Producing Fun #14: Dina Ramse - Game Marketer

Producing Fun #14: Dina Ramse - Game Marketer
Producing Fun is a podcast about making tabletop games from a product perspective.

Dina Ramse is a game Marketer from Finland. Dina helps small publishers get their games known and funded, having supported more than 40 launches on Kickstarter. In this episode we cover the finer points of social media algorithms, how to use different platforms to maximum effect and choosing the right creators to partner with, among many other topics. 

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James 00:00
Welcome to Producing fun. This week, my guest is Dina Ramse, a game marketer from Finland, it will be fair to say that most of us who get into games do so because we love making them and sharing them with the world. And why not? Games bring people together, make them laugh and make them think. In my experience, though, the sharing part is something lots of people in games are not so great at, we often get so invested in the making, that we convince ourselves that actually getting it out there is an afterthought. Indeed, I think a lot of us would like to believe that if you make a better board game, the world will beat a path to your door. Of course, the experience of releasing any game into such a competitive marketplace, will quickly disabuse you of that notion. The truth is that if you want a game to be more than self expression, you need people to buy it. And people don't buy things they've never heard of. Even a pitch perfect product needs to find a route to market. It needs the right creators to cover it. It needs to be seen on the right platforms, and talked about in the right places. This is where game marketers like Dina, come in. As an agent for small publishers like me, she works exactly on this problem, deploying 18 years of experience across the tabletop industry to meet the very many demands of launching a game, most critically of all, raising funding for it on Kickstarter, or other competing platforms. We took time out of our usual weekly meeting to dive into the details. Understandably, this is such an enormous breach to cover, that we simply couldn't do justice to it in its entirety. But there were so many useful topics to get our teeth into, from the finer points of different social media algorithms, and how to get the best out of different platforms, to selecting media creators to work with, or best practices for advertising campaigns. This discussion is sure to be of interest to anyone with a game to sell. We joined just as I've asked Dina a nice simple question. What is marketing?

Dina Ramse 01:59
It's a methodology. I think I could call it that. And the like how to talk to people on like, ways of communication, and also like the efficiency of delivering the right message at the right time.

James 02:16
Hmm. So this is the reason I sort of couldn't help ask such a stinker of a question is because it seems to me that what's so interesting about marketing, as opposed to maybe other parts of the process of bringing a game to market is it does sort of feel a bit like a bit of a dark art. It's something where the ground seems to be shifting a lot, a lot of the time. So you know, what works one year might not work the next year. And it's very hard to predict up front what it will do. There's that famous saying in advertising, which is, half of my advertising budget is wasted. But I don't know which half. And I think that

Dina Ramse 02:56
is so true, though. A/B testing from day one. Half of it is absolutely crap. When you do scrap it, try new things. And obviously, as you're the human consciousness of like how market is working on them is shifting, ways to market shifts too, in order to always kind of have an upper hand on like the communication that are happening to people. A few years ago, we started to see a shift between b2b and b2c marketing, where like the b2b completely disappeared. And there are still some companies who thoroughly holds on to the b2b idea that over there is such like there that there is a difference between b2b and b2c. But there really isn't.

James 03:40
And when you say that's really interesting, so when you say b2b and b2c are we talking here, about b2b in the sense of I'm selling my games, to let's say, a distributor or retailer.

Dina Ramse 03:51

James 03:51
And then b2c In terms of selling, selling to consumers.

Dina Ramse 03:53
Yeah. And how you sell it to the retailers is basically similar to how you would sell it to the consumers, because the person you're talking to you, you're developing a relationship with them just as much as you're trying to develop a relationship with the consumers who are picking up your game. So the shift there, we've seen the last couple of five years, but really during COVID, that kind of intensified to become a new level because we all brought work home, and everything started kind of becoming a little bit more personal, because it's in our own living rooms, like we handle business, you know, like, people get to see my living room every day and when I had my meeting, so it gets to be on a really more so the human to human contact, we are stripping away from the suits and the ties, and it's, you know, the structure around the communications is less and less formal, which means that how you're communicating becomes less formal too. I think it's really cool. Yeah.

James 04:47
That's interesting. That's very interesting, because in some ways, I kind of wouldn't have expected that because if you look at particularly, I don't know if I think I've got like an archetypal b2b customer, in the world of board games, I kind of think of as being someone who's probably like a retailer, a store owner. And a lot of those people are quite enthusiastic anyway, right? They're quite into games. I mean, I know there are people, I'm sure if you go to really big companies like Hasbro, and Asmodee, some extent, maybe not even Asmodee, there will be people in that business, who are actually more classically supertypes in the sense that they, they do see the business more financially, rather than seeing it as about, you know, making these wonderful game things and taking them to them. So I'm kind of at that's quite interesting, because I can imagine that when you talk about being personal, I would have thought, to some extent, a lot of the b2b customers that was already true of how they thought about things, right, which is that they're gamers first. It's been interesting to me seeing as I've worked with more and more retailers, how many of them, you know, if they put bricks and mortar retailers, they play the games that they buy. And they're interested to try them just as much as their customers are. Yeah but do you think it, do you think it's a bit more than that, like that kind of you think that environment, particularly of like, people working from home has kind of blurred the two? And that's kind of affecting people kind of psychologically, is that is that?

Dina Ramse 06:06
Yeah, some of them is obviously that but also, as we're seeing, like, newer people who are starting companies, and you know, like the rise of the 30 plus right now is like the new entrepreneurialship that they are creating. And as they're growing their companies, they're creating a network of like minded people. And it's kind of starting to be like, we're friends, but we're also doing business together. There's this transaction of how we're doing the relationship. And we're very aware and sensitive to what that relationship is. And it's very clearly defined. And just how that is shaping what we're doing in terms of marketing has been really fascinating for like someone like me to just watch, because I started out with doing like marketing and sales now like 17, 18, almost 20 years ago, and just like, how that has shifted. And me also obviously, shifting with it, and being and creating those personal connections with people I'm also doing business with.

James 07:03
Interesting so and you said, the rise of the 30 plus, is this like an age group, is this kind of more you're thinking of like,

Dina Ramse 07:03

James 07:09
Right, okay, so. So that's interesting, isn't it? That I mean, that sounds kind of interesting, because that's like, I don't think that we think about that much. So most of the people that you're working with, as a marketer, helping them succeed in their, for example, the Kickstarter campaigns, or their board game businesses in general, are all in that kind of age cohort, then or is like, how heavily biased is it towards that?

Dina Ramse 07:29
Mostly yeah, I think also, because me as a person kind of attract a certain kind of people. So the person who tends to go for someone like me versus some of the larger, more established brands, they're gonna want me because of my personality and my bubbly, energetic outlook on like podcasts like this one, because they see me everywhere, and I am always there answering questions.

James 07:55
Okay, interesting. So you think as a result that some extent you could say, well, it's actually a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy in the sense that it's about who you are. So your (mumbled word) people I, the reason I asked that is, because one of the things that it sort of feels like to me is that if I look at the kind of cohort of people in games, I would actually what's interesting about that, is that that there was like, a whole generation of people in those kind of age brackets. And that's not to say there aren't people who are being terribly entrepreneurial, who are much older, I would say, probably not that many, much younger. And I guess probably that's because, you know, classically, you've got the startup capital set of a business, you go out, you try and build something. Most people want to do that. And they got a bit of experience. And probably when you're in your early 20s, generally, that's going to be it's unlikely you're yet going to have the kind of experience to for most people, right?

