Ghosts 'N Goblins Kickstarter

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 17 – Top 10 Apps For A Successful Kickstarter

Day 17


Yesterday I did a play-by-play of what it's like to constantly talk online for 20 hours. But, it can't all be about the exciting world of Internet messaging, drive-thrus, and power naps. 

Today I spent the majority of the day talking to many of my Facebook friends all individually. No status updates. This lead to phone calls, Voxer, etc. Talk talk talk! Since that's a boring blog, today I will discuss the tools I'm using and highlights of my 20 hour day today. In the past two days I have worked 40 hours. I love it! If I had a traditional job, I could take off all next week. Anyone like the idea of 2 days on, 5 days off? I do! But that's not what I'm doing here. I did the math, and since I'm kicking it into over drive, doing 20 hours of tweeting for 20 days is equivalent to two and a half months of full time work! Awesome. Ok, about the tools I am using.

1) Facebook. 

Statistically Facebook is a bad place to raise funds. Personally, I think this is because everyone is on Facebook now, and 70% of people say Kick what? ZERO of my 200 Utah friends like their Facebook page. Which is surprising, since Utah is one of the top Kickstarter states when it comes to board games on KS. One challenge is I'm not only explaining our unique project, I'm also having to explain what Kickstarter even is! Is it investing? No. Is it pre-ordering? No. My answer is "Kickstarter is fans of an idea getting together, throwing ten bucks at it, and making it become a reality." It's reward based pledging. I had someone say on Facebook today "Love your project and video! How do I pledge?" It would be really cool if after the video, and during it (if you hovered over) it displayed a big green "Back This Project" button right in the middle that used a default pledge amount, like ten bucks. Like Amazon 1-click shopping. I'm surprised and frustrated at the confusion. The little KS in the lower right isn't enough for first time pledgers.

Never post an update for people to "Check out your Kickstarter."

I individually wrote every person whom I think would be interested or know someone who might be interested. This took all day but you will actually get a response. No one wants to be spammed and your update will get ignored. You're asking people to split with their hard-earned cash not watch "What's a fox say?" As I'm typing this I just watched SNL's "What's a girl say" on Hulu. Since these people are in fact, my actual friends, I'm also catching up on personal items with them too. News about the kids, jobs, moving, etc. I'm not 100% advertising, I'm quickly touching base with people I routinely talk to and say "Hey! Glad to hear you are still playing music and your son is doing well. Here's what I'm up to and I thought you might be a retro-gamer." 

#1 Facebook Application: Smartphone app!

The great thing about Facebook is you can always be on it, always be talking. It's easy to use and all you need is your smart phone with their default app.


2) Twitter.

Twitter is the #1 weapon right now in a Kickstarter campaign. This is because I believe almost 100% of people who actively use Twitter know what Kickstarter is and how to use it. Twitter is not easy to use like Facebook. Know what "#FF @PhantasmStudio @Thornybleeder" means? A lot of Tweeting is like computer code. Twitter users don't need to be sold on the concept of Kickstarter. Also, a tweet only has a life of about an hour. So, you can talk more, and people expect you to. 

#1 Twitter Application: TweetDeck

For your Kickstarter war, I suggest TweetDeck to manage the massive inflow of information you have to deal with. 

3) E-Mail

Email is your central "To Do" list to make sure you answer everyone. Get a Kickstarter comment? Email notification. Someone mentions you in Twitter? Email notification. Respond to the person, then delete the email. Task complete.

#1 E-Mail Application: Outlook

The reason Outlook is my favorite application is because of speed. If your Kickstarter gets a lot of attention, you will be getting hundreds of email notices from all these wonderful apps. More importantly, you are probably starting your business here, you should be keeping track of every important person you come across. A backer that deserves a special shot-out at the end for helping save your campaign? Create an email folder for that. An investor that wants to talk after the campaign is over? Create a contact for them with their phone number. Someone wants to get together for lunch? Better put it in your calendar. Yes, you can do this all on your phone. But, when your campaign only lasts a month, you need to be filing information at the speed of light.

4) FanBridgeDo You Have A Mailing List? A sign-up form on your website?

If not, I suggest FanBridge. You can sign up for a free trial during your campaign (30 day free trial!), import any email addresses you may have, and if your campaign fails? Freeze your account. It's rather pricey at $20 a month if you aren't using it frequently. They also have a great widget tool you can use to collect email addresses on your other sites. I would add the widget to my KS site but the last thing I want to do is make it more cluttered or confusing. I do have it on my Phantasm Studios page however. Most people follow via Twitter or Facebook but you don't want to lose anyone. 


What are you going to do when Facebook and Twitter are replaced? You're building your business and want to think in decades, not days.

E-mail is like the ground the Internet world sits on. You probably can't imagine a time without Facebook, or Twitter. But, I've been doing this since the early 90s. BBSes, Prodigy, AOL, Napster, mp3.com, Classmates, MySpace, etc. all have become Goliaths only to be crushed by time and David's innovation. If Facebook and Twitter become obsolete, what are you going to use to reach out to your fans? Email addresses have a much longer life-span and are controlled by the user. Facebook and Twitter could pull your access anytime they want.

