In our last article we told you to do the math before you start your campaign. This time we’re talking about stretch goals which will make your math more complicated.
Make no mistake, you should plan your stretch goals well in advance of the launch of your campaign, and build the cost of them into your budget. Don’t scramble to come up with them during the campaign. If you do, at the very least you’ll stress yourself out. At worst, you could bankrupt yourself by rushed planning. With that in mind, here’s some advice for figuring out stretch goals.
To Reveal Or Not To Reveal
While your backers will pressure you into revealing all your stretch goals right away, we see nothing but down side in that strategy. Instead, we recommend revealing the next one as the previous one is reached. Here’s why:
By keeping them secret, you can easily rearrange them or, if necessary, change the goal amount in which they are released based upon how your campaign is going. For example, if your campaign needs a little boost, you might rearrange them a bit to put a cheap one next so that you can easily achieve it. If your campaign is doing well you might decide to spread them out a bit so that you’ll have enough stretch goals to last the duration of your campaign.
If you reveal them in advance then many of your updates will simply be to remind people what the next stretch goal is. That’s not very exciting. By keeping them secret, you have some real news each time you hit the next goal to post as an update to your campaign. The buzz of that news is a new reason for your existing backers to share your campaign with their friends and you’re more likely to get good engagement.
If you hit a home run with your campaign and end up wanting to add more stretch goals (which you probably should not do), then when you reveal that new stretch goal it will look like you planned it all along!
How many stretch goals you plan is really up to you. In our case, we like to have around 10 stretch goals planned in advance of launching the campaign. We don’t go into it thinking we’ll reach all of them, but having that many planned in advance really takes some stress off during the campaign and also allows us to plan a more accurate budget.
Pricing your stretch goals will come as a natural extension of your budget. When you do the math you should be including as many of your stretch goals into your budget as you possibly can. That way, if you don’t hit the stretch goal you’re making some extra profit, and if you do hit the stretch goal you know that the cost of it is covered.
You should try to have several low to no cost stretch goals if you can. Use these either in the early part of your campaign to get things rolling, or in the later part of your campaign to keep stretching the numbers as far as you can when you run out of your other stretch goals.
Achieving the first stretch goal or two is really important in building momentum for your campaign. If you can make them easy to hit then it will help you keep the momentum going during the middle of the campaign.
Stretch goals should be more about creative thinking than about spending more money. For that reason most of your stretch goals should cost you very little even if they add a ton of value to the game.
You could upgrade plastic winks to poker chips, or poker chips to wooden cubes, or wooden cubes to wooden meeples. Even small upgrades can be a nice stretch goal, and they needn’t cost a lot. For example, upgrading from a poker chip to a wooden cube is probably less than a couple cents each. So if you need 50 in your game, the upgrade might only cost you $1, but wooden cubes have a much better tactile feel than poker chips. And wooden components will almost always beat out plastic components in the hearts and minds of your backers.
Did you know that The Game Crafter will also consider adding custom wooden bits to our line up for your campaign? You’ll need to contact us to see if it’s something we’re interested in adding. If your campaign reaches the point where it will need more than 10,000 of a type of bit, then if your stretch goal succeeds we’ll add it to our shop to fulfill your campaign. We did this for Scarborough Fair. This has the added benefit that you can promote this stretch goal as a community enhancement (and TGC will also promote it for you), which will likely get you more backers from the community.
It’s also good to have a few no-cost stretch goals under your belt. Some examples of this are desktop wallpapers, PDF backstory of your game or the characters in it, or image templates so that others can design their own cards and print them at home or on The Game Crafter. While it’s true that these will have cost to you in the time to make them, they don’t add to the cost per copy of the game or the shipping price, so they are considered no-cost.
TGC can also offer you one no-cost stretch goal. Did you know that if your game has a tuck box and you produce your game through The Game Crafter and order 200 or more copies we’ll automatically upgrade the the tuck box for free? It will be printed on 18pt card stock (up from 12pt) and we’ll also apply a glossy UV coating.
Stay tuned for more great articles on how to run a Kickstarter! Next time we’ll talk about setting a funding goal.