Some Hands-On-Advice for a successful crowdfunding campaign

Last October, Lana and I launched a campaign on Kickstarter for the first map of the alps with all ski resorts. Albeit a lot of scepticism, we reached our funding goal of 5,000€ in less than 48 hours and secured a funding of 25.000€ by the end of our campaign. Apparently we did some things right, some things wrong and had quite an exciting time. For everybody who asked how: Here are some hints that will make your Kickstarter campaign much more likely to go to the universe and beyond.

Think about timing

We started our campaign by the end of October, perfect for the holiday season and during the time where everybody books ski holidays. And we made sure all maps reached their destination before Christmas. That helped a lot. About 25% of all backers bought the map as a present.

Have your website and social media accounts in place month before the campaign

Our campaign started in October, We had our website up and running in July, Facebook started in May. A lot of folks came up to us and told us they loved the map before we even started and took part in the documentation of our design process.

Put love into little additional things

We illustrated some mountains, did some quizzes, documented everything and tried to entertain our followers along the way with little images like this. Creativity and engagement beyond your product make your product look much more valuable.

About 300 people now have the Matterhorn as screensaver

Use Facebook ads

Facebook targeting options are great for reaching your audience and the ads are really not that expensive. We reached about 2,000 people for every 10€ we spent. These were geography fanatics who loved to ski, so they showed a lot of interest in the map and a lot of them bought one. In general: the more special interest and specific your target audience (and Kickstarter Projects generally target a very specific audience), the more will facebook ads help you reach them. In fact, a guy in the US saw our video through ads, posted it on his site and all of a sudden we had thousands of visitors and over 100 subscribers to our newsletter before the campaign, which brings me to the next point…

Newsletters, Forums, Groups… that boring stuff is still abnormally important

These things have been around since the last century, and for good reason. Apparently people with a certain interest love forums, facebook groups and they really subscribe to newsletters, believe me. So set up a newsletter for your campaign and spend a couple nights posting in forums and groups. But that doesn’t free you from

Do the nasty PR work

PR work is boring, but it’s worth it. Send your product out to influencers and talk about it whenever you can. An example: by pure chance I met the CEO of Globetrotter, I told him about the map, he did put it in the company newsletter and we had 50 more backers the day after. You’re a small company, you’re interesting, and everybody is looking for a good story. So take advantage of that. Here are some hints.

Make a short video, and if you don’t know how to shoot one, make it funny

Endless videos are boring. Make it short, don’t use too much text, and if you have absolutely no clue how to do it, two essentials:

  1. Make it funny. If there’s one thing that everybody loves, it’s laughing. Unless your project is serious, of course. But every serious project also has its curious moments, and you should take advantage of them. They will stick in the head.
  2. Assure the sound is good. Audio quality is at least as important as image quality. Ask somebody you know how to do it and, at least, get a microphone for your smartphone.

It is really important to have your video in place and visible before your campaign starts. A good video raises a lot of awareness. And that’s exactly what you need.

Get help

My brother needed work, so he contacted all ski resorts for us. A friend helped with shipping. Another friend came early and helped bake little mountain pralines for our launch event.

Get freelancers who help you with boring things. And pay them. Try to outsource as much as you can. It frees your time and ramps up your creativity. And if you need professionals: we used upwork.com, and I can recommend it.

Help also comes in the form of existing Kickstarter campaigns that were successful. As John Lennon said: “70% of all Beatles songs is stolen.” This campaign provided a great example for us.

Have a party

Who doesn’t want a party? Everybody wants a party! We had a great party when we kicked off and you should do one when you start your project. Celebrate yourself, you’re worth it. Plus: it is extremely important to wow your friends and family so that they invest early into your campaign. The best PR for your campaign is existing backers, and for 99% of crowdfunding campaigns, a lot of the first backers need to be friends and families.

Think about fulfillment very, very early

After success comes shipping, and shipping can be painful. Make sure you know how to wrap your product, get shipping rates, compare major parcel companies (it isn’t easy), and automize as much as you can. Or you’ll be up day and night printing labels and tracking parcels for your angry customers.

Any more questions? Feel free to contact me: stefan@marmotamaps.com