24 Sep Top 10 Tips for Running a Successful Kickstarter Campaign
There are dozens of businesses and startups being started every day. If you are among those people who want to start a business and become successful, it seems that the ideal way to get started is to get funded by other people. Those people who would invest in your business and help you succeed would have to decide to give you money solely on the basis of your idea and product, and that’s essentially how Kickstarter works.
This might sound too good to be true, and in most cases it probably is. However, with a great Kickstarter campaign, you have better chances of succeeding and reaching your goal. There are hundreds of great campaigns on Kickstarter, and you will have to roll up your sleeves and put in some time and creativity into yours, but it’s not impossible. So, here are some useful tips for starting a successful Kickstarter campaign which will help you get your company off the ground.
1 – Your Idea Should Be Worth Selling
This may seem like an obvious advice to give, but you really have to make sure your product or service is worth selling before you start running a successful Kickstarter campaign. You really need to believe in your project and to know how to make compelling reasons why someone should buy your product in the first place, then you can know if you’re going to have backers at all.
Conduct a small experiment regarding your product. Gather your family members and some friends; let’s say around 20 people that you are going to sell your product to. If you can’t manage to convince them that they should buy your product, your idea is probably not that great and you need to work on it some more. If you can’t sell it to your close ones, there is a great chance that you won’t convince a wider audience to back your project on Kickstarter either. Also, apart from having a really useful product that is innovative and one that people can really find a use for, you should have a strong story that other people will want to participate in and help you realize your goals.
2 – Lower Your Expectations and Funding Goals
You may think that raising thousands of dollars on Kickstarter is easy. Yes, there are dozens of successful projects and some of them even reached the $1 million mark, but let’s be realistic.
There has been over 453,000 projects launched on Kickstarter from the day it was founded in 2009. Only 369 of them actually raised over $1 million. That means that only 1 out of every 1,250 projects or 0.08% raised a million. Furthermore, 63% of those 453,000 actually failed to reach their funding goal. So, the lesson here is that it’s really hard to raise a million on Kickstarter and that you should really lower expectations and your funding goals.
Why should you do it? Well, if your funding goal is too high and you don’t manage to reach it, you are not going to get a dime and the project will be a failure. Let’s see it in an example. Let’s say you consider raising $100,000 and consider it as a success. So, you make $100,000 your funding goal, makes sense, right? Well, you might be in the wrong. Even though you want $100,000, you would actually be profitable at $50,000. Also, if your public funding goal is 100k, and you don’t raise them all – say you raise $99,999, you won’t get any of the funds.
So, the best option here is to set your goal super low. Make it $10,000 for example and you will raise it. Plus, it will look great if you blow past your funding goal and backers will be confident the project will be fulfilling on their promise to deliver the rewards.
3 – Be in Contact with Your Backers
When you launch the campaign for your product, you can’t just disappear and expect people to keep backing you up. You need to show them that you’re present and to keep them updated on the campaign’s progress. So, make sure to post frequent updates and share your progress in order to show respect and give satisfaction to those who already helped you. Plus, it’s a great way to convince others to contribute as well. Make it clear that you care about your project and other people will care as well. Also, don’t forget to answer the comments posted by your backers and answer their questions or simply say thank you.
NOTE: Make sure not to over post, we have noticed that backers can drop off after seeing an update (this might remind them of their impulsive purchase which can result in them cancelling their pledge).
4 – Reward the Supporters
Rewards are another great way to show appreciation and respect to your backers. Luckily, Kickstarter lets you set up various rewards for various levels based on the amount of money a backer has invested to support you. So, when setting up rewards, think of the lowest level and the highest level of investment and get each backer an appropriate reward. So, for example for donations from $1 to $5 you can set up a reward in the form of a personal thank-you note, a thank you on your website, including the backer’s name in the credits and so on. For bigger donations, in return for being one of the first ones to get your product you would ask for an amount that depends on your costs and perceived value of your product. Be reasonable and give your first customers a big enough discount that shows how appreciative you are for their trust in you and your campaign, these are the individuals who are taking a risk without knowing much about you or whether you will be able to deliver or not.
