Let me start by saying that not all of the strategies listed below will be needed to help you reach your Kickstarter funding goal.
Some of the strategies will work with your type of campaign, while others will not.
You’ll also need to explore your own options and consider your project’s unique aspects, so you can develop your own strategies that work for YOUR CAMPAIGN.
I am simply sharing the old school strategies here because these are the ones that worked for me.
Some of them are “no brainers”.
I agree, however, with everyone who says forgetting them can destroy your chances of succeeding with your KICKSTARTER campaign, so hopefully this blog post will serve as a good reminder to stick to the basics for long term success.
QUICK BACK STORY:
I recently wrote my first book called “How To Take Down GOLIATH & Unleash Your Inner HERO” – published by RODA marketing and Evolve Media Group.
To help increase awareness for the book and to generate enough funds that I could purchase a large quantity at the best price possible, I decided to launch a 14 day KICKSTARTER campaign to raise $3,500.
It was a last minute decision, made on a Thursday morning and launched the following Friday afternoon.
It took me 8 days to reach the $3,500 goal, all thanks to old school business practices.
Once I hit my goal, I stopped my outreach campaigns because – “mission accomplished.”
When the campaign ended, I had 134 backers totaling $3,879 and a total of 282 pre-ordered books.
Here’s exactly how I did it – old school and FREE:
Have A Strategy
Even though I decided at the last minute to do a KICKSTARTER campaign to raise extra funds to publish my first book, I immediately created a plan before taking any action.
I knew who I wanted to reach out to, how many times I would follow up, what sites I wanted to post my campaign on, how often I would share in my own social media, the types of content I would share, and much more.
With a solid strategy in place, it becomes much easier to hit daily and weekly goals, which leads to you reaching your overall goal.
Use a Video (60-90 Seconds)
One of the things I learned right away in my research was the importance of having a “quality” video inside your campaign. Your video should feature you and/or your product, explain the value you are offering/delivering to anyone who pledges to help you, portray your excitement and passion for your project and whatever else you deem important.
I decided to take a very authentic, non-professional approach so I recorded myself on my iPhone 5 sitting in a local park across the street from my home.
The main point of my video was for people to see me, understand my purpose and hopefully feel my excitement and passion.
Keep your video “short” and to the point – you’re not telling your life story here – you’re telling enough to intrigue people, add value and ensure they want to be part of your story.
Write Clear Description (What’s In It For Them?)
When people visit your campaign and project, they’re not wondering about who you are, how you came up with your idea, why you think it’s the best idea ever, etc.
Subconsciously, THEY ARE THINKING ONE THING: “What’s in it for me?”
Your video and Description NEED to address the benefits you will add to other people’s lives and the problems you will help solve.
Remember, you need to create a product/service that makes other people’s lives better, not just yours, and your description should make that clear!
Turn To Friends & Family (If They Won’t Help, Who Will?)
Once I had my actual campaign set up and approved inside KICKSTARTER, it was time to make the magic happen.
Who better to turn to right away than friends and family, right? RIGHT!
I’m very lucky to have a family that wants to help when they can and a group of friends who feel the same way.
So, when I started sharing the news of my first book, it was received warmly. Small and large pledges came in from initial contacts and people were making pledges after I was following up with them.
Between family (texts, emails, FB) and FB friends (the ones I felt close enough to reach out to) I had a list of about 500 people I wanted to contact and follow up with.
Define Help Needed (Be Specific)
When reaching out to my friends and family, it wasn’t to just let them know I launched a KICKSTARTER campaign and I “wanted them to check it out.”
That approach may have gotten a few pledges and a few “looks cool” comments but to reach $3,500 in 14 days I needed to be more direct.
So, I quickly explained that I had launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to help raise funds to publish my first book and that by helping pledge an amount they would be pre-ordering a copy and helping me make my dream come true.
See the difference between “can you check it out” and the way I did it? One is vague, while the other approach is very sincere but also asks for the exact help needed.
