours to get each update out the door (polish / adapt the draft, capture the required gifs, format everything, etc.).
Then comes replying to mails, Kickstarter comments, Greenlight comments, forum comments, Facebook comments, YouTube comments, and so on - I really try to answer everybody’s questions ^_^’ - and of course sending out personalised mails to the press and YouTubers.
Add on top of that preparing daily gifs for our twitter channel, taking part in the various “promotion channels” (#FridaySpotlight, #screenshotsaturday, etc.), answering twitter PM’s, setting up cross-promotions with other teams / campaigns, the occasional stream or twitch appearance, reviewing the day’s analytics to re-focus our marketing efforts on the channels that work, finding new Facebook groups to post on and new YouTubers to contact, and you can see how running a campaign quickly turns into a full-time job!
Our luck with press has been very mixed so far. To give credit where it’s due, the Indie press has been nothing short of fantastic! Eager to support us, give us feedback, provide us with tips, and just generally making us feel very welcome and appreciated :)
On the other hand, the only major publication who took an interest in us was wired.de (thanks guys!), but none of the “big ones” - i.e. RockPaperShotgun, Polygon, etc. - seem to have time for us ^_^’
We did get 2 lines in-between articles on Kotaku, and those 2 lines brought a disproportionate amount of pledges (enough that it still features among our top 10 sources of pledges!), so one can see how effective an article could be :)
Throughout the entire campaign, twitter has been our number 2 source of pledges, right behind "direct traffic", and our number 1 source of page views according to Google.
We take great care in tweeting new gifs every day, and taking part in things like #screenshotsaturday which help raise awareness of our campaign and brings interested viewers directly on the campaign page with a single click.
YouTube is our second best avenue for promoting the game. We had exactly 1 contact going in (EpicNameBro) who was kind enough to feature us early on and get the ball rolling, but we have contacted over 200 YouTubers since, and have managed to score a few more videos along the way:
I’ll be very honest here, I’m not a big Facebook user ^_^’ I’ve had an account for years, and occasionally check it out to keep in touch with old friends, but my post count is in the low 2 digits ;)
However I must say the reaction on Facebook has been fantastic! Every new post on a retro-gaming or indie-dev themed group brings in comments, visits, and pledges! I’m not sure if it helps that my account uses my actual name and pictures, but it seems like people are more eager to help and support on Facebook, which definitely makes me re-consider spending more time in those groups ^_^#
The experience in general
I started out by pointing out how much work running this campaign has been (let alone the months of preparation that went into it), and one thing that doesn’t often get mentioned is also how stressful it can be: the long hours, the doubts when your progression graph flat-lines, the not-so-supportive comments etc. can really take a toll on you.
Having said all that, it’s really an amazing experience nonetheless :)
We are extremely proud of how far we’ve come, we have made many friendships along the way, have found a ton of support among the indie community, and have had a blast meeting and interacting with our backers!
Of course with 1/3 of the funding goal to reach in 10 days, we’ve got our work cut out for us, so buckle up because it’s going to be one hell of a ride :)