5 – But Keep It Cool
Even though you should reward your backers, don’t push it too far and overcrowd your page with rewards. You want to keep your page as clean as possible, and you can easily add more rewards later, but you can’t delete them. Also, you want the rewards to be something that people are going to back – so consider the money rewards and they will pay off the most. That is why setting up different levels for different amounts of money people have backed you with is a great idea. This way, everyone is included and your page stays clean. Just make sure that the reward for those really serious backers is big enough and there will be no hurt feelings and everyone will be happy – you that your Kickstarter campaign was a success and backers that you’ve proven to be serious and that they got an appropriate reward.
6 – Set Some Deadlines
T-shirts and trinkets are a good reward, but if you show your supporters that you are meeting deadlines, that’s another great way to show appreciation and hand out rewards. They will be pleased to see that the project they are actually paying for is on track and that fosters more trust. And it shows the potential contributors that you are serious about getting this project done and about your business.
So, when setting up your Kickstarter campaign, make sure to set up some deadlines, but they should be reasonable and you have to be sure you can reach them. If you miss a deadline, you can only create a nagging feeling in the minds of your supporters and it could look like you’re not serious about the project or that you’re not going to finish it.
7 – Get the Video and Images Right
A successful Kickstarter campaign should have some great pictures in it. You can’t expect the backers to blindly invest in your product without even seeing how it looks like or what it does. So, before you start your Kickstarter campaign, make sure you have some HQ images of your product for display. Also, these pictures should be done as professionally as possible, so don’t just snap a few photos of the product with your smartphone. Get a real camera and have a little photoshoot for your product. It is also a good idea to edit the images a bit and add some text on them which will provide more info to your product. But don’t overdo it with the text, because you will have enough space for describing on the campaign’s page. You can even show your product in action and have someone use it while you take nice photos.
As far as videos are concerned, you should definitely include one in your campaign. Why? Well, a great video for a successful Kickstarter campaign does a couple of things. Firstly, it conveys a clear and essential message about the benefits and features of the product and goes over your idea and goal without spelling it out. However, don’t make the video too long. Even five minutes can be too much, so try to keep the video up to 3 minutes long and make sure to mention everything that is important and keep it to the point. Also, don’t forget to have a great script prepared, as well as top quality audio.
8 – Use an Eye-Catching Title
In order to get the clicks which can potentially lead to investments or sales, you need something to catch the eye of the potential backer. The best tool for that is the title of your Kickstarter campaign. Let’s see two examples:
“Wireless Headphones Built for The Modern Traveler” vs.
“The BEST Wireless Headphones Ever Made!”
Which one do you think is going to get more clicks? The second one, of course. Sometimes, even the corniest and the most clickbait-y titles are the way to go for your Kickstarter campaign. Such titles make people curious and they simply have to see what’s so great about those headphones that are the best in the entire world. So, when coming up with the title, be a bit corny and get those clicks.
9 – Launch the Project in a Popular Category
Part of knowing how to make a successful Kickstarter campaign is knowing in which category to put it. Three of the most popular categories so far include games, technology and design. These categories certainly get the most organic traffic and you want your Kickstarter campaign to fall into one of them. Even if your product is food-related, you can put it in the Product Design category and get those backers. What is more, it is allowed to switch categories as often as you wish, so you can start in one and then switch it to the other halfway through your campaign. If the switch is relevant then it will help you get more backers, so that’s a nice option to have.
10 – Facebook and Instagram Ads Matter
Yes, Facebook ads are really popular and they can really advertise you to the greater masses. Everyone uses Facebook and it’s a great chance that someone is going to find out about your product and Kickstarter campaign by scrolling through Facebook pages. You can set those up yourself if you’re competent enough, but if not, make sure to contact an agency because they can really set you up with some nice ads that will certainly drive traffic.
Additionally, don’t forget about Instagram. You can also pay for ads on Instagram and drive much more traffic to your campaign. More and more people prefer Instagram to Facebook nowadays, and you can even create a profile for your campaign and let people see what you’re up to through well-edited and informative posts and stories. This way, you can keep them in the loop and even stream live some big events and milestones.
Running a successful Kickstarter campaign is not an easy job. You really have to think through everything, including your very product and idea to the smallest details that will make people click on your project and convince them to invest. There will be risks and there will be plenty of work to do, but it’s not impossible. Just be realistic about your goals and everything will be great.
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