Ever heard of Kickstarter?
If not, well – you ought to try it out some time. Especially if you’re planning on raising funds for a cause, a project, a product, a service, or a business. Kickstarter, after all, is currently the world’s largest online crowdfunding platform. It has successfully raised funds for endeavors that include indie films, music albums, books, food-related projects, and even solar energy technology.
Kickstarter was launched in 2008 and it facilitates crowdfunding based on a “provision point mechanism”. This means that a Kickstarter project owner (“creator”) either gets the funding he has set to raise – or he gets nothing at all. If he meets the target on or before the deadline, he’ll get paid. And those who pledged money will receive prizes, freebies, and goodies from the creator (whatever he offered to entice people to contribute or pledge). If the creator doesn’t meet the target – well, no money changes hands.
That’s right: if the target number – X amount of dollars – is not gathered by the deadline, then no funds are collected. That way, “it protects everyone involved.” According to the website, “Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone (who pledges money to the proposed project) to test concepts without risk.”
Now, we’ve already written in the past about all the essential tips to effective online fundraising campaigns, but we thought it would nice to have a special new edition of that. So here’s our list of Kickstarter tips for successfully crowdfunding your project.
Tell a story and use video
It’s awesome to be able to write eloquently about a project that you feel passionate about pursuing, but you’ve got to hold potential contributors’ attention, too. And in the Internet age? You get about two minutes.
The best way to communicate, to tell a story, to let everyone on Kickstarter know about your project, is to create a short video about it. Why? Because it’s visual. It entices people to listen, read, and watch. It can be informative, persuasive, and entertaining – all at the same time. And it’s fun to make, too. According to Kickstarter, projects with videos have a success rate of 54 percent, while projects without videos only have a success rate of 39 percent.
Carefully plan your project – and your pricing tiers
So you think your cause / story / project is compelling enough. You’ve put up a video. You’ve written winning copy and project descriptions. The next step is to determine your pricing tiers: the options that people will choose from if they wish to contribute.
The key here has nothing to do with whether you’re trying to raise $500 or $20,000. It has to do with what people will get depending on what they’re willing to contribute. If, for a $5 pledge, they can get a serious amount of rewards and goodies, they won’t hesitate to send you the money. And they’ll be glad to see your Kickstarter project come to fruition.
Clean up your links!
One of the most awesome things about Kickstarter as a platform is that it allows you to share links to your project across your various social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, among others.
The thing is, though: it might not be a great idea to tell people about a project that they’ll find on a messy URL like http:kck.st/sdjw934. That’s not easy to share or memorize at all. So this is where you utilize the magic of redirection. That way, you’ll have a much friendlier – and easier-to-say – link: like, “HelpFundMyAlbum.com/Donate”. Clean, straight-to-the-point links also look much more professional – and give potential contributors an idea of what your project is all about.
At some point during your Kickstarter campaign, your most loyal supporters will want to receive the latest project updates. So keep them in the loop. If you can, set up your own website or page or blog to cover everything project-related that’s happening.
If you’re recording your album, release a teaser track or something of the sort. If you’re trying to independently publish a novel, give those who’ve pledged a sneak peek of the first few pages. We also recommend sharing your updates on Facebook and Twitter. Who knows? Those who have so far been hesitant to pledge just might change their mind and see for themselves that your project is worth supporting.
Be realistic and ask for less than you need
Say, you need $2,000 to publish your proposed coffeetable book. Friends, family, and loved ones are going all out to say, “Do it! We’ll help you out if you’re short on funds.”
If you’re trying to raise funds on Kickstarter, it’s not a good idea to ask for more than what you need and not meet that target. Don’t ask for $5,000, because even if you raise $4,999, you won’t get a cent. Be realistic. Just ask for 1,500 bucks, say, or even just a thousand. That way, it’s easier to meet your target, secure the money, and gather the support of your personal network – your “standby angel investors” – to help you get to $2,000.
Say thank you
Contributors are going to get rewards, and these rewards will be based on the pricing tiers that you came up with, but one of the most priceless – and simplest – things you can do is say thank you. Trust us: a demonstration of gratitude goes a long way. It makes people feel appreciated for who they are and what they’ve done to support your dream project.