Let’s be honest.
There’s about a thousand other articles out there about how to launch your own Kickstarter project.
But here’s the deal:
The vast majority of those articles were written by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
Sure, there’s some good info mixed in there.
Just like there are some relationships on The Bachelor that don’t end poorly.
But a lot of those articles contain info that’s either ridiculously outdated or absurdly misinformed.
So here’s our list of 11 simple steps that you can take to launch your own successful Kickstarter project in 2019.
UPDATE: These 2019 tips are still highly relevant, but you can check out our 2020 Kickstarter tips here.
How To Launch A Successful Kickstarter Project in 2019
1. Your product can’t suck
You’d think that’d be a given, but apparently some project creators never got the memo.
There’s no shortage of poorly disguised junk being peddled on crowdfunding sites.
Here’s a good test:
If you can’t get 20 friends or family members to pay you for your product, you won’t get strangers on Kickstarter to buy it either.
“But my friends aren’t the target market!!”
I don’t care.
If you can’t get 20 sales from people you know, head back to the drawing board.
Yes, there are exceptions.
The famous (infamous?) Potato Salad Kickstarter raised $55,000 back in 2014.
But that was a fluke.
A hilariously clever fluke, but a fluke nonetheless.
Lesson #1: If your product isn’t new or innovative — or preferably both — it’s going to bomb once your campaign goes live.
2. Cool it with the rewards, man
You might want to sit down for this, cause it’s gonna hurt your feelings:
Nobody wants to buy your t-shirt.
Go out and look at campaigns that list a t-shirt, hat, or coffee mug as the first reward.
NOBODY backs those rewards.
They’re a distraction from your main product.
Stick to as few rewards as you possibly can.
Ideally 3 or 4.
You can ALWAYS add more rewards to your Kickstarter page, but once someone backs a reward, you can’t fully delete it.
Remember, you want your page to look as clean and simple as possible.
People are lazy.
Sometimes the more choices they have, the less likely they are to make a purchase.
Don’t make them work to find your bread and butter product.
Make it easy on ’em.
You should, however, offer a $1 “thanks for your support” reward.
No where else will you be able to have people pay you to join your mailing list.
3. Lower your expectations (and your public funding goal)
There have been over 453,000 projects launched on Kickstarter since it was founded in 2009.
That means only 1 out of every 1,250 projects raised $1 million.
And 63% of those 453,000 projects failed to reach their funding goal.
So what’s the lesson here?
It’s really, really hard to raise $1 million on Kickstarter.
So what should you do?
Lower your funding goal.
Well here’s an example.
Internally, you may consider raising $100,000 a success.
So you make your funding goal $100,000.
Makes sense, right?
Let’s say that in this example, even though you want $100,000, you’d be profitable at $50,000.
If your public funding goal is $100,000, and you raise $99,999, you won’t get a dime.
So set your goal super low.
Plus it looks good when you blow past it.
4. A picture’s worth 1,000 words… and $1 million
Which of these two should your Kickstarter campaign page most resemble?
- A dictionary
- A children’s book
Ding, ding, ding!
It should look far more like a children’s book than a dictionary.
Wait, you thought it was #1?
Stop reading now, you’re hopeless.
People LOVE looking at high-quality images, I mean I could spend all day looking at those shoes.
So invest in some high-quality pictures.
And no, not from your cousin with his iPhone 6S.
5. Use an over-the-top campaign title
Which headline are you more likely to click on?
“Wireless Headphones Built For The Modern Traveler.”
“The BEST Wireless Headphones Ever Made!”
The 2nd one.
It makes you curious.
Even if you’re skeptical of their claims, you’re still going to check it out.
So use an over-the-top, somewhat corny, campaign headline.
“The World’s Best”
“The World’s First”
“The Coolest ‘Blank’ EVER MADE!”
Headlines like that are going to get you clicks.
And clicks, my friends, lead to sales.
6. Add text to your hero image
“Your Kickstarter cover image isn’t really that important.” – some moron
Your Kickstarter cover image is REALLY important.
That thumbnail choice could literally swing tens of thousands of dollars.
Pick your best, clearest product image, and then add a text overlay to it.
The top 5 most popular Kickstarter design projects right now have just one thing in common.
They added text to their image.
It helps you stand out.
AND makes your project look legit.
But please, lay off the Comic Sans.
7. Launch your project in a popular category
About 90% of Kickstarter funding comes from the three most popular categories:
Those are the most popular categories BY FAR.
They get a huge amount of organic traffic.
And, believe it or not, organic traffic from the Kickstarter community itself will provide 60% – 70% of your funding.
So it’s crucial that you get in front of those potential backers.
“But I have a food product!!”
I don’t care, put it in Product Design.
And here’s a little known fact:
You can switch back and forth between Kickstarter categories as much as you want.
So you can start in tech, and then switch to design halfway through your campaign.
Maybe switching will help you, maybe it won’t.
But it’s a nice option to have.
8. Run Facebook ads
Yes, Zuck’s been in hot water lately.
But Facebook’s still the most powerful advertising platform on the planet.
And those huge campaigns you see raising millions?
They’re driving traffic via ads.
Lots of them.
There’s a handful of agencies that do solid, solid work.
Look for badges at the bottom of popular campaigns to see which marketing agencies they worked with.
9. Limit your campaign video to 3 minutes
So you spent big money on a 5-minute campaign video that looks great, huh?
Well, I hate to tell you this, but nobody’s going to watch the whole thing.
Only 25% – 30% of visitors watch a campaign video to completion.
The others drop off around the 30 second mark.
So you better get everything you really need to say out of the way early.
And if you don’t hook people within the first 10 seconds, you can kiss them good-bye.
There are exceptions.
Like the Anamorphic Lens, which raised over $1.5 million with a 24 minute video.
But unless you’ve got some epic footage, keep your video short and sweet.
10. Write weekly campaign updates (and use cross promotions)
Have you ever gone on a couple dates with someone, thought things were going well, and then never heard from them again?
Oh, that’s just happened to me?
You know what I mean though.
Nobody likes to be left hangin’.
And neither do your backers.
The least you can do is give them periodic updates.
How’s manufacturing going?
Did you just introduce a new color?
Have they told their friends and family about your project yet?
Updates are a great way to develop a deeper connection to your backers.
And cross promote other projects in your update.
For bigger campaigns, cross promotions can literally drive tens of thousands in sales.
“But cross promotions are off brand for us!”
Look, here’s the deal.
And I’m going to write this in big, bold capital letters so it resonates with you.
NOBODY ON KICKSTARTER CARES ABOUT YOUR BRAND.
That fancy branding guideline you paid some agency to create for you?
Chuck it out the window.
Kickstarter is a unique beast where the most important things are:
- Being authentic.
- Having a badass product.
Nothing else matters.
So stop being all formal and stuffy trying to protect your brand’s “voice.”
If you’re launching a Kickstarter project, odds are nobody’s even heard of you anyway.
And that’s ok.
11. Take risks — if you fail, launch again
You know how much it costs to launch a Kickstarter campaign?
The barriers to entry could literally not be lower.
So if you’re waffling back and forth wondering if your idea’s good or not.
JUST PUSH THE LAUNCH BUTTON.
If your Kickstarter campaign bombs, just make another one.
And take some risks while your at it.
Heck, be weird.
Kickstarter’s the most unique platform in the world — start acting like it.
And now that you’ve read this, you’re more prepared than 99% of other creators.
Just don’t forget about us when you make it big.
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