For the past three months, you’ve been working hard to build an audience to start your teaser campaign. You’ve blogged like crazy, tweeted hardcore and everyone in the forums is on a first name basis with you. As a result of your efforts, you’ve amassed a sizable following of active and engaged fans. Now is the perfect time to start your Kickstarter teaser campaign.
What is a teaser campaign?
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what goes into a great teaser campaign, let’s define what it is. A teaser campaign consists of a series of small, cryptic and challenging teaser ads that anticipate a larger, full-blown campaign for a product launch or otherwise important event. (Think of what Blizzard did for Diablo III with its splash screens.) However, if you’re not a well-established brand (a.k.a., a new indie studio), being cryptic will just confuse your fans. For indie purposes, a great teaser campaign is a heads up to fans and the press that a Kickstarter is coming.
5 Elements of a Great Teaser Campaign
1. Timing: I am not one to use marketing cliches. I hate all of those phrases and buzz words like innovate, synergy and leverage. However, I’ll use a cliche here because it’s SO important. With a great teaser campaign, “timing is everything.” If you launch a teaser too early, it may fall on deaf ears. But, if you launch it too late, you risk not giving your fans and the press enough time to spread the word. So, what’s an indie to do? The best time to launch a teaser is after you’ve amassed a sizable, active and engaged following (at least three months after you started promoting your company/game) and three to four weeks before you launch your Kickstarter.
2. Calls to Action: Now that you have your timing down, you need to get in the teaser mindset. What does this mean? For the next three to four weeks, every piece of content you publish must build suspense for your Kickstarter by telling users (1) the date it’s launching and (2) where they can go to learn more. These are your calls to action and the ONLY two you should use during your teaser.
3. Promotional Materials: A teaser campaign’s promotional materials are the items responsible for building suspense and enticing fans/press to learn more. Because of this, they are crucial to your teaser’s success, but won’t work unless executed correctly. Successful promotional materials are professional, engaging and have the calls to action mentioned above. If your promotional materials are lacking any of these ingredients, they are not worthy of a great teaser campaign. Keep this in mind as you build the following promotional materials:
- Landing Page: possibly the most important of all your promotional materials, your teaser landing page is where you will direct all fans and press to learn more. This page should have the date of your Kickstarter’s launch front and center, as well as info about your game and company. Make sure the URL of this page is short and easy to remember/type.
- Teaser Ads: teaser ads can be static or moving (Flash, or animated GIF if you’re old school) graphics. Place teaser ads on your home page, at the top of blogs, in social media posts, newsletters, etc., to give fans/press a visual element to click on. Make sure teaser ads communicate your calls to action clearly, preferably with a big button or action text.
- Screen Shots: you’ll need screen shots to send to the press and include in things like your landing page, blog posts and newsletters. Make sure screens are carefully captured and each mini pieces of art.
- Teaser Video: unfortunately, you will need some kind of video for your teaser campaign. I know video takes a long time to make, but it’s also extremely effective at creating buzz. People LOVE video…and so does the press. Like your screens, your video should be a work of art. Make sure to include your landing page’s URL in the last frame.
- Blog Posts: yes, the plural is intentional here. You’ll want an announcement blog post followed by a series of updates and other relevant news, all directing fans to your landing page.
- Newsletter: if you have email subscribers, why not send a newsletter? Newsletters are a great way to pack multiple stories into one email.
- Press Release: If you’re reaching out to the press, you’ll need a press release. If you’ve never written one before, there are plenty of resources online to help you.
4. Fan Announcement: Your promotional materials are ready, you have your calls to action in place and the timing is right. Now what? Start teasing your fans! Post to your blog, social media channels, forums, etc. Go crazy. But, don’t let the momentum die down. You’ll be teasing for three to four weeks, so make sure you post regular updates, and continue to grow your fanbase as you did before the teaser campaign.
5. Media Outreach: One of the reasons we must tease for three to four weeks is because the media is slow. It’s not unusual for a writer to take up to one month from the time he/she receives a story to when he/she publishes it. This is why you must reach out to the press the first day of your teaser with a phone call and an email. Read my past blog post on how to get press with a $0 budget for step-by-step instructions on how to effectively engage with the press.