Nov 22, 2015

Kickstarter Lesson #2 Anatomy of a Crowdfunding Creator

I was on my way to meet my team this afternoon for our Kickstarter Meeting for Wongamania: Banana Economy and I ran into an old friend. She was telling that she would be launching an Indiegogo campaign in 6 months time and I congratulated her for taking the courage to get her card game project funded through crowd funding. However, I was a bit concerned for her after I probed a bit deeper on the amount of preparation she has made for her crowdfunding campaign. Our conversation sparked off the inspiration for this blog post on what are the essential functions you need to prepare before running a crowdfunding campaign. This is based on my 2 crowdfunding projects I have ran with the latest one being Wongamania: Banana Economy

Product Development
Development of a prototype to showcase on your product. In the case of a table-top game creator, you will need these functions:

Designs the rules and the gameplay

Draws all the essential unique characters and items and the box cover

Graphic Designer 
Design the layout of the cards, the board, place the illustrations within the cards, design the layout of the rule book, design the card back, symbols, back of the box, decide on the font of the game, design of the logo of the game

Source for a manufacturer and supplier for the manufacturing of cards, boards and components. You will need to know the manufacturing cost so that you can budget for the funding amount, reward tiers, stretch goals and weight of the product to estimate shipping cost.

Marketing & PR
You need to come up with a plan to build your community, prepare a marketing plan for the entire campaign and create a network of social influences who can help you spread the word. The functions include:

Campaign Page Design
The first order of the day is to set up your campaign page and plan out a skeleton of what you want to write, the story you want to tell, the graphics and photos you need.

Graphic Design
You will need help in designing all the graphics needed for facebook banner, profile pages, campaign graphics, project updates, blog and website.

Events, Roadshow, Conventions
Many crowdfunding creators not only engage in online marketing, they also have to show-case their products at conventions, flea markets, or simply inviting people down to try out the game. You will need to prepare marketing collateral such as brochures, leaflets or souvenirs to remind them to pledge for your project as soon as they are free.

Social Media Marketing
You will need to start sharing with people on your product as early as possible and engage in forums or sites where you can contribute to the community in a meaningful way. Going by a "Giver's Gain" mentality will help you gain support when your campaign goes on life.

Backer Relationship Management

 You need to provide well written project updates every few days, thank each supporters personally for their pledge towards your campaign and encourage them to share the campaign with their friends and on their social media.

Public Relation
You will need to prepare a list of media contacts in major media outlet, including newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, online news, blogs and PR newswires. You need to prepare 3 press release, the intention to launch, the launch day and the campaign result.   

Photographer & Videographer 
A good campaign video and some product photos are needed. If you do not have the prototype, be able to at least product a 3D rendering of how the product will look like and what are the components in the box

Operation Management

Shipping and Logistic Fulfillment
You will need to determine how to most effectively ship between your supplier, your manufacturer, your shipping point, clearing custom, clearing VAT, types of shipping methods, the complexity of packaging the different items due to the reward tier and warehousing  

Finance & Accounting
Budget and plan for all the costs and an estimation of how much you need to raise in to order to make your Crowdfunding campaign successful. 

Holy Cow! That's a lot of work!
Running an extremely successful crowdfunding requires people of different talent to work together in order for the campaign to work. You cannot work alone! There are so many small details to look out for and possible errors which may result due to the haste to rush for the project deadline. I will advise any crowding funding creators to start assembling a team 1 year before the campaign and pre-marketing to start 6 months before the actual campaign.

Plan early and plan ahead! 

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