In 2013, I discovered Kickstarter and I was immediately hooked. To date, I’ve backed over 33 projects, mostly in the tech and design categories. Some have really delivered what they were offering, and others, not so much. In this post, I’m going to share my initial steps for planning the launch of my physical product on Kickstarter, that will ultimately be in the “Product Design” category.
Before we begin, I want to draw attention to the real purpose of a solid Pre-Campaign Strategy. Along with refining and developing your product, Pre-Campaign should be centered around Building a Community. Every day I wake up and think about how I can better our strategy to grow our product base.
Launching a Kickstarter campaign with the mindset of “If I build it, They will come” has proven time and time again to result in failed launches. Paralleling my journey to build a community, is our product development efforts, which I will go into in another post. (Click here!)
How to approach your Pre-Campaign
Time to be a stalker…
Let’s face it, your idea isn’t new. There have already been successful and unsuccessful projects similar to yours on crowdfunding platforms already. Whether you’re launching a new minimalist wallet, or a new kind of camera, no need to reinvent the wheel! You should do all you can to stalk their goods and bads on Kickstarter.
1. Research previous successful campaigns (at least 8-12 campaigns)
- What did they do right?
- Write down the top 3 words to describe how their project page made you feel.
- What marketing methods did they use? You can use resources such as Kicktraq.com to dig a bit deeper and see their funding trends.
- Often times, if they have a huge launch success, that means they used some good pre-launch tactics such as thunderclap or a website landing page.
- Lastly, see who they targeted by doing a google search of them and see what kind of press they received!
- See spikes in their funding? What happened on those days?
There is SO much you can learn by dissecting successful campaigns.
2. Research previous unsuccessful campaigns (at least 5 campaigns)
- Ok, so there’s a reason why they flopped, right? Maybe it was their video, photos, or both!
- Pinpoint exactly where their failures were and make sure you don’t do the same.
- What was their message to their backers?
- Were they clear and genuine?
- Read the project updates.
- Read the comments (or at least skim them!)
Read, Engage, and Take Notes
Kickstarter has been around since 2009 and there are hundreds, if not thousands of advice blogs and lessons learned online from past creators. Read as much as you can from blogs to help you formulate a solid campaign that will really resonate.
Here are some of my favorite helpful Kickstarter reads to get you started:
- Stonemaier games blog (READ ALL OF THEM!)
- James Mathe blog
- Launchboom blog
- Posts on Medium (just search Kickstarter or Crowdfunding)
- How to write an effective pitch email
- Kickstarter Blog: How to make a good impression on the press
Also, a great place to learn about Kickstarter, directly from creators is a FB group founded by KS heavyweight champion creators called “Kickstarter Best Practices” and on Reddit /r/Kickstarter. It’s not a bad idea to start engaging on Reddit at this point anyway, since a lot of those people that are willing to even participate in a Kickstarter campaign are the same demographic that exists on the “front page of the internet”.
Connect with Influencers
There are already a number of bloggers and writers already wanting to share and link your content. The problem is, how do you find them, and how do you get their attention amongst the sea of hundreds of pitches they already get each and every day? This I will share my strategy in another blog post, for another day so stay tuned for more!