Dina Ramse 08:37
Yeah, I did have a client last year who was just turning 17 while we were doing his Kickstarter campaign, and it was such a joy working with him. And it was even more fun when we then also discovered that there was another 17 year old same year,

James 08:53
Oh, wow!

Dina Ramse 08:54
Who also came up with a game for Kickstarter, and then trying to connect those two and be like, Hey, you guys are the same age and entreprenurials in word gaming. You should be friends and then finding out that they live like three towns apart. That was like the beginning of a really wonderful friendship.

James 09:10
Fascinating when you say so three towns apart where they sort of in the Australian Outback, where that's like 500 miles, or somewhere a little bit a little bit closer. Where were they based in the US, or where were they?

Dina Ramse 09:21
Yeah in the US? New York?

James 09:25
Oh, wow. Okay, so actually, probably, yeah, indeed, very physically got close. That's really interesting. I mean, it wasn't quite surprising, because one of the things in general that I've sort of learned about founders, and as you look at the (mumbled word) of it, a lot of the kind of popular image about company founders is somewhat warped a bit by Silicon Valley, where you know, the stories of people like Zuckerberg, who in his early 20s, obviously was like creating Facebook and the sort of thing. I think it's something like the average venture capital backed startup founder is something like 45.

Dina Ramse 09:51

James 09:51
Because in reality, I mean, surprise, surprise, what a big complex business that you're going to get billions of dollars of funding for, generally those are experienced people who have done quite a lot of stuff and are being trusted by investors. So it isn't often that many 17 year olds who really do that, but that's actually also really cool to hear that that's got that. I wonder partly about that the 30 thing, just because it does seem to me like there's a bit of an age cohort of people who sort of seem to discover maybe games again, at university that sort of roughly fits with the timeline of having seen board games kind of go through this renaissance in general, really, in the last 10 years or so, especially with the rise of Kickstarter, and the kind of massive explosion of things like game cafes, which, you know, 10 years ago, there weren't really almost any of them. So I find that quite interesting. That should be a kind of a an age group to do things. You mentioned earlier, you talked about methodology. And I'm really interested in this one, because, again, you also talk straight away about okay, yeah, so things change naturally, they stuff they move on, marketing evolves, which of course immediately creates a problem, because applying kind of standardised ways of doing things becomes really hard. In logistics, which I've also been doing a lot of work on recently, there are at least some pretty good principles that you can consistently apply that remain true over time. The same thing is true. For example, for data management, I think about my in my former life as a software product manager, knowing how to organise large datasets in a really efficient way was originally important part of my job. And they actually is now as well, in terms of automating a lot of what we try and do it now against, then the principles of database design basically don't change. So when you talk about methodology, can you expand on kind of what you mean, and how you can possibly do anything consistently over time in this world of marketing?

Dina Ramse 11:32
That's a great question, for me, at least is like continuously and having a routine around like relearning and like, taking myself out of like what I'm doing currently. And then be like, I need to test things, I need to continuously like, look up what is happening and staying in touch with the market and like what we're doing as a marketer, and like on social media as well, like there's algorithm changes all the time. So you kind of always have to be open minded to change what you're doing, you can't become rigid at any point, obviously, with Kickstarter it is quite different, because at the most, I'd probably work with a campaign for six months, not that much changes over such a small frame of time. What we're starting to do is that every time I get in a new client, we look at, like, what is the best way to market this one project right now, to get the maximum result within the timeframe that we have, and then build up as planned, that kind of works for that person. And that specific game with all that the game is and where the game is. And like, what kind of creator is it? What is the creator good at. So everyone gets sort of like a custom made puzzle piece, that it's sort of their marketing plan for the entire duration. But the steps on how it's created, there is a method to it. So I have a board where we go through all the different sort of like phases of like, we need to do this thing this month. And then as we're progressing, that kind of happens naturally. And I think it's really fun when I get to sort of funnel people in on the first calls. And I shape that plan for them. And they get to realise what they're a part of, teaching them as we go, so that when I leave them after the six month, they know what to do, or at least in theory, they would know what to do.

James 13:24
That's really interesting. I mean, I can see straight away that the continuous process of learning would just be so important. Because if you have these shifting sands of what is working or not working, and algorithm change is a really interesting one, right? Because in social media platform world, if Facebook decide they want to reorganise data differently, the newsfeed differently or they're going to emphasise something else, and de emphasise something else, or Instagram, I think you and I've talked before about recent changes to the way the Instagram algorithm works to filter out what it might see as duplicate content suddenly means that could dramatically affect how you're working entirely.

Dina Ramse 13:58
Oh, yeah, I sat in the middle of a campaign where we had like, built up a structure of how we were supposed to do it. It just so happened that this was like the only client that I had out of the 21 that I'm currently working with, where it actually impacted our plan entirely. So we had to go sort of radio silence for a whole week to restructure what we had planned. And then just like, apply a new plan. That was really interesting, because I didn't expect that the algorithm was going to have as much impact as it was having for like what we were doing, because we were already aware, obviously, and I've been tracking this algorithm for quite some time in terms of like when they would like properly turn it on. Just see like going from quite good reach to like, tanked within like 24 hours. And I was like, what!? I'm just sitting there going, like I don't understand, like, I understand, but also like, why, what will happen and like the impact of an algorithm was just much greater than what we thought and just sitting there and we're like, okay, So what do we need to do now? Luckily, in this case, we have time to do it. It's not launching for a couple of months. But it was very interesting to just sit there on the backside and be like, oh, yeah, that actually, that's, that's a thing. And for people who are not aware of like the algorithm change, I saw someone complaining on Twitter earlier today. And I was like, yeah, I know why you're saying that. And I'm like, I could give you a long talk about this, but like, okay, so just like going into DMs, but like, actually, here's the thing, here's the link, you probably want to read this. They were like, wow, this is so helpful. And obviously, that's part of my job, I have to keep an eye on these things. And then being able to help the content creators, we're obviously struggling, who are kind of reliant upon the earnings that this reach and the content that they're creating is giving them. It's an interesting positions to sit in.

James 15:53
I mean, that's particularly, as you said, a huge problem for content creators, because, effectively the social platform, particularly say YouTube, for example, is where they're making all of their money. So it's not even a question of this is a promotion platforms, as it would be say for a game publisher, or game creator, who's you know, it might be one method by which you're accessing your market. There's also conventions, for example, you're signing up to mailing lists, for example, you could be running ad campaigns, this kind of thing as well. And that your natural organic social media reach is pretty critical there for drastically affecting your earnings. That's really interesting, because I think a lot of people get on social media. And so think, Well, okay, what I do is I get on there, and I just start shouting about what I'm doing, and then eventually, profit. And that's tend to be what they, they tend to think, and to be honest, it's probably what I thought going into it as well, which I guess is very predictable. As these patterns, these platforms have become so dominant, and there are so many ways in which people looking to gain the understanding, you end up in this situation where actually there's a lot more to learn about the platform than initially was obvious, right. In the same way that previously media bookings and how media advertising was managed was like through media agencies that sort of had sections that would specialise in what we just do TV, which was understandable, because there's so much to understand about how television works in terms of scheduling ratings, how its how TV spots are bought and sold. But now effectively, even what looks like the easy to use platform that encourage you to share your thoughts straightaway logs in normally has top of the line UX for just fluidly, addictively getting to go through content and produce it, is actually a little bit harder to use than maybe it first appears.

