Strategies for Kickstarter Projects

“Getting nothing is a bit stifling.“ 
-Mitch

"We wasted a lot of time and almost did not make it.”  -Roger

"If you don’t know how to reach people, your campaign
will always fail, every time. “ -Ken

 

“It takes constant attention and management.”  
-Laurie

“People engaged but didn’t donate, and that is a tricky thing to deal with.”
- Josh

“It's important to ask for a realistic amount.  “ -Jia

Why do most kickstarter projects fail?

I Talked with HUNDREDS OF people who Ran Campaigns, and ran my own.

It didn't matter how nice our video was, or how awesome the product was. My client didn't go to potential customers and build community ahead of time, and didn't have an initial group of committed fans waiting for him to launch.

HE QUIT AFTER THE FIRST WEEK.

This is why 70% of projects fail.

After 8 years running marketing campaigns, I interviewed thousands of other launch creators, and found that most business owners are disappointed with their marketing, and don’t know how to succeed before it was too late.


The Truth of Crowdfund Marketing:

People are familiar with the benefits of revenue generation: 

A. It can help people raise the capital they need to take the next step in their business.

B. It can be a great way to make your idea public and get lots of people sharing....

However, most people don't know about the myths, and they end up embarrassing themselves in front of their fans.

There are tons of campaigns that never get noticed.  Why?

Is it really that hard to motivate an audience to view your project? The answer is yes. 

You might really want your friends, family, and the general consumer to support your project, but finding the way into their inbox and into their hearts can be a real challenge.

I put together this research Project so that you can have better Idea about today's fundraising environment and Solve the audience problem.

Why Do 70% of Projects Fail?

Here are the untested beliefs that you might already be relying on for your project:

  1. People will like my project

  2. Customers will discover my brand organically

  3. Campaigns grow all on their own

  4. Leads will act the first time I ask

  5. Investing in press services is smart

  6. I don't need a pre-launch marketing budget

  7. I can run this without much time

  8. People know what action you need from them

  9. Social media has anything to do with sales

  10. Once I get my marks, fulfillment will be easy

 

For most projects, the above myths aren't true.


I interviewed 1000's of project creators about their insights, and ran hundreds of my own campaigns.

here's the fundraising / Sales tips we learned about:

1. A project with the right features has to touch people's hearts

“I didn’t really know how to present my idea/product properly.” -Julian

"You have to have a good product that people want. “ -Ally

If you're like most of the people who launch a campaign, you've spent 95% of your time at the drawing board, creating your project. You might even still be in "stealth mode," which basically means nobody in the world knows about it yet and nobody has tested it. The whole "everything is a secret until our launch day and the product features will make this thing explode as soon as we go live" mindset is a bummer, because you miss out on the only real element that drives a successful marketing plan.

✔ A passionate founder who uses enthusiasm and communication to build authentic friendship and connection with his peers around his or her important idea,

It turns out the "cool features" of your product have a lot less to do with getting funded as you might think.
Focus on audience first, marketing second and product third.  This will help you get actual feedback to determine if your features are worth it in the  consumers eyes, and find a way to a large group of people.

Learn how to present and speak about Your product, and do that frequently. 

✔ Try to have ten conversations a day about your project from now until you go live.

Often the massive outpouring of content for your online campaign comes much later in the project than the "opening up for feedback" phase.  If you haven't presented your idea to an actual audience  yet, I highly suggest to start there, because those conversations will end up showing your how to position your sale.

2. Evangelists usually come from your existing audience

“I didn’t know how to draw people without having to pay for ads.” -Christy

“Due to saturation, only a tiny amount of projects will get random attention.” -Jay

“We had to promote it ourselves. And found it very difficult.” -Jurgen

“Have a network of people ready if you want to be successful." -Yoga

People are out there cruising the streets for cool new projects to back, BUT most of those people will only back the campaign in the last 3 weeks of the big launch, and only after they have seen the campaign is really trending. So if they are not the trend then where does the trend come from?

