From the moment I was sent a link to a Kickstarter project (think it was TikTok) I knew I wanted to get involved with the platform and run my own project.
Note: This blog post isn’t a difinative guide as to how to run a successful Kickstarter project, but rather a few important points that are worth sharing.
Bit of background
A quick bit of background information on the product that I developed with my mate (now business partner) Chris Peters. It’s called the Opena Case and it’s an iPhone4/S protective hard case with a built in bottle opener (now selling at www.openacase.com). We started the project on 08/06/2011, we had a funding goal of $15,000 and we ran the project for 30 days. 30 days later we had successfully raised $28,303.00 thanks to our 578 absolutely awesome backers and it was heaps of fun!!
Select your idea/product carefully
When thinking of the idea, originally I wanted to make a product that fit the following criteria:
- Price point of around $50, people have less objections to buying products around this price point, but it also means the product can be good quality and perceived that way.
- Had to be a mailable item so that the distribution wouldn’t be too expensive or labour intensive.
- Wanted to piggyback off the back of another popular trend/product.
- Fill a niche that had little competition. Some competition shows that there is money in the niche already, where no competition may means there’s no money within the market.
- The manufacturing price must be reasonable, allow for marketing, packaging, discounting or wholesale pricing within each product. Depending on the industry, the wholesale price can be as low as 10% of the retail price.
- Get real world feedback. Sometime your friends may not be the best source, as they think they’re doing you a favour and being supportive when really they may be giving your bad info that your about to base a big decision on. Try asking strangers and if they say they like it ask them to buy it, this will give you real feedback. Definitely don’t ask your grandparent!
Spread the word early!!
I can’t stress this point enough, so I’ll say it again. SPREAD THE WORD EARLY!! Many people are so worried about sharing ideas, inventions or new products and their apprehension to do so eventually constrict and suffocates their idea so it never see the light of day. With the Opena we took the opposite approach and told everyone we could any way we could, we even ran a small Facebook ads campaign. The campaign meant by the time we launched we already had over 1,000 people following the progress of the product on our Facebook page (now has over 25,000 likes). Social media should be your best friend because its powerful and cheap!
This is important, as a rush of backers at the start of a project can help you move into the ‘popular’ section of the Kickstarter website where casual browsers will then be able to find you.
A longer time frame won’t necessarily help
Selecting a longer time frame doesn’t always mean you will have a better chance of funding. Creating a sense of urgency, like in any sales process, can be key to getting a potential backer to bite the bullet and back your project. Proof of this is that Kickstarter actually changed the maximum length of a project from 90 days to 60 days. I also remember reading that the highest percentage of successful projects fall within the 30 day timeline.
Offer rewards with value
Offer rewards with value so that backers feel they are getting a good deal for getting in early. If a reward is valued at $30 on Kickstarter let your backers know that the general public will be paying RRP$39.95 once the product is available after Kickstarter. Also offer your early followers from Twitter and Facebook an extra special price with a quantity-limited Earlybird offer (we offered 100 units at $25 and they all sold in 24hrs).
The backers on Kickstarter love the idea of Kickstarter so why not make an ‘exclusive to Kickstarter’ reward? Try something like a limited Kickstarter edition version of your idea or product and make them exclusive – for example, individually numbered and/or a unique colour or whatever you can come up with.
A mates rates package or a special price on 2 is also a great way to get backers to drag their friends into a higher value pledge.
Use a descriptive heading and thumbnail
It’s important to relies that when you’re involved with a project and you’ve been talking or writing about it for months/years it easy to accidentally presume that other understand you concept. This is why it’s critical to use a descriptive heading that explains your idea or product along with a descriptive thumbnail (a pictures worth a thousand words). You want potential backer that are browsing the 100’s and 1000’s of project by looking at the thumbnails to be engaged enough by your project through the thumbnail or description that they will click on it and watch your video. It doesn’t matter if you have the best video in the world if none gets to see it.
These rules should also be applied across social media platforms as the same principles apply.
Now the video is massively important and I could write about it for ages, there’s heaps better videos and more qualified people that you should listen too, so I’ll just mention some helpful hints.
- Make a video! This is always a good start and try do it in a place with heaps of light.
- Tell a story, make it personal it doesn’t need to be totally professional.
- Introduce yourself tell people who you are and where you come from.
- Ask for the viewers help and explain why you need it.
- Show your product/idea in action. This will give the viewer confidence.
- Introduce your rewards and the green button (funding button).
- Ask your viewers to share the project with their friends.
- Thanks for watching.
Self promote…. heaps
- Offer exclusive content
- Don’t just do a mass press release mail out, put some effort into the bigger blogs, try open up a conversation.
- Make it easy for the blogs to feature you, supply quality copy and images even include your Kickstarter video embed code.
- Try some cheeky things like getting your friends to all tweet or tip of blogs about your project.
- Don’t forget the mainstream media, try the short lead press like your local street press or newspapers, magazines often have too long a lead time for a Kickstarter project.
Post regular updates
The more content – be it text, images or video – that you can supply to your backers and followers through Kickstarter updates or social media, the more chance you have of them sharing the content with their social networks and in return wining over more backers for your project.
The last piece of advice I can offer is to just get involved and have a crack as it’s an awesome experience which really can be life changing, so I hope you were able to take a few good points from what I’ve mentioned here and I look forward to seeing your project on Kickstarter soon.
Also see some tips from my mate and business partner Chris Peters