What is Kickstarter launch day like? It always starts with a flurry of activity! Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the ten-step launch sequence we used the first day of the Incantris Kickstarter campaign.
Step 1: Launch the Campaign – We did our final checks and launched the Incantris Kickstarter campaign at about 8:00 am CDT. This allowed us to get the project page’s URL. Having the actual Kickstarter link is the linchpin to all other launch day activities. Even though there is a lot that can be prepared in advance, almost nothing can be finished until you have the project’s URL. There is no way to get this before the project launches. Kickstarter does not provide creators a “Your project will be live at…” link the way YouTube does when you are uploading and scheduling YouTube videos. Yes, Kickstarter says the page preview link will redirect to the actual Kickstarter page as soon as the project goes live, but we don’t use that. (That could just be an idiosyncrasy on our part.) But also, Board Game Geek wanted the actual URL to the project for advertising, rather than the preview link, so they must feel about the same way.
Step 2: Create a Bit.ly Link – Seth and I like to use a Bit.ly link for the Kickstarter as much as possible so we can track data for the campaign through its analytics. Once the project was live, we passed the Kickstarter link through Bit.ly to get a shortened and trackable URL. We use the Bit.ly link in all communications (emails, Facebook posts, tweets, advertisements, etc.) we send out about the Kickstarter.
Step 3: Install Google Analytics – Next, we installed Google Analytics on the Kickstarter page. We wanted to be sure it was in place before we started sending people to the page. The actual URL of the Kickstarter page is required to set that up. Although Kickstarter provides a dashboard for project creators that offers some analytics, Google Analytics offers much more. We’ve hooked up Google Analytics to our Kickstarter pages before, but this is the first time we have paid attention to it in detail, especially its live feed of page activity.
Step 4: Send the Announcement Email – This is the big one. The “we’re live” email went out to everyone who had asked to be notified when the campaign launched. We polished that email up, put in the graphics, and installed the link. These emails arrived in people’s inboxes around 10:00 am, about two hours after we launched.
Step 5: Facebook and Twitter – We posted to our Facebook page telling everyone the campaign was live. Seth finalized the Facebook advertisements and submitted them. We also sent out Tweets about the project from the RAINN Studios twitter feed and my personal twitter feed.
Step 6: Revise Page with Father Geek’s Review – About 9:00 am, Father Geek posted their review of Incantris. We were absolutely thrilled with what they had to say. So, of course, we wanted to update the Kickstarter page with new graphics and links to incorporate their review. The Board Game Closet had already posted a video review of Incantris a couple of weeks ago, and so it was already embedded on the page. The also had fantastic things to say about Incantris. It is so great to have designed a game that people feel so positively about.
Step 7: Update Social Media Cover Images and Main Websites – We designed new Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube cover images that say Incantris is now live. We updated all of them. We put a slider image on www.RAINNStudios.com announcing that Incantris is live. I installed a temporary redirect on Incantris.com to send people to the Kickstarter page. In the past, we constructed a simple website with just the embedded Kickstarter widget and a link to the Kickstarter page, but now I think this is unnecessary. A temporary redirect is more efficient and does what we need it to do.
Step 8: Contact Bloggers – I sent emails about the launch to board game bloggers. I sent them an Incantris press release about a month ago, so it was not the first time they had heard about the project. Be aware that many bloggers do not cover Kickstarter games, and some require long lead times (two months or more) in order to cover the project. Be sure to plan well in advance if you would like blog coverage for your project.
Step 9: Outreach to People Involved in Incantris– We wanted to be sure to specifically notify everyone who had been involved in the creation of Incantris. This included the artist, Artur Jag, and the sculptor Dan Jack of Atlantis Miniatures. We also emailed all the playtesters to thank them for their help getting Incantris to where it is today and to send them the link the Kickstarter page.
Step 10: Everything Else – We stalked Board Game Geek until we saw an Incantris advertisement and then clicked on it to verify it was working properly. I uploaded new pictures to the Incantris Board Game Geek page. There is also a Kickstarter forum on Board Game Geek and Seth posted that Incantris was live there. We posted on the Gamewire about the launch. There are probably also a lot of other little things we did as well.
Of course, while all of this is going on there are comments, messages, Tweets, Facebook comments, and more coming in. Seth and I have a well-practiced division of labor on this to keep it managed. But that was basically our procedure for launch day. We have some insights about the Kickstarter campaign I will share with you in a later post where we look at the campaign’s numbers.
What is part of your launch sequence that we might have missed?