It’s always exciting to meet young people who want to launch a Kickstarter campaign. I was recently meeting with some young folks who shared their concerns about launching a successful Kickstarter. They had a lot of good material already developed, but were deeply troubled by how to launch it in America without having to physically be there.
They had everything set up. They showed me product photos, descriptions, and even a video. The materials presented made a big impression on me. However, the bubble burst when I asked them a few questions about the pre-launch activities before the Kickstarter. Here an awkward silence fell, which was broken by the company’s dog Dyzio cheerfully wagging his tail. I knew the young startups were not ready.
Pre-launch is about building a community
We often think it’s enough to show a good product because the community on Kickstarter, just waiting for us to show up and eagerly start supporting us. We see campaigns that reach their goals within hours of launching. These are the projects that are talked about, and you can read about their success on dozens of portals. However, it is not only the effect of an innovative project, the success consists of a number of factors. The truth is that at the moment on the Kickstarter platform the competition is so high that a moment after starting the collection, we end up in the 200th position, and then no one has a chance to check how cool an idea is we have.
To minimize this disappointment, I suggest treating Kickstarter only as an additional source of income. There is never and will never be a situation where 100% of the money raised comes from Kickstarter itself. It’s usually 50/50, which means you need to bring at least as many people to your campaign as you want to raise from Kickstarter. Therefore, if you don’t build a community around your project before you start fundraising, then you can forget about this promotional channel. I often find that a much better project didn’t succeed, while a simple item that only had a logo used by the community it built was very successful. So remember to start by building a community around the emerging project.
If now, a man came to me and wanted to make for example a card game with characters from the famous series The Walking Dead, I know that, despite the fact that there will be nothing innovative in this game, fans of the comic and the game will pay any money to be the first to get their hands on such a game. On the other hand, if a game developer comes along who decides to realize his idea for a game, but no one has heard about it before, then nothing will come of it.
Community building is connected with brand building
It can be said that the stronger the brand, the easier it is to build a community. Here, all it takes is a lot of talk about the brand. Many people are afraid of negative reviews, I believe that even if someone speaks negatively about us, there will always be people who are more interested in our brand.
An example of using our natural search for negative things about a brand is the action of a company selling electric bikes called Vanmoof, which posted short videos on youtube only to redirect viewers to their blog. Everything would have been ordinary except that they gave the words Vanmoof awesome problem in their description. When people search Google for similar phrases, they find these videos and when they click on them, they find themselves on the company’s blog where they can read that the awesome problem is that the smile never leaves their face when they use the company’s bikes.
Why build your brand before Kickstarter
The community is of immense importance in terms of building brand awareness. The primary attribute of a strong brand is called Social Proof, this is nothing more than showing that if the community is large, the brand should be trusted because others have already trusted it(!). Building a brand can be based on many attributes, but it is the community, especially fans and eventually brand ambassadors that will play the first fiddle during the campaign on Kickstarter.
This begs the question: why is this so important? Our monthly tests, during which we collect a base of people interested in the project (Test&Launch Program), always show one correlation. Usually, the average conversion from the mailing base during the first day on KS is about 4%, but when in the second stage, founders with our help start to make direct contact, then the conversion jumps to 8–10%.
Engaging fans — quality not quantity
It probably looks better when we have 100 000 fans on the fan page than 3 000, but it is better to have fewer fans but engaged, who comment on our activity and react vividly. Recently a friend of mine showed me the possibilities of using bots to build interaction on Facebook. From a fan page that has over 200 000 fans, he managed to gather 7 000 active users to messenger, was subjected to a hybrid process of engagement (bot + human), they created a case…. more to come