In the first part of this series, we looked at whether Kickstarter was the right platform for you and whether your idea was something you’d be able to raise enough funds for. Now that you know your idea is a good fit, we'll look at how you gather support, design a campaign page, and successfully launch your project out into the world.
Build a following
Wait, isn’t the whole purpose of Kickstarter to find people that believe in your idea?
No. The purpose of Kickstarter is largely to turn existing believers into backers.
You need to start collecting believers long before your campaign is even on Kickstarter. Start by widening your small business’ social circle as much as possible. Social media can be a good indicator that you're growing, and can even be one of the metrics by which you measure your efforts’ effectiveness.
Research by Appsblogger into Kickstarter success found that for a typical $10K project, holding everything else constant, if the founder had 10 Facebook friends, they would only have a 9% chance of succeeding. For 100 Facebook friends, the chances jump to 20%, and if they have 1,000 Facebook friends, they had a 40% chance. The correlation, on that scale at least, is clear; each order of magnitude increase in social following doubles your chances of success.
The same logic can be applied to your own small business. How many Likes does your company Facebook page have? Would these loyal customers be interested in hearing about a new product? Can you mobilise them to back your campaign? Do you send out newsletters regularly? How can you grow the number of subscribers to this?
Gather traffic and influencers
To see what concrete interest you can gather, create a simple landing page on your website giving more details of your campaign including, what you’re developing, why, and what people can get out of backing you. Drive traffic to this page from your social media accounts or use targeted advertising, and then get the email addresses of anyone who wants to know more. Keep them updated as your campaign nears its launch and hopefully you can turn them into backers. If you have a budget for advertising on social media or with Google, you should seriously consider this as it could greatly increase your exposure and followers.
Influencers also have a big part to play. Dan Provost, of successful Kickstarter project Glif, explains that “[i]f you are looking to promote your project, it mostly likely falls into a niche category that is covered by an influential blogger. Seek them out.” This is especially true in niches like fitness, travel or food where influencers have a large following and are often asked for their opinions on products.
Design a great campaign
Once you have the right project and a passionate following, you need a killer Kickstarter page. Unless you’re a top writer, it pays to bring in professionals here. Freelance sites like Upwork even have ‘crowdfunding’ as a listed and searchable skill, and there are a host of writers, videographers, and graphic designers who can make your idea shine.
Of course, you’ll still have a lot input into the campaign’s content and style. Be sure to be relatable, tell a story, and sell your expertise and belief in what you’re aiming to do. And make sure to have a video! Appsblogger reports that “all else being equal, a project without a video only has a 15% chance of success, while a project with video has a 37% chance of success.”
Have a launch party!
This isn’t just a chance to celebrate all your hard work to get to this stage, though of course you deserve that too! Once your campaign is ready, having a launch party for your most dedicated supporters also lets you gather funding early through a ‘soft launch’. It helps create some on- and offline buzz for the campaign too.
Start your campaign on Kickstarter on a Friday, get the drinks in and the crowd round, and raise as many donations as you can there and then—be sure to have a tablet handy! That way, come your ‘hard launch’ on Monday of the following next week, when you tell your wider following you’re now open for donations, anyone visiting your page will already see a respectable level of support in place and be far more inclined to join in. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a party?
Best of luck with any Kickstarter projects in your future!