So you have a brilliant idea for a game, you’ve gotten all the pieces ready, you have a PnP up (even something on TTS!), but now where are the people who will come to support your game?
Why Does Traffic Matter?
When it comes to your Kickstarter campaign, there are two levers that determine your ultimate funding amount and your number of backers: the on-page conversion rate and the traffic leading to your page.
Kickstarter Page Conversion Rate
This is the number of people who actually decide to support your game out of the number of people who come to your page.
Just like how not everyone who walks into a shoe store will buy a pair of shoes, not everyone who comes to your Kickstarter page will decide to back your board game. Your job as the creator is to make your page as convincing as possible to get people to transform from casual Kickstarter browser to avid game fan and backer.
Traffic Leading To Your Kickstarter Board Game
This is the number of people who you bring to your Kickstarter board game page.
Putting it together we get a simple formula to conceptualize your entire campaign:
If you want to raise $15,000 for your campaign, you can either increase the amount of traffic to your page, increase your on-page conversion rate, or do both. Boom!
Today, we’ll learn about this part of the formula and go through tactics to generate traffic!
Before we move forward, be sure to join the group to meet hundreds of other game designers also learning to market their board games!
Tactics To Generate Traffic To Your Kickstarter Board Game
As I’ve mentioned time and again, I’m a believer that board game creators do the whole crowdfunding thing right. Crowdfunding was initially meant as a channel for people to launch something they’ve worked on and honed, rather than to leverage as a channel to make money.
Game designers, therefore, have done it all the right way: they’ve created a game and tweaked it through various rounds of playtesting. From this, they’re able to create a page that people are attracted to, because it’s showing off a game people love. This addresses the part of the formula concerning the page conversion rate that we mentioned above.
So really, the vast majority of games that do not get funded are just experiencing the problem of traffic. Let’s fix this problem together today!
In this article we’ll go over ways to generate traffic directly to your Kickstarter board game. Use these tactics to get traffic and exposure to take your game to success.
Here’s what we’ll cover (be sure to check out #5, that’s my favorite):
- Leverage Your Email List
- Use Referral Programs
- Get On Podcasts
- Use Social Media
- Activate Game Ambassadors
- Advertise On Facebook
- Secure A Variety Of Reviews
- Attend Local Board Game Meetups
- Get Cons To Work For You
- Include Your Game In Roundup Lists
- Gain Visibility In The Right Places (Many Places)
- Direct All Your Efforts To Your Kickstarter Page
- The Way To Convert Traffic Into Backers (And Funding!)
Leverage Your Email List
In How To Build An Email List For Your Board Game Launch, we already talked about the importance of collecting emails in preparation for your Kickstarter launch. Now it’s time to release the Kraken!
Open the floodgates and direct people on your email list to your Kickstarter page. They’ve already expressed interest in your game, it’s time to get them to your page so that they can actually pledge to your project.
On Launch Day, be sure to tell your email list that your game is live for pre-orders, and that they can get it for the best pricing. Direct those interested exactly where they need to go. There’s really nothing worse than wanting to buy something, but not knowing where the cash register is (yes this is speaking directly from experience wandering through Macy’s multiple times just looking for a cash register to pay for a pair of pants).
Continue sending emails throughout the campaign. I guarantee that there will be people throughout the campaign who click to open your email, read the content and click through to your page. Some people like waiting until they’ve seen others have already backed it, others love the pressure of getting a game at the absolute last second. Give them a chance to access your game at their own time, but keep top of mind by continuing to send them reminders.
Use Referral Programs
Word-of-mouth marketing is 5x more effective than paid advertising. And really, who doesn’t like sharing something they love with families, friends or other close ones?
The first time I introduced a friend to Stone Age, he ended up ordering it on Amazon the day after we played. Now that’s some effective marketing.
Kickbooster is a robust referral tool that is geared towards helping crowdfunding creators. There are preset templates to get you rolling immediately, they handle all the cash payouts for you to successful referrers, and you have full control of the incentives that you offer.
You’ve already put in the time, energy, and effort to build your audience, it’s time you activate them (and their networks) to spread the word about your game.
This website also has a marketplace where people who want to promote crowdfunding campaigns head to for their referral links. These crowdfunding promoters have created thriving businesses by growing a list of crowdfunding enthusiasts, sending them emails about cool new campaigns and making money off of pre-order kickbacks. By listing your campaign with Kickbooster and being available in the marketplace, you’re getting your campaign promoted and seen by others all for free.
Get On Podcasts
As of writing this article, podcasts are one of the fastest growing traffic-generating sources. A podcast appearance allows you to tap into the existing audience of the podcaster. Being on one let’s you get the word out about you and your game very quickly.
Podcasts also have a show notes section for a link that directs people to your Kickstarter campaign. When people become interested in a podcast, they also end up doing additional research on the person and company just to see what they’re about. If you are able to pique someone’s interest while on a podcast, you’ll get that additional traffic to your page, too.
Use Social Media
One of the best ways to get noticed is by using social media. Posting the right image (or video), with the right hashtag, at the right time can quickly bring in a flood of traffic to your Kickstarter page. The key to most effectively using social media to your advantage is picking the right platform, talking to the right people, and having a clear message.
To most effectively leverage social media, you need to optimize your profile to drive people towards the end goal. How many times have you been curious enough about someone by what they’re posting that you click through to their profile?
With interesting content, you’ll get people intrigued enough to click through to your profile. At this time, it’s imperative that you give them a “call to action” to direct them where you want them to go.
Here’s an example: if you go to my Facebook profile, you’ll know that I run a Facebook Group that is dedicated to marketing for board games. From there, I give clear directions on how to join the group.
