This week, we’ll address three topics:
- the board gamer event learnings from last weekend,
- expansion of our distribution channels, and
- current thoughts on crowdfunding as an option for tapping into new audiences in building awareness for LUPO.
Last weekend we participated in the Finnish board gaming association event Lautapelaamaan.fi, which gave us a chance to test LUPO with hard core board game enthusiasts from around Finland. The event took place over the weekend and was aimed primarily as the annual gathering of the board game association members from around the country to play with each other as well as to test new games from the library of the association and from supporting vendors like us. It was not a sales and marketing event for a wider audience.
We had a demo stand and a game table, where participants could play LUPO. While the game can support 3-25 players, we typically had groups of just 2 or three friends come to the table. It worked well nevertheless. The players were quick to grasp the game mechanics and into developing their creations by chatting, laughing and drawing. Everyone said that they play board games because of the social aspect, face to face interaction with friends rather than watching a display together. They like to engage their minds. Most don’t like complex games that take hours. Fun themes and being hilarious are central to social gaming. All said that it is important to have a clear goal, start and finish. Winning was important for some, but even more important in a storytelling game is to have a clear framework that guides you forward.
True to our rapid learning path, we improvised a scoring sheet and added a time limit of 45 minutes to LUPO overnight, testing it on Saturday. This added speed pressure to the game experience and made some act competitively. We collected the scores and gave a free copy of LUPO to the winners. We’ll try the tournament format with scoring next time at German ComicCon in Berlin next weekend September 30 – October 1, 2017. Quote from last weekend’s winners:
I am the proud to be a winner of the contest at the lautapelit gathering. It’s a great concept, the art is beautiful, and the back stories of the planets and the great characters are amazing. LOVED IT!
In distribution front, we added Kirjavälitys in Finland last week. It is the most accepted channel for sourcing printed material for schools, libraries and bookstores, so it is important that we can offer it as an option especially for the sourcing professionals serving schools in the school districts. We are approaching distributors in other markets at the Spiel 2017 event in Essen in the end of October. Finnish teachers and principals, please point your purchasing contacts to Kirjavälitys and ask them to search LUPO by name or ISBN:
- LUPO: The Space Adventure (978-952-68790-1-7)
- LUPO Avaruusseikkailu (978-952-68790-0-0)
The biggest barrier we still face is awareness and this will be the case for the remainder of the year and our main barrier to cross this year. We started testing Amazon’s “sponsored products” in the UK with automatic targeting, so that we can learn which consumer search terms work best. We should let the campaign run for a couple of weeks before selecting the search terms to bid for directly, so more of this ongoing experiment later. Other advertisement experiments to follow.
Right now, on top of our mind is making up our minds on whether to do a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter this fall to boost awareness in English speaking markets and to help sell our inventory before Christmas. Both have similar cost structures. Kickstarter is perhaps better suited to our type of product, but we would probably have to develop a new variant to be the campaign goal in Kickstarter, because we have already printed our initial inventory and started sales through other channels. IndieGoGo is typically used more for hardware innovations, but also apps and services. Some use it to sell through the remaining inventory left over from other crowdfunding campaigns.
Having studied these platforms and prior campaigns, we have learned that there is psychology involved in getting new people attracted to your campaign – people want to back winners. So, to become a winner, you need to look like a winner from the beginning. Which for example IndieGoGo bluntly defines as reaching at least 30% of your campaign target within 48h of starting the campaign.
Crowdfunding math: Let’s say we sell LUPO for $25 and our campaign target is to sell 1,000 units for the sake of round numbers. We need to sell 30% or 300 units in the first 48h. This means that with 5% conversion, we need 6,000 qualified leads before starting the campaign, the so-called friends and family. We don’t have so many friends and family, so we need to acquire these qualified leads by means of marketing at an average cost of say $2 per qualified lead e-mail, so a cost of $12,000 before the campaign starts. Let’s say manufacturing and shipping of 1,000 decks costs roughly $10,000. IndieGoGo charges 5% plus for payment services another 3% plus $0.3 per transaction. The costs of selling 1,000 units via IndieGoGo would be roughly $24,050 plus taxes. The revenue with an average pledge of $25 would be $25,000. Nearly breakeven.
This is our current phase, thinking of what it takes to make a campaign like this profitable, so that it would be worth the effort and risk. If you have the right skills and ideas, you are welcome to contact us now. Until next week!
Author: Nouri Mikko Werdi