Achieving a successful Kickstarter is hard. Just ask Finn Beazlie, Casey Carlin or Jake Federico of indie studio Whole Hog Games. In 30 days, Whole Hog Games exceed it’s Kickstarter funding goal of $12,500 to support its first title, Full Bore. However, for this team, Kickstarter became more than a means of funding. It taught the three how crucial marketing is for not only a successful Kickstarter, but any indie success.
Successful Kickstarter Case Study:
Whole Hog Games
Whole Hog Games needed $12,500 to fund the completion of its first title, Full Bore.
On Dec. 12, 2012, Whole Hog Games launched a Kickstarter with a goal of raising $12,500 in 30 days.
What the Team Did Right:
Created Engaging Page Content:
To ensure a compelling Kickstarter page, Whole Hog Games spent a great deal of time on page content. The team started by studying successfully funded Kickstarters and searched for commonalities. Whole Hog Games applied the following to create a professional and engaging page:
- Get to the point and keep your page short: potential backers might only read the first sentence and look at images. You need to make an immediate impression.
- Use visual elements throughout the page: too much text and not enough eye candy will overwhelm and bore potential backers.
- Introduce your game AND team in your video: potential backers like to feel a connection with the people they are backing.
Before the launch of its Kickstarter, Whole Hog Games attempted pre-launch marketing with little success. Other than a few fans gained from an article published in Nerdophiles and postcards passed out at PAX 2012, the team’s audience was friends and family. However, a time crunch and depleting funds forced the studio to launch its Kickstarter.
On Dec. 12, 2012, Whole Hog Games launched and began promotion with friends and family via social media channels. The team received tremendous support: friends and family spread the word and contributed heavily, especially in the first third of the campaign. At this initial promotion’s height, Whole Hog Games reached 8,000 people on Facebook.
As Whole Hog Games promoted its Kickstarter to friends and family, it reached out to the gaming press. It took a couple of weeks and email exchanges, but the team secured articles in Joystiq and Kotaku. On the days these articles ran, Whole Hog Games gained two dozen backers. In addition, the team estimates 20 to 30 percent of its funding resulted from these press mentions.
Partway through its Kicksarter campaign, Full Bore was selected as a Kickstarter Staff Pick. The team is uncertain as to why it was chosen, but thinks it might be related to Digstarter, its in-game contest (discussed later). Nevertheless, becoming a Staff Pick resulted in an immediate funding bump. The team estimates eight to 10 percent of its funding resulted from becoming a Staff Pick.
Toward the end of its campaign, Whole Hog Games ran an in-game contest to keep the momentum going. Digstarter, its in-game contest, asked fans to find and collect gems as they played Full Bore. The more gems found collectively, the more the team rewarded its backers. This unique contest incentivized current backers to stay involved and prospective backers to get involved. More importantly, Digstarter helped the team avoid a fundraising slump in the last third of its campaign.
Where the Team Went Wrong
Launched in December:
From a PR point-of-view, December is one of the worst times to launch a Kickstarter. During this time of year, the gaming press is on holiday and runs canned, retrospective coverage. The team was lucky to get featured in Joystiq and Kotaku, but was hoping for more. If they could do it again, Finn, Casey and Jake would launch in January when the gaming press actively searches for new stories.
Not Enough Pre-Launch Marketing
While Whole Hog Games’ friends and family did a tremendous job spreading the word and contributing, the team admittedly could have benefited from a more diverse audience. If the team could do it again, Whole Hog Games would have invested more time and energy into pre-launch marketing.
In 30 days, Whole Hog Games exceeded its funding goal by 31%, raising at total of $16,383 to achieve a successful Kickstarter.
About Whole Hog Games
Whole Hog Games is a team of three developers from northern California who went to the same high school, went their separate ways and subsequently reunited to create video games. Full Bore, the team’s first title, is an exploration, puzzle game set in a beautiful, convulted underground network. Players rely on curiosity and logic to to pry apart the game world, uncovering the wonders and mistakes of the past. Learn more about Whole Hog Games and Full Bore at WholeHogGames.com or pre-order Full Bore.
Many thanks to Whole Hog Games for allowing Indie Game Girl to cover its successful Kickstarter.