You can't count on New Customers to organically fund your project for you in traffic. Marketing is simply a platform to host the idea, and despite all the popular kickstarter tips showing you how to launch, in the crucial first few days of your launch, it's up to you to attain critical traffic to back the project. You must look at Friends and Family first, and pre-launch Opt-ins second, if you are to have any hope in getting to appropriate levels of trust in the first 24-48 hours of your campaign.

"I had a hope that our campaign would be successful because our cause was worthy to support. That sounded nice but it wasn’t true one bit. If you don’t have a “Crowd” or ACTIVELY reach people, your campaign will always fail, every time." -Ken V.

3. Momentum is human produced - you get what you push

“You need to "market" your project very hard and prep for a big launch announcement to people who are expecting it.” -Greg

"The problem is one of social awareness.” -Zolymar

“Having a long time to fund does not help.” -Karl

“I wish I spent WAAAY more time researching how marketing worked.”

Do you know about the reverse bell curve of audience trust acceptance? It basically means that people donate based either on the time pressure and their feeling of “buy-in” with the relationship to the project founder. Then they will act as an early supporter. But the bigger question is: how do you get them to become a customer in the first moment you go live?

The only way to have a strong end is to have a strong start. The way to do this is to get agreements from audience members prior to your launch, and choose a goal of conversions of your inner circle that's easy to raise 50% in the first week.

4. People won't back you unless you talk to them directly

“You must first have investors lined up and committed.“ -Rachel

Most projects that wait to tell people about their project on launch day. "We're live!"  --- 

Does this sound familiar? You get a :bcc email from a friend, Subject: “My Kickstarter campaign is open!” The message inside contains many paragraphs long, telling the whole backstory about something... You skim through it scroll to the bottom and follow the link, “Please Support!”

Am I supposed to be the first person to back this project? Do I give them a $50 "thumbs up" even though I couldn't even make it through their video? This is my first time even hearing about this project, why do I need to involve myself in this thing anyway?

What do you do? Give just because they are your friend? Wait it out on the sidelines?

If you're like most people, you will wait it out because it's too embarrassing to be one of the first to support a project if you haven't learned about how important your immediate support really is.

You need to get people on board with their credit cards "hot and ready" for that day. And that is where the "inner circle" comes in.  This is a group that has been prepped for weeks leading up to your launch.

You want to Develop and Train an inner-circle so that they pledge in the very first moment of your campaign

Finally, look to personal, short messages to your email audience, not newsletters. In 2017 newlsetters died significantly due to the implementation of “Priority Inbox” in google. Find the way to talk to people in their priority inbox.

Email Promotion Quiz: Which messages do you think I’ll look at first? Does anyone really go phishing into Promotions anymore?

Email Promotion Quiz: Which messages do you think I’ll look at first? Does anyone really go phishing into Promotions anymore?

5. "Promotion Boosters" are out for your cash - BTW they suck

"My money was all lost when project failed.”  - Wolfgang

“I hate all the the gimmicks that I have to deal with from PR companies claiming they can help me. “ -Red

It is difficult navigating the noise of the crooks and those that can really help you.” -Tim

Sure, they might actually write a press release for you and submit it to the PR newswire (which you can do yourself).

I follow a "no-shortcuts" kind of model. Having someone's direct email contact is only real way to market, and most PR booster services simply can't get you enough audience compared to what you'd get from people you already know like your friends and family. When you look at the tools available for online ideation and promotion, Fully Funded is widely known as the best.

While there are some established, reputable PR companies, most of the PR "booster services" that contact you will leave you with empty pockets and almost zero backers from your investment.

6. Save a nest egg for legit pre-launch marketing costs

"...Magically doing all that with too little time and very little budget. I would have gotten farther with partners” -Mentics

"Be aware of the initial investment you need to make." -Stephan

“My challenge? Achieving visibility for the project without making mistakes with my investment - I wish I knew which marketing partners I could trust” -Francisco

You might think, "I'm here to raise money, not spend money!" when you start a campaign. However, the projects that are most successful have at least a small budget set aside to go big in their campaign. You'll want to research about the best fundraising websites to compare.

