Dragon Brew did great! We doubled our funding goal and exceeded our own backer expectations. We also delivered Dragon Brew on time to our backers earlier than our promised date. Being on time was very important to us. We wanted to exceed the expectations of our backers.
Now you are live with your second game, Treasure mountain. This is actually a relaunch as the first campaign for TM failed. What happened?
We launched in February of this year and quickly realized that things were not going as we expected. Although we would have funded by the end, we were not hitting our own projected numbers and unlocking the stretch goals that backers love. We decided to relaunch, which was a very tough decision.
We spent a lot of time reflecting and communicating with our backers as to why we did not hit our numbers. There were several factors that contributed, but we identified the two biggest. The first were the general market conditions in Kickstarter during the month. There was a tremendous amount of competition and several huge campaigns were draining the oxygen from the room. We were having a tough time getting traction. The second was a over reliance on our previous campaign. We spent a lot of energy (and money) pre-marketing to our previous backers and not enough attracting new backers before the campaign. This was an important lesson we had to learn the hard way. I am a big believer that you learn more from failure than success.
What kind of feedback did you get from the backers?
Feedback from our backers was critical for us. We spent almost a month communicating with them and compiling the feedback before sitting down to come up with our relaunch plan. Aside from more pre-campaign exposure, the biggest thing was the inclusion of an expansion we were in the middle of working on. Or original plan was to launch a second campaign with an expansion along with metal coins. Based on the feedback from our backers, we finished up the art and pushed our blind playtesting to finish up the expansion for the relaunch.
Now you have relaunched the campaign for Treasure Mountain and it funded almost immediately. What did you do differently now?
In addition to adding the expansion and metal coins, we increased our pre-marketing ad budget and sent the game to 10 additional Youtubers and podcasters. We did everything we could to expose the hobby to our game.
Did many of the backers from the original campaign follow you over to the relaunch?
A little over 50% came over initially. We are at half way though our campaign today and that percentage has increased to approximately 60%. I would be happy with 75%.
What was the biggest thing you learned from the failed campaign?
You can’t rely solely on your backers from your previous campaign to back again.
What did you do to build up a following before you launched both campaigns?
We have a mailing list which we have been populating at game conventions, contests and marketing campaigns. Treasure Mountain has been demonstrated at conventions for the past three years.
When did you launch the new version of Treasure Mountain and why did you choose that exact moment?
We launched our new campaign on May 2nd, three months after the start of our cancelled campaign. We choose that date because it overlaps with Kublacon, where we have scheduled game demonstrations of Treasure Mountain.
Did you expect to get so many backers on your second attempt?
We knew the numbers looked good. We had lots of people excited about the game. Honestly, you can never know for sure exactly how many you will have. All you can do is your best to prepare and wait for the results.
You lowered your funding goal quite a bit on the relaunch. What made you do that?
We calculated that with our expansions, and metal coin add ons, we would make up the difference in the pledge manager and pre-sales after the campaign. I can tell you again in a month how accurate our predictions after speaking with Crowdox were.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you launched Treasure Mountain, what would it be?
Don’t rely solely on your backers from your previous campaign. It was certainly the lesson of the year for us.
If you could change one thing with Kickstarter. What would it be?
I wish there were better tracking tools and reporting in the dashboard. For example, I would love to know how many people have clicked on the “REMIND ME” button.
What is your best marketing tip during the campaign?
Aside for not relying too heavily on your backers from a previous campaign, the best tip would be to GET YOUR GAME OUT THERE. The more people to play your game the better.
What’s the best kickstarter advice you ever received?
It does not matter how good our game is when it comes to the success of your campaign. Kickstarter is all about the marketing. Designing a great game and marketing a game are entirely different skill sets.
Anything else you want to add?
I would like to thank people like you in the industry who share their Kickstarter and publishing experiences to smooth out the road for the rest of us.