Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects and you’re ready to get in on the action. But how does one kickstart a Kickstarter? While I can’t say I have all the answers, I can share the experience (as it happens) of launching one project, Mission to Print: The Art of Hotel Whiskey Tango, so that you might gain some insight before launching your own. To start, I’ll skip the minutia (like Kickstarter’s builder template for customizing every aspect of your project) and touch on big-picture items I think are more important.
Clarity: What the F is this KS about?
Remember that clarity is power and Kickstarter is like any other digital consumable. In order to compete for attention and eyeballs (and wallets), you have to make an impact. Make sure your copy is clean, your images are stunning and your rewards are desirable. It’s similar (but different) to that old line sung by Wille Nelson, “If you got the money honey, I got the time!” The difference is, this audience doesn’t have the time.
Takeaway: Sing your song but make sure the diddy is short and sweet for someone to give a damn (or a dime).
A while back, a friend told me about a best-selling writer or business person who said, “outsource everything.” I don’t need to know who he is or what she wrote to ponder and appreciate that for a minute. For Mission to Print, we worked with freelancers and on-demand vendors to bolster the appeal and breadth of our reward packages.
Use your network to find talented and always-hungry artists to produce your video or design apparel. Ask a friend who knows the local music scene to put you in touch with an up-and-coming band like The Viatones. You can pay for music rights to enhance the quality of your video, for example.
If you experience difficulties writing copy, there are simple and affordable ways to get quality, custom content. One option, Zerys, is designed specifically for content projects and is a writer marketplace with thousands of professional, freelance writers.
Takeaway: Save time and create a better project by outsourcing.
Rewards, Risks and Decisions
There’s little chance of hitting your funding goal unless you offer desirable rewards. To get it right, you need to think about the person who might support your project, who they are and what they like. Find demographic data and develop a backer profile before you establish your offering. Then, sharpen your pencil and break out the calculator. It’s time to review costs, margins and everything else you loved about Accounting 101. Skip this exercise if you must, just know that some people actually manage to lose money on their project because they didn’t flex their critical thinking skills.
Let’s say you choose to offer an art book for a reward. If your cost is $12, pricing the book for $20 should be all-good right? Not necessarily. Ask yourself: How will the book get to the backer and where does the backer live? It may cost $2 to ship each book to your office, and then cost $10 more to send it to a backer living in Toronto. In this scenario, pricing the art book at $20 results in a net loss of $4 for the pledge. So how do you solve this problem? You could certainly raise the price for the book or maybe you could … buy in bulk???
I’m a man, and I detest shopping. I really detest shopping when my girlfriend drags me with her because, inevitably, we get to arguing about toilet paper. No, we don’t fuss about ply-count or which way the ribbon should hang when we get home. We argue about how much we need to buy. I always want to grab the two dollar 4-pack (and get the hell out of there) but she’s won’t have it. Her preference is to buy in bulk as part of some “spend-to-save” logic that’s hard for me to grasp. Silly as it sounds, this dilemma has everything to do with your Kickstarter project.
Next Week: What’s better? Buying big to reduce average unit cost or purchasing as needed, even if it costs more? Learn how to gauge demand and reduce the risk of buying unnecessary inventory.
Before You Launch That Kickstarter! is an ongoing series about the Kickstarter experience, written by Marc-Alain Reviere. Please visit this blog weekly for tips, lessons and amusing anecdotes.