When it comes to crowdfunding, rewards are important. It can mean the difference between a pledge or no pledge, so you have to select your rewards carefully. Quality rewards for pledge level value… so of course I screwed up here too (when did these blogs turn from optimism and theory to “holy f**k, could I make any more mistakes!?!)…

That is not to say that the rewards I set for the IndieGoGo and Kickstarter campaigns were poor quality; not at all. I just over-estimated the amount folks would be willing to pledge for some reward tiers. I’ll explain how and why I did that in a second, but first, to familiarize yourself with the rewards I originally set:

  • A Special Thank You: $1
    Your name will be listed on a special “Thank You” page of the first issue of the new print magazine.
  • Collectible First Issue: $25
    All of the above, plus a free print copy of the first issue of the new magazine, signed by Film Threat owner/publisher Mark Bell.
  • Collectible First Four Issues: $100
    All of the above, plus free print copies of the next three issues of the new magazine, all signed by Film Threat owner/publisher Mark Bell.
  • Limited Edition Workshirt: $500
    All of the above, plus a limited edition Film Threat workshirt in a style previously unavailable, and only worn by, Film Threat owner/publisher Mark Bell and a five year subscription to the new print magazine.
  • Collectible Digital Archive: $1,000
    All of the above, plus a limited edition collectible drive containing the complete archive of Film Threat Magazine and the Film Threat Guide, published from 1985-1997, in digital format.
  • Lifetime Subscription/Full Page Ad: $5,000
    All of the above, plus a lifetime subscription to the digital/print magazine and a full page advertisement in each of the first four issues of the new magazine.

The mistake in the above tiers is as I mentioned early: I over-estimated what folks would be willing to pledge to get certain rewards. Let’s face it, while $500 may get you all of the tiers previous to it AND a limited edition Film Threat shirt, it reads and feels like you’re paying $500 for a shirt. Not the case, but that’s the impression… and that’s wrong. The Collectible Digital Archive? A high quality reward, but at $1,000, no one will get it. And the $5,000 level? While a year’s worth of full page advertising in a magazine is easily worth more than $5,000 (especially if you go by web advertising standards, which would get you a couple months for the same price, but not an image that size for a full year’s worth of material), it doesn’t feel like a value.

The other issue in all of this is that Film Threat does not produce physical material to reward people with. For each of the tiers, save the thank you, there is a per-reward production cost. The fear behind it all was that it would cost as much as, or potentially more than, the tier itself to produce the reward. In which case the funds raised never go to the project, they go to the reward production. This is the fear that lead to the over-estimation of tier level price.

The first change I made, a week and change ago at the suggestion of a commenter, was to add another tier of a lower amount, to entice those that didn’t want to spend $25, but wanted more than just a “thank you.” So I added:

  • History of Film Threat Poster: $10
    All of the above, plus a limited edition “History of Film Threat” poster, highlighting the different covers of the original print run from 1985-1997.

The mistake here is that assumption I keep making, which is that folks know all bout Film Threat’s history already, and that they find value in it. As expressed in an earlier entry, the audience is not necessarily on board with that judgement, or as nostalgic about the reward as, say, I am. When this is all over, we’ll see how much relying on the reputation of the past really helped or hindered, but right now it’s a splash of cold reality.

As I am currently re-writing the entire pitch pages, and re-tooling everything prior to recording a new pitch video, I decided it was time to re-visit the reward tiers again (especially after points raised in the last blog’s comments). So I restructured things, dropping the Limited Edition Workshirt tier to $75, Collectible Digital Archive to $500 and Lifetime Subscription/Full Page Ad to $2,500.

But it is obvious that these changes are not enough, and that I still need more tiers, particularly at the $5 and $20 level. But what, exactly? What type of reward would you want? Knowing that anything that is rewarded at a $5 level must cost well less than that to produce, what does that leave? Seriously, I’m taking any suggestions you may have.

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  1. mjw says:

    Your reworked $75 offer with (the workshirt and) the five-year subscription: is that a printed-copy subscription or a digital subscription or both?

  2. ShortArmSalute says:

    But what’s the deal with Sulu?

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