4 Tips for Launching a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

August 13, 2018

4 Tips for Launching a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

I recently had the opportunity to do an Instagram takeover (my first ever!) over on the feed for @braidworkshop.  Braid is workshop series and networking community for women by women in Utah. Their Facebook group is a great place to connect with other cool women online and their monthly events are a great place to connect in person.  I have really enjoyed all of the events I have attended and the support I have felt through their community of awesome female entrepreneurs.

These tips are things you can do if you are looking to launch a Kickstarter campaign. They will help ensure you successfully reach your funding goal, but will also help you develop your product, build you brand and widen you audience.

Tip # 1 - Kickstarter is not just for men

Sometimes we tell ourselves negative stories that prevent our success.  We make up reasons why we will fail before we even start.  Don't let one of those stories in your head be that Kickstarter is not a good place for women to launch products.  Women do really well on crowdfunding platforms.  In fact, women do better than men!

Although men launch more products using crowdfunding than women, women actually raise more money.  The study right HERE backs that up.

There are a lot of reasons why women might be more successful at crowdfunding than men, but I think it's because women are really great at creating products that solve real world problems.  Also, other women want to purchase those same products.  Simple as that.  Women make great products that other women want.  If you a have an idea for a product, you should consider using Kickstarter to fund it.

Tip # 2 - Validate your idea

This one can be a hard pill to swallow for many entrepreneurs because it's easy assume that if you like your own idea then everyone else will as well.  In other words, a good idea will sell itself.  Unfortunately, that isn't always true.  It's important to make sure there is a market for your idea before you spend the time and energy developing it.

Bryce and I recently met someone who spent a lot of money putting together a Kickstarter campaign and launching before finding out if people were interested in purchasing the product.  Unfortunately it failed to fund and he was out all the costs of producing the Kickstater campaign.

In order to validate the Ergo Spout, Bryce and I attended several farmer's markets last summer where we had prototypes available and talked to everyone we could.  We asked people if they liked the idea, if they would buy it and even what they would pay for it.  The feed back was invaluable and gave us confidence that there was a market for the Ergo Spout.

Tip #3 - Build your audience before you launch

Once you know that there is a market for your product, you need to gather all those people together in an email list.  This is important because when you launch a Kickstarter campaign you only have a small window in which to fund.  If you gather your audience after you launch, you could be in real trouble.  On the other hand, taking the time to build your email list before launch can ensure success.

We built our email list in two ways.  First, we asked for emails personally.  We did this at the farmer's markets and at two large home shows in our area.  Second, we advertised online.  We used Facebook advertising to target the market we thought would be interested and pointed them to a landing page where they could sign up for the mailing list in anticipation of launch.  Both were successful for us. 

It doesn't really matter how you build your list, you just need to gather your audience so they are ready for your product when your Kickstarter campaign goes live.

Tip #4 - Know your numbers

There are a lot of numbers in a Kickstarter campaign -- funding goal, backers, total amount raised.  However, there are 2 numbers that can really affect the outcome of your campaign.

First, shipping.  Collecting shipping as part of your Kickstarter campaign is a good idea, but you should understand the consequences.  If you don't collect a sufficient amount for shipping, the difference is an amount you will have to cover yourself.  Second, if you collect shipping it will add to the amount of money you raise, but may result in less money to produce your product.

For example, let's say you need $10,000 to produce your product and set a $10,000 funding goal.  Let's say backers will pay $80 and you charge $20 shipping.  Once you hit your $10,000, you have only really raised $8,000 (not counting Kickstarter fees) because $2,000 is for shipping.  

The second number to be aware of is marketing costs.  In order to promote a Kickstarter campaign you will likely use something like Facebook Ads.  There are outside marketing firms that can help run these ads for you, but their fees are anywhere from 15% to 35% of the funds you raise depending on who is paying for the ads.  This can really add up.  Before you consider an outside ad agency, its best practice to consider your costs of good sold, shipping, fees and other costs to produce and sell your product to make sure that the marketing fees make sense.

I used to wonder how campaigns could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars on Kickstarter and still not have enough to fulfill the rewards for their backers.  I now understand; they likely paid for an outside ad agency to run their ads and didn't have enough left over for production and operations.  That's why it's so important to know your numbers.

I had a great time sharing these tips on @braidworkshop's Instagram.  If you are interested in launching your own Kickstarter campaign, I hope these tips help you find sucess.

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