You recently funded the X-case on your fourth attempt on Kickstarter. Take us through the journey with you. Your first attempt was in March 2017. How did the first campaign go?
To the say the least it was a learning experience. Ultimately we garnered only around 20 backers and maybe just a 10th of our goal. It was very slow and our lack of current/recent advertising really showed.
Why do you think it failed and what was the feedback from the backers?
Though we had done fairly well selling the X-Case in its previous iterations, we found that word of mouth or long past happy customers was not enough to ensure a successful online Campaign. We planned that simply letting folks know about our Kickstarter at a couple of small cons would be enough to ensure success since relatively speaking we were asking for a fairly small dollar amount. Well, we were wrong. Our online presences was very small, to the tune of less than 20 followers on any of the major social networks and little to know presences in any related forums or pages. Backers were very supportive actually and the few people who gave us feedback mostly just provided other placess for us to try and reach out to for more backers on future tries.
So you relaunched. What did you do differently this time?
The Second time we reached out to quite a few more online resources. We even tried Twitter and facebook ads (these did not do much in terms of backers though it did build our online following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). We became much more prolific at our online posts and ultimately our following was still not much higher though it was close to 100 one all three networks. We notified our previous backers and even tried an online contest to build followers but we only waited barely over a month to relaunch.
What did you learn from the second attempt?
Our impatience and fear of losing our first backers made us re-launch probably at least two months too fast. We could have used another couple months of build up to have a better launch. That said we did have a much better launch as our 2nd try beat our first try in only a couple of days, though to be honest we had hoped to beat it in only one day. We also learned that if we could just get people to see our campaign we would could have a hit. We doubled our campaign results but ultimately we still way to few visitors and thus even with solid per visitor backer rates it was just not enough.
So you relaunched again and how did it go the third time?
Again, we did no wait long, I think it was again too fast with only a month or so until we tried again. We had our followers up to 100 or so on each network but we told our backers if they would just back us on day one we would be all but assured of success based on typical success rates of large funding percentages on first day. My thought was that if even 80% of those backers from the campaign that just ended were to back us we would be over 30% first day and momentum could carry us through…Alas that was not the case. Though we did nearly double our result and backers by the end again we still fell far short.
When you failed the third time, did you want to give up?
Yes, in fact we did. We told our backers that we were not going to try again and went into a few weeks of deep thought and consideration for the future of the X-Case. Ultimately, it was decided that we had a good product and we just lacked online marketing acumen and were not going to let that stop us. We decided to proceed with production preparation anyway and fund it ourselves out of pocket.
So you relaunched again and FUNDED! What happened?
This time it was not to pay for production, well not fully. Our thought this time was “something is better than nothing” so we set the goal at only half of what we previously attained, figuring we had probably lost quite a few of our previous backers. We did some pre-promotion via our Social networks which were now close to 150 in following and gave it another go. It took us only a couple days to fund but in our hearts we really did want the full amount we tried for in the past. Backing was steady and consistent throughout this campaign and though we probably should have ended on a better day then Black Friday, our campaign kind of sputtered on the last couple of days due to this we believe, we ultimately broke that barrier hitting 14K by the end.
Do you find it ironic that after you lowered your funding goal, your total funding on the 4th campaign was higher than the funding goal of your first attempt?
Not really, I know the lower goal amount and the fact that we funded quickly probably helped but I think it is as much that as we had a bigger following both on the social networks and on Kickstarter as a result of the previous attempts.
What is the biggest thing you have learned from all of this?
Get to know people in the industry and get them to help you promote. That is where the real success comes from where Kickstarter is concerned. At least until you are well known enough to be able to do it on your own.
What do you want to say to others that have failed their campaign?
If your product is proven in testing and reviews (Not paid, but true user reviews) then Market, Market, Market and find people with the backers and followers to announce your product. It is not your product in this case, its who you know.
What is your favourite board game at the moment and why?
Depends on the day, however, I do keep coming back to Suburbia, not sure why but since I have grown my game collection that one just really seems to hit the spot for me on many days. It used to be because it was one of few that I had not won but now that I have won several times (probably more than I lose now) I still keep getting the urge to pull it out.
Do you have any role models in the board gaming industry?
Not really, but I do admire how well Stephen Buonocore has done at growing his gaming company.
Anything else you want to add?
Not really, just as everyone says, don’t give up if you truly believe in your product.
Where can people reach you?