This is an article that has been written by my friend and contributor Kay Makishi who has recently launched her Kickstarter which has already raised $8500 USD in 48 hours.
These are the six tips she wants to share with you on how to create a Kickstarter that kicks ass and stays on track to hit its targets.
Have you ever wanted to start a business but don’t know where to begin? Crowdfunding is a great way to jump in. Kickstarter projects have raised over 3 billion US dollars with over 15 million backers. But organizing a Kickstarter is no small feat. Here are some steps I took to launch my Kickstarter:
- Know Yourself
Before you start a Kickstarter, start with you. Ask yourself what your product is, why you want to introduce it to the world, and why Kickstarter. You get what you put in and you’ll need energy to power through the planning and execution process. Knowing your why will help motivate you to keep going. For me, my company is about building a community and culture. Kickstarter’s values of community building aligned with mine so it felt right to launch this way which motivated my planning process. It’s also a great platform to validate your ideas and product. So if anything, look at Kickstarter as one step in your market research.
2. Analyze top projects
There’s a search function on Kickstarter to view the “most funded” projects. Search for the top 10 funded projects in your product category. Watch their videos to gain insight on what made their campaign a success. If you want to go a step further, create a list of these projects in an excel sheet and separate columns for what each project’s funding goal was, actual amount raised, and how many backers they had. With this, figure out the average Kickstarter funding amount for your product category and use that to guide your Kickstarter pledge pricing. Of course, you’ll have to consider your production costs, but this will give you insight for what typical Kickstarter backers are willing to spend in your product category. Ask friends too! You can also create columns with pros/cons, and take note of what you liked about other Kickstarter projects (including backer rewards) to help you create your own. Speaking of which…
3. Create multiple backer rewards
According to Kickstarter,$25 is the most common pledge amount. If you can offer your product at that level, great! If not, get creative and try to offer something digital. (If it’s digital, that’s one less thing you have to ship which will help you figure out logistics!) To brainstorm, create a mindmap of you and your product. Start jotting down different keywords that pop up associated with your product. For example, in my case, I couldn’t offer my product at $25 simply because that wouldn’t even cover production costs. But, my product is very convenient for travel so I created a personally-curated digital travel-photo guide. What scenarios can your product be used for?
4. Make a great video.
This is key! Here is the Kickstarter video outline I used. Draft your video script first so you can be efficient filming. General consensus says to keep your video between 2:30 and 5:00 minutes long. The shorter the better since people’s attention spans are short. Record your voice and time yourself multiple times to strike the right tone. Here’s a free, but high-quality voice recording app. Don’t forget about picking the right music too. Check this site out for curated royalty-free music. Don’t have video-making skills? Ask friends to help. If that doesn’t work, attend local meetups or videography-related public events. Startup communities are great because everyone usually gets the journey and are supportive. So, get yourself out there!
5. Draft page assets in Word or Google docs
Outline your entire Kickstarter page in Word or gdocs first. The Kickstarter text editor is very limited. For example, you can’t drag and reorder photos you upload to your Kickstarter page. If you want to move the placement of a photo, you have to delete then re-upload it. There’s also padded spacing between photos and text. So if you want a cohesive-looking page for consistency and styling, create one file on InDesign or Photoshop with all your page assets (photos, texts, and headlines) and upload that to your Kickstarter page. If you don’t have InDesign or Photoshop, create headlines e.g. “Introducing (your product name)” in Keynote, Paint, or Word. Then save it as a JPEG, and upload that to your Kickstarter page. This way you can control your brand font and style.
6. Share the journey
Starting anything is a roller coaster and not all of it is pretty. Be open and share that with your friends. Let them know that you are working passionately to accomplish your dreams. It’ll inspire them and help you garner support. Win-win. Do a countdown on social media e.g. “20 days until xxx Kickstarter” so people know about your campaign weeks in advance of launching it. Create a video post on social media to rally support and brand ambassadors that’ll help share your campaign with their communities. This way, when launch day comes there’s momentum already built up and your community is excited with you!
Okay, now, it’s your turn!
If you want to support Kay’s campaign you can check out her campaign here.