What we’ve learned from running a Kickstarter campaign
We are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to produce our Creative Planners and today I am pleased to be able to say we have hit our target of £3500! It's been a huge learning curve and a little daunting when we first set it up. This is our first campaign and we have loved using Kickstarter (very user friendly) and so we thought others might find it useful if we shared what we have learned along the way.
Here are the key points we have learned from doing a Kickstarter campaign:
The Power of Networking
When running a kickstarter campaign most of your backers will be people you know- family, friends, colleagues and most importantly networks. I have attended a lot of networking events over the past few years and have met and connected with lots of other amazing creative business people, some becoming friends. During this campaign these connections have really come into their own as I reached out to them to help share what we were doing. I found it amazing how many of these lovely people have helped us so don’t underestimate the power of networking and being genuine to people!
The Power of Social Media
When you want to promote your crowdfunding project it always helps to have a good following on social media. If you've worked hard to connect with your customers and grow a quality following you will have a much better chance of getting backing from this already engaged group. You will be able to interact with them, get them excited about the project and they will really understand what you're trying to achieve. Doodlemoo now has 11k Instagram followers many of whom have shared the campaign on their stories which has really helped spread the word. Twitter is also great for doing regular updates and connecting to people with similar interests. Our campaign has had a few retweets which also really helped. Facebook groups are invaluable and even my personal facebook page has been useful.
The Importance of a good video
One of the things that has really helped us in this campaign has been our video animation. I feel it really reflects my brand and gets across what our project is all about. We wanted to keep it short, fun and for it to explain, playfully what the Creative Planner is all about. We came across lots of people that were initially a bit sceptical about Kickstarter not having heard of it, but once they'd watched the video they told me they totally got it and wanted to pledge. These days people don’t have loads of time to read lots of blurb, so make sure you have a video that grabs people attention in the first few seconds. Our video was put together in collaboration between Doodlemoo and Spectra Studios. Sarah is so great at this and you can contact her directly if you're interested in something similar. I think the video helped us get picked by Kickstarter as a ‘Projects we love” as soon as we published the project which gave us even more visibility on the platform.
Be prepared to talk about it intensely!
It's well known that people need to see something about 7 times before they take action! It's really hard but even if you feel that you're repeating yourself, you need to keep promoting the project throughout the campaign. I have been on Twitter, Instagram stories and Facebook everyday as well as updating my friends and family via Whats app. It feels like you might be bugging people but they lead busy lives and sometimes need that extra nudge or reminder about your campaign. Also don't assume everyone reads all your posts all the time so I'd say talk about it every day to keep people excited, updated on how it’s going and what total you've reached! After all if you don't do the shouting about it, who will?
Ensure you have great rewards that people can’t resist!
People don't have to pledge to get the item you are campaigning for but they can still be rewarded for a contribution. We offered an early bird reward at £20 to receive a Planner to encourage people to pledge quickly as well as prints for pledges under the cost of the Planner. What we didn’t anticipate was people wanting options for 2 or even 5 Planners! We quickly opened new pledge options and these then became quite popular. It's really important to be open and listening to suggestions of how to adapt and improve things.
Read and research beforehand
We gave ourselves only 2 weeks to get our kickstarter campaign done! prelaunch, page and video ready prior to kickoff and with hindsight we should have had a little more time to prepare, I'm pleased to say this time it worked for us. I did read a bit about setting up a successful Kickstarter campaign in advance. I read some blogs, listened to a few podcasts from people who had done one before and studied similar successful campaigns on the Kickstarter platform all of which really helped. But as first timers we really didn't know the platform that well, even having watched many Kickstarter projects as subscribers to their newsletter. There are quite a few videos on Youtube giving advice, so do your homework!
Explain your project with great photos
We were lucky to have produced a prototype of the Planner beforehand that we could photograph and we also put together some mock ups to show things like alternative covers. It’s so important to have great photos, people need to be able to imagine how the product will look, why it's so cool and how it will help them. You really need to make it easy for people to see and imagine how it might fit in with their lifestyle.
The Power of your Why
Simon Sinek says - "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it". The story behind your project is as important as the item itself. If you have a good reason for your project to exist you will have a much better chance of getting people buy into it. Why did you decided to make this, why is it important to you and why should it be important it for them. I recently spoke at an event about my Planner and what had motivated me to make them. This really made me consider my why and how I would express it. I talked about how I wanted to share what I'd learned over the last few years from working on my own in a creative business, often feeling lonely, lost and struggling to focus on getting things done. This was my way of helping those in a similar position. The honesty of my motivation seemed to resonate with people at that event and most of them ended up backing our project even though we'd only met that night.
So we've learned a lot and I'm sure there is still more to come. The most important thing I think is to just do it!It's such a great platform to help creative ideas off the ground. We hope you found these insights useful, we've really enjoyed our first campaign on Kickstarter and it certainly won't be our last!
If you're interested in our Planners you can watch the video and read all about it here