When people know what they need to do to help and it’s easy to help, they are far more inclined to do so. If you expect people to do guesswork and figure things out, just so they can finally help you at the end of a confusing process, forget about it.
I went so far as to explain to people there would be a green “Back This Project” button they would click on to start the process.
Follow Up (People Are Busy And Forget)
When is the last time you forgot to do something you knew you should, or said you would? Probably pretty recently – just like the rest of us.
We’re all busy in our day-to-day lives, and although we often want to do many things (like help a friend with a KICKSTARTER campaign), other things come up and life gets in the way, causing you to totally forget what you said you would do.
With this understanding, it becomes easy and very rewarding to follow up with people.
It’s not the type of follow up that assumes the role “why haven’t you done what you said you would?” or “why haven’t you responded to my question?” – those are negative approaches that will get you nowhere.
Your follow up needs to be more along the lines of: “I understand you are super busy and appreciate any time you can spare. If not, I completely understand and wish you well either way.”
When you really care about people and you show them this through your interaction/communication, it’s easy for them to sense that and to be drawn to your cause.
If you are aggressive, or assuming, you can expect people to be turned off and not respond, or respond negatively.
Offer To Return The Favor (They’re Doing You A Favor)
At the end of my messages to people I would almost always say something like: “I appreciate any help you can provide, and if I can return the favor in any way, let me know. I would be very happy to do so.”
I didn’t say this because I thought it would score me brownie points and get more people to help my cause.
I said this and offered it because I really meant it. In general, I want to be the type of person who is there to help others as often as possible, whether or not they have “helped me before.”
When you show people you care, they are more likely to show they care in return.
If you message people and ask for favors and it’s always about “me, me, me”, you’ll be amazed how many people can see through that mascaraed and how little quality interaction you will have with others.
Have No Expectations (Be Grateful For ANY Help)
I set a goal of $3,500 at the beginning of my KICKSTARTER campaign but I didn’t really have any expectations to reach it.
I knew I was going to work my butt off to achieve that goal and that I would do everything in my power to make it happen, but I also knew and felt that if I didn’t reach the goal that would be OK, too, and that I would find another way.
Within the first 24 hours of the campaign going LIVE I had raised just under $400 and I was getting really excited.
So, I sat myself down and meditated again and again over the two week period to do my best to eliminate expectations; sense of urgency, etc.
In my heart I knew if it was meant to happen, it would – and sure enough, it did!
Be Consistent (Follow Ups, Messages Shared, Online Persona)
I am a firm believer in consistency, so it should be no surprise that I had (still have) an excel document that tracked everyone I reached out to, the date I reached out, if they responded and if they responded what did they say; if they said follow up I marked down the date and was sure to do so, if people didn’t respond I was sure to follow up between 3-5 times per person, every 3-4 days – the list goes on.
If you launch a campaign and send out a few messages and then sit back and relax waiting for everyone to chip in and make it happen, you are sorely mistaken.
Disclaimer: as mentioned above in the very beginning of this post, not all of these strategies are relevant to everyone.
For example, you can create a product that catches everyone’s attention immediately and there is no need for you to follow up with anyone, ever, because within days you are funded because your campaign goes viral.
We hope to experience some of those successes in our future, too; however, for my first campaign it was much more of a GRASSROOTS effort that got me to my goal.
Over the 8 days it took to reach our $3,500 goal, I worked about 40-60 hours on my campaign. It was certainly like having a full time job for those 8 days!
** Needless to say: You need a GREAT product/service and you need to offer AWESOME rewards that will make people happy to be a part of.
Not all the bells and whistles in the world can help you sell something that offers little or no true value.
These old school strategies didn’t cost me a dime and they helped me reach my KICKSTARTER funding goal!
I spent $0 on marketing and generated $3,879 in 14 days thanks to:
- Friends and family
- Sincerely asking for help (being specific in help I needed)
- Following up/being consistent
- Staying balanced
Good luck in your fundraising ventures!
If you would like to get a copy of my book, please visit MatthewRoda.com.