Indiegogo – Best Practice: CraftStudio
Elisée Maurer is a successful crowdfunding campaigner on indiegogo. With his campaign for CraftStudio “Real-time collaborative game-making” he raised $ 23,500 from 612 funders. That means he reached 147% of his defined goal. With an average contribution of $ 38.40 he is a little bit under the average contribution (fyi: $ 60.50) of all analyzed campaigns. With 12 Perks he uses three more than the average therefor he made only 11 updates – five less than the average. But enough facts lets read what he has to say:
I ran a quite successful crowdfunding campaign for CraftStudio back in March. Before starting the campaign, I had been releasing free pre-alpha versions for 6 months, gathering a little bit of attention. It’s always hard to assess what makes something successful or not with a single datapoint, but I’d say:
1) you need something exciting at its core: it has to be, for enough people, in some way, mind-blowing. You need to be convinced it’s going to make a difference of some kind for your target audience. In my case, I thought and still think real-time collaborative game-making is a revolution.
2) people need to see competent, relatable human being(s) behind the project. A video is a must have, and I’m sure there’s some kind of quality threshold you have to be “above” in order for people to trust you with their money (kind of like the Uncanny valley maybe?). I hired a friend of mine who happens to be a graphic designer to do the video editing and I think it was worth every penny.
CraftStudio’s video has some real flaws (I’d say my flawed pronunciation is probably the main issue, that’s why I made sure to have subtitles at launch) but it looks simple, real and (in my opinion) it makes me look like an overall nice guy rather than unreliable, cocky or shady. This is what you need to aim for at the very minimum.
3) You need a reward scale that doesn’t suck, obviously. The main thing you’re trying to fund should be somewhere in the first 3 rewards (probably first 2 even). People aren’t going to support you without getting the thing you’re building. Don’t bury it deep after tons of other stuff.
4) You need to set a realistic goal, not too high (because missing it doesn’t look good even if you can keep the funds on indiegogo) but not too low either (because it sets lower expectations and might deter people from contributing). Take a good hard look at your expenses and make sure to have *a lot* of lee-way because Kickstarter / indiegogo takes a cut, the payment processor takes a cut, then you have rewards to pay for and you’ll spend a lot of time handling all that stuff.
*What I’d do differently?*
I would price the t-shirts higher up, $30 for CraftStudio + a game + a t-shirt is way too good of a deal (or rather, it’s a bad deal for me. Printing + shipping t-shirts will cost you $25-$30 in the best of cases). Probably CraftStudio itself too (mostly because it has gone a long way since).
I think if I could, I would have done it on Kickstarter. I’m French and Kickstarter required to be a US citizen at the time to start a project so it wasn’t feasible but I think it looks slicker and probably gets you more exposure / cred (It’s so established that people don’t do crowdfunding, they “do a kickstarter”). Of course I have no proof it would have been more successful and indiegogo ended up working out very well so… it’s hard to say really! indiegogo does a great job, I’m just more in love with Kickstarter but Kickstarter doesn’t want my business :).
I’d set more realistic dates for the various rewards. Backers have been very accommodating so it hasn’t been an issue at all but still. CraftStudio has gone a long way and we shipped most rewards but the game supposed to come with CraftStudio still isn’t done. We’re making progress and will deliver but I just completely underestimated the stuff I’d be busy with.