Overview and lessons learned from running my third Kickstarter campaign

Tracy Osborn
Apr 24, 2017 · 8 min read
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  • A good rule of thumb: Set your minimum to half (or less) of what you actually would like to raise.
  • Make a weekly plan for your marketing and outreach efforts throughout the campaign.
  • Somewhat successful for me: Book speaking events during the campaign.
  • Don’t run a Kickstarter campaign without a video.
  • Prep, prep, prep before you launch your campaign.
  • Schedule self-care for after the campaign ends — you deserve it.

No matter how well your Kickstarter is doing, it’s going to be 30 days of stress.

During the 30 days of my Kickstarter campaign, my Fitbit’s resting heart rate steadily increased. I knew I was stressed and it’s interesting to have an actual physical metric confirm it.

A good rule of thumb: Set your minimum to half (or less) of what you actually would like to raise.

My Kickstarter’s minimum was $15,000, which tells you that I was really aiming for $30,000. So while my campaign looks wildly successful, it actually hit less than I was aiming for.

  • A lot of folks will only jump on already-successful campaigns, so by setting your minimum lower, you can psychologically induce more folks to pledge.

Make a weekly plan for your marketing and outreach efforts throughout the campaign.

A typical four-week campaign looks like this:

  • Second week: Things start tapering off. Still have some excitement, but the “easy” pledges have already come in and it’s time to start finding folks who haven’t heard of you to back your campaign.
  • Third week: The doldrums. Pledges drastically slow down.
  • Fourth week: Things get exciting again! The campaign is almost done, and pledges will start coming in again from folks waiting until the last possible moment as well as being featured in Kickstarter’s “ending soon” list.
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  • Week two, widen the net to supportive communities. Message backers of previous campaigns. Post related blog posts on Medium. Email tech- and women-in-tech email lists. Email conferences I spoke at and ask them to tweet the campaign. Pay for ads on relevant communities (I did Reddit and Write the Docs). Make Hello Web App (my programming book) free to read online as a promotion for Hello Web Design.
  • Week three, miscellaneous marketing tasks. Do an AMA on Reddit. Research and ask friends with large Twitter followings to share the Kickstarter campaign. Share Medium articles on Hacker News and Reddit.
  • Week four, ride the campaign-ending wave. Marketing tasks from before should continue through this week. Wrap up the campaign.

Somewhat successful for me: Book speaking events during the campaign.

I love public speaking, and since I have a very successful conference talk (“Design for Non-Designers”) that inspired my upcoming book, I thought it would make good marketing sense to pitch the talk to private companies for internal or co-branded events.

  • New York City, internal event at Buzzfeed. This event turned out a lot smaller than I hoped, a small conference room. No compensation for my time or lunch that day (as I spoke at 11am, was kind of hoping to get a meal out of it.) No campaign pledges. I regretted spending the amount of money on Airbnb + flights, and thankfully was able to book a last minute talk with NYC Python’s event that meant my NYC trip was more cost effective.
  • San Francisco, public event with Stripe. Stripe hosted an evening public event featuring my talk — my first time ever “headlining” an event. I love the Stripe folks, and they were wonderful hosts (and I got dinner after!) Pretty sure I was able to score a few pledges from the audience. I wasn’t compensated for my flights, but I think the event was worth paying to fly in for.

Don’t run a Kickstarter campaign without a video.

Prep, prep, prep before you launch your campaign.

I started working on my plan for the campaign in August 2016, planning to launch the campaign in November 2016 (videoing in September, which was the piece that took the most amount of time.) Due to the holidays and the US presidential election, I punted the campaign start time to January 2017.

Schedule self-care for after the campaign ends — you deserve it.

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Getting sandy after speaking at PyCaribbean.


HACKERPRENEUR

The digital magazine for iOS that explores the future of…

Thanks to Jeff Triplett and Andrey Petrov

Tracy Osborn

Written by

Author of Hello Web Books. Traveling the world and climbing mountains.

HACKERPRENEUR

The digital magazine for iOS that explores the future of work, creativity, design, startups and entrepreneurship.

Tracy Osborn

Written by

Author of Hello Web Books. Traveling the world and climbing mountains.

HACKERPRENEUR

The digital magazine for iOS that explores the future of work, creativity, design, startups and entrepreneurship.

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