You’ve just had your Eureka moment. You check your bank account and realize that you don’t even have enough to buy a new shirt, let alone fund an idea. Or you just need a lot more to fund your idea. What do you do?
Well, you head over to Kickstarter and put your idea out for others to back and fund. Launched in 2009, Kickstarter has helped hundreds of innovators and entrepreneurs raise millions of dollars.
But why would someone invest in your idea? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of running a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring your ideas to life.
1- Have a Fundable Idea
Let’s be honest here: not every idea is worth funding. No matter how cool something sounds or seems in your head, it might not make much sense on paper.
Thus, you have to ensure that your campaign is reliable, legit, and profitable. If you have any doubts about your idea, either remove them or think of a new plan.
The idea must be worth selling. For that, you must have a story that people can relate to. A story that compels them to invest in whatever you’re proposing.
On the contrary, a Kickstarter campaign, like Exploding Kittens, raising $10,000 for a card game is bound to succeed. More people can afford it, and it’s something relatable for almost everyone. Exploding Kittens exceeded the $10,000 goal in just eight minutes.
Created by Elan Lee, the card game has the tagline ‘for people who are into kittens and explosion.’ It might sound crazy, but it’s the kind of crazy that wants you to explore more.
Your idea doesn’t necessarily have to be something revolutionary, such as a new gadget or device. Any Kickstarter crowdfunding, from card games to a potato salad, can be successful if done right.
2- Set Your Funding Goal
Your funding goal is the amount of money you expect to raise from the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. It might seem like an easy task, but you’d most likely be divided on a specific goal.
Know the Kickstarter Funding Model
Keep in mind that Kickstart has an All-or-Nothing model. You only get the funding if you’ve reached your goal. For example, if your goal is $100, the pledges can only be redeemed if you’ve collected $100.
Of course, you can exceed the goal and get $1000. But if you even make a dollar less than the expected amount, you won’t get a cent of the pledges.
Determine the Total Cost
To set a goal amount, you have to determine the total cost of your project. This includes the cost of:
- Starting the project
- Further advancements
- Fulfilling rewards
Calculate the approximate amount of money you need for all these things, and that should give you an idea of where to set your goal at.
3- Drive Your Project
You cannot completely rely on Kickstarter to make your campaign successful. Instead, you have to be the driving force behind the projects. The recipe for a successful Kickstarter campaign includes your story, face, and passion.
The creators of Exploding Kittens used their star power to gain quick funding and attract people.
When people know there’s a genuine person behind a certain Kickstarter crowdfunding project, they’re more likely to back it. Now, not everyone has a huge YouTube or social media following. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use yourself as the driver of a campaign.
Make the perfect Kickstarter video to gain the contributors’ attention. Being on camera might be intimidating for some people, but you’ve got to take the leap for your project. Keep the video concise, but informative.
Let people know about your story. People need to know that you’re passionate about a project. No one wants to spend their money on a lost cause.If you’re only half-heartedly promoting your project, no one will put their trust or money in it.
An incredible example in this regard is the Potato Salad guy, Zack Braff. Imagine this: the guy had a goal of $10 and managed to get a funding of $55,492.
If you think that’s huge, his publicity rose to a point where he was a guest on Good Morning America and Good Day Columbus. So, what’s the secret behind this successful Kickstarter campaign?
From marketing to supporting backers, Braff did everything that’s needed to boost the Kickstarter campaign. Most importantly, he drove the campaign and did not let his passion decline every after the funds had been collected.
4- Update Your Backers
One of the best things Braff did was updating his backers with everything going on in his business. He’d say the backers’ names out loud while preparing the potato salad. As crazy as it sounds, it gives people a sense of involvement and increases their trust in your idea.
Then, he sold t-shirts saying ‘I Just Backed Potato Salad.’ As the money went to local charities, many people bought the t-shirts, and the support for potato salad spiked through the roof.
When you get funding for a project, make sure to keep your backers in the loop.
Along with ensuring future support from the same people, this is also an act of goodwill for the backers. Post updates about your project so that people know their money is being used for the right reasons.
Also, share your progress with them and keep them a part of every step along the way.
Be prompt in replying to messages and comments from your backers. Let them know what’s going on and satisfy them with constant progress updates.
Kickstarter crowdfunding is mainly dependent on word of mouth. If a backer feels that you’re open and sincere, they’ll tell friends and colleagues about your idea. As a result, the funding increases as do the supporters.
5- Get a Kickstarter Crowdfunding Automation Tool
Kickstarter is a stellar platform to get funding for your idea, but it requires a lot of your time. From giving rewards to managing the crowdfunding campaign, doing everything manually takes up a lot of time.
Instead, if you invest in a reliable crowdfunding tool, you’ll have more time to develop your project and improve it.
Just Early Bird is a crowdfunding automation tool with seamless Kickstarter integration that incorporates an automated approach in your campaign. It creates urgency by limiting stock quantities on perks, which really helps to increase your number of backers!
On average, a crowdfunding campaign lasts for up to 45 days. That’s 45 days of you sitting with your computer, updating stock levels, and rewards every day. If you slack even for a day, you’re at risk of losing conversions. Why put yourself through so much hassle and stress when a tool can take care of all these things?
When you shift from manual to automated crowdfunding, campaign optimization improves, boosting the funding process.
Just Early Bird has a simple design that’s easy to navigate. You can add the tool to your campaign draft and control it for the duration of the project.
6- Manage your Stocks
However you want to showcase your stocks, low or high, is a personal preference. Some people use the principles of scarcity to trick backers into believing that they need to act fast to attain the product.
Alternatively, you can keep your stock count high, allowing more people to back you up.
Manual managing for Kickstarter crowdfunding takes up most of your time. On the other hand, automated tools like Just Early Bird can relieve you of the stock managing duty.
