With the rise of so many great products, causes and ideas on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, it can be hard to be seen and find backers. Truth be told, there is no exact science on how to use Kickstarter. We spoke to a handful of crowdfunding success stories to get tips on creating an epic video, getting it seen and ultimately earning the capital you need.
Pick the Right Product
The biggest battle of any crowdfunding campaign is picking a product you know people will love. Since Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are ripe with thousands of campaigns for the picking, not every new idea is a good fit for these platforms.
Jason Feinberg is in the business of creating quirky products. In the past, he’s been covered by blogs and media outlets almost instantly when a new product has launched.
“When we got into our eCommerce business, there was no Kickstarter and it used to be easy to release a cool new product and get big blogs to write about it, but that was in 2010,” he says. “Because of things like Kickstarter, there’s more competition for those eyes than there used to be. We decided to join them rather than beat them.”
For their first attempt at Kickstarter, they decided to launch a campaign for their Hillary Clinton Bobblehead, having already had success with their own Obama Bobblehead during his election. He knew it would be easy to gain traction with a political figure since it was topical and already being covered in the media.
Once the video went live, they continued to promote the product as new stories broke during Hillary’s “will-she-or-won’t-she-run” media blitz.
“We adapted press releases and stories as new stories about Hillary hit too. The second you get covered by a few blogs, you’re old news. So we knew this product would be able to continue to be covered if we could keep making the stories fresh.”
If you pick the right product, Jason says you’ll reach two different audiences. First there’s the early adopters that love backing innovative products on Kickstarter and have a history of donating. But for his action figure, he knew he also had to reach the audience that would want to back a quirkier, politically-minded product.
“Picking the right product is crucial to gaining momentum on these platforms,” he says.
Appeal to your Audience
David Baron and Ryan Cocca, the innovators behind The Nugget Couch knew their product wasn’t going to show up in living rooms of the rich and famous. But they did know that their lightweight, indestructible and fun couch would be something kids, college students and moms everywhere would get behind.
At perhaps the funniest moment in the video, you can watch a cute kid jumping, grunting and flopping himself all over the couch. The couch doesn’t move and no one gets hurt. If that doesn’t get Mom to push the “Buy Now” button, then nothing will.
The video appeals to families, college coeds and small-space dwellers by selling its other features hard: durability, easy to wash and removable covers and a cool design that’s constructed using sustainable practices.
Get People Excited
Two words: virtual reality. Are the hairs on your arm standing up yet? There’s something about the pacing and excitement behind Patrick Buckley’s DIY Virtual Reality Cardboard Kickstarter.
Maybe it’s the promise of being able to stand in front of Versailles or shoot zombies. Perhaps it’s the fact that they were able to create something better than Google. It could also be the promise that it’s the “first of its kind”. And who doesn’t want to be an early adopter?
The excitement is palpable! If you can get potential backers psyched about the product, you’re more than halfway there.
The First 48 Hours
Once your crowdfunding campaign is ready for its big debut, you’ve got roughly 30 days to make sure it’s seen and funded. But Roman Khan, founder of Linjer Luxury Goods, says it’s the first 48 hours that you should focus on.
Going into the campaign, Roman focused on reaching his goal within the first week. Instead, they funded their campaign in the first 48 hours.
“Trying to reach our goal quickly was important because everyone loves traction as it gives birth to valuable word of mouth marketing and it will maximize your chances of getting featured on the homepage or newsletter of these platforms. In our case, we got both.”
Hitting their goal that quickly resulted in a huge spillover effect where they started to get coverage by some big beats like newsletter coverage and homepage feature by Indiegogo, blogs and eventually WSJ.com and Inc. Magazine.
“That traction and momentum is key,” he says.
Explain Why You’re Different
As of this month, there are more then 1,400 ongoing and finished projects on Kickstarter that focus solely on watches. So how did Jake Kassan, founder of MVMT Watches, raise 1,446% above his goal? He had a straightforward approach to showcasing why his watches are different than every other watch on the market.
His direct approach to describing the insane markup of luxury watches while showcasing his affordable yet very stylish MVMT model appealed to everyone with the budget for Timex but a taste for Rolex.
Instead of being flashy about the sleek clock face or flaunting it on some models, Jake’s frankness and direct approach made both him and the watches very likable.
Launching a crowdfunding campaign that people can’t resist starts with a great idea. With platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, it’s easy for that awesome product to be seen by thousands, even millions of people that aren’t just future customers, but business backers too.