7 Steps to Crush it On Kickstarter

August 22, 2016

7-steps-to-crush-it-on-kickstarter

With my next Kickstarter starting tomorrow, I thought it would be a great time to revisit our free Kickstarter Course. This is a seven episode course to help you create, launch, fund, and distribute your Kickstarter campaign.

Originally launched as a series, I thought it would be nice to combine them all together in one massive episode and post so you didn’t have to keep searching through the archives for them.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you download podcasts. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss any of our awesome content.

Lesson 1: Validating an idea

Let’s get down to it. Our first lesson is validating an idea, the initial step in any campaign.

 Validating an idea is an essential component of any Kickstarter campaign, as it will tell you exactly how big your market is, and whether there is rabid interest, mild interest, or no interest in your product.

I always start my validation tests at Google, by typing in several keywords into the search engine and seeing how many results pop up. Google will tell you the amount of terms related to your search. The higher, the better.

You can also run this search by going to the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, and typing in your search terms to get an idea of how active and popular your search terms are with people around the world.

Then I head over to Amazon and check the rankings of products. Again, I type in some similar search terms to what I’m trying to create. Then, I click on the most popular products and see their popularity index on Amazon as a whole.

After that, I’ll know exactly how popular the product is, how likely I am to find an audience, and roughly how much I can expect to raise from on Kickstarter.

Finally, I will run similar searches on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to see what hot topics there are in my category.

By doing this very quick search at the beginning, I will see if somebody has already created my idea. If so, I would abandon it in most cases.

None of the above are guarantees, though. Just because there are no searches on Amazon or Google that return what you are trying to create, it’s not necessarily a bust. It just means you’ll have a longer row to hoe.

Lesson 2: Finding your target audience

Finding your target market, and growing it, is the best predictor of how much you are going to raise. Most people think they are going to click the launch button and magic is going to happen, but that’s just not the case. It’s a lot of hard work finding, building, and nurturing your audience.

 However, if you find your target market they will tell you exactly what they need and how to build a product that suits them. They are going to be your best beta testers and your best brand ambassadors.

They are not hard to find either.

I start finding an audience before I ever leave the house my joining Reddit forums and Facebook groups. I join early and provide relevant comments and links to the members. I engage with them and find out what they are about. I truly care about what’s going on, not just as a marketing gimmick.

Then, I leave my house by finding Meetup groups in my area.While there may not be an audience for the exact product I’m trying to build near me, there is usually a group in the broad range of product class (i.e. if I’m trying to build a motorcycle motor, there is a motorcycle club even though it doesn’t specialize in repair).

I join these groups a LONG time before I finish my product, provide updates, find friends, and talk shop. Then, when my product launches I KNOW people want it because I have a community of hundreds of people that told me they want the product.

I hope that helps. Next, we talk about the best time to launch a Kickstarter product.

Lesson 3: The Best Time of Year to Launch

Finding the best time to launch is one of the biggest challenges with Kickstarter. There are several factors to consider, which all starts with picking the right time of year.

 Here’s the truth: launching a Kickstarter after Thanksgiving or when school isn’t in session is usually a bad idea.

Why?

Well during the summer people tend to be on vacation, so they are less present online.

During the holidays, people are thinking about spending disposal income on gifts for people…NOT a product they won’t be getting until 4–6 months down the line.

Also, during the holidays you are competing with rock bottom pricing from Amazon and other retailers.

Another traditionally bad time to launch would be right around tax time because everybody has a tax bill due so the last thing they are thinking about is purchasing new stuff.

On the flip side, right after tax season when people are flush with cash is a great time to launch a product because most people have disposable income at that point.

But that’s just one factor that goes into picking the right time. Another factor is buyer mentality. You want to hit a buyer with a product when it’s hot in their mind.

We have a free ebook that talks all about this. You can download it here. All you have to do is register for an account.

The Coolest Cooler was one of the biggest Kickstarter ever, and the creator launched his product in June (which goes against what I just said and proves there are no rules in business) when people were thinking about summertime activities.

However, did you know that he also tried launching the SAME product the previous December to disastrous results?

There are many contributing factors to that, but most experts attribute this to the idea that nobody was thinking about, or cared about coolers, in December, so nobody bought it.

Another factor is your convention season. Every industry has conventions, and it’s generally not the best idea to launch a Kickstarter during the biggest conventions because every big company is making announcements during CES and other shows.

While I do love having conventions as part of your launch strategy, I recommend smaller conventions where big companies aren’t launching competing products.

There’s just no way to compete with Samsung and Apple. They will destroy you.

The last factor I consider is to backer psychology. People buy more when they are depressed. People are the most depressed during early months of the year, less so during the summer and around holidays, then there is another uptick around Labor Day until Halloween.

If I had to pin the best time down, I would say right after the New Year until March, and September-October as long as you can delivery by Christmas, are great times to launch.

However, it may be different in your industry and it’s important to check for yourself using the factors we discussed.

Lesson 4: The Most Important Part of Any Kickstarter

The 99% of successful Kickstarter backer and pledge curves are the same. They are parabolas, with the beginning and end accounting for most of the backers and money raised.

