Kickstarter, and other crowd based funding programs, are gaining popularity. What was once a small tool to raise capital in an unconventional way is quickly becoming a method for artists, creatives and even celebrities to jumpstart their business or product idea.
According to Kickstarter’s stats, there have been over 107,000 projects launched on their website, but only 45,533 have been successfully funded. What is the difference between a successful campaign and one that isn’t? Is there a secret to reaching your funding goal?
Jackson Robinson seems to have found the keys to running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Jackson is an artist and designer by trade. He initially found success on Kickstarter by designing t-shirts—collectively raising $6523 through his shirt projects. But his life-changing Kickstarter campaign was when he launched a designer set of playing cards inspired by US currency, The Federal 52. Jackson raised over $150,000 during his 40-day campaign. As a part of the Kickstarter community, other project creators who want to know how to be successful on Kickstarter are continually contacting Jackson. When asked, this is what Jackson says:
Make it Personable
People don’t just want to see a cool product or flashy packaging. They are already bombarded with interesting products and sleek packaging. I believe the single most important element to any crowd funding project success is that the supporters can connect with the creator.
Your project has to have a story behind it, a story of a real person, not just someone trying to make a quick buck. People have to make the connection that they could easily be in your shoes. Inspiring people is the most potent way to get them to not only back your project, but also become a zealot marketer for you.
Execute a High-Quality Product
Your product has to compete with everything else out there. Your product or idea’s quality has to be executed at a high enough level that it would justify people spending their money to support you rather than going to another well-established website and buy products from there.
Communicate Regularly with Backers
Communicating with your supporters on a regular basis is one of the most overlooked steps I see on Kickstarter today. During my first Federal 52 project I sent out updates almost once a day. During my 40-day project I had around 54 updates, when other projects might only send out a total of 8 or 9. Being transparent about your process and production is an effective way to keep your backers engaged.
Most creators will just put everything out on the table and then click “Go.” They never visit their project again and just cross their fingers in hopes they will be funded.
You have to create a project and content to release throughout the campaign. I released a new card design almost every other day. This “timed-release” method gave my supporters that “brand new” feeling all over again and got them talking about the project again.
I have received so many e-mails from struggling creators asking me, “How did you do it?” or “What PR firm did you use?” I never spent a dime on marketing nor did I peddle my project to people or sites. I knew that my success would come from my backers spreading the word so that was my focus.
Ten times out 10, if a creator messaged me asking for help or my keys to success, the first thing I asked them was, “Are you updating on a regular basis?” The answer was ALWAYS,” No, I don’t want my backers to get sick of my updates.” People love to be a part of something and updating on a regular basis is the best way to keep them involved in the creative process.
Every new update is a spark for a new conversation on both your comment boards and social media. My current project has around 2400 backers and also pushing almost 1900 comments. Most similar projects settle around 50 or 60 comments total. The more comments you have, the more people are talking and engaged with your project.
You Cannot Overplan
Just like with any business there are logistics that have to be thought out. From shipping to production, these elements can sink a successful project as fast as it was funded.
Passion Is Vital
You have to love what you are doing! You have eat, sleep, and bleed your commitment to your project. If every word and action that you display to your supporters shows your commitment to excellence and a drive to give them something they have never had before, you will succeed every time.
It is tips like these that have been essential to Jackson’s success. He is currently running another Kickstarter campaign that was fully funded with $16,000 in 18 minutes and 42 seconds. Jackson’s current Kickstarter, The Federal 52 Part 2, runs through July 25. It has already raised more than $167,000.