Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter are fast becoming an important avenue for projects to get off the ground. More than a billion and a half dollars have been pledged on Kickstarter alone in the short time it has been around. Other sites have raised more than 12 million dollars for single projects.
Running a Kickstarter campaign is not dissimilar to a conventional marketing campaign. The main difference is that instead of a product you are selling an idea. Here we look at just a few of the factors that contribute to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Videos, descriptions and pitches should all be kept brief. You want backers to be able to understand your idea quickly and remember it easily.
It is important to have some kind of prototype or mock-up of your product. Seeing how it will work and what it can do makes it easier for funders to get behind it. You want to make it as easy as possible for backers to imagine themselves using your product.
It is easy to get caught up in the idea of promoting your own aspiration over the benefit your product has for potential customers. There are projects that have succeed more on personality than the product – but these are the exception. To stand the best chance, your campaign has to demonstrate why your customers want your product and how it will improve their lives.
If your product is most likely to be used at a particular time of year be sure your launch aligns with that. If you are building an app that makes it easier to file your taxes don’t wait until just after tax day to launch. Put it out there when people are most likely to be looking for help with the problem you solve.
Rewards need to be fair so that everyone can contribute according to their means. You might be tempted to make lower tiers unattractive to push people into higher tiers but you only end up cutting out large numbers of smaller backers who may make up the bulk of your funding.
The same goes for stretch goals. You have to be careful not to make stretch goals out of features that are integral to the product simply to try and push funding past your target. Ensure the core product is fully functional and your stretch goals only cover genuinely supplementary or cosmetic features.
Kickstarter is not the only crowdfunding platform out there and each has a different demographic that visits it. Some sites are more tech focused, some are more creative or novelty focused. Also, if your product is designed for a particular geographic market it might make sense to use a local platform. A little research into the optimal platform for your product can go a long way towards your success.
Many sites also provide users with a lot of historical funding data they can use to help plan out their campaign.
There are always opportunities to try again. Many projects succeed on their second or third attempt. As in any area of business, it is important to learn lessons from failure and apply those lessons to future efforts.
At the very least, crowdfunding offers a risk-free way to get publicity and community feedback on your idea.
Find out more about Kickstarter here.