 You can see this by checking out campaigns on Kicktraq.

As you’ll see, there will ALWAYS be a lull in the middle of a campaign where you only have a couple of people backing a day.

I’ve only seen one campaign that was able to maintain momentum the entire campaign. This one.

If we accept that as fact, then the most important part of the Kickstarter is building for a HUGE release on the first day.

Seriously.

You need to raise 33% of your backing on the first day. If you can do that, you’re nearly guaranteed to succeed. If you can’t, your path will be much harder. If you fall below 20% on your first day, you’re in for a very long expensive haul to get your project funded. We have a free ebook that talks more about this. You can check it out here.

Having a fantastic first day means so much.

It means that your backers are going to be spreading the word about your campaign all throughout your campaign. That’s a lot of free publicity.

Additionally, it means you will show up higher on Kickstarter, you have a better chance of people seeing your campaign, and when they see your campaign they see it as a success.

People love to back a winner. If you can hit that 33% mark on the first day, people will want to back your campaign b/c success breeds more success.

Additionally, the higher your backers are at the beginning, the more people will back during the middle of your campaign. The higher your first day, the higher the minimum pledges will be in future days.

So finding those backers on day one, and telling people about the campaign, and getting as many people to back as possible is critical and you need to start early to do it. The bigger your network, the bigger your reach, and the more people you can hit on that first day.

Lesson 5: Creating Your Campaign

Creating a campaign comes down to three sections: the video, the copy, and the rewards.

 First and foremost, you MUST have a video. No exceptions. Almost 70% of Kickstarters without campaigns fail. That means if you don’t have a campaign video, you only have a 30% chance of succeeding.

Additionally, people want to see you in the video, because they are buying you as much as your product. On Kickstarter, you and your product are intrinsically linked.

There’s a really simple strategy for making a video. It’s three steps. An Introduction of no more than 15 seconds, then a product demo where you show the coolness of the product for no more than 1:15, and finally you coming back on camera and making a plea for no more than another minute where you talk about the history of the product and why you need backing. Keep it positive!

Total run time should be no more than 2:30! That’s two minutes and thirty seconds, not two hours. Keep it short.

Second is the campaign copy. You have to break up sections into easily digestible tidbits and assume people are going to fall off throughout reading it. Therefore, coolest thing at the top accompanied by an awesome image, then break up sections throughout the campaign to show off your product.

Remember, this is a marketing piece, not a short story. Nobody wants to reach big paragraphs. They also don’t want to wonder what you are talking about. If it doesn’t keep them interested, they will click off.

Finally, the rewards. Rewards need to be simple, concise, and explain what people get for their pledge. They do not need fancy names, just clear concise information. Each of your rewards has a purpose and should be targeted at a specific buyer profile.

The key to a successful campaign is to make is simple, concise, and make sure you are clear about your goals.

Lesson 6: Distributing Your Campaign

Now you know how to validate an idea, find a target market, when to launch your campaign, what the most important part is of any Kickstarter, and how to create your Kickstarter campaign!

 Now, we have to talk about getting your campaign into backer hands.This is where the rubber meets the road.

This is where most Kickstarters go bankrupt or at least end up massively in the red. That’s exactly why budgeting appropriately is so important.

Getting a high-quality project into backer’s hands is the only way you can possibly hope to build an audience for the future, and that’s the goal of Kickstarter.

If you think it’s about getting your project funded, you are WRONG.

Funding the project is a part of Kickstarter, but it’s only a part. Your goal should be building an audience so you can keep doing Kickstarters forever.

In order to do that, you need to precisely know how much it will cost to get your project into backer hands, who is going to produce your project, how you are going to distribute it, how you are going to ship it and build in contingencies. This needs to happen before you hit the launch button.

You need quotes from your fulfillment, distribution, and shipping companies before you launch, and at different levels depending on how many people back.

Additionally, you have to keep your audience updated on everything, both good and bad. Here’s the thing. In order to build an audience, you have to communicate with your audience, be honest with them, and get them their project in a timely manner.

Lesson 7: Building Toward the Future

When you’re talking about building to the future, you have to deliver that Kickstarter first. Not just that, but you have to over deliver.

You have to add everything in your power to make people say WOW. Once they are wowed by your professionalism and quality, they are very likely to back again.

 Now, once you finish your Kickstarter the first thing you need to do is find an email program like Mailchimp or Aweber and start communication with your backers on at least a monthly basis. Do not wait until your next project to keep people informed. They will forget about you.

Then, you need to start planning your next project. You are no longer a hobbyist. Once you finish your campaign and start to launch your next, you are a business. However, you can’t really go full force until after backers get their rewards.

That’s it for our free Kickstarter course. I hope you learned a lot that can help you crush your next campaign. If you want even more help, I have set up a fantastic course to help you crush it on Kickstarter. Usually $197, you can get a great deal right now by heading to www.thebusinessofart.us/kickstartercourse.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you download podcasts. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss any of our awesome content.

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