Time has slipped from my hands too fast and even though I’m late with this chapter, there was nothing I could do to prevent that.
Best news is my update is finally here! Now I will continue describing my crowdfunding journey by turning to the campaign home page.
We were at the point when we knew what we wanted to achieve and we already had our rewards thought through, so it was time to create our campaign page.
I did some research and decided it was very important to create a video and even more – make it personal – with our face on it. After all we were asking directly for contributions and there shouldn’t be any kind of walls between us and the backers.
We decided to record ourselves using a greenscreen and key ourselves into a space probe interface to make our appearance thematically linked to our game. You can see the final result here:
The structure was:
- Introducing ourselves and what the campaign is about
- Introducing the original J.U.L.I.A.
- Why we wanted to expand it
- Why we needed crowdfunding
- What specifically we were going to do with the funding.
After our recording session, the footage turned out to be over 50 minutes long due to my overly extensive script. We cut it down (and down) until we ended up with 6:43 minutes. If I ever do another campaign, I’d try for even less (something like 5 minutes) and save the rest. But make the most of your recording time since that extra material will be useful down the campaign stretch for updates and even related PR.
Either way, I would strongly advise going to the recording session with a proper script written on paper or you’ll lose valuable time arguing about individual lines. I’ve also wore my contacts (instead of my glasses) to make video recording and lighting easier.
Also count on the fact that not everything will go smoothly and if you’re not an actor, you’ll surely end up with outtakes like this:
Last thing is that unless you are native English speaker, you should create captions for your video. I originally didn’t and backers were complaining that they didn’t understand me. I fixed that extremely fast, but your video should have them right from the start.
After the video was recorded, we needed to create a campaign page.
We’ve decided to make the page visually appealing and tie into our game, so we created some extra art assets to create a more visual feel for backers. The result was interface-themed headers.
While preparing our campaign, I also thought about my own reactions and behavior when I was visiting other crowdfunding campaigns.
First, I usually quickly skim through the page to see if it looks trustworthy and not just vaguely drafted. If I feel pretty confident about it, I play the video. If the video is too long, I usually don’t watch it all, as I don’t have time for it.
So I decided to make the page as nice as possible according to my self-defined “one-shot rule”, which means that if the person visiting the page doesn’t like it at first glance, they won’t linger long and likely will never come back. Then you’ve lost them. If their interest is piqued, even if they’ve not decided yet, there is a good chance through comments and updates that you can win their support!
Generally once the campaign is launched, there’s no going back.
If you are not widely known, including a playable demo version of your game highly increases your chances of winning over your community. In this industry there are way too many teams trying to make games and not that many actually bringing the finished products to the market. So putting in a playable slice proves right away that you can actually make games rather than just talk about it.
Our campaign page at the time of the launch had the following structure:
- What’s J.U.L.I.A. about
- Why an enhanced edition of J.U.L.I.A.
- What’s going to be enhanced
- How much do we need
- What the press thinks of the original J.U.L.I.A.
- But I want to see for myself (Playable demo link)
- It’s time for rewards
- I want to help more / but I don’t want to contribute money just yet (e.g. Cross promotion with Steam Greenlight)
- Social Media links
I have to humbly say, that if I would do a campaign today, I’d not change anything about this structure as I think it worked well for us.
You might want to ask why include a FAQ section when nobody has asked a single thing? I’ll get to this later when I write about IndieGoGo traps and especially the stupid inability to increase pledge levels through the IGG system. Even if only for that reason, you’d want to have a FAQ section on your home page. I also included some general info about our estimated delivery date in there because I knew that would likely be the first question asked.
If you want to refresh your memory, don’t forget to check our campaign page at:
Thank you for reading this chapter and I hope to bring you the next just after the New Year.
The only remaining thing I want to say is that I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and all the best in 2014!
Stay tuned and enjoy your holiday time.