Let’s face it, times are tough for entrepreneurs. Many startups and projects fail due to a lack of funding. However, what if you could put your project, idea or invention online and have people fund your campaign via pre-orders? This day and age, it’s entirely possible.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that makes it relatively easy to raise money for creative projects. Anyone with a good idea—from a board game to eco-friendly apparel to the next smart watch—can build a campaign and raise funds to make it a reality on Kickstarter.
We say “relatively easy,” because the reality is that a lot of time and energy go into preparing, creating, maintaining and managing a Kickstarter campaign. There are certain essential steps you need to take as a project creator to improve your chances of success on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
The following 10 tips will help you get the most out of your Kickstarter campaign.
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 actually cost to make your project?
This will help when coming up with rewards. Don’t forget to research domestic and international shipping costs, too.
What is the minimum amount of funding you need?
Remember, Kickstarter is all or nothing, meaning if you don’t reach your funding goal, you don’t get any money. If your goal is set too high, you risk not hitting your goal and won’t get any money, but if it is set too low, you may not be able to actually fulfill your obligations to backers.
How many days do you want to run the campaign?
Campaigns can last anywhere from one day to 60 days. Longer campaigns do not guarantee success as you have more than likely exhausted your resources by the time the project wraps up. On the other hand, campaigns under 30 days risk not getting enough exposure and may result in less funding.
Are there already similar projects to what you are considering?
If so, maybe you should wait until their campaign(s) end and see how they perform. It doesn’t make sense to have a $70,000 goal for a pair of shoes if you know the highest funded shoe only raised $50,000. Likewise, just because something similar raised a ton of money won’t translate into instant success for your project.
2. Spread the news about your upcoming launch
It’s important to tease your upcoming launch. We suggest creating a landing page where you can drive traffic to and collect email addresses. If you have an existing website, we suggest adding a banner at the top of your homepage with a call to action to sign up to learn more about your upcoming launch.
These leads should be nurtured leading up to launch day with about one email a week. These emails should educate subscribers on your product, tell them why they need your product, explain how Kickstarter works and inform them of when you’re launching your project.
During this pre-launch phase we also suggest building up your social presence and starting a Facebook Advertising campaign to ultimately collect more email addresses leading up to launch. The more informed subscribers are about your product and upcoming launch, the more likely they are to convert into actual backers once your project is live.
3. Email existing and new contacts
Everyone knows someone who knows someone. Email marketing is a great way to tease your upcoming launch to new and existing contacts who have shown interest in your product.
When it comes to email marketing, the main goal is to get subscribers on board with your project and have them ready to spread the word. Don’t stop emailing your lists once you’re live! Be sure to email your contacts with important campaign milestones too. After all, you never know who may be on the fence about backing until you’re fully funded.
As an extra helpful tip, be mindful during your campaign to not bombard your family, friends and other subscribers incessantly about your project. This typically leads to a large number of unsubscribes.
4. 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 scroll further to learn more. Make sure your video is easily understandable and gets across the point of your project. The data we’ve compiled shows that the best performing projects have a 35%+ video completion rate. So, try to shoot for two minutes or less as longer videos tend to have a lower video completion rate. There’s also a correlation between a high video completion rate and overall funding, so make sure you have a compelling video that really hooks viewers.
Above all else, have fun and tell a great story. Stories sell!
5. Create an easy-to-read Kickstarter page
Digital content should be written for those who skim. By doing that, you’re making your content more digestible and easier to understand. Try separating your content with pictures, breaking up sections with compelling headlines and using GIFs when possible. Things like this will make your content easier to read. Campaigns should be very visual and get the point across without using too much content. Give as many details as you need to, but be ruthless in paring it down to the essentials.
6. Make sure your rewards are easy to understand
Keep your reward descriptions short and to the point. Let people know what they are getting, how much they’re saving and when they will be getting them. If they get to choose colors, styles, sizes, etc., make sure they know how and when they’ll be able to give their preference.
Don’t over do your rewards. A campaign with 20 rewards rarely works. Depending on your project’s price point, come up with eight rewards. This will also give you a chance to introduce new rewards, like flash sales, during your campaign.
7. Include multiple images
Showing high resolution, high-quality images will serve you wonders in the long run. Use these photos for your social networks, advertising efforts, 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).
8. Create a Bitly link
Use Bitly to shorten your Kickstarter page URL 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 information will help you decide where to spend the most time promoting your project.
9. Engage on social media
Create your profile on the top networks (e.g., Facebook and Instagram). As mentioned previously, 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 hold off on creating these profiles for competitive or other reasons until you launch, at least be ready to quickly set up your pages with the proper information, links and graphics. Once you launch, don’t forget to include a link to your campaign.
As you work on building your social presence, we suggest starting a Facebook Advertising campaign to build an audience base, help build your email list and begin building a buzz around the upcoming launch. Once your project is live, consider the copy, images and audiences that had the most engagement during pre-launch and adjust your ads accordingly to announce your Kickstarter project. For more information on Facebook Advertising, click here.
Also, consider choosing a day and time to host a Facebook Live event about one week after launching on Kickstarter. This is a great way to engage with followers, demo your product and answer any questions in real-time.
10. Utilize updates and your backers
Create periodic updates on Kickstarter or Indiegogo to send to your backers. Write updates when you hit benchmarks to thank your backers, and use them to relay new stretch goal 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 messages they can copy and paste to share on Twitter or Facebook.
Finally, think about hiring a digital marketing agency who specializes in crowdfunding with sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo 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. To request a quote or learn more, get in touch today.
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