As an inventor, the greatest accomplishment is to have an invention that is successful in the market because it meets the needs of consumers. One of the quickest ways to not only launch an invention into the consumer market but to also gain valuable insight into the market itself is through a crowdfunding campaign. One of the most popular crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter, has generated much success for countless projects. Launching and utilizing a campaign to your benefit is a simple process.
Here’s a brief overview.
• WHERE does your project fit within the Kickstarter guidelines? In order to accurately define your project, first familiarize yourself with the Kickstarter Project Guidelines to ensure that your project falls into the specified categories in order to avoid the project being rejected. Never blindly launch a project without having done adequate research of successful projects to learn from others to enhance your experience and opportunities for success.
• WHAT is your need? What are your raising money for and is your goal realistic? Can you clearly convey your message? Kickstarter approves projects with clearly defined and realistic goals in order to provide an adequate opportunity of potential success.
• WHO is your target market? Who will use or benefit from your project? Why would they pledge money for your campaign?
• WHEN and how long? You campaign can last up to 60 days but, according to Kickstarter, projects lasting 30 days or left often have higher rates of success as they appear confident yet urgent in their need, which has a broad appeal to supporters.
• HOW much? Having a realistic amount is vital as Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing campaign. If you meet your goal, you will receive the pledged funds; if not, you walk away with valuable market insight but without funding. To accurately calculate your goal, take the cost of product development and add 30% to cover unexpected expenses.
As you gather your information and research, take time to ensure that your message is clearly conveyed in a professional and appealing manner. Success is reflective of the project’s appeal and professionalism.
• Title: Your project title should be clear but memorable, generating interest but avoiding clichéd words such as “assistance, help, funding, support, etc.”
• Image: Carefully select an image to serve as the face of your project; be sure that the image is relevant, artistic and interesting.
• Description: Describe your project clearly and concisely utilizing illustrations to enhance the project. Directly address potential questions and concerns that investors may have. Utilize the widget description by creating a catchy and engaging snippet of your project.
• Bio: Potential investors want to know who they are supporting.
• Video: While a video is not mandatory, it is highly recommended as a way to present your project. Watch other successful videos to get pointers on catchy introductions and winning presentations.
• Incentives: Kickstarter isn’t a charity so entice potential backers with rewards from within your project scope. Be creative by offering unique rewards that reflect the contribution levels (most contributions fall between $20 to $25). You can also offer an early bid incentive to the first specified number of backers as well as limited edition awards to the highest contributors. Remember, be creative but also keep your budget in mind regarding both the rewards and shipping.
• Promoting: Campaigning or promoting your project is essential to getting support. Be sure to prepare your promotional strategy to ensure you are fully utilizing your resources.
• Legalities: Unless you have release from its holders, avoid using copyrighted or trademarked items.
If your project is complete, you are ready to submit to Kickstarter. Register and complete the Kickstarter application for Kickstarter to review your application. Responses are usually provided within two business days but can take up to seven depending on the project and overall volume. Once your project is accepted, you will receive a notification that your project is live after setting your goal.
As I mentioned before, promoting your project is the heart of its success. How can you fully utilize your resources? Consider these options:
• Internet: Social networks are a great launching point to promote your project through different groups, hangouts and channels. Avoid over-posting or “spamming” and be sure to leave meaningful comments that show your engagement with forums, posts, groups, etc.
• Who You Know: Reach out to family and friends for support and promotion.
• Tell the Press: Consider a press release through national or local press outlets such as newspapers, television stations and radio. Keep in mind that local channels are more receptive because hometown stories are widely accepted by audiences.
• Blog It: Use the Kickstarter blog to post updates to either the public or backers. Build momentum by engaging your audience with meaningful activity and project development.
You, too, can launch a successful Kickstarter campaign by following these simple steps. Be sure that your presentation is engaging, creative and concise. Utilize your resources to promote your brand but also be realistic about your goals and the overall project. Offer your backers rewards for the support and always be mindful of their feedback as they are the voice of the market.