Building a Successful Kickstarter

Scott Steinberg | 17 May 2012 11:00
Misc - RSS 2.0
  1. Project Budgeting and Completion. Estimate how long it will take you to complete a project, allowing room for slippage - a 20-30% buffer is reasonable. Generate your budget and determine minimum funding levels (including any cushions) required to complete the project, and use a spreadsheet if necessary to calculate any costs that you may incur. Be sure to estimate service costs, expenses associated with reward fulfillment and even taxes (take time to speak with an accountant or other certified professional so that you fully understand potential financial and legal implications here) into your projected budget. Note that delays can have a significant effect on project overhead, shipping dates and funding goals.
  2. Funding Targets. Don't make financial goals too high. Instead, ask for what you need at bare minimum to make a project work - and, in your project's description, describe added content, features, services or events that will be offered only if specific higher target goals are met. If you're successful, you may reach them. (Note that it's important to check funding rules for each individual site or service you are using before beginning as policies differ, i.e. most allow you to keep everything you make, even past your goal, but some do not.) Ultimately though, the less you're asking for, the likelier you are to incentivize potential backers into taking the plunge, as they'll be more willing to commit to goals that they believe are achievable.
  3. Campaign Duration. Determine the optimum length of time to keep projects running. Some sites recommend that you keep the funding period down to as little as a few weeks, while others suggest that programs run for no more than 30 days at maximum. However, actual timeframes should be discussed and determined based on individual project need, including how much time it will take to raise awareness, how long you can sustain supporting promotional programs, and how important it is to create a sense of urgency (act now before funding closes!).
  4. Run a Systems Check. Besides preparing campaign assets and tactics, ask yourself: Have you identified your target audience, and do you know where they consume news and media? Have you planned your reward strategies, and run them by friends and associates to affirm that they appeal? Are you confident that your funding target is reasonable, and aimed low as possible to increase chances of success without compromising your budget? Have you identified PR, marketing, media and social media you will need create and utilize to reach your audience?
  5. Make Initial Outreach. Try to drum up some initial interest from friends, family and colleagues, or any existing support base that you have, and secure their promise to contribute once campaigns initially start - their support and contributions may create a sense of successful forward momentum that spurs others to rally to the cause. Work hard to get momentum going around the project early, and ensure resources are ready to bring to bear on day one, before you officially launch it.
  6. Engage Fans Early. If you have an existing fan base or strong group of potential supporters, engage them early - perhaps even weeks before launching your campaign. One way to do so is to solicit their opinions when determining which rewards you will offer. This is something that InXile founder Brian Fargo did successfully with the Wasteland 2 video game reboot project, and it helped catapult the venture forward from the moment it launched.

Professional keynote speaker Scott Steinberg is a leading expert on leveraging new technology trends to enhance business strategy and family life. A noted industry consultant and bestselling author, his new book The Crowdfunding Bible is 100% free to download at www.CrowdFundingGuides.com, or in eBook form on Apple, Nook and Sony Reader devices.

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