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Make your Kickstarter campaign a success
Whether you’re trying to raise the money to build an enormous robot that can juggle actual cars, or just rustle up the funds for a potato salad – crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have proved fertile grounds for creative minds.
But while ideas good and bad have captured the imagination of investors (and some of them are really quite bad), it will take more than a great concept to reach that all-important fundraising target. As crowdfunding fatigue becomes an increasingly common complaint, the campaign itself becomes just as important as your concept – in other words, you better get it right.
To help you do that – and under the tacit agreement that we’ll receive 10% of any billions you make – we’ve come up with this handy guide to help you kickstart your kickstarter, giving your idea or invention just the push it deserves. Just don’t let the success go to your head.
1) Ask for the right amount
When setting up your Kickstarter page you might be tempted to pluck a fundraising target out of thin air – something big and round – shall we call it $100,000? $500,000? Heck, what’s the difference?
There’s a huge difference! The general public may well be bowled over by the brilliance of your idea, but they’ll also want to know where their money is going. Don’t think about how much you want to raise, but how much you need – and make your budget transparent to help investors understand why you need their help. Conversely, if you set your goals too low and can’t deliver on what you’ve promised, expect to find an angry mob waiting for you at the end of your campaign. The 1,246 backers of gaming project The Doom That Came To Atlantic City can’t have been happy when the developers pulled out at the last hour, despite smashing its target by nearly $100,000.
2) Set a bold deadline
Show confidence in your idea by giving yourself a tight but achievable deadline. Stretching your campaign out over 3 months may seem like a sensible idea, but it also shows weakness and even your friends will get bored of hearing you bang the drum for 90 days. The average Kickstarter lasts around 30 days, which should be just long enough to sustain some goodwill.
3) Tell a good story
The most successful Kickstarter campaigns are selling more than an idea – they’re selling a story. Investors are more likely to buy into your campaign if they can buy into you, so make sure to inject plenty of personality into your pitch.
Want proof? Look no further than author Ann Aguirre, who asked for $90 to buy a hideous “unicorn hat” for the sole purpose of wearing it to book signings and events – she raised $521. Or how about Noboru Bitoy who had a Kickstarter success with an $8 chicken burrito, raising over $1,000 on the promise of creating a graph which charted its deliciousness. On a scale of “No” to “Wow”, Bitoy’s burrito scored a “Yum”.
4) Make a slick video pitch
As well as telling the right story, successful Kickstarters are generally the ones which look the part. There’s no better way of giving your campaign a professional sheen than leading with a slick, attention-grabbing video. Not only will this make your page instantly more sharable, it also gives you a better chance of being featured on the Kickstarter site – perhaps the fastest way of closing in on your crowdfunding goals.
Take the pitch for Double Fine Adventure game, for example (above), which appeals to its audience through humour and nostalgia – and the exciting promise that “if you back this Kickstarter project, you will be cool and everybody will like you”. Compare that to the video pitch for Twerk Island: A Real Contest Movie, which is essentially a picture, and yet asks for $1,000,000 from pledgers.
5) Offer the right rewards
Lastly, when all else fails – bribe your audience to donate by offering a wide range of rewards and treats. A well-designed T-shirt may be a good start for low-level backers, but more creative options can reap great rewards.
Don’t be afraid to get silly if it’s appropriate either – as even if nobody ends up pledging for a particular package, it could help your campaign go viral. Filmmaker Ze Frank, for instance, charged to Kickstarter success after one lucky backer took him up on a whimsical idea to the tune of $999 – “Send me your shoes and I will walk a mile in them and send you a video of the experience back”. We’re not saying it’s guaranteed to work, but we’re glad it did on this occasion. Here’s the resulting video;