Planning a Successful Kickstarter or Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding may seem like a great idea to turn your innovative product idea into a reality, but developing and launching a successful campaign is no easy feat. So, how can you set yourself up for success when it comes to launching a crowdfunding campaign on a site like Kickstarter? Be sure to check out the following 10 tips.

1.     Do your homework. Crowdfunding to make your idea reality should never be the first step — it should always be one of the last. You need to put a lot of time and effort into your idea well before your launch, including testing and refining it. Ideally, you should have an ecommerce site, a supply chain and distribution network, and a way to handle warehousing and fulfillment. The more ducks you have in a row before you launch the campaign, the less stress you will have during and after your campaign.

“You need to do your homework,” John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen, an entrepreneur who raised over half a million dollars for a wireless portable speaker on Kickstarter, told Forbes. “Once my partner and I had a design we liked, we submitted it to some design blogs. The response was very positive, with people asking how they could buy it, and all we had at that point was a rendering. We made our first prototype with a trip to the hardware store. It took us a year of looking in the U.S. and Asia to find the right manufacturer. But by the time we launched on Kickstarter, we were literally ready to begin production if we got the funds.”

2.     Take the time to craft an eye-catching title. The title is often the first element of your campaign that potential backers will come into contact with. Your title should be creative, specific, and memorable. It should clearly convey the relevancy of your campaign, and it should ideally incorporate some kind of brief call to action. Remember, many people may encounter your campaign on social media sites or via email if your supporters post a link to your campaign on Facebook or Twitter or email your campaign on to their friends and family. You want your campaign title to stand out and grab their attention.

3.     Tell a compelling story. Your campaign’s description is a crucial element, and you should use it to narrate a compelling story. Be honest, authentic, and transparent. Make sure the who, the what, and the why of your campaign are explained in the first two to three sentences of the description. With your description, you need to capture people’s attention, and you need to do so quickly.

4.     Try to keep your campaign less than 30 days. Kickstarter specifically will let you set the duration of your funding round anywhere between 1 and 60 days, and other platforms have open-ended funding durations. However, as a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to try to limit your campaign to 30 days or less. Ultimately, a longer campaign doesn’t necessarily mean that people will give more, and a shorter campaign can set a tone of confidence and help convince potential backers to give.  

5.     Reach out to potential supporters before the launch. In order to maximize your shot at success, try to avoid a cold launch. Instead, it’s important to generate hype around your campaign before you actually launch it. “Reach out to friends, family, relatives, co-workers, ex-boyfriends, acquaintances etc., basically anyone you think would be interested and/or supportive in your project to drum up pre-launch buzz,” Laura Entis reported in Entrepreneur.  “Once the funding window opens, it’s important to reach the 20 percent benchmark as soon as possible. That percentage, according to Kickstarter, is a crucial tipping point — while 10 percent of projects never receive a single pledge, 80 percent of projects that manage to raise more than 20 percent of their goal end up being successful.”

6.     Send out individual messages to potential backers. It is never advisable to send out the same message to all potential backers. Instead, break potential funders down into subgroups and highlight specific aspects of the project you think might appeal to them individually. After all, your older, more conservative grandparents probably won’t react to the call to action that your 20-something friends might. To boost your shot at getting donations, your best bet is to customize your message.

7.     Make a budget and include it on your campaign page. A key component of every successful crowdfunding campaign is successfully communicating all the relevant details of your idea to potential funders. Financial details are among the most important of those details. When people are writing you a check for your idea, they want to have a good idea of where their money is going and how it will be used. In other words, they want assurance that their money won’t be wasted. A budget shows backers that you’ve done their homework, and it provides them with some degree of confidence that their money will be well spent.

8.     Invest in great images. From beautiful product photos to high-quality graphics to a professional and compelling brand logo, every successful crowdfunding campaign has great images. Great visual content is a surefire way to capture people’s attention, and it will help you get more shares on social media.

9.     Leverage the power of video to tell your story effectively. Campaigns with video consistently do better than those that do not. “Video is a powerful way to tell your story. The extent to which a video can improve your chances of a successful raise through crowdfunding isn’t a hard number, but it does improve the odds,” Geri Stengel, president of Ventureneer, explained in Forbes. “First and foremost, a video is a chance to tell your story and convey your grand plan. It lets you show why you started this venture and who is behind the company.  A good video makes your heart race and shows the fire in the belly of the entrepreneur and her passion to succeed.” It can also be a great way to engage people in what a cool product idea you have and allow them to picture how they might utilize it in their own life. Make the most of the moment.

However, it is important to keep in mind that you don’t need to blow the budget on video in order to tell your story effectively. You don’t need to invest in special effects or cool features or make a feature film. Your video can be short, simple, and to the point, but you do need to ensure that it tells a clear and compelling story.  

10.  Communicate often. Make sure to update your followers regularly. You will want to be doing an update at a bare minimum of every few days, though ideally, you should stick to the pace of one per day. In order to adhere to this schedule, you need to develop a bank of catchy content well before you launch so you have interesting bits to share with your following.

In conclusion, you can set yourself up for a successful crowdfunding campaign. All it takes are great content, a compelling story, strategic decision making, and, most importantly, a lot of hard work and sweat equity. Need help formulating your strategy, content and visuals? Contact 10twelve to discuss your crowdfunding campaign.