Things I Learned While Running a Kickstarter Campaign (That Can Help You)

My first Kickstarter campaign ended on February 21st of this year, and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences regarding my artwork yet. I created a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to achieve funding to create an adult colouring book of my own, which I titled “Wild Beauty” (check it out here! Kickstarter: Wild Beauty Coloring Book by Danielle Trudeau). It was to be filled with animals and flowers that could be coloured, and I was so blown away by the amount of support that I have received about the project. My funding goal was set at $500 CAD, and by the end of the campaign I had reached a whopping $2236 CAD (over 400% of my goal!).

There were many things that I learned during the campaign that may help some of you who are planning on creating a project of their own on Kickstarter.

Here is a quick ‘n dirty list of the main tips I have. Each will be expanded upon below.

And just a quick necessary disclaimer. I by no means am a master of Kickstarter. These are simply some tips that I would apply to a future campaign (and some that I did for my first, and were invaluable), that I thought may be of some help to others.

Here we go!

1.  Do your own advertising
2.  Have early bird tiers
3.  Build up the excitement prior to starting
4.  Include images and graphics in your description
5.  Create a video!
6.  Set a realistic goal
7.  Advertise, advertise, advertise!

  1. Do your own advertising.

One thing that I learned during the first little bit of my campaign is that you will be contacted by a bunch of businesses that claim that they can advertise for you, “guaranteeing” a flood of backers and supporters, of course for a hefty fee. Because it seemed enticing at first, I did some research on these businesses and made the decision not to utilize any of them. The research I did on the businesses yielded poor results for the most part, the vast majority of the reviews stating that they did not follow through on their promises, and simply were a waste of money. While this may not be true of all of them, I decided that I was going to do my own legwork during this project and therefore didn’t utilize their services. [If you have found a business that actually does what they say they will, let me know and I will mention them here!]

  1. Have early bird tiers.

If I end up running another campaign, I am definitely going to have some tiers that contain discounts or special offers, but in limited numbers. Early bird rewards create a sense of urgency, and from observing other projects they seem to work excellently to get the ball rolling.

  1. Build up Excitement Prior to Launching

By giving people something to get excited about prior to actually launching your campaign, you likely will experience a larger rush of backers shortly after launching. People also like to back projects that show potential, so by having a solid amount of backers at the beginning people will be more likely to back you as well. Most people would rather be part of a large group of backers for a successful campaign than one of a few supporters for a campaign that does not reach its goal. The previous tip regarding early bird tiers can also be very helpful for that initial rush of backers that will help to attract others.

  1. Include images and graphics in the description of your project.

People will be more likely to support your project if they fully understand what they will be receiving. Making a colouring book? Include images displaying some of the pages you have created. Creating a cool product that can be used? Show images or video clips of the product in use, whether it be the prototype or final product. Not only will these images and graphics hopefully make things clearer for your potential backers, it creates a more attractive page that will hold more attention than blocks of text.

One thing to keep in mind is that while some people are very familiar with the process and workings of Kickstarter, many are also very unfamiliar, and may be hesitant to become a backer due to confusion and lack of clarity. By clearly stating what they will be receiving for each reward tier, and how the project will proceed during and after the campaign you will hopefully make things clear for them, and will be more likely to become a backer.

  1. Create a video!

This is one step that I struggled with. I had filmed all of my clips and composed them all with a lovely tune, and had text to share my message. I was content with the video, but it lacked personality. My partner suggested that I do a voiceover rather than just have text on the screen, which I resisted due to never having done a voiceover before. But I followed his suggestion, and I am SO glad that I did. You don’t need any fancy equipment either. I filmed all of my video segments with my usual Canon T5i, however you can use any camera that you own, even smartphone cameras will suffice. I used free Windows software to stitch my video segments together, and actually used the Voice Memos app on my Iphone to create my voiceover.

  1. Set a Realistic Goal.

Many people suggest to set your goal to the minimum amount you will need in order to produce the product, and I agree. While it’s all good and fine to reach for the stars and set high goals for yourself, with Kickstarter’s “all or none” process, by setting too high of a goal you risk not having a successful campaign. Setting a realistic goal will also help you reach it faster, and once you do successfully pass your goal you give people the assurance that they will be receiving a product at the end of the campaign, so at this point the campaign serves as a sort of “preorder” for the product.

  1. Advertise, advertise, advertise!

I cannot stress this enough, especially if you are not utilizing any services that will advertise for you. Your success is entirely dependent on getting the word out about your campaign, so do keep this in mind. This can be a tricky process however, as constant advertising can sometimes seem spam-like, if not done correctly. The trick is to create new content to advertise with. By posting the same advertising statement or image over and over again, not only does it seem like spam, it causes people to become blind to the advertisement. You also need to think about keeping your current backers excited about the project. Since my project was for creating a colouring book, I would update every few days with new images containing new pages, or amalgamations of similarly themed pieces of pages. Not only did this prevent things from becoming stale and stagnant, it showed progress of the project which helped to keep people engaged.
Also make use of the logos Kickstarter provides you with [], they can help you create a more unified advertising image (plus, their characteristic green is rather eye-catching).

Lastly, advertise everywhere! Facebook (both your own page if you have one, and relevant groups), Tumblr, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter…everywhere you can think of! The trick again is to avoid becoming spammy, so create unique content each time if possible. Word of mouth is also hugely beneficial.

The vast majority of my backers came from Facebook, primarily from my own Page and from two groups that I posted my work to. Find a handful of Facebook groups that are relevant to your product, and do your best to get the word out (always follow the rules of the group to avoid being marked as spam).

So these are a few specific tips that I have that will hopefully be of interest to someone. They by no means cover every aspect of being successful on Kickstarter, just a few key things that I learned. Do your research, put in 100% effort and take the leap! You will never know success if you don’t try!

Thanks for reading!

– Dani

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