Viticulture Pre-Orders and Lessons Learned from My Kickstarter Backers

Tonight at 11:59pm, my Kickstarter campaign ended. We went out with a bang, raising $8,000 in the final 24 hours to bring our total to $65,980. Which, considering that I had absolutely no idea back in August if we’d even hit our goal of $25k, is astounding.

But I want to focus today on a different number: 942. 942 backers (a person who supports a project on Kickstarter) pledged to support my game. My passion project. My dream.

I have a lot to say about Kickstarter, but today I specifically want to talk about the advice that backers gave me throughout the project. After any person pledged to support Viticulture, I send them a message on Kickstarter to thank them. In that message, I asked for advice, feedback, and recommendations that those backers had seen other campaigns do.

Remarkably, I heard the same thing two things over and over again. I think these apply to much more than just Kickstarter–this apply to pretty much anything in life, business, and relationships:

  1. Convey Your Passion: Part of the reason why people back projects on Kickstarter is because they get a cool reward (ideally at a good price). But you can do that anywhere–I can walk into any retailer or any online store and find something cool to buy. Kickstarter adds the extra element that you’re supporting someone’s passion project. Thus my backers said that the projects that they found the most memorable were those that were brimming with passion. To the point that the passion carried over to the backers and built to a fervor. Those memorable Kickstarter projects became experiences that were forever tied to the actual product itself.
  2. Communicate Consistently, Honestly, and Openly: There were two parts to this. Early on in the campaign, backers told me that they enjoyed projects that had interesting updates throughout the campaign that conveyed the aforementioned passion. But after a few weeks, backers started to focus on a different side of communication: post-Kickstarter updates. You see, the Kickstarter campaign is only a small sliver of the overall experience. It’s 30-60 days, whereas many of these projects take many months to come to life, especially if there’s a manufacturing cycle. So there’s a lot of waiting involved, and a lot of hoping that the creator will actually deliver on his or her promises. Time after time, backers told me that all they really wanted were regular updates (once every few weeks) that gave them a behind-the-scenes look into what was happening and provided honest insights into the progress, whether it was good or bad. I have the feeling that many of these backers had been scarred by some negative experiences where they didn’t hear from a creator for long stretches of time during delayed projects. That’s just a guess. But this was the advice that I heard the most often, by far, so it’s something I will pay particular attention to in the coming weeks.
What do you think? Have a missed any significant piece of feedback that all Kickstarter creators should be aware of during and after a project (I’m going to delve into how to create an effective project on a future entry)?