How to Run a Successful Kickstarter: Idea to Funding

If you’re trying to get a business off the ground, I could list few places better than Kickstarter to start off, other than your really generous friend’s trust fund. Not everyone is that lucky, though, so most people with either a product or service to sell has to start somewhere small. There’s no shame in that small start being in crowdfunding.

Kickstarter, and similar services such as Indygogo, often get a bad rap because of the success rate of projects put up on those sites. The average percentage of crowdfunding projects that fail hovers around the 50% mark, much higher than you as a business owner would want it to be. Why do Kickstarters fail? Other than the amount of just plain laughable projects up for funding, what many folks don’t realize that there’s a pretty specific formula you have to follow to rise to the top of Kickstarter. The formula isn’t so much rigid as it is moldable to your own needs, but it does include a few key aspects, of which we’ll discuss today.

Building up Your Audience

Before you even touch Kickstarter, the first essential step is to build up your audience. I can’t stress this enough. Kickstarter gives you a limited time frame to get funded, so why not get ahead of the game and start building hype for your project? Figure out what your niche is, and find bloggers who are in the same demographic you’re trying to target. Connecting with these bloggers is an art in itself, and Alex over at Groove wrote a great post explaining how to successfully build relationships with bloggers and other influential people in your niche. To put a long story short, don’t be too pushy in your engagements, focus on building a real relationship, and make sure you can help them too. No one wants to give you free help, so contribute to conversations on their blog, offer them constructive criticism, and be the least pushy as you can be. Think of it as speed dating, but instead of a hot date, you’re looking for backers.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Again.

Again, here we’re using time to your advantage. Instead of trying to complete everything within a month, make sure you have as much planned as you can beforehand, sometimes even months before you start your campaign. Devise a marketing plan in advance, and schedule every milestone you plan on hitting. Use tools such as Hootsuite to schedule regular social media posts so that’s one less thing you have to worry about it. From a marketing standpoint, you should treat it as if it’s already a business. If you’re that serious about it, you’ll have a higher chance of it actually becoming one. Some things to take into consideration while planning:

  • Consider tacking your project onto an already existing cause, increasing your audience and giving your project a more official background.
  • Keep your backers engaged. No one wants a stale project. Add things regularly, such as T Shirts, stickers, etc. Anything to keep people happy so they bring on more backers.
  • Keep consistent with your promotion. Don’t start the project and let it go dormant. As stated before, this should be treated like it already is a business.

Look As Professional As Possible

This could be the hardest aspect of running a successful Kickstarter, and is entirely dependant on how creative you are or how large your budget is. Unless you have the next innovation as big as the light bulb on your hands, chances are people are just going to skip over your project with a mediocre video and zero graphics. For example, would you pass over a Kickstarter that offered a new type of screw? Unless you’re a contractor, I bet you said yes there. Now, how about after seeing this video?

I’ve never wanted a screw so badly in my life. Now, that video was obviously professionally done, but the point still stands: professionalism is key. Humor is key. Branding is key. Making your project stand out above the other-guy-doing-the-same-thing is key. So, do what you need to do. If that means hiring someone to handle the creative aspect, it might be what you need.

If you keep these three steps in mind, I can’t guarantee that your project gets funded. You will, however, have a much better chance and will learn some things about running a business along the way. Happy crowdfunding!

Looking for assistance getting your idea off the ground with a Kickstarter? Give us a call at 504-521-6222 and we’ll work together to make your crowdfunding campaign a success!