Dina Ramse 17:25
Yeah, while obviously the go on a platform and start shouting can give some results, it peaks quite quickly. I have a bunch of like extra accounts that I continuously run like tests on. And we found if you just go by the go out there and shout on the biggest hashtags, at some point, you know, it will start peaking. And usually we found that, if that is your strategy to just go out there and share a post every day, usually, it takes about two months before you peak, and that's whatever level you managed to reach there, that is what you get. So as you as your channel grow, you have to start applying more advanced strategies in order to continue to grow. So the more demanding is like the bigger the account, the more demanding in managing the account becomes. So it's always like, Okay, how many followers do you have? Where, at what level do we have to start with the strategies? Kind of defines it straight off the bat when someone comes to me. Like, I need help. Okay, how many do you have? Is it 50 people? Or is it 1000? Because that's hugely different, what I need to do

James 18:31
Interesting. So if we just drill into that in a bit more detail, because I think that will be of huge interest to listeners. There, so you've built it up, and you've got your 1000 level, let's say, and previously, maybe you started a few years ago, and you had 50 followers, or something like that, but we could talk about specific platforms here or whatever be useful for the example. What is a good example of something where you would see a kind of shift that you would make at that level? That maybe you would, there was a different strategy that you need to get up to that level? What kind of, can you give me like a concrete example?

Dina Ramse 18:58
Okay, so at anything over like 300 followers is when you kind of have to start applying and being more mindful as to how you're using hashtags, for example. Around the 1000 mark, you usually are more reliant upon actually sharing video content, then when you're at a lower end.

James 19:17
And this is Instagram, sorry, that we're talking about here in this context,

Dina Ramse 19:19
Like specifically Instagram. For Twitter, it's pretty much the same over the board is like, how many times are you interacting with people? At what times are you interacting with the people becomes the most important ones. So a larger account should interact with people when obviously their audience is the most engaging, because visibility is a huge thing. And it becomes more and more important, the bigger you are getting the early adopters and early interactions is very important on Twitter. While on Instagram, that's not as important. It's more the people who are seeing your content, do they interact and stop and watch it? Or do they just scroll past. The more people who have scrolled past your content, and not finding it relevant or interesting, the less is being that content is being shown to other people. Because obviously, Instagram relies heavily on when you open the app, whatever you see first should be the thing that makes you prolong that session. So they want the most interesting that they think based on the algorithm, when you open the app, that should be the most interesting thing, because otherwise, you just close it, because that wasn't as interesting. Maybe you'll do a whole scroll and see the first three posts, and then close it if it wasn't that interesting. So they're reliant upon like, the first three posts that you're seeing in your feed is the most interesting. On tick tock it's more like followers isn't as important. But for stories that they just launched on tick tock, that's mostly shown to your followers, and now that they've opened up for friends too, you can actually start using your followers or friends, people who are following you back more as a way to boost your own content to get it watched more. Yeah.

James 19:19
Okay. So that's really interesting. I mean, even just, for example, there talking about the differences, and as platforms, I feel like it's something that people wouldn't even are often not even really aware of, particularly at the beginning of this process. So when you said about the Tick Tock sort of works a little bit differently, and that it may be that you said, is it followers initially and not that important? Why is that that followers for example, not so nearly important on tick tock?

Dina Ramse 21:24
So when people are using tick tock, it's mostly so like, tick tock wants you to spend hours on the app, longer sessions is considered good. So bingeable content is important for them, as long as your content is funny or interesting, so people will watch and stay in the app longer, the more that content is going to be shown. If your content is not as interesting, and people are not completing your videos, or they're not you know closing the app, or like leaving the app, that means that that content is going to be shown less to people. And it's mining more sort of like what makes people stay rather than what are they wanting to see. It's not content that is meant to fulfil a make you happier or make you informed, it's just whatever makes you stay there. Interestingly enough, that turns out to be very often sort of like depressive content, or you know, like like humour that isn't deep, whatever can be shared, within seven seconds, you can't change the world in seven seconds. So obviously, there's very little informational content on tick tock, while as on Instagram, you can still do infographics and informational content

James 22:38
Interesting! So I find this really fascinating because certainly what you say about tick tock is certainly from my experience of it, this thing was almost this, this constant automated loop of new and new content just constantly, it's even takes the job of you having to really even scroll, it's like even lower effort than that you just keep going. Here's more and more and more and more stuff. So that's really interesting how then it would it, as you said, it's just it's going to algorithmically push people towards the content that's very engaging. It's really interesting cuz it makes me think how YouTube shorts kind of create their own one minute video thing, but a lot of those are like little informational clips, often that are the most popular, whereas that was certainly my impression of Tik Tok was going around it was seeing not a lot of kind of, you know, dialogue or vocal monologue type content of people talking and having like a long, eh, not even like a 30 second inspirational clip that often that kind of thing. I mean, well, we do know, broadly speaking that human beings I think, generally sense a negative emotion is weighted about five times a positive emotion. So that kind of means that this is really interesting thing where it's just rewarding, really unpleasant stuff. So I guess that that doesn't doesn't surprise me too much. So it's, it's really about the Instagram want to get and how that's different. So you said for example, when you've got to like a large number of followers that you say 300, it was more like you started needing to share video content. And why for example, would that be about, why? Why is why does the Instagram platform lend itself to doing that at a certain scale?

Dina Ramse 24:00
It, yeah, so it started obviously, like, the birth of Instagram was all about sharing images. And in the beginning, and they didn't even like you for doing editing on the images at all. So the shift that Instagram has had the last couple of years has been huge. As someone who you know, firstly only promoted like slide posts or picture where you can kind of go through several of them at the max of like nine and single images to pushing more and more video content, obviously, because tick tock is now the biggest social media platform and out wins even YouTube. I mean, it is huge. The Tick Tock team is obviously not ready for this, like it is massive. The growth was very Yeah, skyrocketed very quickly. But so Instagram is trying to lean more towards what Tiktok is doing to see if they can have more of that, sort of have people create more content. And we saw some interesting shifts on like Twitter as well with like, hey, maybe you want to do stories here too. And they were trying to kind of buy into the whole trend with tick tock to get more people create content for it. Because obviously, Twitter is, has a lot of users, but they're not doing stuff there. And they're struggling with retention rates. And on Instagram, it's there's a lot of people who are watching content, but not that many who's making the content. And tick tock is very specific on like, you have to make content here. And obviously everyone wants that. So Instagram has been trying to lean more to what what like tick tock is doing sharing more videos to get longer sessions. Because there's only so much time you can spend on just looking at pretty pictures before you kind of need to engage your brain or you want something else or like a quicker release of endorphins. So obviously, reels became a thing, and then they moved that into its separate app. And they've done a lot of like small little tweaks to how this is pushed, then the explore page was created, which just pushes content from like, random people like we might think you think this is interesting. Looking at like how gaming section specifically, since this is my field, we need to look at what are the biggest creators creating like what kind of content they're using, and the others who are in the same field kind of needs to do similar content, because that's what the algorithm thinks that we want to watch. So that's what gets pushed. It's an interesting sort of synergy with like, the biggest content creator creates this kind of content, we need to also create similar type of content, because that's going to make us be discoverable. And it's gonna create that reach that we're wanting from the platform. And if we don't, we're kind of shooting yourself in your own foot here. So you have to adapt with what the community is wanting. And also like, what is the community making in terms of content?