Does your social profile give people a step-by-step guide that directs visitors to your Kickstarter page?
Activate Game Ambassadors
You, reader, are probably in a Facebook Group that is solely focused on learning about or discussing new and upcoming games. If you scroll through some of the posts, you’ll see that there are people who come to these groups to talk about a new game they’ve backed on Kickstarter.
A post like this by someone unrelated to the creation of the game not only gives the reader the idea that there are others who want this too (they won’t be the only one!), but it also gives some social proof to the game.
You can either secure game ambassadors before the launch or choose very engaged backers to be in your innermost circle to help with this. Since they’ve already invested in your project, they’re more likely to post since they want to see it come to life.
I mentioned earlier that this is my favorite tactic. Why? Well, I’m a big fan of this because fan posts like this creates real hype for a campaign. Underneath these posts you’ll see tons of reactions and a lot of comments. The more comments and reactions, the more Facebook pushes the post out to people giving it more views and reactions and comments in an ongoing cycle. This really activates the hype machine for your game!
Advertise On Facebook
Advertising on Facebook shortcuts the time it takes for you to get the word out about your board game. Rather than doing individual outreach, speaking on podcasts, and the like, you’re just pushing a few buttons and the platform will automatically blast information about your game to the people most likely to buy it. Since Facebook advertising is such an intricate topic, I get into the details of how to do this in How To Use Facebook Advertising For Your Kickstarter Board Game.
Secure A Variety Of Reviews
The vast majority of your backers would not have had the opportunity to actually meet you in real life and playtest your product.
Reviewers have a huge audience of people who regularly tune in to watch what they have to say about a certain game. Some of these reviewers have amassed tens of thousands of viewers, readers or listeners who regularly tune in. By getting your game reviewed, you’re automatically piggybacking off of their engaged audience. You can do this and get those people to look at your Kickstarter campaign.
Another reason reviews are so helpful is because a trusted third-party is vouching for your game. Imagine buying a new microwave for your home, do you go for one that has zero reviews and no stars or one with raving reviews and five stars across the board? It’s a silly example, but you get the picture – a review (or more than one!) gives your project credibility and makes others believe in it even more. The traffic that these reviewers send to your page will be primed to back your game because they’ve seen the pieces, the gameplay and have heard their favorite reviewer vouch for it.
I won’t get too deep into reviews here since I’ll write another article that covers this in more detail. Just know that it is a crucial part of getting traffic to your page and critical to a successful board game launch.
Attend Local Board Game Meetups
I can’t tell you exactly how many board game events are in Seattle, but I do know that they are a lot of them. These Meetups and events are tailored towards everything from people playtesting new games to revisiting old favorites together. Here, there’s ample opportunity for you to head out and make real connections with other board gamers. Many will be interested to learn about you, the game that you’re designing and where they can get a copy.
During the time of COVID, please look for alternative ways to attend online Meetups.
Get Cons To Work For You
There’s a lot of differing opinions on how to best use game conventions to your advantage. I for one think that it’s incredibly beneficial to launch your board game during a convention and here’s why.
Board games are typically social creatures. Although there are a multitude of solo games available on the market, the vast majority of games still need to be played with others. Due to the social nature of board games, having your game live during a convention (that you’ll be attending!) gives you that opportunity to talk about it directly with people, have them experience it, and want to get it all in one fell swoop.
Again, during the time of COVID, please look for online conventions to attend (there are very cool novel ways people are making connections there), and stay safe.
Include Your Game In Roundup Lists
There are websites out there that write and cover exclusively about games and the tabletop world. They’ve already dedicated hours and dollars to gather an audience interested in board games, be sure to go forth and piggyback off of their engaged audience!
Gain Visibility In The Right Places (Many Places)
When you ask a serious gamer where they go to learn more about a board game, one of the main responses will undoubtedly be BoardGameGeek (BGG).
Within this site alone, there are already a few threads that call for newly launched games. Although there are a multitude of ways people discover new games, for some, these threads on BGG is their main channel to discover a new game. By making sure that you’re listed there, you’re giving your game more opportunity to be found.
Here I’m using BGG as one example for a whole slew of websites to be listed on so don’t just stop there! You can also head to Reddit, discuss your progress in game design forums, post about your campaign in game promo groups on Facebook… the possibilities are endless!
Direct All Your Efforts To Your Kickstarter Page
At the end of the day, what do all of these tactics have in common? They all raise awareness about your game and that it’s currently something people can pre-order on Kickstarter. What I covered here are just preliminary ideas to get those creative juices flowing.
There’s really no limit to what you can do to harness attention to your Kickstarter launch. The key here is that all your efforts during the campaign period will be directed at pushing people to your campaign so that they will actually be able to pre-order a copy for themselves.
The Way To Convert Traffic Into Backers (And Funding!)
Just getting people to your page isn’t enough. It’s like saying if you throw pasta on the wall it will just stick. No, there has to be something that holds it up.
Same with your campaign page. You can direct a ton of traffic there, but you also need to have things that will convince people that backing your game is a no-brainer. I’ll be covering these tactics in a future article on the blog so stay tuned!
To wrap things up, these are just a few of the unlimited number of ways you can generate traffic to your Kickstarter board game. Let these tactics be a springboard to other creative ideas to bring exposure to your project.
If you’re looking to learn about other ideas, be sure to join the Kickstarter Board Game Marketing Facebook Group. There, we’ll talk about the most up-to-date marketing methods for your board game!
Nalin is a tabletop gamer and marketer. She’s here to give you the tools, training, and resources to market your game. In her free time, you can find her playing games, reading books or running around the soccer field.