Eleven Tips on Running a Successful Kickstarter
Having launched a few Kickstarter campaigns of my own, I’ve been doing a lot of “I make mistakes so you don’t have to” research for this site. Here’s a few things I learned — and a few tips I’ve culled from from others along the way.
Set a reasonable goal
The Kickstarter campaign does not end with the goal. Stretch goals have come to be expected in a Kickstarter campaign. It’s much more impressive (to a potential donor) to have surpassed a reasonable goal than to struggle to reach a lofty one.
Don’t end on a weekend
Pay close attention to the end date of your campaign. Ending on a weekend is murder. Internet traffic slows to a halt over the weekend. You want to be able to ramp up the excitement in the closing minutes of the campaign. And that’s not going to happen while everyone’s away from their computers.
Answer questions and respond to comments. Talk it up on your social media feeds. The more excited you are, the more excited they’ll be.
@guigar You’re good at this, I only read comics and still felt like it needed to be backed.
— Lager Kire (@MayWeDieInThe) June 21, 2013
Kickstarter allows you to take polls among your supporters. what a great way to gauge interest in stretch goals and rewards.
There’s a huge social aspect to Kickstarter. People will look at how many Kickstarters you’ve backed and use that to help decide whether to back yours. A healthy number of backed Kickstarter campaigns can replace name recognition or brand.
Make it visual
People don’t read. They look and then they read (if they’re interested). Show pages from the comic or book that you’re gathering funds for. Get them interested.
Short and Sweet
Make your video friendly, informal, and — most importantly — short! Get to the point. There’s nothing worse than trying to slog through a video that takes more time showing you how cute the creator can be with his copy of iMovie. I wanna know who you are, what you’re doing, and why I need to be involved. Make eye contact. Smile. And talk clearly.
Wanna know what’s going to take a bigger bite of your profits than you’re prepared for? Mailing costs. They’re gonna eat you alive if you’re not careful. Avoid shipping anything to anyone until you get to your higher tiers. Make as much use out of digital rewards as you posibly can.
Listen to your supporters, study your numbers, and adapt your campaign accordingly. I noticed that my Kickstarter was stagnating a bit because my reward tiers topped out at $100. When I included rewards at higher numbers, my campaign took a leap ahead as new supporters joined the campaign. But more importantly, current supporters increased their pledges. They wanted to give me more money, but I wasn’t letting them!
Clear your schedule
This was originally a top-ten list, but I can’t not include this one: Clear your schedule for the next 30 days. You have a defined window of opportunity, and you need to be completely tuned-in to make this happen. That means a significant investment of time and mental energy. Get ahead on your buffer and warn your family. This is going to be thirty very intense days.
Forget the Stretch Goal. The Add-on is where it’s at — especially if it’s a digital add-on!
Editor’s Note: The Add-on was a huge part of the success of my own recent Kickstarter. However, there’s a new twist — Backerkit. We’ll be talking more about that in an upcoming post.
Whenever a Kickstarter campaign attains its goal, it’s expected that the creator will announce a Stretch Goal. I know that was the expectation when I hit my funding goal with two weeks of campaigning to go. But I really didn’t have a good Stretch Goal lined up. My readers have never strongly supported merchandise outside of the graphic-novel line, so maquettes, action figures and toys were out.Heck, I’ve never even seen a strong enough demand for hardcover editions to justify that expense. Besides, adding all of that stuff to the mix means accounting for extra shipping expenses, and I wasn’t certain that I was going to be able to hit a Stretch Goal if it accounted for all of the extra money that would be needed.
And — really — now that I’ve reached my goal, isn’t it wiser to simply run up the numbers for the current Kickstarter? I mean, I have a three-volume omnibus book that I want to pitch to my readers, but I think it’s better to let that stand on its own merits — with its own Kickstarter.
However, I did want to maximize the money I’d be able to generate in the next two weeks of Kickstarter funding.
And that’s when I discovered the beauty of the Add-on.
The Kickstarter Add-on was pioneered by tabletop-gaming project creators, who have used them to allow backers to add expansion packs, extra cards and game pieces. Since then, add-ons have become popular for projects in every category.
I offered a single Add-on — a PDF that collected the NSFW comics I was doing for Patreon since last April. I alerted my Kickstarter backers that it would be available as a $20 add-on. That announcement went out on April 7.
Three days later, I’ve seen $720 in increased pledges.