I can't believe it but Nintendo, Capcom, SEGA, etc. have never reached out to me. Not via physical mail, and not email. When my wife plays Zelda and register's her first character, it should quickly ask for an email address and send it to Nintendo. These devices are connected to the Internet people! If I go to Capcom.com or Nintendo.com there should be a quick "Enter your email address" at the top like on our Phantasm Studios page. The fact these major studios haven't kept in touch with their customers boggles my mind. Just some quick information on bankruptcies here:

Bankrupt!

Data East: 2003
Acclaim: 2004
Bally/Midway: 2009
Atari: 2013

Email hit the masses in the late 90s. Marketing is one of the largest expenses in the gaming business. Could they have survived if they kept in touch with their customers and sent them an email when a new product was released? I have no idea, but it's insane they didn't try.


5) Drop Box. 

I am using drop box to constantly take notes during the campaign. Someone emails you a list of great gaming sites to reach out to? Put that in an Excel file in Drop Box. These apps work on your laptop, desktop, tablet, phone. Anywhere you are your Office files can be. If your kickstarter fails the first time, you will want to reach out to them when you re-launch. People really reach out to help, and it's good to record and organize all of it for future campaigns.

#1 Microsoft Office application to edit your files? Documents to Go

6) Chrome

Bookmark anything that needs constant attention, like message forums. Sign into Chrome on all devices and make sure you are syncing your book marks. That way, if you need to respond to a forum post while your wife is driving you somewhere, you can quickly find it. 

7) GoToMyPc. 

Sitting for 20 hours in one location is impossible. So, here's my strategy. Have your primary computer be a desktop with dual screens. Then, install GoToMyPC on it so you can remotely control it on your laptop. Every few hours, change the scenery. For me it's the office, then it's the living room, then it's Starbucks, etc. Why dual screens? Because GoToMyPC allows you to easily click a right or left arrows to switch between screens. With the laptop, that's access to three screens while you are working. Kickstarter works best with an "Air Traffic Controller" setup. One screen for Tweetdeck, one for Outlook, one for Facebook. You get the idea. Wife wanted me to sit next to her during the 49ers game. No problem! 


The smartphone app is great because it notifies you when you get a pledge, comment, or message. It's not annoying, just a pop-up Window. If a pledge comes in, you just swipe the screen and you can easily send them a message from your phone. Easy and fast. Love it!

9) Voxer.

One thing about talking to people for 20 hours a day is it's a Boot Camp of education. I discovered Voxer today thanks to a friend Doug Vernieu. He said "I want to talk to you but I'm cooking breakfast. Get on Voxer." This is a great application for someone who wants the multi-tasking abilities of texting but wants the emotional connection of voice. It's like a CB radio with scheduled delivery. You can talk and respond while you are on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. I love it because when my children are having melt downs I can wait for the crying to stop, and Vox someone back. I could be having complete voice conversations with someone in a war zone and they wouldn't even know because I'm only recording when it's quiet.

10) Educational Podcasts.

Become a learning machine before and during your campaign. Learn everything you can about the tools you are using. I love Podcasts because I can download information into my brain like Neo in The Matrix while I'm tweeting, driving, cleaning, etc.

#1 Favorite Kickstarter Podcast: Funding The Dream with Richard Bliss. 

Have any tools that are better than mine? I would love to hear about them! Please comment below.

Highlights of the day:

11:50am. All my time yesterday spent on the message forums pays off. Because of the forums, the project lead and developer of RetroFX, who did a graphics upgrade, not a re-imagining, on the original Ghosts 'N Goblins in 1999 just made a very nice donation and wants to help us succeed in Demon World. 

4:02pm. Another forum post pays off. Bryan (last name not posted because he still works for another studio), 14 year animation veteran for games like Spider-Man and Star Wars loves our mission to remake classics. Wants to work for me. I tell him I'll contact him when I have a budget. This has been my high quality problem lately. Money is always the hardest part, isn't it? Demand has been so high, that when I successfully raise capital (I really hope it's through our Kickstarter!), I'm going to have to hold a "Zuckerberg" like coding and graphic contest to expand our team. I think that's why Facebook has always been such a great application. Anyone remember how bad MySpace was coded and how bad it looked? That's why everyone migrated to Facebook. Same idea, better execution on the social network idea. The twins didn't invent anything but a marketing launch strategy (make it exclusive to Harvard first!). Facebook focuses on quality coding and design. Holding contests, like they did, is a great way to do this.

4:54pm. Vuk Kostic, our concept artist, is working on some surprises for when we get closer to the end of the campaign. He sends me art, I review it and suggest changes, usually making hack edits in Photoshop, send them back, and he makes them look pretty. It's great having a 3rd monitor dedicated to Photoshop when going through this process. The surprises are going to be great! I can't wait to unveil them. 

1:21am. Going to create a simple image for this blog then...Done at 1:40am. Goodnight!



Monty

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