James 27:03
Yeah, I mean, there's just a tremendous amount to mind there is there, I mean, just thinking about that, looking at all those other creators and just trying to think what would be popular, no wonder that very rapidly turns into a full time job. I mean, okay, so so given this kind of like we've, we've just spent a little bit of time there talking about one specific part of the broader marketing picture for a Kickstarter campaign. And we could have gone on probably for hours talking about just the nuances of the different social media platforms. So given, given that, I'd like to kind of just back us up a step again, to how you work with your clients. So when you talk about, for example, you okay, we're going to do a plan, you've got this one kind of small saving grace, this, which is generally you're working on a campaign by campaign basis, so at least you're not going to have to overhaul the marketing, the entire marketing strategy for this business many times over, it's sort of a, it's a more of a one and done thing, hopefully, unless it is a major algorithm change, it's going to be like a on social media, it should be a fairly stable environment, at least for the period of a campaign and build up to get there. So you said right, can you do a kickoff with the client? It would be great if we could go into a little more detail, I'd love to understand a bit more about exactly how that works. So what are what are the questions you're asking them? What are the really key things they need, you need to have from them? And what did they need to know from you?

Dina Ramse 27:14
Yeah! Okay, the first thing I do is I invite them into, so I use a lot of Trello. I think that's a great tool, just because it's kind of low threshold for participation. I think it's quite easy to explain how it works. It doesn't look too intimidating. You can have firework bursts,

James 28:37

Dina Ramse 28:37
when things are done, which people seem to really love. Hahaha!

James 28:41
Oh, I've seen that feature. Yeah people love that. And don't the cards, if they've been around a long time, they sort of like decay don't they. They will like fray around the edges, like bits of paper.

Dina Ramse 28:51
Oh I don't have that one.

James 28:53
Oh that's certainly a feature they used to used to use. Maybe that's because you're doing things so quickly, you're not gonna have time for the Trello boards for the cards to decay? Or maybe they got rid of that feature, because there's too depressing for people. I'm not sure. But I certainly remember it certainly used to do that.

Dina Ramse 29:05
Oh, there's a lot of extra animations you can add to it. I just did the firework because it makes people happy.

James 29:10
Sure enough! It's charming!

Dina Ramse 29:13
Yeah, so what we usually do is that the first things I will ask is, you know, obviously, when is your launch, what is your plan, and it would be anything from six months to maybe a month from when they're talking to me. And what I do is very different from depending on where in the stage, so I'll reshuffle the board based on that, because there's things that we are like non negotiables that have to happen. Like, I always encourage everyone to register their game to obviously like BGG, which they don't always have. There are content creators that will refuse to touch your game if you're not on BGG with it. So that's obviously really important. Noting your launch on like shelf clutter, I think is super important because it's it's a discovery platform basically at this point.

James 29:57
So shelf clutter? I, I'm not familiar with this at all.

Dina Ramse 30:02
It's a discord channel. The content creators are called shelf clutter, once a week on Sundays they create a video on upcoming Kickstarters, they basically give a little bit of a review. They have their preview page so they can see on like the backside before launch. So they know your funding goals and what the page is looking like. And they'll spend somewhere between a minute maybe 3 minutes talking about your campaign.

James 30:26
So I can see why that's super important. Right. You want to you want to make it into their roundups, I assume.

Dina Ramse 30:32
Absolutely. And there's not that many creators who do the roundups, I think I know of like three or four that are like good enough that I would consider it important to listen, and like engage them for that part. So that is something that we always have to do. And for that to happen, you know, it has to be at least one week prior. But if you want to optimise them that the earlier, the better, because they create a separate channel for your game inside their discord channel. So you can kind of start talking about your game, you can share pictures, you can get a engage extra audience, you can funnel people into this discord, and you can use it as a part of your reach campaign for discovery, which I think is fantastic when we get to do that. And then there's like the routine questions, which is which pledge manager are you're planning on using? Is a backer Get Game found that pledge manager? Where are you manufacturing? Who are you manufacturing with? You'd be surprised on the amount of time people are like, Oh, I don't know yet. Who would you recommend? So I have a list of people with like, here are the names and emails of people you should reach out because I know that they will take good care of you. Same thing for fulfilment, I have a list of fulfilment companies that will be you know, good to work with, depending on where they are, and the scope of their project. We always recommend to work with 1 to 3 different fulfilment companies, and there'll be contact information on there as well for those if they haven't ventured into it yet. And then we kind of get into like the framework task, because then when we know where the game is coming from, and how that fulfilment part is going to look like and like the pulse campaign, is it going to a website afterwards? Is it going to retail? Because that's going to also define like, what is the marketing plan?

James 32:18
Right? I mean, that makes total sense. I mean, it's also interesting is there straight away, you're in a situation where you're actually recommending stuff that goes way beyond just the marketing element of this, I guess. So things like, I guess, is this because you have a lot of new creators, but as always, by definition, like Kickstarter is, in its original intention, it might be being used by some companies as a bit of a pre order platform now, but realistic, But, right. It's originaly intention was was to start completely new things off, which is obviously going to skew towards completely new companies, I'm sure probably the modal average number of campaigns that a typical creator has is presumably one, because it's their first thing, and then there are a small number of people who have done a few and then a very small number of people have done loads. So yeah, so it's interesting that you have to kind of help them often a little bit with the manufacturing, how you're gonna manufacture, how you're going to fulfil those are logistics questions and production questions that really, not really related to the marketing, although I can see that things like your channels that you're going to sell through in after the campaign, I imagine that would be pretty important. Getting those right.

Dina Ramse 33:01
Yeah. Yeah, so it has to do about positioning, basically, for me as to why I'm doing this. Because if they're just working with one fulfilment company, and it's going to be best for, say, North America, which is, if they're choosing one, that's usually the one that they're going for, at what point I need to be, you know, using American English, I need to primarily focus on U.S. hashtags, if we're diving into hashtag strategy. There's so many like small things that actually shapes it that most people wouldn't think about, that actually matters. Because as soon as I join a project with an IP here in Finland, and I start doing things on socials, that geolocation matters, I tend to drag with me like 30%, or up to 30% of like their entire campaign from like, Europe interest just because I'm here.

James 34:14
Oh, hang on a minute. So when you say the geolocation do you mean, are we talking about in the sense of your natural network of people you're associated with? Or are you talking about literally, algorithm stuff to do with where it's detecting your location

Dina Ramse 34:25

James 34:26
Oh, interesting.

Dina Ramse 34:26
Yeah. Literally, the algorithm. Yeah.

James 34:29
So are you using? Like, do you use VPN or something like that for that, then to make sure that,

Dina Ramse 34:35
We've... Yeah, we've done a lot of tests with using VPNs during campaigns or to like post during that, but because it uses the location for your phone rather than the service, it doesn't really matter. So we had a another one that I was working with, to sort of do it for socials, that was in the Philippines, and we were seeing like 40% reach for Philippines. But they were not a targeted audience at all. And they were obviously not interested in what we were selling. But because she was there, we kind of have to get her a US SIM card, because the VPN just didn't do anything for us.

James 34:35
Yeah? Oh, wow. So almost then for, would it make sense then to deliberately try and I guess there's a limit to what you can do with some of the platforms, but with some of that with a lot of platforms deliberately just use your desktop to manage them, and then VPN, the desktop with that thing? Is that something you can do?