Owing to the advanced customization options, Just Early Bird lets you select your stock’s lowest limit. Moreover, you can choose how much more to add once the stocks have reached the lowest threshold.
As it lets you set the stock limits of your preference, the tool liberates you to show low stock count.
By doing so, you make the audience believe that there are only a few units left, and they need to invest instantly to get their hands on the product.
All you have to do is set the limits, and the software will do the rest.
Even if you’re strictly following the campaign, you won’t be able to keep a minute-by-minute tab on it. Instead, let Just Early Bird take control of the campaign as it automates every 60 seconds, ensuring sufficient stocks.
7- Reward the Backers
One of the best ways to boost the Kickstarter campaign is by offering rewards. Don’t think of Kickstarter to get donations; it’s a platform for doing business and selling your ideas.
Take the example of Font Awesome, a company that used Kickstarter for raising funds to update its already-established open-source software. As a reward, the company offered the Pro version to every backer giving more than $20.
Even if you can’t upsell a product or software, there are other ways to reward your backers. For instance, you can give mugs and t-shirts to backers pledging a certain amount.
Doing this gives people a reason to give money for your idea. Also, it’s a great way to advertise your business.
Depending on how big or small your service is, you can make the rewards as interesting and attractive as possible. CJ Pony Parts, a part supplier company, offered a day of riding the new 2015 Mustang for major backers.
When people have incentives like this, they’re more likely to spend their money on your campaign.
Make sure that your rewards are realistic and attainable. Don’t give a $10 dollar mug with $3 shipping to people pledging $15. Keep the rewards reasonable for yourself and the backer.
You can make your job easier by using Just Early Bird to manage rewards. Using the Kickstarter automation tool, you can keep the rewards lower, letting people think they need to donate quickly to be a part of the campaign.
Updating rewards is possibly the most tiresome manual exercise during your Kickstarter campaign. Let go of the burden by using Just Early Bird and spend that extra time enhancing your idea and replying to backers’ messages.
Pricing the Reward
While $25 is a standard pledge amount, not everyone is going to be spending that much on your business. Even if your final goal is $50,000, make sure that you reward people pledging under $20.
If you cater to low-pledging contributors too, your chances of succeeding are higher. For example, you can give the backers your product for a lesser price. If your product’s planned retail price is $50, reward the backers by giving them the product for free for just pledging $40.
When keeping a final reward price point, factor the shipping costs too. Some of your backers may live outside the US, and shipping costs will be higher for them.
Don’t set your reward price so high that you have to throw in money yourself to fulfill it.
Types of Rewards
Depending on your campaign, you can set any reward for the backers. It’s a tricky yet important step that requires you to get creative.
If your campaign is collecting money for a children’s book, you can reward contributors by including them in the visuals. Or, simply name the characters after them.
If you’re making a film with a famous social media star, the reward could be a meet-up with the star for the highest contributors. Or, backers could be invited for a day on set.
The sky is the limit when it comes to Kickstarter rewards.
If your campaign is travel-based, you can send polaroids as rewards to the backers. Or, they can get a souvenir from the travel destination.
The simplest way to reward the backers is by giving them printed caps, mugs, t-shirts, or other trinkets. These things create a sense of community among the contributors and make them feel relevant to the project.
8- Meet Deadlines
While novelties like t-shirts and posters keep supporters on track, it’s your progress that they’re most interested in. Since people are investing in your idea, they want to make sure that you’re taking it forward. So, set deadlines for your project and meet them.
When people see that their money is being used for fostering a project, their trust gets stronger. Moreover, it lets potential backers see that your head is in the game and invest in your idea.
When setting deadlines, make sure you can reach them. Don’t create unrealistic expectations. Firstly, it will keep you behind schedule as you’ll still be struggling to meet the first deadline, with the second one approaching quickly.
Secondly, it creates mistrust among contributors. They’ll be reluctant to support you again if they know that you failed to meet the deadlines the last time.
9- Reach Out
Most people consider reaching out as pitching their idea to the relevant community only. While this is the most obvious approach, there are other ways to get support.
For example, MoS reached out to 150 fashion and aeronautical blogs to feature their Apollo Shirt. The shirt regulates body temperature and odor, as it’s made from the material NASA uses for making spacesuits.
Although their initial goal was $30,000, the campaigners collected $429,276 overall and reached their target in just five days.
The campaign was so successful that Forbes featured it later on. Thus, the takeaway message is to talk to everyone you possibly can.
For example, if you’re launching a gadget, your ideal audience would be tech blogs and websites. But you can increase your reach by getting gamers, young bloggers, and individual tech enthusiasts involved.
The more people you pitch to, the higher your chances of reaching the monetary goal.
Write Personalized Messages
When marketing your product or service, avoid sending mass messages. If you send the same message to everyone, it’s likely that you won’t end up meeting their needs.
Have a set of emails before launching your project and tweaks them accordingly, making them suitable for each receiver. If people feel that you’re the right business match for them, they’ll contribute to your future projects.
Many campaigners return to Kickstarter to collect money to update their software or make a sequel to their movie. It’s easier the second time if they’ve done it right the first time.
Keep It Mutually Beneficial
Whatever you offer to the receiver in the email, it must be mutually beneficial.
For example, if you’re launching a skincare line and reaching out to beauty bloggers, there must be something for them too. You can promise them free products from each collection you make in the future. Or, hire them as brand ambassadors once you’re up and running.
Creating a successful Kickstarter campaign isn’t an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. You have to be fully invested in the project from the first day.
If it gets too much for you, automate your campaign using Just Early Bird to relieve yourself of some burden. If you manage to boost the Kickstarter campaign and give it a promising start, things will get easier from them onwards.
Use this step-by-step guide to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign and put your ideas into action.