Nalin Chuapetcharasopon has made a name for herself for some of her posts in Facebook groups related to board game design. Per her website, “Ever since stumbling into crowdfunding in 2015, I’ve helped entrepreneurs raise over $13 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.” She also runs a Facebook group related to Kickstarter Board Game Marketing, the Meeple Marketing website, and her more general crowdfunding site, crushcrowdfunding.com.
It’s with these credentials that led me to request a review copy of her newest offering, the Game Designer Marketing Toolkit, even as someone not currently planning on crowdfunding.
Disclosure: This is a review copy of the materials, given to me by the author. No money was exchanged for this review, meaning my words are my own.
What do you get?
Once you’re in, you get access to a Google Drive folder with 9 folders worth of PDF’s and a handful of other files. These PDF’s are decently formatted, and can be read on any device — each one feels like a compressed version of what might otherwise be a chapter in a book.
This entire package is geared towards the board game designer looking to launch a crowdfunding campaign, and is looking for no-nonsense guidance to the mechanics behind creating marketing materials. It doesn’t talk about game design, getting quotes from manufacturers, graphic design, working with other professionals, or anything related to the process — and to be honest, I do appreciate that laser focus.
There are plenty of tools to create things like landing pages, but this package recommends ClickFunnels (via affiliate link, but it does look to be the platform she uses herself) or signing up for another course she offers to learn more about other options. (It’s ‘free for a limited time’, but in classic marketing-speak, there’s no telling how long that ‘limited time’ will be.)
Specific templates are present (such as the 3 e-mails you need for launch), but this is fairly basic knowledge you can find in blog posts across the internet. A few more fleshed-out, real-world examples of actual e-mails are in the folder, and are worth seeing as part of the process for creating your own… assuming you’ve never signed up for a publisher’s list and seen their e-mails in your own inbox.
The Facebook ads section feels like weak sauce, as it mainly uses examples from outside the board game industry. The folder also contains example videos, in case you haven’t seen a good ad on Facebook recently.
The section on getting reviews states obvious, common sense advice you’ve probably already read (‘don’t spam reviewers’, ‘reach out to reviewers 2-3 months in advance’) and ably defines ‘reviewers’ vs. ‘previewers’… then shares another template before moving on to the next section, Media and Press Kits. These also feel pretty bare bones — hopefully a bullet-point list of what to include in a Media Kit is all you need, because that list is half of the length of the Media Kit document. The Press Release document is similarly bare-bones, and doesn’t go much beyond the formulaic, mechanical process — it’s on you to provide the creative approach and finding the right people to contact. If you’ve ever written a press release before, you can safely skip this brief section.
The Kickstarter page section is probably the most critical to get right when crowdfunding — and probably the most disappointing / frustrating to see here. It states the obvious (“The Kickstarter page is where you will make that final ask for people to pre-order your game to help you bring it to life.”) and although it gets into a page structure, you could just as easily peruse successful Kickstarter campaigns and dissect them. At least then you’d see an actual example of what a successful Kickstarter page looks like, since there isn’t one included here.
That it uses a Facebook poll with less than 60 votes as the basis for at least one of its claims is odd — surely someone with years of experience has other data to draw on? If so, it’s not mentioned here.
A couple bonuses round out the package:
- The Top 10 Marketing Tools bonus reads like a blog post, complete with the same types of affiliate links seen elsewhere in the package.
- The sell sheets bonus is an odd choice — sell sheets are tools used by designers to attract publishers, or by publishers to attract orders. You don’t really need them if you’re going the crowdfunding route. There’s a basic overview of what sell sheets are (just in case you’ve never seen or heard of them before), then goes into some random examples pulled from Facebook. I’ll assume the writer requested permission from the designers to use these, but sell sheet examples are a dime a dozen. The analyses present are short and basic — if you’ve participated in any sell sheet threads on Facebook, you’ve already seen better analyses from other designers. Seeing sell sheets that led to a game getting published could be helpful, but that’s not what’s happening here.
Does the content match the claims?
With any sort of content marketing package, the question has to be asked.
Should a 6-page list of the “Top 10 Marketing Tools For Game Designers” be valued at $297?
Should the aforementioned “Kickstarter Page Build Pack” be valued at $997?
If you said yes to either of these, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Of course, using inflated values for products has been done for decades to make you feel like you’re getting a deal… as is using a limited-time introductory discount offer for manufactured scarcity. (I received access to the review materials on Wednesday, July 1st, and the launch discount offer expires the day of publication, Friday, July 3rd.)
Never mind the fact that you’ve probably heard of most of those top 10 marketing tools, or would find them mentioned in a (free) blog post or two on marketing. Things like Clickfunnels, Mailchimp, and Canva (marketing tools #1, #2, and #3) are well-known and talked about often, and if you’ve read her posts in a Facebook group, you already know about marketing tool #4. How best to use these tools would make for a full book, but there’s little meat to this section either.
The critical failure – non-specific advice, no public-facing success stories, odd testimonials
It’s fairly evident this material is somewhat generic, and written in a way that could easily apply to any number of other categories. I’m not getting a deep or authoritative sense of knowledge of the board game industry, merely experience in crowdfunding (which she has, in hardware and tech, on her other site crushcrowdfunding.com). How is crowdfunding different in different industries? The author’s in a perfect position to explain from her own experience, but doesn’t in the package or elsewhere on the website that I could find.
Nalin’s posts on Facebook are fairly well-written, but they’re clearly being written to establish authority. That they use various formatting tricks to stand out in a Facebook feed (cute) distracts from a simple fact: as of this post’s publication, I cannot find a single success story on her site of her marketing efforts leading to a successfully funded board game. (As a reply to a Facebook message, she mentioned a campaign she assisted in, and is credited in the acknowledgements of that campaign.) The screenshots used in the marketing materials for this toolkit look to come from the comments on her aforementioned Facebook posts.
The posts and podcasts on the Meeple Marketing site seem to alternate between asking other designers what they did (without the services of this marketing expert) and fairly generic posts that offer little information on crowdfunding within the board game industry.
If you have done no other reading on the subject of marketing and are extremely limited on time, this might be for you… but this package only gives you the bare bones to work with. You’ll have to put in the work to understand (and pay for) the recommended tools. While there is a 30-minute marketing consultation call available for purchasers, there’s very little hand-holding being done within the package.
Unless you’re really new to the world of board games, I wouldn’t bother. You’re better off joining the places where designers talk about this stuff — the Facebook groups, Discord servers, and BGG threads — to hear what works from the people actually doing it. It’ll take you longer, but then crowdfunding is very much an investment of time in the first place.
Where to go
Check it out for yourself: https://meeplemarketing.com/game-designer-marketing-toolkit.