There have been thousands of Kickstarter campaigns that have gotten creative and been successful, which mean there were thousands of campaigns that could be featured in this article. Nonetheless, a campaign about a new board game called The Contender stuck out at me at precisely the right time.
Breaking down a Kickstarter campaign is one of the best ways to really understand how the crowdfunding platform works and how to be successful if you're a hopeful small business entrepreneur, so if you're interested in learning more about how to get started and stand out, take The Contender as your perfect example.
A Quick Recap of How the Game Works
The Contender is a "game of political debate." It works very similarly to Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, except it uses real presidential quotes on each of the cards. Team members will use their cards in order to "win" a debate card that someone throws out to the middle. You don't have to know anything about politics, you just have to try and put out a funny or creative answer.
For example, if the debate card is "If we deregulate _____ then everyone can have _____," then you need to look in your deck of real quotes from politicians, put our your best answer, and then hope that the moderate picks you as the winner. There are more details to the game, but that is the gist of how it works.
You can check out this link to see the official Kickstarter campaign from The Contender to learn more details about the rules. In the end, the campaign raised $142, 551 with 2,698 backers. Originally, they pledged to earn $15,000, so it's safe to say they were a success.
7 Ways The Contender Mastered Kickstarter
First and foremost, any Kickstarter campaign that is successful has a well-written explanation of the business and what it means for backers, and The Contender was no exception. Aside from the obvious, however, there are other creative and unique things you can learn from analyzing a successful campaign.
Below outlines several different elements that The Contender added into their Kickstarter campaign and even several moves they made after they met their goal:
- Created an entertaining video.
So creating a video may also be considered obvious to some, but it's worth mentioning because video gives you opportunities to set yourself apart from other similar campaigns. In the video for The Contender the team introduced themselves and explained the game, but they also dressed up as if they were political candidates and used some of the same mannerisms and filming styles that you see during debates and candidate coverage. With over-zealous handshakes and smiles, balloons falling fro the ceiling, and eager photographers, they made the video funny and entertaining. They also added a reel at the end of the video to show outtakes, which helped "humanize" the team.
- Offered unique cards based on your donation.
Most Kickstarter campaigns have different levels of what you get based on how much you donate. What's cool about this campaign is that the more you pledge the more cards you get. In some cases, the cards still had to be created because they would be featuring quotes from the 2016 political candidates. In other words, they were willing to go the extra mile if they earned enough money, which ultimately they did.
- They created social media goals that help backers.
Kickstarter campaigns often have goals set in terms of funding and how much money they reach. The Contender took things one-step further and created a Twitter follower goal of 1000 followers, which would unlock 4 "Trump Cards." Those following the campaign may want the prizes that social follower-numbers unlocks, so this is a great way to grab a following early on and hope for social shares in the future. In fact, one thing The Contender probably could have done better is having more social goals as opposed to just a Twitter goal.
- Sent an email to the backers after the campaign had run its course.
Even after funding was completed, the team sent out an email to backers to help keep them in the loop so that they know where their money is going. As a backer myself, I got a great email that discussed the decision the team had to make about production in China versus in the U.S. They went through their thought process (briefly) and ultimately decided on the U.S. (of course, it's a game about American politics!). The email made us feel more like a partnership than a Kickstarter campaign because they ask for our feedback at the end of every email, so it worked well and helped eliminate questions.
- They got the word out to relevant publications and build backlinks.
This may not have been the work of the team but rather just websites reporting on great Kickstarter campaigns (such as what's happening here on Inc. Magazine), but either way the game was able to get publicity from publications such as FastCo. Design and The Daily Dot. Just as with any website you want to earn as much publicity and as many backlinks as possible to help ensure that your page is shown to a relevant audience in the SERPs, on social media, and through organic traffic. The more visibility the better, always.
- The launched at an optimal time for their audience.
The Contender is a game of political debate, and they launched their Kickstarter campaign just as candidacies were being announced and just before the debates. As people begin to get more and more interested in politics for the upcoming election, this was the perfect time to launch a game that helps make it fun. This also likely helped them get the press mentioned above and helped create buzz around the game that may not have been there otherwise. Extra: The game will also be out just in time for Christmas, so the team no doubt took advantage of the gift-giving season.