13 Tips for A Successful KickStarter Campaign

Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform where entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, and filmmakers, can raise money to create new creative projects.

Since Kickstarter’s launch in 2009, 6.8 million people have pledged $1 billion to fund 66,000 projects.

Many eCommerce store owners may consider Kickstarter at some point in time to fund a new product line or to start their businesses entirely. With that in mind, here are a couple of Kickstarter marketing tips and lessons learned from successful Kickstarter campaigns.

1. Make sure you are a good fit for Kickstarter.

When you hear about the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter getting $5 million or that Potato Salad Kickstarter getting $55k and you can’t help but think there’s a place for you there.

However: Do your research first.

Review Kickstarter’s most funded projects and look for projects similar to yours.

How much money were they able to raise? How did they market themselves?

Be realistic. Gather your thoughts. Make sure this is the right platform for you before you get too far into the process of planning your campaign.

2. Build an email list ahead of time.

You don’t want to launch to crickets. You need an audience to market to and who will market this for you. An email list provides exactly that.

Some things you can do to build an email list prior to your Kickstarter campaign:

3. Do as much of the work up front as you can.

You can write social media posts, emails, and design social media creative ahead of time.

Do as much as you possibly can before the campaign goes live. Once the campaign takes off, things are bound to get a little nuts.

4. Keep your campaign under 30 days.

Your funding round can last anywhere between one and 60 days.

However, a longer campaign doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to give more or that more people are going to give.

Statistically, projects lasting 30 days or fewer enjoy the highest success rates. They set a tone of confidence and create a sense of urgency for your audience.

5. Make a budget and include it on your campaign page.

A budget shows potential backers that you’ve done your homework and that you are serious about delivering on your promises.

Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model. Therefore, your funding goal should be the minimum amount necessary to execute your project.

When budgeting, you want to account for costs like rewards for backers and paying Kickstarter, who takes a 5% cut. There are also additional credit card processing fees and tax fees you need to include in your calculations.

6. Have a plan for stretch goals.

If you hit your goal before your campaign is up, you have a chance to email your backers and rally them for “stretch goals.”

This could be a good way to expand your product’s first run in some way – like by offering extra colors or styles. Set a specific stretch goal, and email supporters to let them know exactly what you’ll do with the money if you’re able to raise it.

7. Tell the story people will understand, not the story you want to tell.

Brand positioning can be the hardest thing in the world for founders, inventors, and artists.

You have this idea in your head. Then you have to explain what’s in your head in ways that’ll make sense to those who don’t have that context.

This means you have to peel back the layers of your elevator pitch (which is likely ten minutes long…) and get to the core of your idea.

What is it that you do? Who do you do it for? Why does it matter? Why is it different?

Before you launch your Kickstarter, test your story on third parties who will give you frank feedback and let you know if it all makes sense.

Worry less about being in “stealth mode” or that someone will take your idea. Worry more about whether or not people will understand what you are doing and if they will care.

8. Offer good rewards.

The most popular pledge amount on Kickstarter is $25, while the pledge average (for big and small pledges) rings in at just $70.

Make sure the affordable rewards don’t run out too fast, or you risk losing potential backers who can’t afford the more expensive offers.

9. Keep your rewards simple.

Take this advice from Ryon Lane, founder of Yogomats.

His first Kickstarter campaign for $36,000 failed. But he came back with a redux campaign, and raised more than $34,000.

Here’s what he wrote in Entreprenuer about his lessons learned in regards to Kickstarter rewards:

“During my first campaign, in addition to having a YogoMat as a reward, I also offered other yoga accessories and T-shirts. Backers loved the YogoMat but were not excited about the additional reward items. Finding them too numerous and distracting, they overwhelmingly selected only YogoMats as rewards. In the redux campaign, I took the hint and only offered single and multiple YogoMats. As for what to write about for each reward and the Kickstarter “story,” I learned simple is best. In my initial campaign I went way overboard with too much background. I discovered more than three to five lines of straightforward content is too much text to expect someone to quickly read and digest. And when they get overwhelmed, they miss the core message.”

10. Remember that you aren’t asking for donations.

You are selling a product. This isn’t a charity.

Most people will not pledge $50 for a DVD that will sell for $10. You need to design your rewards and price points so you can hit your goal, while giving your fans the best deal.

11. Hit 20% as soon as possible.

Once the funding window opens, it’s important to reach the 20 percent benchmark as soon as you can.

According to Kickstarter, this is the crucial tipping point. 10 percent of projects never receive a single pledge, but 80 percent of projects that raise more than 20 percent of their goal end up being successful. Hustle!

12. Track your campaign’s progress and react to the data.

What’s that they say about the best laid plans?

There are best practices in marketing that are kind of just common sense, and you can rely on those to get you started. But to prioritize, optimize, and get the absolute best results possible, you need to dig into the data and react to it. And sometimes, those plans get thrown out the window.

How does that apply to your Kickstarter campaign?  Take a look at this simple tip from Kickstarter expert Clay Hebert, as reported in the 4-Hour Work Week.

If you put a “+” at the end of a Bit.ly link, you get statistics about referral traffic for that link. You can use this data to see where your Kickstarter page is getting traffic from, and focus your marketing efforts accordingly.

For example, here’s the traffic data to the Kickstarter for Soma Water Filters.


Soma’s campaign was a couple of years ago, but at the time they were seeing a ton of traffic from Facebook, blogs, and from Kickstarter itself. They chose to double down on their Facebook community and coverage in the blogs, since they knew if they did those things they could get featured on Kickstarter.

13. Don’t underestimate the power of press.

Get press. It’s that simple!

I kid.

To be successful in your media outreach, really think about what kinds of outlets you want to target.Your mom may watch the Today show, but does the audience of the Today show care about your comic book series? Pick outlets that are relevant, that are likely to care about your project, and where you can get a personal introduction.

What other tips do you have for successful Kickstarter campaigns? Let us know in the comments.


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