Dina Ramse 35:31

James 35:31
God, that's really interesting to think about. That's one of those slightly weird, again, effects about all of this, because of the increasing dominance of social platforms, that you wouldn't have even considered as being an issue that not because obviously, you don't have, let's say, media and creators who are located in a location where obviously, you know, no one knows about you in that country. So, of course, you're not going to get traction there. That makes sense. So to make sure I've really got this clear. She was social posting from her phone or posting from her phone in the Philippines. And as a result, algorithms were deciding, oh, well, let's show this to content with people in the Philippines. And actually, it was maybe a game marketed for Americans.

Dina Ramse 36:08

James 36:08
And it wasn't going to that.

Dina Ramse 36:09
Absolutely. So that's been.

James 36:12
That's mind blowing! That's really interesting. That surprised me quite a bit, actually, to think that that is now going to be a an increasing issue, to think about for these kind of campaigns.

Dina Ramse 36:20
Yeah. Yeah, so I actually have people working for my company that are in the US. So in the cases where we have, you know, like only US fulfilment, which is very rare, I mean, if they come to me, being in Finland, usually they're, I can talk them into doing easier to more, you know, EU friendly, and UK friendly shipping, because that's the kind of scope of of campaign that they want. So in the rare cases where that's not possible, because of the scope of the project, I use one of my the people that are citizens of the U.S., and they will do all the social, so I will schedule the things. But in terms of all the engagement that has to be handled for someone who is there.

James 37:01
Yeah, that's really interesting. That's, God, that's absolutely extraordinary, that that should now be such an element to keep in mind that the whole thing. So okay, so bring into this framework and talking a bit about the marketing side of it. So let's assume they've got the manufacturer in place, they've got fulfilment. And you've worked out what the posting look like, maybe it's let's say, for argument's sake, they're going to run an E commerce site, and they're gonna have maybe their own Shopify, and they're going to be selling continually is the goal on that, and hopefully, they're gonna sell a million copies of their game, you know, that sort of hope anyway, but but bring it back to the more realistic present, let's say that's broadly, what's the setup, what, what's next, how are you going to help them decide what their marketing strategy? What's the next thing to look at?

Dina Ramse 37:41
Okay, so I would go through with the client, like, what are the influencers that we'll be working with? Where are they located? And what is the most optimal way of sending out prototypes. And also, we would be looking at like the demographic of said influencers, because that matters, too, obviously, and like what sort of network do they have, I tend to shy away from content creators who are participating in what we essentially call a pod, which is a group of content creators that are kind of promising each other to comment on each other's posts for extra reach. And while that was a huge thing last year, it's essentially like, a death blow at this point, because the algorithm has shifted in order for that not to be beneficial anymore, because it's creating artificial, sort of inflating the content. And then Instagram goes, no, and kinda just slaps a palm top of it and goes like this, but no more. So when I,

James 38:42
Oh so they're detecting where there's, like, unusual amount of activity of interrelation, between multiple creators,

Dina Ramse 38:47

James 38:48
Who are all obviously trying to boost each other a bit, because obviously, they all signal boost each other, then that's great. Except that that since you could try and game the system that way they're actively trying to detect that now and then down rank it.

Dina Ramse 38:59
Yeah, so when they're coming in from links, or if they're going in through search, specifically, that's when that will happen. But if they're going in through their feed, which means quite a lot of scrolling sometimes, then it's okay. So you have to be like super smart on how you're doing it if they're participating in pods. Usually, this doesn't happen because content creators will think of immediate sort of return rather than long term strategy. Obviously, me I need to think about the long term strategy for the company, especially for going into ecommerce and all of that, while it would be lovely to be able to, you know, hand over an account that has like 200 new followers every month and all that that looks fantastic, but in the long term, that doesn't tend to sustain itself unless you have interesting content and you're getting the early adopters from actually authentic reach rather than inflated artificially,

James 39:57
Okay. So this is this is so the next question is then is this key selection of content creators seems really important. What are you looking for in a content creator to match your campaign? And how would you match those things together?

Dina Ramse 40:08
So I obviously chat with a lot of content creators, like daily, I have a list of somewhere in the ballpark of 3, 400 of like entrepreneurs that I love working with. And whenever possible, I will ask them, like, what is your favourite type of game? If I were to pitch you like your favourite type, and like combinations of mechanics, and then they'll tell me like, Oh, I really love say, worker placement or I love miniatures, and I'll note it down in my spreadsheet. And whenever I have something that matches the criteria, I'll be like, Hey, I have a game for you. You mentioned that you really love this thing. What do you think about this? So I tend to have sort of like 90% on my pitches, that is like an immediate Yes, I'm super enthusiastic about whatever it was. And I think that's awesome. So whenever someone comes in, and we're like, oh, yeah, this game has hand management. And I'm like, Ooo, I have the perfect person for you.

James 41:04
Right? Yeah. Yeah, I see. It makes total sense. That's interesting. And then so after you've got those that listen, what's what's next?

Dina Ramse 41:12
Okay, so let's see, we talked about the frameworks, we have the influencers. I have looked through their folders of like, what is the assets that we're working with? I'll have a meeting with my graphic designer of like, what do we need to make, how is the social going to look? For some campaigns, that means that we're doing essentially what is called a beauty grid, which means that everything is laid out in a particular way. And we will stick to this, the beautiful visual layout of the game throughout the feed. So when someone visited, it's like a continuous journey that kind of emulates how the Kickstarter page is going to look. And we're kind of essentially giving them the Kickstarter experience from the very beginning from the first post. And other times, it's more chaotic, or there will be some, like overarching plans of what it's going to look like. But there's more flexibility, less rigid, and maybe, you know, like, will be quicker to respond to trends, because some games require that. And in that case, you can't really do like super thought up planned grid. So it's really about like, matching it to like, what is the finished sort of result of like the Kickstarter page, so that people feel that they've seen it before. And they know this feeling like creating that attachment almost to the game and way of talking, so that they are more likely to end up pledging and you're creating the you're warming them up as you're going into the pre launch.

James 42:44
And how do you make sure that so I'm sorry when you say a beauty grid, this is a kind of this isn't just the kind of grid on Instagram, when you see like the three by three images, this is a more broader concept than that, in terms of the

Dina Ramse 42:57
It's a whole thing. So it will be like the three by threes kind of blends into the next three by threes. And you can have like the same background going through the whole thing. Or it can be a collection of series of three by threes that have sort of the same visual feel to it. But maybe there's different elements happening. We had a really cool one where there was a lot of characters and a lot of art. And each page would represent a separate piece of art. But it would be like each three by threes would be sections of the game. So same if you have like an Apples to Apple kind of game, one would be like the questions and then the other one would answers and then for each of the three by threes, you swap between the two. So sort of deliver the whole experience.

James 43:45
Right, interesting. Okay, cool. So that's interesting. And then outside of that Instagram, or if we're talking more about how this would apply to something, YouTube or another place like BGG, let's say, how do you broach things there,

Dina Ramse 43:56
Hm, Yeah. So one of the first sort of the first week tasks that I do is that I do a full review and sort of an audit of their BGG page and like socials and websites, where I will create, like, an actionable list of things that we need to fix are like critical, and things that we need to work on during the campaign, like the pre launch, so that when we're launching and people are checking it, they'll be like, oh, yeah, this looks legit. Like this looks good. Or at least it's not being like any red flags be like, Oh, they're they're not even active. There's no forum posts, like why is there... we need that to happen? So it's making sure like, the best pictures are showing that they are tied correctly, that there is a link to the to the publisher, the publisher, artist is registered that the companies and all the people who are engaged has their page in there with information, and beautiful pictures, and if not, you know, set them up with like, you need to take this picture. You need to have this done. All of those sort of small things that people tend to forget.

