Thinking About Kickstarter?

If you have been engaged in social media recently you have probably been hearing about a website called Kickstarter where people pitch ideas and get funding from other people online.  Maybe you have even got a project in mind that you would like to get funded.  Just under 50% of Kickstarter campaigns end up getting funded, so it is important to maximize your chances of success, or at least know when you have a good chance of success before you commit.    What follows are the top three takeaways from a recent seminar hosted by a successful Kickstarter entrepreneur.

Know that there is a potential downside and plan to minimize the risks.

If your Kickstarter campaign fails there is a downside that can extend beyond not getting your project funded.  A poor campaign can make you look bad to your existing followers and kill off whatever momentum you have developed in your venture.  So do your homework and make sure your idea has a good shot before you put your sweat and blood into it.  Check out Kickstarter projects like yours and see what has succeeded and what has not, and try to determine why.

Be creative and responsive with your giveaways.

While you may be most focused on the thing you are trying to get funded, there is all the other stuff that will multiply the effectiveness of your campaign – the giveaways for various pledge levels.  If you are making a music CD, you have got to offer more than just a free copy of the CD.  You could provide a signed copy of the CD with a bonus DVD showing the band in the studio.  Maybe you could offer free tickets to your concerts, or even a free live in-home performance.  But you have to think even larger than that.  You could partner with other people looking for publicity and multiply the value you can offer.   Of course, you need to tap into all your options (like e-mail lists, facebook, linked-in, etc) to broadcast your giveaways.

And don’t think you are done creating giveaways as soon as your campaign kicks off!  You can and should add new offers all through your campaign.  Maybe you can hold back on a few offers early on and post them later.  Maybe you can create an entirely new offer during the process.  But be careful what you offer!  Once somebody makes a pledge for a specific offer, you can’t remove it and you are committed.  Make sure the pledge more that covers the cost of the offer – including any potential shipping costs to remote corners of the earth.  If an offer isn’t drawing any attention, get rid of it!  A bad offer can distract people from finding a more appealing offer.  No matter how valuable you think an offer is, if it isn’t generating pledges, it needs to be removed.

Think beyond your Kickstarter campaign.

Whether your Kickstarter campaign succeeds or fails, there are longer term opportunities you should keep in mind. Evaluate your long term goals and make sure those get addressed in your campaign.  Would building your e-mail list help?  If so, you should find a way to get people to sign up for your list while your campaign is active.  Are there any relationships you would like to build?  If so, you should try to find a way to use your campaign to build them.  You could get a lot of attention from your Kickstarter campaign, and it would be a shame to waste that opportunity.

Good luck!

If you have done your homework, been creative, and aligned your campaign with your long term goals you stand a good chance of having a successful Kickstarter project that could launch your venture into a brighter future.  Kickstarter is an exciting development in funding, and I hope I have helped you maximize your chances of prospering from it!

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