Kickstarter has become the most sought-after platform today for a lot of entrepreneurs and creatives. The numbers just say that – 165,971 successfully funded projects, over $4.3 trillion pledged, over 16.4 million backers, and a good one-third of them being repeat backers! But not all kickstarter projects are a hit – just a handful of them.
In this article, I share 8 things I observed and learnt from just 3 Kickstarter projects that can help you get your next Kickstarter project right. Of these three, two were over-pledged and they belonged to two different categories – fashion and music.
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Angela’s first project was over-pledged by over 162%
The first Kickstarter project is ADIFF + goodgood for good: Reflective Reversible Jacket. The second is The ADIFF Tent Jacket: Revolutionizing The Fashion Industry. I had interviewed the creator of these projects, Angela Luna on the podcast. She’s a designer and entrepreneur who is building a brand called ADIFF to help make a difference to the lives of Syrian refugees by putting her fashion design experience to good use.
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Ramon’s Kickstarter project was over-pledged by over 1428%
And the third Kickstarter project is Travel Sax – The smallest electronic Saxophone in the World. The creator is Ramon Mañas Corbinos, a musician and founder of Odisei Music. I had also interviewed him on my podcast where I interview entrepreneurs, creatives and nonconformists.
[/thrive_custom_box]We set a target for €7000 to validate the idea (and hopefully raise some money), but we ended up meeting the target in 2hours and eventually raised €99,953! - @ramonmanas on @kickstarter #travel #music Click To Tweet
In the rest of this article, I will outline the 8 things I learnt from Angela and Ramon’s projects that I think can go a long way in helping you succeed with your Kickstarter campaigns.
7 Lessons I Learnt from Two Kickstarter Projects
I’ve seen several articles written about how to successfully create a Kickstarter Project. But I’m sharing these 8 lessons because I found them unique, and you can also reach out to Angela or Ramon to learn the details.
1. Use it to Validate Your Product
Ramon’s idea with launching his Kickstarter campaign was to validate the idea of a Travel Sax. But Kickstarter was not the only way he validated his idea. Being an Industrial Designer by training, he had started to prototype his idea early on. In fact, he had validated the ‘idea’ of something like an electronic saxophone much earlier to the Kickstarter campaign.
The campaign was used to validate the product, that included the pricing, positioning and the ‘package’.
2. Raise Funds to Build Your Product
Building a product, especially a physical product, can be an expensive affair. One of the biggest ways a lot of creators use their Kickstarter projects is as a means to raise some capital to cover costs. These could be costs related to productization, like manufacturing, packaging and shipping.
Margins matter, for you and your backers.
When it comes raising funds, it’s important to think about pricing a little closely. Ramon was conscious that the pricing did include a decent margin too. Sometimes the costs of manufacturing can shoot up due to foreign exchange rates and unforeseen risks. Factoring in a decent margin is good for you and your backers.
Get creative with pricing.
Angela’s pricing strategy was unique, with both her Kickstarter projects. When backers bought a piece of her Reflective Reversible Jacket or the Tent Jacket, ADIFF promised to ship another piece to a refugee in Syria. This gave the backer an extra reason to back the project – they made a difference with every purchase.
So getting creative with pricing helped Angela use pricing to persuade her backers even in the last minute, before clicking the ‘buy’ button.
3. Kickstarter is Not Guarantee Eyeballs
If you think Kickstarter is a great way to get more people to look at your product, you are wrong. Your product has to be really good, in order for it to be worthy of an eyeball. That said, there are a lot of factors that impact the success or failure of your Kickstarter project. Here’s what I learnt from Angela and Ramon:
- Create a good video that demonstrates your product, preferably by a real user.
- Have enough product photographs that give a good idea of how the product would look when you have it in your hands.
- Show how the product can address your limbic brain – how can it address people’s motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. (Angela’s tent or jacket would protect people and keep them safe; Ramon’s Travel Sax would help people achieve goals without feeling embarrassed)
- Keep the name and description clear – don’t let people second guess your Kickstarter project.
- Have meaningful tiers where people can get something other than the product for a lesser amount.
4. Solve a Real Need or Focus on a Niche Where People Spend Money
In one word, make sure your product is impactful and impact-worthy.
Let me explain.
Impactful and Impact-worthy.
Angela’s Reflective Reversible Jacket was both impactful and impact-worthy. The jacket was impactful because if someone used it, it would keep them warm and safe in the cold nights. Impact-worthy is a term I use to tell how much the product is useful for the desired target market at the given price point. The jacket scores high points there too – at $198 (for 1+1) it’s super useful for people living in New York as much as it in Syria.
Ramon’s Travel Sax is focused on a tiny niche where people typically spend thousands of dollars on Saxophones. That way, the product is impact-worthy at a price point of €340. It’s helps you practice and learn Saxophone while not having to feel embarrassed, and hence proving to be obviously impactful.
Impactful and Not Impact-worthy.
Now Angela’s second Kickstarter campaign for the Tent Jacket was quite different. It scores a high point when it comes to being impactful, but not so high with being impact-worthy. The reason is simple – at the price point ($329), it was not really useful for any backer in New York or in other cities. Unless the backer is an adventure-traveler, it’s not an appealing product for backers.
5. Engage with a Community Before Your Campaign Starts
A Kickstarter project is not the toy store on busy shopping district. It’s like a pop-up store.
In other words, you’ve got to build the demand even before you start your Kickstarter campaign.
Angela did exactly that with the Reflective Reversible Jacket. She had got press coverage, and other top websites were covering her story exactly around the time she launched her Kickstarter campaign. This led to a lot of engagement on the Kickstarter project page.
On the contrary, her Tent Jacket did not get so much traction as she did not repeat that magic. And that leads us to the next point.
6. Longer Campaigns Work Well Too
Taking a cue from the pop-up store example I gave earlier is best. The secret of pop-up stores are not to do with the display or price, but time. People know that the store would be gone in a day or two. That builds urgency.
Same is the case with Kickstarter projects. Shorter projects fare better than longer ones. That’s what Kickstarter recommends, and Angela talks about this in detail in the interview too. But longer campaigns work too!
- Angela’s over-pledged Reflective Reversible Jacket is a good example (60 days)
- Switchpod by Pat Flynn was another successful campaign that was over-pledged by 415% (60 days)
7. An Email List is Mandatory for a Hit Campaign
Building an email list is a great way to running a Kickstarter campaign. Though this project was never a part of my earlier cohort, the Switchpod is a great example of doing this. Pat Flynn, an online marketer and entrepreneur sent an email to his email list of over 250,000+ to help make his Kickstarter project a wild success. It was over-pledged by 415% in 60 days.
Angela did regret not starting an email list even during her first campaign for the Reflective Reversible Jacket. She could’ve potentially used the same list to promote her second campaign, had she collected emails on the first place!
Kickstarter Projects Are Your Best BetPeople are nice. If you show your ideas to your family or friends, they are going to call you a genius even if your ideas sucks! That's why @kickstarter helped take our idea to real people for real validation - @ramonmanas #travel #music Click To Tweet
No matter what, Kickstarter projects are your best bet when it comes to building your product. No matter what the outcome of your Kickstarter project is, it leaves you a better person and a better entrepreneur. They make you think like an entrepreneur, and this article was just a tiny-weeny set of learnings.
I hope you found this article useful. Please stop by the podcast and subscribe to the show, as I interview more entrepreneurs and creatives who are using Kickstarter, building movements, growing communities and so much more. Also, subscribe to my newsletter where you get access to a lot of goodies and giveaways that I usually don’t share outside!
Leave a comment and let me know what you think, and do share your experiences with starting and running Kickstarter projects too!