I was originally going to title this post how to make a successful Kickstarter campaign. You know, the sort of title that has a lovely SEO ring to it, but then I started to fear that I would tempt fate and all our backers would pull out and We Make Collective would be no more! (if you’re reading this and that is the title you know we made it OK!) So I’ve decided to focus on prepping and launching your campaign before I get too carried away. It’s well known that the first week of your Kickstarter is incredibly important. Getting off to a good start is vital to showing you mean business and that your idea has the legs to run with it.
Get the word out before you’re ready to launch
We Make Collective is an idea that’s been in development for 8 months now (you could actually say almost three years but as a focused idea lets start from January) and instead of rushing in to try to raise funds immediately I made a conscious decision to take it much slower. I had to take care of the logistics and background before anything was going to happen but that didn’t mean I couldn’t start talking about the Collective and sparking interest. So I set up a landing page with a link to an email subscribing list and went to town on Instagram. I’ve chosen to concentrate all of the promotion leading up to the Kickstarter on @wemakecollective Instagram account. It’s a visual, interactive and collaborative platform – all the things I want from WMC. So this was the perfect place to begin getting the word out before I was ready to share more information. It allowed other Instagram users to take part in the collective before any of us really knew exactly what it would become and after the Kickstarter launch it meant I could get the information to anyone interested in the collective quickly and consistently.
Have a weekly target
You might be wondering why I’m writing about Kickstarter success when I have not reached the target yet, but I am in fact exactly where I want to be. Well ok, of course in an ideal world I would have made it all on the first day, but getting back in to the real one I had my plan and we’re right on course. After two weeks we’ve made it two thirds of the way to our financial goal and we have 25 days left to reach the big 3-0-0-0. Having targets for the duration of the time frame has given me motivation to promote and move forward with our plans. It’s incredibly intimidating putting out an idea you’ve worked on for months, perhaps even years and although it might be going well you can sometime feel that the road ahead is just out of reach. Concentrating on completing smaller targets in shorter time frames breaks it up into manageable chunks and keeps you positive throughout.
Share financial information
I debated how much financial information to share with everyone. Anyone who’s ever met me knows that I’m pretty open about what I earn as a blogger and where my money comes from. (totally not in a braggy way – I definitely don’t earn enough to claim bragging rights!) The problem here is that I’m paying other people and I’m not comfortable giving away that information. I don’t know why. It feels like that is not my decision to make. I feel like that is more sensitive and so I’m not going to go into the specifics.
But, as a collective I want everyone to be a part of the process. I love that so many people are feeling excited about being a part of the group and I don’t want to own, but more organise the process. So in the spirit of open discussion I want you to know where the money we raise from the Kickstarter is going. £2500 will be spent on materials, paying our contributors for their expert tutorials as well as packaging the kits, labelling and postage. The other £500 will cover the Kickstarter fees, pay for promotional kits and cover any lost or damaged in transit. Any extra we make will be spent on making sure the next kits are just as amazing as the first! You might have noticed I am not paying myself yet. I want to make a point of this, not because I’m trying to be a martyr. I’m lucky I can currently live off my freelance work and my blog sponsorships and I do hope that one day once we’re more established I can pay myself for the work I’m putting into WMC. But for now I’m focussed on putting the profits into making an amazing product that really delivers on its promises. I think it’s more important to grow the Collective than reap the profits right now and hopefully this will pay off later.
As I said before, I feel perfectly ok with giving away this much information, but if your uncomfortable you don’t have to give away your breakdown of funds. Being open to where the investment is going helps to show your backers their contribution is significant in building the project. Every little helps you to reach your target and all of your backers should feel important and necessary.
Be open and honest about challenges
Since launching we’ve decided to make a couple of changes to the time frame of the first few kits. We’ll be sending out kits every other month rather than consecutively. There are many people involved in the making of each month’s theme and logistically we need to refine the process to ensure each kit and tutorial area is perfect. It’s incredibly important to me that all our customers, suppliers and contributors are happy so I think it’s worth prolonging the time between each kit to begin with until we’ve got the process down.
There is an area dedicated to ‘Risks and Challenges’ on your Kickstarter funding page. Don’t be deceived into thinking everything must be perfected before you launch and you’re showing weakness admitting that it isn’t. People want to see you succeed and will understand and appreciate your honesty. They will also feel reassured that you are acknowledging areas of the project that might be difficult to execute. If you need to make changes later down the line your backers will be more sympathetic to any alternations in the plan and hopefully non of them will drop out!
Make the promotion interesting
So by now your Kickstarter is beginning to get traction and to keep up the momentum you’re going to have to keep promoting it. But by now you’ve probably also told every human you have access to that you’re funding is up and running and the more you hammer it home the less people want to hear about it. This is where you need to get creative. We all know the Kickstarter is running. Tell us something new! Make videos, fun gifs, up beat stop motion animations. Use different media, podcasts, Periscope, Instagram, blog posts, Youtube to show us more detail. Is anyone else involved? Interview them. Visit studios, hold workshops, film people using the product for the first time. Show any improvements in your product/service. Keep telling the story and keep people updated with the progress. There is so much more you could be saying than “Look at my Kickstarter” and so little time to do it in! Make sure you’re making the most of every day the project is running for.
If people are talking about it share!
Remember to keep on top of the promotion that others are doing for you and share that as well. Not only does this help to validate your project but if some lovely person has taken the time to write about it then you want them in your circle. Sharing is caring so hit the Retweet button and Pin away! You can check out some of the posts that we’re sharing on our We Make Collective Pinterest board.