5 Kick-Ass Tips for Kickstarters

1. Think about what your backer and/or customer is getting by backing your product and focus on that FIRST.

You have been swimming in and slaving over your project for the past however-many-months/years/decades, and you’re probably used to telling people what it is and what it’s about. But now, you have to step into the mind of the totally random stranger who is looking at your project wondering if he or she wants what you’re making.

Because yes, Kickstarters are about you and your journey to make a product … to your friends and family. But to every ol’ random person who comes across your project, you’re just someone who is selling something.

How does this product improve you reader’s life?

What can they expect to accomplish or change once they receive your product?

Will this product have an impact on the people they care about? Will it make them a better parent, partner, or friend?

Talk about what this product will do for the backer, not just about what the product is.

For example, if you are selling a new kind of alarm clock, what can a backer expect to get out of backing the project? Someone backing your kickstarter project would wake up refreshed, more reliably than a phone, and in a more natural way. The only reason your auto-dimming and auto-brightening feature of the alarm clock is important is because it improves the sleep and wake experience for the backer.

2. Lead with the outcome of the successful campaign

Kickstarter has some fantastic documentation about how to become one of their featured projects, and their biggest piece of advice is to lead with a strong intro, and describe the product that the campaign is funding within the first few paragraphs.

This may sound like an immediate contradiction of my first point, but it is absolutely aligned. Look at some successfully funded products, like The Freedom Journal. You know exactly what it is and what it will do for you. The project concisely explains what the Freedom Journal is, and what it is not, in the context of how it will benefit the reader.

In our project, You-Nicorn: A 30-Day Illustrated Workbook to Find Your Inner Unicorn and Start Living the Life You Love, I originally included the “what it is” / “what it isn’t” section after a lot more description of the book and contents. But when I read the Kickstarter documentation, I knew I had to rearrange the page if I wanted to get noticed.

3. When marketing your product, balance humble requests for support with a solid value proposition. People want to help you, but they also want to make an investment in a product that will help them

“Mom, what will make people want to buy the book?” I asked my mom a few days into the Kickstarter campaign.

“Well, I just wanted to support you. I think people just want to support you!”
 “But the book is really good, mom! I want people to buy the book because they want the book.”

“I don’t think people use Kickstarter for that.”

“Make some graphics with quotes from the book. I don’t think people realize the book is really good,” my publisher noted several days into the campaign.

“I know. I feel like people are just trying to support me. But I really want to sell the book. I mean, I appreciate that people want to support me, but I want them to want the book.”

“Right! I can’t wait to give it to everyone I know, but I’ve read it. I think people don’t understand that it’s a good and useful book.”

Lots of people have their own reasons for backing your project. Your friends, family, and supporters will generally be happy to support your project just because they like you and you’re a good person (assuming they do, and you are). But at the end of the day, people are looking to make an investment in something that will be useful and helpful to them.

Assuming you are making / have made a truly useful product, you need to primarily show this is a useful and valuable product because of what it will provide to the backer, and only post about your own personal interest in the project to your friends and family. And even when posting to your friends and family, you’ll find that your posts are much better received if people feel like you’re helping them out with your product.

No one enjoys a panhandler. Not only will focusing on your product’s benefits make your friends feel better about your product and getting early-buyers, you’ll feel better about your own product, too.

4. Plan your campaign in advance, post to your friends and followers leading up to the event, bring them along the journey of creation with you.

Setting up a Kickstarter (or any other crowdfunding campaign) takes almost zero amount of time these days, so you might be tempted to hustle through the process of making the campaign, and just spring right into the fundraising.

But don’t do it.

You need to build some time into your schedule for people to get excited about your project. Show your friends and family what you’re working on along the way. Share photos of your project, publish excerpts on social media (or your blog, or whatever), offer previews of what you’ve got, and take photos of you working. People love to help people who work hard.

This also gives people an opportunity to save up money if your project requires more than a few dollars.

Don’t get all freaked out that someone’s going to steal your idea… most people are stuck in inertia and can’t even start their own fantastic ideas, let alone jump out and capture yours.

5. Press for Kickstarter campaigns is nearly impossible to get, will require a sample, and will likely not be able to be coordinated in the span of your Kickstarter. If you want to get press, focus on people and blogs you personally know well.

Being on Kickstarter just plain isn’t news anymore. I don’t care if your book offers a new cure for cancer, it’s just not news. Save your time and don’t even bother reaching out to press. The only exception is if you know someone personally in a news organization, or if one of your collaborators works for the press.

But for the most part, Kickstarter projects are just not news.

You’re much better off investing your time sharing updates, doing live broadcasts, and writing about your project (not, like, a hundred times a day, but at least once per day).

Do you have tips for how to build a great Kickstarter project? Share them below!

Tomorrow, tune in for 5 more ways to make your Kickstarter campaign kick ass.