I Have a Board Game Idea – Now What? Part 41: 5 Strategies for Building Your Crowd

Welcome back and welcome to November! Hard to believe it’s November already and that Christmas will be here before we know it.

Earlier this year in May I wrote a post on why I felt the Kickstarter I launched back in 2016 failed. One of the things I talked about was that I felt I didn’t have a big enough crowd ready to back day one. For this week’s post, I want to look at 5 strategies for building your crowd leading up to your Kickstarter campaign.

Crowd building strategy 1: Be a good citizen of the board game and board game designer communities

Back in part 21 of this series, I talked about being a good citizen of the board game designer community. Equally important is being a good citizen of the board game community in general, as it is gamers in general who will be supporting your Kickstarter campaign. Here are some things you can do to be a good citizen of these communities:

  • Play other designer’s published games and talk to others about them
  • Give back to the community by writing a blog, play testing other designer’s game, participating in online discussion on social media and BGG, host a podcast, or any other of many different ways
  • Be respectful in your interactions
  • Say good things about your competition
  • Be genuine and find ways to help others first

Regardless of what you do, ensure you do it regularly and that all of your interactions with others are respectful and genuine.

Crowd building strategy 2: Attend as many gaming related events as you can

As with many things in life, there really isn’t a better way to build your crowd then by interacting with them in person. Visit your FLGS and game cafes and play games, both yours and other published games. Attend conventions, play testing events, game days, and get involved with local gaming groups. Each person exposed to you as a person, as well as to your game is another potential supporter. You never know who you will meet, and you can have fun while you’re at it.

Crowd building strategy 3: Run online promotions and giveaways

Online advertising and giveaways are a great way to build your newsletter subscriber base, as well as to generate awareness of your game, campaign, and company, because people love getting free stuff. This strategy can be a little tricky though, because you run the risk of getting people who are only interested in the free stuff, but they likely won’t stick around once the giveaway is over.

Crowd building strategy 4: Don’t be afraid to share your passion with others

This is one that I really struggle with, but it is ok to share your passion with others. Talk about your game any chance you get. When your coworkers ask about what you did on the weekend, tell them about the convention you attended. When asked “What’s new?” or “What have you been up to lately?”, take the opportunity to tell them about your game. Talk about it online via social media or even a blog. Find any excuse to share your passion with others. You’re not going to get everyone, but you want to limit the number of people hearing about your game for the first time after you’ve launched the game on Kickstarter.

Crowd building strategy 5: Create and publish a e-newsletter

This strategy goes hand in hand with most of the other strategies, as having someone subscribe to your e-newsletter can be a natural result of the strategies. It also gives you another opportunity to talk to people who have expressed interest in your game about the process you’ve used and the progress you’ve made. Try to make sure you’re publishing on a regular basis, and take advantage of their interest. Encourage them to share and talk about your game with their friends. The more people the information is shared with the better.

Well, that is everything for this week. I would love to hear what you think, and about the things you do to build your audience. Additional information can be found on the Stonemaier Games’ website, as well as many other places. Until next time, happy designing.

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