Everyone it seems is trying to raise money on Kickstarter nowadays. It doesn't matter how wacky or crazy your idea is or well-connected you are, everyone is doing Kickstarter.
You probably have dreamed about running a successful Kickstarter campaign and getting tons of money to fund your next venture or project. While it is quite easy to setup a Kickstarter campaign, it is very difficult to actually run a successful Kickstarter campaign. These tips should help new or experienced entrepreneurs crowdfund their next project.
1. Start marketing BEFORE you launch
This is a simple, easy, and a key tactic to running a successful Kickstarter campaign and a lot of people do not do it. If you can give your campaign momentum before it even starts, the chances of you getting funded are much higher. Send your friends and family an email and just say, “Hey, I am launching this Kickstarter project and it would be really cool if you contributed when it launched.” Obviously add some heartfelt messages and say what the project is and be genuine about it. This way you already have a good idea of how well you are going to be funded before you put up the Kickstarter page. You need momentum since most people won't donate to Kickstarter projects if there doesn't seem to be any chance of the project reaching the funding goal.
2. Use SOCIAL MEDIA as much as possible
If you are active on social networks use tip #1 and market the Kickstarter project before, during, and after the Kickstarter project goes live. Social Media can be a great way to find people within your niche or field that might be interested in funding your project. If you are not active on social networks, find someone who is and can help you. If you know someone with a lot of (legit) followers, ask them to promote your Kickstarter project. Don't waste time on a social networks you don't like or don't want to use though. If you like Facebook, use Facbook. If you have better results with Pinterest, use Pinterest.
3. Find People to WRITE about your Kickstarter project
Again I would use tip #1 and try to see if you can find a blogger in your niche that would be interested in the Kickstarter campaign before it launches. (Good places to check are Examiner.com and Dmoz.org if you don't know of any bloggers.) Getting articles written about your campaign makes it seem serious and give you more exposure. Chances are if a few people write about you, other writers and bloggers will pick-up the story as well. Additionally this helps get traffic to your Kickstarter page which can be difficult when you consider how many projects and campaigns are on the site and go up everyday.
4. Make it CLEAR why you need money, and what you will use it for
People need to understand what you are doing and why they should give you their hard earned money. Successful Kickstarter campaigns describe what they need money for in detail and clearly. If you just put up a paragraph and think that's enough, it isn't! If you are not the best with words, that's fine. Find someone who can help you truly describe why you need money and awesome things you are going to do with it. The most important thing when writing the description is to sound genuine and real.
5. Use keywords for SEO impact
Since Kickstarter has high authority and Pagerank (7), using the proper keywords can really help give your page a boost in visitors. Having a well-written description that is SEO friendly will make Google love it, which is important. You can use the Google Keyword Tool to find what words you should and should not include in your description. (When using the Google Keyword Tool remember to select “Exact” since it defaults to “Broad” searches which won't be as helpful.) Also remember to put a link to your website (if you have one) in the description. That will help your website's traffic and link juice. Also chances are people are going to check your website before contributing.
UPDATE: Google has shutdown the Google Keyword Tool and moved to a new more comprehensive tool, the Google Keyword Planner.
6. Use beautiful PICTURES, a lot
Using beautiful and eye-catching pictures will help keep people on your Kickstarter page. If they are on the page longer, they are more likely to contribute money. Remember that the cover image for the Kickstarter project is important to draw people to the page as well. It should be distinctive and stand out from the crowd. If you don't take good pictures find someone who is good with cameras help you.
7. VIDEOS sell, so use Vimeo
Videos are a great way to tell the world your story of why you need money. For instance, a lot of indie film projects put-up trailers so you can get an idea of what the movie will be like. If you are going to put up a video, make sure to use Vimeo and not Youtbe. It makes me crazy when I am watching a Youtube video and it freezes! (This happens even on fast internet connections since Youtube's bandwidth and servers seems to get overloaded during certain times of the day.) That should definitely not happen on your Kickstarter page since people are impatient. Vimeo has better video quality and rarely freezes. That's why lots of startups use Vimeo nowadays instead of Youtube. Remember you are not focusing on Youtube views, you need to focus on quality and getting people to give you money. Vimeo even has a nice Video School so you can learn about good techniques for making videos. By the way, don't feel like you need expensive cameras or equipment. My Sony HD Handycam, which cost $500, shoots in full 1080 high definition and is great for making short internet videos.
8. GIVEAWAY stuff or something
Successful Kickstarter campaigns giveaway stuff or something. For instance if you are a band and need money to rent a studio, then mailing the album once it is completed to someone who contributed $50 is a logical thing to do. If you don't have stuff to giveaway, you could just post the person's name on a Donor List or something like that. You don't need to offer the world but offering something is important. People are much more likely to contribute to a Kickstarter project if they feel they got their money's worth.
9. DON'T use Kickstarter!
What? How does that make sense? While Kickstarter is quite popular and has a ton of traffic, that is double-edged sword. Your Kickstarter campaign could get a lot of traffic but more likely it will get drowned out by the all the other campaigns vying for people's attention. It is estimated that only 32% of Kickstarter projects get funded. You might want to try IndieGoGo which is another popular crowdfunding platform and came before Kickstarter. The nice thing about IndieGoGo is it has flexible funding option, which means if you don't reach your funding goal, you still get some money. IndieGoGo is also catered more toward non-profits. Crowdrise, GiveForward, etc are good options if you are a non-profit. There are also other crowdfunding alternatives which cater to specific needs or groups. These might be a better fit depending on your project and fundraising goals.
Successful Kickstarter Campaign
I hope these tips help make a successful Kickstarter campaign or IndieGoGo, Crowdrise, etc for whatever you want to raise funds for. If you have any tips that you would like to add, please let me know and leave a comment below.
Know someone who wants to crowdfund their next project or big idea? Please share this article with them before they start it so they have a successfully funded project.
Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!