James 45:01
And then if they fix all these sort of different, smaller issues, and then then things are kind of in good shape. Let's say if we take a campaign because I image there must be a limit. Or if it's a month out, for example, I'm guessing primarily, they'll come to you said, Hey, I'm launching my Kickstarter in a month's time. And I would like to raise $1 million a funding goal, there's like a limit to how much, first time as you tell them, you might want to bring your funding goal down a little bit. But also, there's like a limit to how much you can do other than just make sure the campaign is in the best shape it can be, do some of that really important due diligence about organising your websites correctly in advance. But if you've got a longer period of time, and it's like a six month build up to something, what does that look like?

Dina Ramse 45:42
That means that we would start as soon as possible. So all the small things are done. Usually within the first three weeks, then we started lead generation campaigns. So I have a separate ads manager that handles these things for for my campaigns. So I don't have to because yeah, I'll be busy in meetings.

James 46:00
Right? Yes, we've got those. There's a thing about you know, I used to work in advertising. And there's so many different levers you can pull, things you can do with that.

Dina Ramse 46:10
It really is.

James 46:12
I yeah, I worked on the technology side really heading up to product development. But when I used to see the traders as we used to call them, traders, because they were buying, effectively buying media at one price and selling it for another with the layer of all the targeting and media creative, which we put on top of it, which is kind of value added, it seemed to be that they were kind of strange mixture of scientists and wizards.

Dina Ramse 46:33
Hahaha! It is, isn't it? The fun thing is that most of that hard work is done during the first three weeks of me defining the campaign with the client, and also looking at what the skills to the client is. So say we have a client who is really good at graphic design, for example, we can use that. And there's a particular way that we can use that as a part of the targeting. Because that kind of sets expectation is what can we expect from the client to give us? Or how much do we need to sort of make happen?

James 47:05
That's interesting, isn't it? Like and it's interesting to talk about that, that's being set, a lot that's been discovered in the first three weeks, and we're talking about three weeks of the six month build up right?

Dina Ramse 47:13

James 47:14
And then the lead generation campaigns, can you tell me a bit more about those because I think, for example, when I when we did magnate, and we were doing kickstarter for that I think I do our mailing lists the old fashioned way, we went to loads of conventions, and we just signed up everyone most of that mailing list was people who'd played the game at conventions, which was, meant it was a really high quality mailing list, really, really high quality. But obviously, we actually didn't we did a little bit of a lead generation campaign. But I don't think we added that many that way. I don't know if we had a particularly good lead generation campaign to be completely honest. It's difficult to say at this point. But yeah, I'd like to know a little bit more about the kind of goals of that and what what kind of outcomes you're looking for.

Dina Ramse 47:52
Yeah, we usually estimate a budget of like 500 USD for the first month of lead generations, because there's a lot of things that we need to test in terms of optimising the return of those leads. We tend to land somewhere, you know, below $2 per acquisition, like per email. And as down I think the lowest we've ever had was like, 0.2 for an email, which is obviously amazing...

James 48:19
20 cents an email!

Dina Ramse 48:20

James 48:21
20 cents an email! Oh, and okay, what will I ask them to ask the question, immediate follow up question. If you're getting even, I mean, even $2. Sounds very reasonable to me. What are you, what, how are those, then what's the conversion rate look like for that? On the campaign itself?

Dina Ramse 48:36
We tend to have somewhere between 17 to I think the highest one I've ever had was 55% conversion for the emails...

James 48:45
Sorry, you've got to stop a second there. Sorry, let me be really make sure I understand this correctly. You were getting 65% conversion from the, those emails that had been acquired through the lead generation company.

Dina Ramse 48:57
Yes. That was the best one, obviously, that I think that was in the alien of them. I don't I'm not sure if I can replicate that. I'd love to obviously,

James 49:08
Right. Yeah, that would be I think, I think anyone would love to replicate that.

Dina Ramse 49:13

James 49:14
What will be a more typical rate, that would be for example, more a more average expectation, because I think an important thing for people to know if they're listening to this, and they think you know, I want to run lead generation campaigns is that they'll go away thinking, you've got to pay 20 cents for an email and get a 65% conversion rate guaranteed? Because I feel like that would be not a reasonable expectation. Can you tell me, give me some more typical ideas, because obviously, you can't talk about specific clients, but I'd be really interested to know about what the general trends you're seeing.

Dina Ramse 49:42
Yeah, so overall, so, I've done 40 campaigns now, so far, in my career of doing Kickstarters,

James 49:51
Wow! 40!

Dina Ramse 49:53
40 campaigns,

James 49:54

Dina Ramse 49:55

James 49:55
And how and just so I think again, this would also be good for them to understand your workload. What is the, what, what is the, how many? How many is that over running campaigns?

Dina Ramse 50:05
Over 20? all but five?

James 50:10
Oh, sorry. No, I mean, like you've run 40 campaigns? What? How much time did that? Is that within is that last three years last two years?

Dina Ramse 50:18
Oh time, that time? Okay, so I like over 20 in terms of like, the funding, but...

James 50:24
Ah right, the how long the campaign runs for it has a number of days, right? No, no, I was thinking about how much is to get a sense of like, how many different campaigns you're working on in a time period, because obviously, obviously, Kickstarter hasn't existed for the almost 20 years, you've been working in this space.

Dina Ramse 50:36
Definitely not.

James 50:37
But, so you know, if it was over 20 years, that would be still up to me having run one, that would still be a good amount. But how many years? Are we talking about here?

Dina Ramse 50:48
Okay, so my first campaign was with Green Meadow Games, which was, like, last year, which is like full time, but I really started two, two years ago, February two years ago. I have already done 20 This year, so...

James 51:05
Right, so basically, that's about 20 campaigns a year that is a lot of Kickstarter campaigns. So over that... So it's gonna be a lot more. Okay. Given that, what kind of Yeah, so for those campaigns are all gonna happen quite recently. So this is actually quite good as well, because you're not talking even about, you know, Kickstarter stretching back to like, 2016, when things on Kickstarter seem pretty different, right? Like, what was working then is almost certainly not working now.

Dina Ramse 51:33
Essentially, the start of the like, pandemic. Yeah.

James 51:36
Yeah. So that's really interesting. So that's, A, that's really interesting for the perspective of that itself is going to be a slightly changed environment, compared to previous employment. I mean, even with Magnate, we were running that just literally just before the pandemic started. So was was when we our funding campaign, I think we finished on the 23rd or 21st, of December 2019. So really, really close. This is quite an seems highly pertinent for this where we are right now, what are those kind of average average statistics, and in terms of conversion you're looking at

Dina Ramse 52:04
Somewhere between... So we kind of benchmark at, like we say, 10, but we tend to be more in the 17 to 45.

James 52:16
So it's quite a big fluctuation within that,

Dina Ramse 52:18
Quite big.

James 52:18
But I think I could see where you would with you have a 10. So if say, let's say for obviously, so let's take the low end of that and say, what's often you absolutely can't promise this, but what's often being achieved is around 20, let's say, then 20%. And let's, I'm going to take the upper end of your estimate from before, if you think that's okay, and say $2, a sign up maybe rather than 20 cents, because that seems very, very good.

