How to launch a Kickstarter campaign? Surprises, good and bad, are to be expected when it comes to crowdfunding and any business project in general. We provide as example a successful crowdfunding campaign by Senstone, a portable voice assistant, to give you some ideas on how to present the product.
Focusing on the prelaunch stage your campaign, we talk about common struggles faced by projects submitted to Kickstarter for review, the mindset to win, and, of course, about promotion and connecting with customers. The importance of finding your target audience and reaching out to the people across the borders cannot be overstated. To achieve that, you should make a name for yourself even before you actually start raising money – social media and marketing platforms can be of great help here as they can be used to make your voice heard and spread the word to engage future backers. We strongly encourage you to plan ten steps ahead, think in advance, and delve into details about what you are going to do.
So how to launch a Kickstarter campaign? Say you choose Kickstarter as a platform, the most most popular and credible platform for global crowdfunding projects. If answered correctly, this question has the power to define your success from start to finish. Naturally, you cannot predict everything, but an apt and thought-out launch is what makes the difference between a product which attracts backers and a story you wouldn’t want to share over a cup of coffee.
On Kickstarter, you always start out by selling an idea. It sounds inspiring, and it is true, but your idea needs more than your passion alone. You need to come to Kickstarter prepared, financially and mentally, and keep your expectations in tune with reality.
The two basic parts to a good start of a project are quite obvious. Number one: the thing you’re offering works (will work), and it works exactly like you describe it to work. Number two: people are talking about it. And while the first part includes all the technical aspects and differs from product to product, the second part is all about market analysis and generating buzz for your intended audience.
We at Senstone can testify: what makes for a great launch of a successful Kickstarter campaign is the prelaunch stage.
Senstone is a wearable voice assistant that raised more than $300,000 through crowdfunding on Kickstarter, our campaign surpassing the initial goal and engaging customers from all around the world. If there is a way you can learn a thing or two about how to launch a Kickstarter project, it’s by example.
First of all, Senstone found its target audience. Busy people, doctors, those involved in business and education – the demand for a portable voice-first assistant turned out to be even higher than we’d expected. Next, we established communication with the audience through social media and the internet in general. By the time we opened the Senstone Kickstarter page for donations, it had already attracted quite a following.
How can I increase the likelihood that Kickstarter will accept my project?
Before it’s allowed on the platform, every project is assessed for legitimacy and business application. Kickstarter will not accept an abstract concept. It expects you to raise money honestly and efficiently.
For a technical product like Senstone, Kickstarter looks at blueprints, specifications, and a working prototype – all very concrete things.
In other words, Kickstarter provides funding, and it’s your part to provide everything else, from idea to prototype to production to delivery. If your project description is detailed and genuine, it’s very likely that Kickstarter will approve it for launch to help you reach your goal.
What are dos and don’ts to start a crowdfunding campaign?
As you think on how to launch a Kickstarter campaign, here are some important things to keep in mind.
- Do Play Your Best Cards First.
You should know what makes your product great – for Senstone it was the fact that it’s screen free, small in size, reliable, and hands-free. These are your strengths and this is where you should put the emphasis, both pre and post launch. If your product stands out and can face competition, its campaign will have all the chances for success.
- Feelings Do Matter.
Just as we promoted the unprecedented levels of productivity, you also should consider how your product will change your potential backers’ lives for the better. Sell experiences and emotions, advertise values.
- Do Strategize.
Know your resources like the back of your hand. How much money do you have? How much are you planning to raise? Who are the people and companies you’re working with? Where are you standing now? What can go wrong? What are you going to do if this doesn’t pan out? What are you going to do if this goes beyond well and you get flooded with pre-orders?
Your contingency plans should have contingency plans.
- Do Make Them Keep Scrolling.
Think what your page on Kickstarter is going to look like. Aim for a mix of detailed and interesting. It also helps if your backers are able to picture the product. This means you should attach an image, or some photos, or, ideally, a video. As an advert, it should be eye catching, cool, and memorable.
Here is the video we came up with for our campaign:
- Do Let the World Hear You (and Collect the Feedback).
We contacted influencers and bloggers all over the net and asked them if they would be interested in Senstone. We made emails and messages personalized, and the response was encouraging in the best way possible. We attended conferences presenting our startup for the tech crowd. We conducted surveys. This is a lot of work, but it was absolutely worth the payback.
Just as you want people to hear you, listen carefully to what they say about you. Log and analyse feedback as you go.
Also, remember to create accounts on social media. In this day and age, conventional ads can take you pretty far, but it’s the likes and shares that will take you the rest of the way. Check out our Facebook page for an example.
- Don’t Set the Bar Too High.
You don’t want to start with a goal of a million dollars or something if you only need fifty thousand. Things like that never work. It could be that people would rather back projects more likely to reach their goal, and it’s much better to surpass your initial expectations than fall painfully short.
- Don’t Be Vague.
We can’t overemphasize this.
You’re asking strangers to put their trust in your project, so let them see what they are getting themselves into. Before you launch the campaign proper, make sure everything is as transparent as possible and choose how often you’d like to post updates: once every three days, once a week, or less often. Make sure to post on social media regularly.
Finally, as we have already mentioned, you come to Kickstarter for funding. The rest is your responsibility. If you’re not ready yet, take your time and come prepared.