Five early steps for Kickstarter success

Let’s get down to business.

Kickstarter is the Internet’s largest and most successful crowdfunding platform. In less than a decade, it has pioneered a non-traditional route of funding projects — asking complete strangers to send money in exchange for rewards. Kickstarter success for many startups has proven time and time again to be a legitimate way to validate products, novels, music, art, and much more. The organic exposure these projects are afforded when launched on this high-visibility platform is extremely valuable. Anyone, from a single person with empty pockets and an idea to groups of creatives with thousands of dollars invested can use Kickstarter. The immense opportunity and limitless potential that Kickstarter provides is most compelling to the site.

The First 5 Steps to Kickstarter Success.

Before taking the leap, starting a Kickstarter campaign should not be taken lightly. Of course, there have been projects that have been funded without much pre-planning, but those that see massive success without preparation are few and far between. After all, Kickstarter is meant to be the launch platform for a future sustainable business! Start on the right foot and give it the justice it deserves. These are what I have identified as the 5 steps to propel anyone to Kickstarter success.

1. Set realistic goals.

What does success mean to you? I’m not talking about your Kickstarter funding goal just yet, I’m just talking about how you personally determine the success. Knowing how you mark success is the key to setting expectations and establishing your measurable targets. At the very least, illustrating your goals will build the framework to focus your efforts. Be specific and realistic. That means making small goals that can be achieved in one singular direction that work towards larger long-term goals.

2. Define your target market.

Identifying the traits of your target market early on can help you concentrate on building the right plan to move forward. Even if you have developed numerous potential end users, it is important to narrowly evaluate each one in a way that you can specifically idealize as your “champion”. Give him/her a name. Be specific. What are his passions, values, and goals? What motivates her? What is his reason for wanting to back you? An exercise that has proven valuable is to actually name your end user. Write a full descriptive profile for them. Once you get these characteristics drawn out, it can help you focus on who exactly you need to be writing for!

3. Plant social media roots.

Some might think it’s too early to start Snapchat, blogging, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all of that since I don’t even have a product to showcase yet. I beg to differ!! What you can learn in these early phases about gathering interest in your work can be harnessed at any stage in the process. I’ve already learned so much in 2-3 weeks of social media management that will help in the long run for when I start posting with content pertaining directly to my campaign. That will prove measurable Kickstarter success. The goal here is to start building any traffic whatsoever that can eventually organically grow and generate buzz in your favor when the time is right. It costs almost nothing to put the time in and start gathering followers, so why wait? Having an early client base has proven to be the #1 factor in overfunded Kickstarter projects, that is, campaigns that have gone well above their goals 10x or more. They used social media waaay early to gain followers in any method, then built website landing pages to gather e-mail addresses, and ultimately got their projects in front of more eyes.

4. Identify your resources.

What are the other resources besides social media that are important for Kickstarter success? Undoubtedly, early funding to help your campaign will help immensely, but what are your skills, and who do you know that can help? The answer is simple. Start with your circle of family and friends. Maybe you have a friend that knows how to do graphic design that can help you build decent content at a good price or even free. Have another friend that owns a professional camera and dabbles in video editing? That’s great too. Don’t be afraid to ask, the worst they can say is no.

5. Go All or Nothing.

Hey, going “All or Nothing” might sound like a risky thing, but the fact of the matter is, Kickstarter funding itself is an All or Nothing model and your mindset should be too. On Kickstarter, if your goal isn’t funded 100% or more, you get 0 dollars. Sorry, you don’t get to pass “Go” = you don’t have a viable business idea/project/product. But hey, isn’t that a good thing in a way? I’d rather find out sooner rather than later if I can’t take my project big if I can’t even meet a minimum viable goal on a highly trafficked crowdfunding platform (with help with from social media). But what’s the best way to set us up for Kickstarter success? Doing enough R&D early to make sure that when we do hit launch — we have a pretty good shot of at least making that green bar fill up all the way to 100%. If you’re all in with me, the road will be bumpy and full of curves, but commitment is what it takes to come out on top!