According to Kickstarter; since it first launched in 2009, 20 million people have backed a project, 5.8 billion US dollars have been pledged, and 200,526 projects have been successfully funded. And Kickstarter isn’t going away any time soon. I have a lot of conversations with budding entrepreneurs aiming to launch products onto the platform with very little understanding of the work that is needed to launch a successful campaign. So here are a few tips ad tricks to help potential campaign creators make the leap onto the crowdfunding platform.
1. Believe in yourself and what you are selling.
This may seem overly obvious, but truly believing in yourself and the product you are going to launch really is important. You will be the driving force behind this campaign, so you need to have the passion to push it forward. It will be hard work and exhausting at times, and yes, a little self doubt is natural, but having the driving force to see the campaign through to the end will be rewarding.
2. Marketing, marketing, marketing.
A good idea isn’t enough on it’s own to sell a successful campaign. A pre-launch social media campaign is a great way to attract interest before the project goes live. Cover all the social channels, hashtag and share like there is no tomorrow. Gain enough momentum so that when the project goes live on Kickstarter there is already a following of potential backers. There are companies out there such as funded today and launch boom which will market the campaign for you, but they don’t always come cheap. Facebook ads are a more affordable way to target your ideal consumer.
3. Become a Kickstarter backer before you launch
If you are completely new to Kickstarter, sign up before you launch your campaign, and have a good look around. By looking at other projects, and backing a few (and you don’t have to pledge hundreds of pounds here) you will see how other campaigns run and how they communicate with backers. If there are campaigns you really admire, don’t be afraid to contact the creators with any questions you may have.
4. Quality matters.
It is worth the initial investment of hiring a graphic designer to help with brand identity, and Kickstarter campaign page. Campaign backers don’t just part with their money on a whim, the campaign page and product website has to look professional and presentable.
5. Reward your backers
This is a really common strategy for Kickstarter campaigns. Having rewards for different levels of support can be really well received. However, it is still worth having carefully thought out price points for pledges, to cater for all budgets. The backers at the lowest pledge benchmark for example, could receive a ten percent discount off the retail price. The backers with the highest pledges could receive something far greater, such as a first run of the new product. Make sure the pledge price points are realistic and that you can afford the rewards at each stage. The last thing you want to do, is to give out rewards that will leave you in debt.
6. Make friends with and utilise your backers
Show your Kickstarter backers how much you appreciate their pledge by sending them updates on how the campaign is going, and when any goals and deadlines are reached. After-all, they are investing in you and your business, so a little investment in them will go a long way. Send them emails to forward to contacts, and graphics to share on their social media to help spread the word about your campaign.
7. Invest in a convincing prototype
If you are launching a new and physical product on Kickstarter, you can not use computer rendered images for the Kickstarter campaign. Instead, photographs and a video of a physical product must be used. For this reason, it is worth spending money on a prototype that will withstand being photographed up close and personal and will really help convince backers that your campaign is worthwhile. It is also worth having a note on your campaign page stating that all images shown are using a prototype, but the production model shouldn’t differ too much from images shown.
8. Set a realistic goal.
It is hard deciding how much money you would like your Kickstarter campaign goal to be. The important thing is to be realistic. Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform, so if your goal is not reached, the campaign won’t be successful. By keeping the target realistic you are more likely to reach and exceed your goal, rather than falling short of an over ambition one. That said, you do need to make sure that your monetary target will cover the costs of your deliverables. It is worth taking some time to make sure you have it all worked out carefully before the campaign is launched.
9. Have an idea of manufacturing and fulfilment
You hit your target, wuhoo! Time to do a huge exhale and open the bubbly! But now what? It is a good idea to have some background research on how you will carry out manufacturing – do you need to chose a factory or do you have one already? Do you know how you will package and ship your products? Will you use a platform like shopify connected to your web page, or will you purely be in store? Execution is the hard part, and it is worth taking into consideration before you launch.
If the campaign finishes fully funded, it is important to carry on communication with your backers – even if things don’t run as smoothly as first hoped. Delays happen, shipping might take longer than planned, or production samples might need more testing. Being open and honest with backers will go a long way in maintaining their trust and keeping them interested. It is because of them after-all that your campaign succeeded!
If you have a product idea you are putting off developing because you are unsure how to launch it to market, hopefully this article is an insight into the world of crowdfunding. Feel free to get in touch for a more detailed conversation about your product idea. firstname.lastname@example.org