Wednesday, March 6, 2013

25 Tips for Starting a Kickstarter

Advice to Keep in Mind when Using Kickstarter to Crowd Fund Your Project

These tips for for those who are interesting in starting their own project on and are searching online for how to make their campaign successful. While this is a good start, make sure you do your research and take in as much as you can before you start your own project. Crowd funding can be a blessing, but can quickly turn into a nightmare if you're not prepared. Keep these simple tips in mind to avoid common mistakes and make your campaign a successful one!

1. Filling pledge level rewards can take a lot of time and effort, so don't promise to send them out as soon as the campaign ends. As long as you let them know ahead of time, backers will be more than willing to wait to get their rewards. Think, people will be happier if you deliver things earlier than expected than ship them out late.

2. In regards to the your production after your Kickstarter campaign is successful, no matter how carefully you plan, something always manages to go wrong. Figure out how long you expect production to take, then double it. Give yourself time to breath and be prepared for mistakes, delays and set backs.

3. Update your project frequently. Reply to comments, post updates and revise the description often to let potential backers know you are involved with your campaign. If you launch a campaign and leave it until the last day, don't be surprised when you don't have enough backers.

4. Get a video together for your campaign. A video is more engaging than just a photo and description, plus it gets your message across better. Even a short video shot with a cellphone or web cam it can be better than nothing.

5. Double check your content before posting it. It doesn't have to be a full production, but check to make sure your audio/video qualities are as good as they can be. All voices should be clear and easy to understand and your images should be focused.

6. Keep your video short and sweet and to the point. Start with an introduction of yourself and your team, give your elevator pitch, then go into more detail. Talk about rewards and what this project means to you. Being personal, friendly and humorous, (if it fits with your project style), can go a long ways!
7. Be mindful of a pledge level reward's total cost. Factor in cost of the item, shipping materials, shipping, your time, etc. or else risk losing more money filling pledges than your project can afford! Find out the exact cost for shipping a product and don't forget to look at the cost for international shipping either!

8. Give backers a chance to have some input whenever you can! Giving supporters a chance to participate and shape your project gets them involved and connected. Whether it be naming something in the final project or just giving feedback in a survey, give them a chance to share with you!

9. Put limited numbers on specific reward levels. You can make pledge levels limited to one or one thousand but setting a limit gives urgency to backers and keeps the number of rewards to fill manageable. You can add new pledge levels later on as needed, though be sure to not miss out on potential backers because all your pledge levels fill up.
10. Long or short campaign? Regardless, be sure to get the word out or it won't matter. Let people know about your Kickstarter project campaign before you launch! And once you do start your campaign keep letting them know about it!

11. Look up sites, blogs and other online communities that would be interested in your project ahead of time. These sites can help spread the word about your project so make a list and contact them about what you're doing with your campaign ahead of time. If you can build up connections up before you launch, even better!

12. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid! Biting off more than you can chew will be worse than if you keep your promises grounded and deliver more! If it's your first time doing something, seek someone who can guide you through the process.

13. Research other Kickstarter projects currently campaigning before you start yours! See how they set their campaign up and pay attention to what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. If a project is ending unsuccessfully soon, try to figure out why that is.

14. Higher level rewards don't have to just pile more items on! Giving early access, signed copies, or online downloads can add value to rewards without breaking the bank for you and your Kickstarter project! Lanyards and t-shirts can be nice but might not be as sought after as a phone call from the director.

15. Whenever you can, take the time to personally message people about your project. Mass copy/paste messages can be quick but often are impersonal and ignored like so much spam mail. Set aside some time and give a personal touch when reaching out to people for support for your project. Show that you care about them so that they will care about your project.

16. Getting a Kickstarter project green lighted takes anywhere from 2 days to over a week. Have your time plan accordingly with room for the delay as you wait for your project to be OKed.

17. Budget in the and service fees to your total campaign fund goal.Together they equal about 10% from the total funds, so aim to raise a little higher than your original goal.

18. Post updates when you have news but don't overload backers with too many posts. You should post no more than once a day, so either condense your updates or wait until the next day to post new news. On the other end, you should not go more than four days without posting a new update. Remember, updates go to your backer's email as well as show up on your project page. Use updates as a way to keep people informed and interested as time goes on.

19. These days there are a lot of Kickstarter campaigns vying for the attention of websites, and saying, "I have a project, feature me!!" is often not enough to get posted. What makes your project unique, and relevant to a website? What makes your project worth their time and bandwidth? Try to pitch the best angle when contacting a website to get them interested in posting about your project.

20. Create a sense of urgency by setting your campaign shorter than longer. Between thirty and forty are ideal for a Kickstarter campaign. Sixty days is so long you risk losing interest as your campaign drags on over two months while twenty one days is only three weeks and will feel like it's over before you gather enough steam!

21. Back some other projects before launching your own. This shows your support of the Kickstarter community and also let's you know what it's like to be a backer. Get a feel for what works and what doesn't and apply it to your own!

22. Listen to your backers and shape your rewards to meet their feedback and interests. Some people really want t-shirts while others are fine with signed posters. Listen to your backers and get a feel for what gets them most excited about your project, why they are backing you and what will encourage them to support you even more!

23. Before launching your Kickstarter you may want to incorporate your More so for big campaigns as this can save a lot of trouble down the road in terms of taxes and legal issues.

24. Give your pledge levels names! This is useful for easy referencing and can also add more interest to reading through pledge levels. Instead of "Pledge Level $25," call it "Pledge Level Ninja" or "The Just Friends Pledge Level."

25. Last but not least, share your personal story and inspiration. If this project is important to you, let it be known and tell backers why this is something that needs to be made! Be honest and let them see what you see in your work. You're not selling a product in an infomercial, you're pitching an idea, recruiting supporters who believe it should be made just as much as you feel it should! Showing them your excitement is the first step in getting them excited about your project!

Well that's a start for you, so hopefully you've taken some notes and can apply these as needed to your own campaign. Check out @KickstartAdvice for daily advice for starting a Kickstarter and retweets for your project when you launch. Best of luck and stay tuned for more quick Kickstarter advice to come!