Recently, I experienced one of the most powerful human emotions…
It came about when I discovered a project on Kickstarter which was raising funds to create a new version of a computer game called Elite which I used to love when I was a kid (on the BBC Micro for anyone who remembers!).
To back up here for a moment, if you aren’t aware then Kickstarter is a website that acts as a funding platform for creative projects.
For example, if you’d like to raise funds to have a bench installed in your local park (like this) then you can use the site to do exactly that.
People who pledge money don’t get a financial return on their investment but they get some level of access to what is accomplished by the project: Use of the bench in the park or, in my case, a free copy of the new Elite game.
Why is this relevant, Rob?
Good I haven’t lost you yet then? 😉
Well, it’s relevant because it involves the consumers of a product (park bench or video game) in the creation process.
For example, after pledging my money for the computer game, I have received lots of updates from the software company how how the development is going, what features will be included and even have the opportunity to provide feedback which can influence the design of the game.
This is MASSIVELY powerful: What started as a brief shot of nostalgia has turned into an on-going addiction to follow the project and keep updated with it’s progress.
I open every email. Immediately.
This creates a huge raving fan base for the product, BEFORE it’s even been created! Similarly, if I’d pledged for the park bench then I’d definitely be keeping updated and I’d be racing down to the park to see it as soon as I heard that it was finished!
How you can use similar strategies yourself
I’m sure you can see from my experience and the logic that this is very very powerful.
But short of posting a project on Kickstarter, how can you increase engagement with your audience and ultimately create a tribe of passionate followers?
Here’s some things that you can do:
- Encourage interaction with blog comments by asking for them at the bottom of each post. Have you noticed how I always do this (see below)? It gives you feedback on what people like and don’t like plus it creates a situation where readers can talk amongst themselves boosting the sense of community.
- Create a Facebook Group. I did this for a product I released a while back. Get your visitors/subscribers/customers engaged in a community
- Run a survey. Here are the results of one of mine and how you can set one up yourself for free.
- Ask existing customers for product enhancement suggestions. I did this recently with SpyBar and received over 350 suggestions on how the product could be improved! I simply spent 2 hours compiling these, sent them to my developer and then issued a free upgrade. Again, people feel more engaged because they are involved in creating the product they are using.
Keeping these ideas in mind can really separate you from the faceless companies and gurus in your marketplace. Plus it makes your life easier as you know exactly what free content and products to serve up to your audience.
A no brainer? What other ideas do you have for creating a tribe? Have any blasts of nostalgia given you similar thoughts? Would love to hear what you think below and please LIKE/TWEET if you enjoyed this. Cheers, Rob 🙂
Excellent stuff – I must check this out myself as I was a huge fan of Elite! I think I played it on the C64! – Blimey, they were the glory years.
On a more serious note though (duh!) it does sound like a nice prospect. All the big shots do it dont they? By sort of creating a stir way ahead of their intended launch date for their product – its keeps people interested like you say.
Excellent idea, and great post. Now. Im off up the loft to dig out my old Commodore 64!
Yes, I think Kickstarter and similar sites are really taking off now. Some of the money that has been raised is quite amazing. Especially when you consider the banks are lending next to nothing!
Thanks for your thoughts on this 🙂
I contributed to one of these recently as well. It was for a book to be written about the old Fighting Fantasy game books which I loved as a kid. I’ve received loss of project updates and info from the author on other projects he has going and other things to go and look at. He has effectively created a bit of a marketing list and we are his audience.
Thanks for your comment – it’s quite a good site isn’t it? And amazing how the projects pull you in once you pledge!