Let’s face it, times are tough for entrepreneurs. Many startups and projects fail because of lack of funding. But what if you could put your project, idea or invention online and let people back your project by pledging money for your idea? That’s now entirely possible.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that makes it relatively easy to raise money for creative projects. Anyone with a good idea—from a calendar to a movie to the next smart watch——can apply and create their funding campaign on Kickstarter.
We say “relatively easy,” because the reality is that a lot of time and energy go into creating, maintaining and managing a Kickstarter campaign. There are certain essential steps to improving your chances for funding success.
The following 10 points will help you get the most out of your Kickstarter campaign.
- Research production costs and market demand
- Engage your personal network
- Make an engaging video
- Create an easy to read Kickstarter page
- Make sure your rewards are simple and easy to understand
- Use multiple, high quality images
- Utilize a link tracking service (like Bit.ly)
- Engage on social media
- Update your backers frequently
- Use press releases
1. Do your research
Research the heck out of your project before you take the plunge. Here are some questions you should ask before starting your campaign:
How much does it cost to make your project?
This will help when coming up with rewards.
What is the bottom line goal you need?
Remember, Kickstarter is all or nothing, meaning if you don’t reach your funding goal, you get no money. If your goal is set too high, you may get nothing, but if it is too low, you may not be able to fulfill your obligations to buyers.
How many days do you want to run the campaign?
Campaigns can last anywhere from one to 60 days. Longer campaigns do not guarantee success, and often shorter ones work better.
Are there already similar projects to what you are considering?
If so, maybe you should wait until their campaign(s) end and see where they fund. It doesn’t make sense to have $70,000 goal for a pair of shoes if you know the highest funded shoe only got $50,000. Likewise, just because something similar raised a ton of money won’t translate into instant success for your project.
2. Reach out to your personal network
Everyone knows someone who knows someone. Before you start your campaign, reach out to your friends and family. Get them on board with your project and have them ready to spread the word. Make sure you have their emails addresses and a system for alerting them as soon as your campaign launches. But be mindful during your campaign to not bombard your family, friends and others incessantly about your project!
3. Make an engaging video
Your video is the focal point of your campaign. It’s the first thing people are going to look at and if it isn’t good, few people will read further. Make sure your video is easily understandable and gets across the point of your project. Two minutes or less is a good range to stay within since the data we’ve compiled shows that only 40-50% of your Video gets watched and people know if they are going to support the project or not in the first minute or so.
Above all else, have fun and tell a great story. Stories sell!
4. Create an easy to read Kickstarter page
Separate your content with pictures. Break up section with compelling headlines. This will make your content easier to read. Also, try not to use too much content. Give as many details as you need to, but be ruthless in paring it down to the essentials.
5. Make sure your rewards are easy to understand
Keep your rewards descriptions short and to the point. Let people know what they are getting and when they will be getting them. If they get to choose between colors, make sure your FAQ tells people how they will choose.
Don’t over do your rewards. A campaign with 20 rewards rarely works. Depending on your project’s price point, come up with 8-10 rewards. This will also give you a chance to introduce new rewards during your campaign.
6. Include multiple Images
Showing high resolution, high quality images will serve you wonders in the long run. Use these photos for your social networks, press releases and blog posts. In addition, if any print media are interested in your project, they will often need hi-res images (at least 300 dpi).
7. Create a Bitly Link
Use Bitly to shorten the link to your Kickstarter page and use that link everywhere when referencing your project. Bitly provides great stats, including how many clicks your link gets and where they are coming from. This will help you when deciding where to spend most of your time promoting your project.
8. Engage on social media
Create your profile on the top networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest). Start building them before the campaign starts, so you will have a base of fans to engage with out of the gate. If you must wait for competitive or other reasons until you launch, at least be ready to quickly set up your profiles with the proper information, links and graphics.
Brainstorm contest ideas to increase your engagement, with winners getting your product or some type of free swag.
9. Utilize updates and your backers
Create periodic updates. You will not get a list of emails when someone backs your project, so you have to rely on updates to communicate with them. Write updates when you hit benchmarks to thank your backers, and use them to relay new rewards and drive backers to your social networks.
Your backers already like your project, so hopefully they will be some of your biggest advocates. Ask them to help spread the word, whether through a Facebook share, a tweet or otherwise. Make it easier for them to share by including short pitches they can copy and paste on Twitter or Facebook.
10. Use press releases
At Enventys Partners, we have worked with many Kickstarter projects. One trend we have seen is that press releases will drive some of the best traffic to your campaign. Partner with a public relations agency that can write and distribute well-written press releases throughout your campaign.
Keep in mind that running a successful Kickstarter campaign is a 24×7 job with backers coming from all over the globe who will be asking questions. Prepare yourself for the journey mentally and follow these steps to increase your chances of a successful campaign.
Finally, think about hiring a digital marketing agency who specializes in crowdfunding with sites like Kickstarter so you can focus on building your company and delivering a top notch product to your backers while they take care of all your online marketing needs.