Dina Ramse 52:41
Yeah. Haha.

James 52:42
So for $2 a sign up, you've got 20% of those are converting, if your average, let's say your, what would be a typical pledge level is like $50. We'll use that because that makes the math easy.

Dina Ramse 52:55
59 but yeah, so,

James 52:56
That tends to be the average. Right? Okay, so $59. So that means I have of that 10 percent of that would be $5.90. So you're looking at $12? Sorry, $11.80. I don't know, hang on, I'm gonna completely embarrass myself by getting this math wrong. I can just tell right now. But if you're 20% of that is converting, even from that list, and each time they convert an effective you pay $10 for a conversion? Because it's it's it's only 20% of them that are converting, but you're only paying $2 A shot. That seems like an incredible rate of return for for that.

Dina Ramse 53:32
Yeah, it's quite fair,

James 53:35
I think I find is quite surprising. I think that's really fascinating. Because it strikes me that then like the difference between a well run and a not well run example of this is quite substantial. Because certainly our experience running advertising was we had some channels that were really good for us. So I think for Magnate, BGG, was actually pretty good channel for magnate. But we had some channels that were just total stinkers. And to be honest, Facebook, for example, we were getting nowhere near that kind of rate of return on Facebook. So that's very interesting. But crucially, these are these lead generation campaigns where you're running them, sometimes months in advance and potentially

Dina Ramse 54:10
Yeah, we are. Absolutely. As soon as we can really, like we're going through to add like all the assets, and we start creating ads as early as we can, because it is quite crucial, because you kind of need, so a lot of people in marketing say that when you bring six people to Kickstarter yourself from your own mailing list, Kickstarter will give you four as kind of the golden rule that people, I see a lot of people throw out. But I don't want to promise anyone that, like I can't promise that we're going to be able to work the algorithm. Sometimes Kickstarter just doesn't like your campaign. And while most of my campaigns do get the project you love tag, and we are able to sit within the top 10 for our category for like the first week, that doesn't always happen. And I always like to plan for like the worst outcome as in Kickstarter does, the algorithm doesn't work. So say we're taking away those four people, that means that the mailing list that we're creating has to be enough for us to still be able to fund within the first day, or at least the first three days, which is, you know, that's kind of when it has to happen. If you're going to have any, any sort of extra reach from Kickstarter, that's kind of the benchmark within the first three days you need to be able to fund. And I always aim towards the shorter side of things, like I want you to be able to fund within the first day. And that's where we work, which means that when we're come, someone coming to me with a campaign, and they're like, we want 20k, and I like okay, what is your funding goal? They give me a number, we start doing the math and I times that with 10, for how many we need on the mailing list, for the minimum required of backers pledging at the smallest level possible, and I say, that's our goal in terms of like, how many emails do we need? So that's usually you know, somewhere between 2000 to maybe 3, 4000 people, because we want to be able to secure that funded within the first day.

James 56:11
Yeah, I mean, that makes total sense. And that's what I'm increasingly seeing that the difference between the quality of outcomes between funding the first day and not, seems to be pretty substantial. That was certainly something on my list, even in 2019, it seemed absolutely critical to succeed in that as rapidly as possible together to get that funding without just doing something silly. Someone sent me something recently, where he said, I funded, he was telling me, someone messaged me saying they'd funded in the first five minutes. And they were, something like, they said, all my campaign was 11,000% funded. And then I looked and the funding goal was $10.

Dina Ramse 56:47
Right, ah.

James 56:47
I was like, well okay, so...

Dina Ramse 56:52

James 56:52
So hang on a second, like no, that's, that's, I feel like you've I mean, I get it, right. But I feel like, that's just not,

Dina Ramse 56:59

James 56:59
If you actually see those numbers, you go, yeah, that's not that's not real mate, that's just you've just literally fixed it artificially low to make that number happen. Come on.

Dina Ramse 57:06
Haha. A lot of the campaign's that I end up running with first timers, we aim at funding with a 30% subsidised funding goal. That means that the creators are able to cover 30%, even if we're like, as long as we're hitting the funded, then they can go in with about 30% of the funding goal themselves to kind of be like the actual funding goal. Because obviously, a lower funding goal, it looks good, and being able to hit that as early as possible is obviously beneficial. But most of the campaigns that I end up pairing with is with people who just want the game out, they want to realise the dream of having someone play their game. It's not the I want to have, I want to get rich on this, like I want to recover all my costs, or I want to be on green within the first campaign. For most people, that never really happens. And I'm going in with about a 30% subsidise for like how much it costs you to actually create the game in terms of like art and your time, and you know, the prototypes and the influencers and all oh my god paying me obviously, kind of 30%. So you have reasonable expectations. It's just kind of worked for us because I make sure that they are able to meet with that. And if not, obviously, we're working with a higher goal, which means that we just have to get more leads in earlier.

James 58:30
Makes sense. I mean, I think this is kind of one of the open secrets about Kickstarter, if one has ever had time to properly delve into it seems to be precisely this, which is, in reality, the funding goal isn't, it isn't so much the actual amount that you really need, and that if you don't get paid a penny less, that's it. It's actually often just a, it's often a big chunk towards it. And normally, so there was for me, the kind of chunk that's the difference between being able to do it or not. But actually, what it doesn't mean is that really, it's funded it completely because if you do that, I have seen several campaigns, including one I saw that was from a client experience creator. But they still set their funding goal, I felt like just a bit above the truly economic cost of production. And what was interesting to see was that the campaign just crawled all the way there. Because actually to get there, there was no way it was funding in the first 24 hours. And of course, because it didn't fund in the first 24 hours, it didn't happen and then turn to fund even more than that. So it's sort of interesting to see those, those economics and I've always thought that that funding goal is almost like a bit of a bet in the sense that it's like okay, this is like the level I'm setting is like my reserve price at an auction. This is the level I will walk away and be happy with. And I got to eat it up if it only gets to that level, but I need to get that level as low as I can tolerate without setting it to a level that frankly looks fraudulent where people just have a funding goal, which is like a non real funding goal

Dina Ramse 59:56
Yeah, if you're funding all doesn't look like kind of realistic from someone who isn't in the industry? Because you can kind of guess, right? A 20k campaign, you're kinda expecting a certain level of something for that funding goal, like the audience is expecting something. So for me, obviously, with what I do is that when we're talking about the funding goal and all the stretch goals, and all the kind of things that comes into your Kickstarter is what is the audience going to expect from the funding goal that you are making? So whenever we are having a funding goal, that is like, this is the game and we're able to do like no fluff campaigns, meaning no extra stretch goals or like elaborate promises, Usually, those tend to have an under 20k campaign, sort of as a funding goal. And the ones that has more elaborate stretch goal tends to be the ones who we need to get over the 20k mark.

