It’s never easy to convince people to part with their money by investing in a project that’s barely in its concept stage of development. When it comes to gaming, however, crowdfunding through social communities is often an integral component that people enjoy almost as much as they enjoy playing the game.
With that in mind, your community-building efforts should start from the moment you’re ready to publicly announce the development of your newest title.
The Importance of Nurturing Potential and Existing Backers
To persuade someone to invest money in your project, you need to convince them that your game is going to see the light of day. That’s why your #1 goal is to build trust and demonstrate that you’re always making progress towards meeting (and preferably surpassing) your development goals.
Regularly providing updates on your Kickstarter (or whichever crowdfunding platform you use) campaign page is important, but there’s no better way to nurture your backers than by providing a more intimate experience through dedicated forums.
Although future players will most likely visit your crowdfunding campaign page before they learn of your website, your website is still the hub of your marketing efforts from the very inception of your project to long after your game has finally been released in full.
Building your own exclusive on-site community from the outset helps provide a consistent experience throughout. It allows you to keep close tabs on everything – from the general sentiment regarding your project to tracking feedback and conducting research.
Having a dedicated player forum can be a lot of work. You need to be consistently present and ready to answer backers’ questions and provide regular updates on fundraising progress and the development of your game. After all, if people are willing to back a project in progress, they expect to feel like they’re a part of its direction too.
When raising funds for your project, take the time to implement and manage your own community in one very important way – by creating advocacy. In the world of marketing, advocates are loyal customers who represent a brand in a positive light through things like online reviews. In the context of crowdfunding for a video game, they’re the people who will help convince others to back your project. A healthy community in the form of a dedicated and closely monitored forum gives you an unprecedented opportunity to build trust and socialize with your players, actively involving them in the development of your game.
What Makes a Great Pre-Launch Player Community?
As we’ve discussed, online communities are an integral part of almost any modern video game. If you lay the foundations of a strong community from the moment you start your fundraising campaign, potential backers will take your project a lot more seriously. This social platform (where they can interact with others as well as with the developers themselves) will make them feel like they’re a part of a dynamic and evolving community. On the flipside, if there isn’t any community or, worse still, your community is deathly quiet, people will think that your project is dead as well. And nobody wants to back a failed project.
Your pre-launch community should be a place where developers and community managers help drive conversation by regularly sharing things like development updates and responding to feedback. A strong pre-launch community should grow exponentially, building up hype as you get closer to reaching your fundraising goals.
But even before you reach that goal, you need to convince would-be backers that you’re serious about completing your project. Regularly publish screenshots, gameplay demos and anything else that gives your future players something tangible to get excited about. It should go without saying that, once you’ve reached your fundraising goal, you should be able to demonstrate constant progress.