Delight Your Backers with Add-Ons

Boost backer satisfaction with enticing add-ons that enhance their experience and provide additional value to your project.

Tom Wu

July 7, 2023

If you've come across successful Kickstarter campaigns in the media or have been exploring the crowdfunding platform, you might have encountered a concept known as Kickstarter add-ons or add-ons. These can be a bit perplexing for newcomers to the platform, so let's clarify a few things.

What is an Add-On?

An add-on is an optional item that can add to a Kickstarter pledge without changing pledge levels. Adding-on isn’t actually a Kickstarter function—it’s a feature that project creators like yourself have pioneered as a way for backers to customize their rewards. An add-on is a bit like a side-order from a restaurant menu: if you’ve ordered the pancakes, maybe you’d like to “add-on” a side of delicious sausage for an extra $2.

Add-ons were pioneered and introduced by tabletop gaming project creators, who have used them to allow backers to add expansion packs, extra cards, and game pieces. Since then, add-ons have become popular for projects in every category. In the example below, Calaveras playing cards encourage their backers to add on extra decks, T-shirts, and stickers by adding funds to their pledges.

Why Create Add-Ons?

Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers already expect to be able to pledge for the exact items they want. People support crowdfunding projects to express their individuality, so it’s great to give them the option to customize their rewards. Also, from the backer’s point of view, it always seems like purchasing another item should be a perfectly reasonable request.

In any case, it’s a great opportunity to keep your existing backers excited while raising money for your project. As the old sales adage goes, offering something to an existing customer is much easier than seeking a new one. And even projects that explicitly state “No-Add Ons!” in their FAQs will see backers that increase their pledges requesting to add items from other pledge levels to their orders.

What Makes a Good Add-On Item?

Ideally, add-ons should be relevant to a crowdfunding campaign’s core product. They might enhance the original product in some way or are a limited-edition item that isn’t offered at any pledge level.

For Everard, he chose add-ons that aligned with his aim of providing a “fuller, more complete range of men’s grooming products to add more value for people who are interested in upgrading their grooming routine.”

His campaign for the Rockwell Razor Model offered add-ons such as shaving cream, post-shave balm, beard oils, and beard conditioner, as well as additional hardware like beard brushes and folding combs.

When deciding which items to offer, be sure to factor in shipping costs (particularly if you are shipping physical items separately from pledge rewards; whether the item can be easily produced in bulk, and what value it offers to backers.

What are the things to consider and how to start creating them? 

1. Think Complementary

The first thing to do is decide what you will be offering; for example, you may think to upsell your backers the same product or your merchandise, but that’s not the best option to consider first. 

As we saw earlier, it's better to add complementary things that can go along with your main rewards in order to make them special. Something that the backer can't miss in order to have a complete product experience. 

For example, if you're selling a board game, think about creating some add-ons that can make the game funnier or easier, for example, a set of branded dice, a sack to carry the game around, etc.

2. Set a bar to achieve add-ons

Not every pledge in your campaign could offer the possibility to buy add-ons. Figure out a basic amount of pledges from which it will be possible to achieve an add-on. If, for example, a backer will only pledge 1$, they are not unlocking the add-on options. Think of that as an extra to add if you pledge the main rewards.

3. Put the right price on your add-ons

Some of your add-ons will be physical and require shipping, and even if they're just virtual, they will need extra working hours and budget to create them, so they shouldn't be for free. It's better to have the right price point to start from. 

For example, you could write $10 for the game sack + $2 shipping (delivery date: January 2023).

4. Educate your backers

The purchasing phase should be nice and quick for your backers. Explain to them every single step they will have to do in order to buy the add-ons. Make a simple guide, post a screenshot, or add a graphic to your campaign page. Don't make the job difficult for them as that might discourage them from buying anything at all.

5. Time to announce add-ons

After setting all of these things, now you're ready to announce to your backers that they have the possibility to achieve some catchy add-ons that will make their crowdfunding experience even better. 

What you must do now is to add an update on Kickstarter and then share it with your community in your social media channels or email lists.

If you’re using a pledge management system like PledgeBox, add-ons become a whole lot easier. You don’t need to offer any instructions prior to the end of the campaign because backers will automatically be presented with an add-on in the survey with the ability to add items after the fact. Backers will have more time to customize their orders, too—and there’s no need to keep track of anything manually.If you are interested, you can contact us at any time to get a test account and try out our add-on service.