src=”https://buffer.com/resources/content/images/2022/02/timur-garifov-p2RbLnqWPVY-unsplash.jpg” alt=”How to Launch a Kickstarter Campaign, Hit Your Goal, and Build a Brand in the Process”>
I started to develop an idea for a product or brand in 2014 that didn’t yet exist on the market. It was American-made, high-quality paper goods made to inspire creativity and productivity.
This idea took me nearly a full year to develop, prototype, design, research manufacturers and write a business plan. It became clear from the beginning that capital was required to launch a product-based company. My goal and hope was to build a company that would become a leader within our industry. To do this, I needed a plan, goals, a growth strategy, and funding.
After extensive research, I launched a Kickstarter campaign on March 2015. I set a goal to raise $25,000 within 30 days. However, it took me seven days to reach that goal. I actually raised more than $50,000 by the end, which was enough to fund my seed funding for Appointed.
I’ve been asked many times by small businesses how to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign or why they should use Kickstarter. Here is my advice.
I considered all options for raising capital, including debt, personal investing, and raising seed rounds. Because I wanted to test the concept, I chose Kickstarter. If the Kickstarter campaign didn’t succeed, it would have indicated that I might need to refine the concept or product.
Crowdfunding offers many other benefits than social proof.
- Crowdfunding is typically more efficient than traditional fundraising from investors and much less risky.
- We were able to launch a campaign and gain loyal customers early on, which many of them continue to support to this day.
- This allowed us to quickly build momentum. Our social proof was a key factor in securing media coverage shortly after we launched the brand.
However, Kickstarter is not the only option. Since my campaign in 2015 many other crowdfunding options have been available.
- For products: Indiegogo
- Patreon is for artists and creators
- For personal fundraising: GoFundMe
- CircleUp is an equity crowdfunding platform.
Five Tips to Launch a Successful Campaign
These are my top recommendations for setting up your crowdfunding campaign for success, regardless of which platform you use.
1. Achieve a Realistic Goal
You should set a realistic, achievable goal that is based on what you need. You can exceed your goal. However, the main point is to cover your expenses and not the maximum amount. Kickstarter reports that most successful Kickstarter projects have a goal less than $10,000.
To launch my company, I estimated that I would need $25,000 in order to finance the following:
- The first production run of our trademark product, The Notebook, was put into production. This involved purchasing materials, printing and equipment.
- I created a website and hired a freelance web developer to help me.
- A carefully curated selection of desktop paper products for The Notebook
If you reach your initial goal, you can always set a stretch goal. Just make sure to let backers know what you will offer them if you achieve that goal.
Before I launched my campaign I spent 18 months researching the best way to get the company started. It was a process I would do again. It is important to be as informed as you can in order to build your campaign. Spend more time researching backer rewards, funding statistics, presentation techniques, marketing tactics, and marketing strategies, particularly if they are relevant to your product type. There are many resources available. Kickstarter offers detailed resources for creators. It includes information on how to launch, promote, and even publish your campaigns. There are also specific advice for different industries, such as games, art, technology, publishing and design.
3. Start a Campaign
Building momentum is key in the first few days of any campaign. Before you launch, make sure to reach out and tell your family, friends, and contacts about the campaign. Once it’s live, ask them for their support. In the first week of my campaign, I raised $25K. Most of these initial backers were friends, contacts, and family. We saw momentum build daily as the initial backers started to share their networks with each other, which allowed us to quickly reach our initial goal.
Apart from directly reaching out my network, I also used every social media platform to spread the word about this brand before, during and after the campaign. These tools can be used to tease the product and get people excited about it.
4. Think like a PR professional
Before Appointed, my previous work experience was in public relations. In the hope of getting the Kickstarter product featured in media stories, I used my previous experience in public relations to put these skills to use and reached out to all editors and writers I knew. This approach is possible even for non-PR professionals.
Begin by creating a list of editors, writers, and outlets that might be interested in the Kickstarter campaign and the product. Even podcasters and bloggers with small audiences can help you reach the right people. Next, consider what makes your product special. What makes your story unique or noteworthy? Reach out to them via email and social media. Make it personal. Show them you are familiar with their work and pitch them a story.
5. Make a Plan After Kickstarter
Although the campaign was a laborious process, the real work began after it was over. While I had to meet a deadline in order to pay the backers, I also needed to keep the momentum I had built with the audience. This will ensure that you are set up for success after the campaign.
- Assume that your campaign will succeed. Make sure you have a detailed plan and a timeline for manufacturing your product. Add a buffer in case of delays.
- Before the campaign, determine shipping and packaging costs and add these expenses to the budget.
- Your supporters should be informed about shipping times and reward delivery. This keeps your supporters informed and builds excitement.
Although I was launching a campaign for one product, my goal was to create a brand. I was able to raise capital through Kickstarter, but the added benefits of building credibility and momentum were truly priceless.
Six years later, Appointed is proud to offer a complete line of desktop and paper products, support an ever-growing workforce of talented people, and have a flagship store in Washington DC with The Notebook Bar, which allows customers to create custom products.
It all started with a dream, a notebook and our backers.
Did you miss our previous article…