by Guest Contributor: Nalin Chuapetcharasopon from Meeple Marketing
If you’ve been around Kickstarter, you’ll know that it’s a large watering hole for board game fanatics. As the largest category on Kickstarter, a sizable percentage of this traffic goes towards supporting board games.
Even a sliver of that traffic in your direction can make a huge impact on your project.
Kickstarter will only drive traffic to your campaign if you do the work beforehand and drive traffic to your campaign. Therefore, if your project starts off with a lot of page visitors who turn into backers and funding, they’ll take notice. Then, Kickstarter will start organically pushing more and more people to your project in an evergoing cycle.
Knowing this, the pre-launch period of your game should be spent creating content and using that content to grab the attention of potential backers, build up hype for your game, and collect email addresses.
5 Types Of Content To Market Your Board Game
Ok so let’s talk about all this content. It might sound scary at first, but when you break it down to the bare bones, the point of content is to get people to know you, understand your game, and trust that it is a quality product even before they buy it.
Let’s go through the 5 types of content you can use to market your board game.
Print & Plays (PnP)
I put blogs first since it’s one of the easiest ways to quickly build authority and make a name for yourself now and years into the future due to the compounding nature search activities on Google.
Blogs are incredibly easy to set up, cheap to maintain, and have huge discoverability due to search engines like Google and Bing.
Blogs are one of the easiest ways to quickly build authority and make a name for yourself now and years into the future.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to share your ideas. This particular post, for example, is regurgitation of my knowledge and ideas about using content to market board games.
In the above image, Samuel Stockton shares his thoughts and ideas around game design and the tabletop industry through his blog while making a name for himself as a trusted game designer for his new game, Cult of The Deep (find out more at: bagamesco.com)
If the idea is to build a game publishing company, it’s time to start forming an online presence through blogging. The more you can write about your journey, the more easily others can find you, trust in your ability as a game designer (that’s the authority we talked about earlier) and believe in the “fun-ness” of your game.
2. Print & Plays (PnP)
This one should be a no-brainer for game designers and it’s a shame that people still struggle with believing it’s efficacy.
Create “print and play” demos for your game that people can only get access to if they provide you with an email.
Some of you might be thinking, “but if they have the PnP version, why would they back my game on Kickstarter?”
Well dear reader, the thing is, if they tried the PnP version and love the gameplay, they're going to be more likely to back your project since they're going to want the real version of the game, beautiful artwork, wooden meeples, sleeve-d cards and all.
Think about those board game reviews on YouTube you've seen other people secure for their game. Why do people do this? Why is it a “must-have” for a game launching on Kickstarter?
If they tried the PnP version and love the gameplay, they're going to be more likely to back your project since they're going to want the real version of the game, beautiful artwork, wooden meeples, sleeve-d cards and all.
Well, the point is pretty much so that someone trustworthy will vouch for the game - is it addictive? What's the replayability? Do the mechanics work?
When you think about reviews in this way, a PnP gets a game review directly to people who might back your project. This will get people "addicted" (for lack of a better word) and want to be your backer.
I posted about the need of PnPs recently and here are some responses:
If you’re interested in more conversations like this about how to market your board game for Kickstarter, be sure to join the Kickstarter Board Game Marketing group on Facebook.
You’ve probably heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
One of the easiest ways to use content to market your board game is to post pictures to social media. This, coupled with good hashtags, will get you a lot of likes and follows with very low effort.
Be mindful that with social media, you need to be very consistent in your posting, and be in tune with what types of images people want to see.
The team behind Factions has cracked the code and built up an immense following online just by posting their content.
Above image from Factions Battlegrounds (find out more at: factionsbattlegrounds.com)
4. Tabletop Simulator Getting your game on Tabletop Simulator, tabletopsimulator.com (or Tabletopia, tabletopia.com) allows you to playtest your game with fans and other people who might be on the fence.
With the rise of more digital playtest groups, it’s a no-brainer for games to get uploaded onto this digital play space.
Since Kickstarter launches are digital by nature, there are large swatches of the global gamer population that will not have had any physical experience with your game before you launch. No matter how many playtests you hold or how many conventions you go to, it will still be difficult to reach as many people as you would want to with your game.
Online gameplay through TTS will enable people anywhere to experience your game in a more immersive way and leave a long-lasting impression leading up to your launch.
Here I did a blind playtest of Quests & Cannons. In just a short time, I quickly became a huge fan of the game, even on this digital interface.
Find out more about Quests and Cannons on their Facebook group.
Once this launches, I’ll know how to play the game, the components that will be included, and even personally know the game designer. This combination makes it a no-brainer to support the game right when it launches.
Game previews, unlike reviews, don’t include opinions of any kind.
The previews themselves are meant to showcase a new game and highlight certain aspects of the game that you want to showcase. They’re the unique selling points for your game that make it more exciting and interesting than others!
Here’s a preview of Philosophia: Floating World from The Dice Tower. Find out more Philosphia at philosophiagame.com. The Dice Tower has a huge amount of board game previews and reviews on their YouTube channel, start watching at: youtube.com/user/thedicetower.
Since previews are released before the launch of a game, they’re essentially a way for you to access the previewer’s audience so that you can begin to start a dialogue with them.
Game previews are somewhat commercials for your game.
Once the previewer’s audience has seen your video (or read their blog, etc.), it’s much easier to follow up with people who have commented on it or expressed some sort of interest. This will help you build your own audience.
In a way these game previews are somewhat commercials for your game and the content of the preview can help you market your game to a wider audience.
How To Build Your Launch Community With Content
Now that you have some content on hand, make sure to use it to build your community for launch.
The people who are engaged with your stories, your questions, and your musings need to have a place they are directed to so that they can follow you in your journey for launch. That’s why it’s so important to create a landing page for your board game.
On the landing page, you’ll capture their email and be able to have more personal conversations with them about your game and your vision for the future.
Once you offer enough value, garner respect and form a certain level of relationship, you can ask people to buy something you’ve made. And the thing is, many people will take you up on that since they trust that you will deliver on your promise to ship them the product and that the product is good.
About Our Guest Contributor Nalin Chuapetcharasopon
Nalin helps people bring products to market using Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Since 2015, she’s worked with entrepreneurs and creators to raise millions of dollars.
With a double Masters from Stanford University and University of Virginia, Nalin applies her interdisciplinary skills to help craft the best products and market it to the right people. She is deeply passionate about empowering creators to launch their dreams. In her free time, you can find her on the soccer field, sampling beer, or playing board games.
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