This question is frequently asked, very frequently, and it’s a good one. The next steps aren’t always clear for newcomers, so here’s a mini-guide!
Stick to the Schedule
It should be obvious: before the launch, you would have planned a roadmap, and now that it’s over, you need to stick to it. We recommend starting the work as soon as you receive the funds, without indulging in overly long celebrations. Small production hiccups are just around the corner, as are larger ones (like the global pandemic that halted exports from half the planet).
You can’t prevent a global pandemic from derailing your plans, but you can work to minimize delays within the things you can control. Choose your team members wisely, avoid Stretch Goals that extend or complicate your production timeline too much, and aim to reach your goal as soon as possible.
On average, a Kickstarter backer is willing to tolerate about a month of delay from the estimated delivery date. After a month, they’ll rightfully start complaining, after three months, they’ll be very angry, and after six months, you can expect the French Revolution. And we assure you, regaining the trust of your backers won’t be easy once it’s lost. So, be good and stay on schedule.
A commonly used trick that might help is to communicate a delivery date slightly longer than expected in advance, so you can accommodate any unforeseen delays or, in the case of efficient production, announce an early delivery.
A mistake to avoid is planning multiple productions at different times (for example, a series of setting manuals or DLCs that will arrive months or years after the initial product). The problem with these productions is that they stretch too far into the future, and you can’t predict the future. Most of the time, they become fruitless and, in more than one case, have led to the failure of a publisher or a production company. So… avoid them.
How to Communicate Delays
You’re still late, aren’t you? You’ve followed what was written above to the letter, but something has disrupted your plans? Well, it’s time to communicate it. Your backers won’t like it, and neither will you, but it’s necessary to be transparent about the timing of any delays and make the new roadmap clear as soon as possible. You can explain all your reasons, trying to evoke compassion in backers, but my advice is always to be clear about the next timelines rather than having a good excuse.
Communication with Your Fans
Even when everything is going well, there are long periods of time, sometimes months, sometimes even years, between the start of production and delivery. We recommend using this time to stay in touch with your backers, showing them your work and involving them when something significant is happening.
It’s not necessary to post every week or every month; it’s better to communicate when you have something to say. We live in a hyper-connected world and are bombarded with information: make sure to speak up when you have something to share, and your backers will be more than excited about it.
A good long-term communication strategy is one of the best forms of marketing.
Which Platforms to Use for Communication with Backers?
The first and most obvious platform for communication with your backers is the Crowdfunding platform itself. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and even smaller platforms have effective update systems, and we recommend using them. However, it should not be the only way. During the campaign, you’ve surely collected emails, so now is the time to use them to spread the good news. Both backers and people who didn’t support you during the crowdfunding campaign will be happy to know that the work is progressing. A third place to communicate is the Group. Do you have a Facebook group, Telegram channel, subreddit, or something else? Use it to communicate more directly with your backers and, especially, to answer their questions.
But Do I Have to Create Late Pledges?
Short answer: yes. You should, and I don’t see why you shouldn’t. Late Pledges and Pre-Orders are the best way to reach people who didn’t get to support your crowdfunding campaign, so you absolutely should do them. This requires extra effort and a dedicated budget since Late Pledges are primarily based on advertising, and you’ll need someone on the team who can handle it.
There are many useful platforms for this purpose, and we recommend Backerkit and Crowdox above all.
If you need help setting them up, we’re here to assist, just write to us!