How to Kickstart Your Kickstarter Campaign

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Crowdfunding your ideas instead of seeking traditional VC funding has a number of distinct advantages. It helps you build a customer base, gives you immense access to funding (and maintenance of equity), and validates your idea before even going to market. 

Few sites are better for crowdfunding than Kickstarter. To date, on Kickstarter alone, over 62,000 projects have been fully funded with over a billion dollars in contributions. But, because starting a campaign is so easy, many projects on the site fail due to lack of planning.

If you’re considering trying out crowdfunding your business or project, it’s essential that you take extra time to study the site and tools. Here are some tips and thoughts to help you through the planning process: 

Sharpen your story: There are thousands of projects competing for funding. Those that get attention have a compelling story–a beginning, middle, and an end. When writing your story, the shorter, the better. Try to keep it under about 1000 words.

Your story should begin with you–your background, skills, and experience that will make your project successful. Include details on how you came up with the idea and what evidence you have that there is a market desire for your product or service. Funders want to back projects that have a chance at succeeding; instill that confidence in potential backers.

“The middle” is where you are now. Describe what you will do with the money raised and why you have chosen crowdfunding over other options to raise funds.

Finally, let potential backers know your long-term vision for your idea. Show them your vision of the future. How will your product or service improve the lives of those who use it? More importantly, describe the future benefit of your backers being in on the ground floor of your business proposition.

Be conservative with your fundraising goals: Projects only get funded if entrepreneurs can raise the entire target amount during the fundraising window. If it’s possible, break the project down to smaller or more basic ideas. For example, if you’ve got a great idea for a new phone case, you might want to offer it in a variety of colors or materials.

However, starting with a more modest goal of a single type of case would reduce the amount needed. If you can introduce your campaign with more basic features, you can add features or options as “bonus options” once you’ve raised enough for the entry-level product. 

Socialize with your backers: Don’t forget: Kickstarter is a social platform. Building buzz for your product requires great communication, in-person when necessary. Backers are buying into you as much as your product. Give them confidence that you’re going to follow through by being responsive to inquiries. As a bonus, their feedback will help you improve your campaign. 

Potential backers have many business ideas to choose from. Spending time on the basics—a great pitch, setting realistic goals, and maintaining a two-way dialog with investors—can greatly improve your chances for success.


photo credit: Scott Beale via photopin cc

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