James 1:00:50
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, that makes total sense. I mean, there's there's different production situations. I'm really aware that we are starting to run quite short of time. And I feel like we're only just scratching the surface of all of these topics. But there's a few things I want to make sure that we that we can cover because I think they'd be really useful for listeners. So the first one I want to ask is really kind of what your top three pieces of advice and things maybe we've not covered yet, would be for running a campaign because I imagine there's loads of people out there thinking, I've got a game. I mean, something that I noticed actually specifically is it felt like 10 years ago, and 10 or 15 years ago, everyone had like a screenplay or novel they had written, oh I'm actually working on a screenplay, or I'm working on a novel, these days, I meet people randomly in bars, like meeting new people at parties, and they say, I've actually designed a board game. And that's actually quite a common thing now, which is, I mean, really cool. But that's the case. But it does mean you've a lot of people out there don't have the experience looking for, okay, how do I go about running maybe even a really small Kickstarter campaign, maybe just a few $1,000 funding goal, simple card games like that? Or maybe it's a hugely ambitious million dollar miniatures project, I don't know. Either way, they're gonna have the same fundamental problem, which is that they don't necessarily know what the key things to do are. What would you say are the top three things they need to do are?

Dina Ramse 1:02:02
Okay, there's a one thing that I tell everyone, I think every single podcast I go on, I say the same thing, which is, there's no such thing as too early to start talking about your game, there is only really too late. And I think that if anyone was ever to quote me on anything, I think I want people to quote me on that one, because it is so true. When it comes to harvest, like, what was it someone was saying the like, talk to Dina to harvest the potential of social media. And I was like, I was looking at it going, like, you know, like, the really core thing here is just start early, because that is all like, you just got to start. And I know that a lot of people find the threshold to participate as really high sometimes. And they doubt themselves in their ability to actually participate. And just like do it, right. It's kind of like you guys just gotta jump into it. And then try, and obviously my website has has a lot of like starting tips for like how to just get started with like, Twitter 101, or, you know, the social media algorithm kind of breaks down of like, super simple so that everyone can kind of understand it. Because I think lowering the level for participation is kind of the most important thing us as marketers can do when it comes to like social media.

James 1:03:18
And what was that website again, just just people to check out just...

Dina Ramse 1:03:21

James 1:03:23 Okay, great. So if anyone's needs to look up that anything about that kind of thing, you've got some helpful tips. I think that's just super useful. Just just to start with, certainly that was my experience. I remember reading in one of sort of Jamie's Stegmaier's legendary blog post series about starting a Kickstarter was like, he was like, I recommend really six months or really more like a year if you can. And I remember hearing that and thinking, Right. Okay. I think at this point, it must have been early 2018. And I was like, right, let's get started. We're gonna start the campaign trail. And I think in the end, we had, like, 18 month build up to it.

Dina Ramse 1:03:54
That's fantastic. Yeah.

James 1:03:56
Well, it was great. And it meant that we had this game that to be honest, it's a nightmare first time project in some ways, because this is, well, I right now, obviously, this this Can't, can't hear can't see this. But right behind you, I can actually see a copy of Magnates.

Dina Ramse 1:04:10
I know!

James 1:04:10
And it's absolutely. And it's vast, dominating presence. Now that shelf was big box game. And it's full of miniatures. And actually, lots of people suddenly campaign life. They said, Look, I would have considered backing this. But I just wasn't going to do miniatures, back a first time company doing miniatures. I can turn together. I totally think that's quite reasonable actually, to think maybe I'm not going to dive straight in with that. So yeah, so that's kind of I think that that's very useful to understand it. And what would your other kind of top tips be if that's like the number one supreme thing is like? It's never it's never too early. It's only too late. What will be your other two key pieces of advice?

Dina Ramse 1:04:44
A friend of mine, Joe Slack has written some really great book about crowdfunding for games specifically. And I think if anyone likes to read rather than like, listen to podcasts for learning how to do these things. I think his books are really good. He even has like, a course where you can kind of go to him and be like, Hi Joe, teach me everything you know about like fulfillments and, and manufacturing and like everything that kind of expected from you on like the product side prior to going into a launch. And before you even get someone like me on board for doing the marketing. And I think the other thing, the third tip that would be like, find people that you like, and that matches your energy level, and that you can work with, that kind of fits your personality and like also fits your game and understands it. Because I think that's so important, like in terms of building a team, have people who believe in your game, not just doing it for the money, but who can actually be a part of like, not your hype group, because I don't believe in having team members who are part of your hype. I don't think that's appropriate. But someone who can be more like a pep team for you, as a creator to continue working towards having a launch.

James 1:04:45
Yeah, I mean, that seems really important. Something I'd say is true for sort of businesses in general is that having someone that you're, there's always on on your team. And even if that's just someone who's just a really supportive friend, you can kind of help out and but particularly you should actually know a lot about the business is huge, because there are always going to be bits where you get depressed, or you hear some bad news, I remember the day I started seeing the kind of freight pricing, we were going to pay for magnate, we had estimated one number from 2019. And we had a number that was seven to eight times higher. And I remember just being like to the gut punch of like, oh, we that's fine. We just have 27 pallets, stacked high of games to move. Having sort of people around me at that time to be supportive. And to get through that was was very important to us.

Dina Ramse 1:06:45
Yeah, having buddies basically like find people in the space of our experiences and same thing. So what I like to do with people that I'm working with, is finding them launch buddies, which is something we're working on, like actually putting up like a programme in the board gaming space. So that might be coming later this year. We're hoping, where we're basically like team you up with other creators that aren't just my clients. Because right now, it's just like, everyone I work with, we're launching at the same time becomes launch buddies. And then we kind of have them meet and chat a little bit with each other. But we want to like make it for other people as well. Because the power of just having someone who's going through the same thing at the same time with you in terms of like frustrations over Kickstarter and like page layouts. That is so important. And like the mental health of the people who go through that with someone else you come out of the project a lot sort of healthier than those who don't have that kind of support.

James 1:07:47
Yeah, so starting early, keeping, you know, having buddies around and support and what do you think that the other big one would be? Do you think?

Dina Ramse 1:07:55
Yeah, like read up on things. Don't go in blind,

James 1:07:59
Read up, education, educating yourself?

Dina Ramse 1:08:02
There is never too late for school.

James 1:08:05
It's never too late for school, I like that. Yeah, I certainly think I remember thinking that this was pretty critical and seeing, and actually, the cool thing is, is that in particular, between James Marla's stuff and Jamey Stegmaier's stuff, there was actually already quite a lot online of good resources. But I guess they've also got your website to check out now too with some nice summaries that lead up because the one thing I will say about Jamey Stegmaier's s post is that you should set yourself up for a long read, I feel like this, he did so many!

Dina Ramse 1:08:31
Grab a coffee and like that takes your day.

James 1:08:35
I think I installed a special plugin I remember on my on my Chrome that did like a bulk upload of all of the blog, blog blog posts to a reader, just so that I can carry them around and read them on my phone. And when I was like sitting in the tube and stuff like that several years ago.

Dina Ramse 1:08:48
That is such a good advice.

James 1:08:50
And I just thought because he's because he has got special pages website where he organises them all by different themes as well. And you start scrolling through and you're just like, I'm still scrolling, I'm still scrolling. And it's great because he even got into details about US tax, which turned out to be really important for us because we decided to end up incorporating a company in Wyoming, which is a subsidiary of Naylor games limited. So already that international for that, you know, and it was very helpful reading something about US tax treatments of things that, you know, as a British person, I wouldn't necessarily have any inherent knowledge of, that I needed to look up so that's really great. Well, I think all of that is going to be super, super useful. Like I said, God there was so much on my list that we didn't even remotely get round to. So you so if if you would like to do so it'd be brilliant to have you back as a guest again. And yeah, thank you so much for for speaking to me.

Dina Ramse 1:09:41
I mean, thank you for having me.


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