Running a marketing campaign has rewards like walking way with the money you need to take the next step in your business, and reaching a larger than normal  audience through social media sharing.  

If you're planning to be in the public eye and have all that visibility, don't you want your project to look and feel as professional as possible? We usually see folks putting aside 30% of their expected total raise into video production costs and advertising costs.

Successful Creative Directors pay for help with video production and campaign advertising tasks such as graphic design, copy, and story, in addition to following a robust grassroots launch process philosophy.. And if they aren't paying a team of people to help them, they are probably doing tons of research and treating their campaign like their full-time job. 

7. Rushing to start - drains you & doesn't work

“I was amazed at the time and attention it took away from our company to run the campaign. A creative story campaign is a full time job “ -David

"I found raising awareness through social media, emails, and face-to-face interaction to be very time consuming." -Owen.

The solution is to take it slow with your marketing.  Contact your entire audience at least a month before the campaign goes live

Once you begin your research, give yourself a breather and make sure you have plenty of time to have all the steps in place for content generation and your leads plan before your launch day.

8. Most people still don't know what Kickstarter is

“The majority of our product's target audience had never even heard of us. “ - Daniel

Unless you are in the tech industry, it's very possible your audience has never even heard of Kickstarter. You want to make it really easy for folks to donate, so let them know ahead of time how the platform works, and do what you can to have support for them through the process. 

Make it very clear to "Use the Green Button on the Top Right" to Make Your Donation and don't assume people will know what your call to action is unless you make it really simple for them to understand. In your email messages to your backer, give them clear descriptions about what is happening and a distinct set of instructions for what to do: Visit the page an watch our video!  Then view the rewards you get for joining, and select "become a backer" to get involved!".  It turns out there are alot more proven fundraising ideas for nonprofits than just doing an email blast, so we've gone ahead and compiled the best info for you...

9. Social Media self promotion - you're getting sidelined

You probably want to know how to use social media for help -- after all, you spent so many years building this great following just for this moment. The problem is, self-promotion is really boring.  And on top of that, posts are filtered by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and if they look promotional then they'll only be shown to a small % of your audience. We suggest keeping social media and newsletters to celebrate "wins" and use personal emails and outreach for your more direct "ask."  When you work with a fundraising consultant on editorial outreach, you'll be shown the same principles.

We've seen that the solution is to talk from a more storybook fashion, and share about the beliefs and background of your project.  "link" posts perform much more poorly than photo or video posts.  Avoid language like "click the link", and instead have the link to your campaign in the comments section of your post.

10. If you succeed, that's where the real work begins...

"Tell your contributors it will take twice as long as you think it will. “ -Dan

“It was like climbing a mountain. Really scary and really hard the closer to the summit.  The excitement of success was overwhelming.” - Patricia

"People who start looking into running a Kickstarter simply give up with they look into shipping logistics and cost.   “  -Loren

“The financial & time pressure for fulfilling perks and postage can be a challenge. “ - Phil

Once your project is fully funded, there's still a lot to think about.  You must keep in mind shipping costs, credit card processing  and Kickstarter fees as well as stay on top of updates and product fulfillment. Ready to prepare yourself to be one of the proud 30% to succeed in marketing?  Check out my invitation to make the process as smooth as possible for you below. Also you may be interested in get a hand with video production to make your visual process and broadcast sparkle.


Thinking of launching CROWDFUNDING soon?

For the brave ones who venture out and do the proper legwork, it can be the exact wind in your sails that your project needs to put itself out to the world.

You might want to get clear on the main key action steps the "old fashioned way". Solving the Audience problem is by no means easy, but we've tested how to build an awesome high-converting project page.

THE ESSENTIAL KICKSTARTER LAUNCH TRAINING

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create a HEALTHY FUTURE for your Crowdfunding IDEA

"I use this in-depth fundraising system and these industry tactics everyday to get backers. It works miracles."
-Michael Zeligs, Fully Funded Course Creator

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